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Religious groups stay away from SRI mainstream

January 2011

Faith-based institutional investors have limited contact with other responsible investors, even though the two have much in common, a study has found.

The global survey of 103 mainly Christian investment bodies showed their activities do not differ hugely from those of the SRI mainstream, but 'they hardly mix with the general responsible investment community', preferring to 'create their own identity via religious investor groups'.

There was widespread affiliation to religious investor groups such as the Interfaith Centre for Corporate Responsibility, of which 66 per cent were members, and Oikocredit (24 per cent). But few had connections with secular bodies such as national social investment forums (13 per cent) and the Carbon Disclosure Project (seven per cent).

The study, the first of its kind, finds this situation surprising as there is an 'absence of specific religious-based financial tools and services' in the area.

There were fairly small differences in outlook and approach between religious and non-religious SRI investors, although the former tend to show less concern about human rights violations or child labour. By contrast, they focus more on screening out investments involving pornography, abortion and gambling.

Researchers from six organizations, including the US-based International Interfaith Investment Group, the ESADE business school in Spain, and the Vlerick Leuven School of Management in Belgium, gathered 57 responses from North America, 22 from Europe, four from Africa, four from Asia and Oceania, and 16 from unknown locations. Ninety per cent were from investment decision-makers in Christian organizations, although some were from Hindu, Baha'i and Buddhist institutions.




Global | SRI

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