Your article on ethical investment was helpful and encouraging (MW February 23). In the past decade, despite a rising interest in socially responsible investment (SRI), articles rarely showed the clear link between SRI and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Your article was a breath of fresh air.
One point that I would like to bring to your readers’ attention is the fact that this phenomenon – and the word is carefully chosen – is part of a bottom-up movement for accountability. There is an increasing feeling of disenchantment, impotence and alienation about our Western political system. SRI is a fast and effective method of changing company policy from the inside, particularly through shareholder action.
The larger corporations and finance houses often pay only lip service to SRI and CSR issues to pacify their shareholders and customers. In reality, they have not got the message that these issues are here to stay and they need to make real changes if they are to progress in the 21st century. Financial and corporate executives need to take note and effect change now, or the public will leave them behind.
Over the next ten years, we predict that the most successful financial institutions will develop a light-green screening process for all internal funds similar to that the Co-operative Bank has already pioneered.
Brian Harrison Spence