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Book part
Publication date: 10 August 2018

Emily Barman

Over the last several decades, the question of the import of firms’ social and environmental responsibilities has taken center stage. While once companies’ obligations to…

Abstract

Over the last several decades, the question of the import of firms’ social and environmental responsibilities has taken center stage. While once companies’ obligations to stakeholders and to sustainability were framed as normative issues, these criteria are taking on instrumental worth. Most recently, advocates of Responsible Investment have suggested that firms’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance possesses critical implications for companies’ creation and capture of long-term economic value. Employing textual analysis, this chapter analyzes the accounting, rating, and reporting standards that have been developed by which companies are expected to measure, communicate, and be evaluated for their ESG performance. Drawing from literature on organizational imprinting, this chapter finds significant differences across these standards, in terms of the determination of materiality and firms’ desired stakeholder relations. The divergence present in the meaning and measure of Responsible Investment across these standards possesses important strategic implications for managers in this field who must consider the implications of each guideline for internal and external purposes.

Details

Sustainability, Stakeholder Governance, and Corporate Social Responsibility
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-316-2

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2015

Jill Frances Atkins, Aris Solomon, Simon Norton and Nathan Lael Joseph

This paper aims to provide evidence to suggest that private social and environmental reporting (i.e. one-on-one meetings between institutional investors and investees on…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide evidence to suggest that private social and environmental reporting (i.e. one-on-one meetings between institutional investors and investees on social and environmental issues) is beginning to merge with private financial reporting and that, as a result, integrated private reporting is emerging.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, 19 FTSE100 companies and 20 UK institutional investors were interviewed to discover trends in private integrated reporting and to gauge whether private reporting is genuinely becoming integrated. The emergence of integrated private reporting through the lens of institutional logics was interpreted. The emergence of integrated private reporting as a merging of two hitherto separate and possibly rival institutional logics was framed.

Findings

It was found that specialist socially responsible investment managers are starting to attend private financial reporting meetings, while mainstream fund managers are starting to attend private meetings on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Further, senior company directors are becoming increasingly conversant with ESG issues.

Research limitations/implications

The findings were interpreted as two possible scenarios: there is a genuine hybridisation occurring in the UK institutional investment such that integrated private reporting is emerging or the financial logic is absorbing and effectively neutralising the responsible investment logic.

Practical implications

These findings provide evidence of emergent integrated private reporting which are useful to both the corporate and institutional investment communities as they plan their engagement meetings.

Originality/value

No study has hitherto examined private social and environmental reporting through interview research from the perspective of emergent integrated private reporting. This is the first paper to discuss integrated reporting in the private reporting context.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 23 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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Book part
Publication date: 30 March 2017

Julia M. Puaschunder

The 2008/2009 World Financial Crisis underlined the importance of social responsibility for the sustainable functioning of economic markets. Heralding an age of novel…

Abstract

The 2008/2009 World Financial Crisis underlined the importance of social responsibility for the sustainable functioning of economic markets. Heralding an age of novel heterodox economic thinking, the call for integrating social facets into mainstream economic models has reached unprecedented momentum. Financial Social Responsibility bridges the finance world with society in socially conscientious investments. Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) integrates corporate social responsibility in investment choices. In the aftermath of the 2008/2009 World Financial Crisis, SRI is an idea whose time has come. Socially conscientious asset allocation styles add to expected yield and volatility of securities social, environmental, and institutional considerations. In screenings, shareholder advocacy, community investing, social venture capital funding and political divestiture, socially conscientious investors hone their interest to align financial profit maximization strategies with social concerns. In a long history of classic finance theory having blacked out moral and ethical considerations of investment decision making, our knowledge of socio-economic motives for SRI is limited. Apart from economic profitability calculus and strategic leadership advantages, this paper sheds light on socio-psychological motives underlying SRI. Altruism, need for innovation and entrepreneurial zest alongside utility derived from social status enhancement prospects and transparency may steer investors’ social conscientiousness. Self-enhancement and social expression of future-oriented SRI options may supplement profit maximization goals. Theoretically introducing potential SRI motives serves as a first step toward an empirical validation of Financial Social Responsibility to improve the interplay of financial markets and the real economy. The pursuit of crisis-robust and sustainable financial markets through strengthened Financial Social Responsibility targets at creating lasting societal value for this generation and the following.

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Article
Publication date: 30 September 2013

Tommi Juhani Lehtonen

– This paper aims to examine ethical investment problems related to fiduciary responsibilities.

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine ethical investment problems related to fiduciary responsibilities.

Design/methodology/approach

The present study discusses these issues from the perspective of stock investment. It identifies, validates and explains the ethical problems and possibilities concerning the principles of responsible investment. The paper focuses on, but is not restricted to, the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.

Findings

The United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment give investors moral freedoms, although from the point-of-view of most moral theories, only such investments that serve the well-being of people and the environment would be ethically responsible. The legitimacy of fiduciary responsibilities is motivated by the pursuit of economic gain, which is essential for business on the one hand but ethically problematic on the other, if the “invisible hand” of the economy does not work and wealth accumulates in the hands of only a few people.

Research limitations/implications

This vision presented in the paper (albeit practically relevant) is obviously general and many details, including the starting points of the care-ethical approach and the moral rating of stock portfolios, need to be developed further.

Practical implications

The vision proposes, in essence, a care-ethical approach according to which only such investments that promote the general good and welfare are morally acceptable. From this perspective, investment should primarily serve people and the environment, and therefore investments should only be made, based on a careful evaluation, in ethically acceptable and economically profitable companies that contribute to the human and environmental good.

