Business case for Socially Responsible Investment

On July 11th the Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) launched a new study on the business case for Socially Responsible Investment (SRI), 'Sustainability Pays', produced by the Centre for Sustainable Investment at Forum for the Future. CIS set out to answer three key questions in the field of SRI: - What is the business case for SRI? - What influence can institutional shareholder have on investee companies through engagement? And, - What are consumer attitudes to SRI?

To do this CIS commissioned Forum for the Future’s Centre for Sustainable Investment to put together an internationally respected team of experts to carry out this work.

In the first chapter, the report sets out the findings of unique research carried out by Nick Chater, director of the Institute for Applied Cognitive Science in the University of Warwick’s Psychology Department, on the attitudes of private investors in the UK towards SRI.

In chapter two the CSI, with the help of an expert panel , analyses the academic research into the performance of socially responsible investments against their ‘mainstream’ equivalents. This chapter also assesses the evidence on whether corporate sustainability and CSR improves company financial performance.

And finally, Pensions and Investment Research Consultants (PIRC), a prominent investment research firm, examines research into how investors interact with companies in terms of corporate governance and SEE issues. They also review the findings of four case studies to examine how large UK investors can influence the behaviour of companies in which they invest – and what lessons investors can learn in making such engagement more effective.

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