Originality/value

This subject matter has been much discussed; however, the perspective and starting points of this article, especially the ethics of care, are new and add novel ideas to the conversation.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

Amarjit Gill and Neil Mathur

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between religious beliefs and socially responsible investment in the Indian agricultural industry.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between religious beliefs and socially responsible investment in the Indian agricultural industry.

Design/methodology/approach

Owners of small agribusiness firms from India were interviewed regarding their perceptions of religious beliefs and socially responsible investment in the agricultural industry.

Findings

The survey indicates that while religious beliefs and internal financing sources increase perceived socially responsible investment, the higher cost of debt capital decreases perceived socially responsible investment in the Indian agricultural industry. The higher level of internal financing sources, however, decreases the perceived cost of debt capital which may increase socially responsible investment in the Indian agricultural industry.

Research limitations/implications

This is a co-relational study that investigated the association between religious beliefs and socially responsible investment. There is not necessarily a causal relationship between the two. The findings of this study may only be generalized to firms similar to those that were included in this research.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature on the factors that increase socially responsible investment in the agricultural industry. The study also provides critical policy recommendations to minimize managerial implications. The findings may be useful for financial managers, agribusiness owners (farmers), investors, agribusiness management consultants, and other stakeholders.

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Case study
Publication date: 12 December 2018

Stephanie Giamporcaro and David Leslie

To understand the motivations for adopting RI practices for institutional investors and asset managers; to understand the different RI strategies available to…

Abstract

Learning outcomes

To understand the motivations for adopting RI practices for institutional investors and asset managers; to understand the different RI strategies available to institutional investors; to understand the impediments to adoption of RI at an organisational level; to debate how financial institutions can drive the growth and adoption of RI among the investment community; and to illustrate the complexities of organisational change and the strategies that institutional entrepreneurs can use to overcome resistance to change from key stakeholders.

Case overview/synopsis:

The case is set in October 2017 against the backdrop of the pending unbundling of Old Mutual plc into four new independent businesses, and the subsequent relisting of Old Mutual Ltd on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in South Africa. The head of responsible investment at Old Mutual Investment Group and the main protagonist of the case, Jon Duncan, is considering what the subsequent relisting will mean for the responsible investing programmes that he has set up over the past six years. The case goes on to describe how responsible investment principles were supported through the implementation of ESG integration and active ownership strategies. It also examines recent developments in ESG product innovations and demonstrates another technique available to responsible investment practitioners in the form of best-in-class ESG screening. The case ends with Duncan contemplating the strategic priorities of the RI team moving forward, and how the managed separation might impact on the RI agenda. It provides prompts for students to discuss and formulate a strategy for advancing the aims of responsible investing.

Complexity academic level

The case is aimed at postgraduate-level students enrolled in a management-related degree programme such as an MBA, and covers both sustainable and responsible finance and institutional entrepreneurship theory.

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only. Please contact your library to gain login details or email support@emeraldinsight.com to request teaching notes.

Subject code

CSS 1: Accounting and Finance

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

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Book part
Publication date: 7 July 2014

Stephanie Giamporcaro and Suzette Viviers

The anti-apartheid movement represented a cornerstone for socially responsible investors in the 1970s and 1980s driven by the willingness to promote lasting social change…

Abstract

Purpose

The anti-apartheid movement represented a cornerstone for socially responsible investors in the 1970s and 1980s driven by the willingness to promote lasting social change. What happened next in terms of socially responsible investing (SRI) in the free South Africa? This chapter explores the local development of SRI in South Africa post-apartheid.

Design/methodology/approach

An in-depth literature review combined with a content analysis 73 SRI funds’ investment mandates were undertaken to investigate the local development of SRI in South Africa over the period 1992–2012.

Findings

Mechanisms of local divergence and global convergence have both shaped the phenomenon of SRI in South Africa. SRI in South Africa represents a melting-pot of societal values anchored in a local developmental and transformative political vision, some local and global Islamic religious values, and worldwide SRI and CSR homogenisation trends.

Originality/value

This chapter is the first attempt to outline the mechanisms of local divergence and global convergence that have moulded SRI in a democratic South Africa.

Details

Socially Responsible Investment in the 21st Century: Does it Make a Difference for Society?
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-467-1

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Book part
Publication date: 2 September 2016

Bernard Paranque and Elias Erragragui

The objective of this chapter is twofold. It first explores the complementarities of Islamic investment with Socially Responsible Investment. Secondly, it examines the…

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this chapter is twofold. It first explores the complementarities of Islamic investment with Socially Responsible Investment. Secondly, it examines the financial price, for investors, of being both shariah-compliant and socially responsible.

Methodology/approach

Using a value-weighted approach, we experiment the construction of a set of sharia-compliant stock portfolios with different Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance. We use the KLD ratings of 238 companies listed in U.S. stock market from 2007 to 2011. We measure and compare their performance using the model developed by Fama and French (1993) and extended by Carhart (1997).

Findings

The results indicate no adverse effect on returns due to the application of a double screening, Islamic and SRI, and show a substantially higher performance for positive governance screen during 2008–2011 periods. This outperformance cannot be explained by differences in investment style. Though, we observe significant outperformance for some ‘irresponsible’ portfolios involved in community and human rights controversies.

Research limitations/implications

The study only focuses on U.S. market. Future works should extend the experimentation to other markets.

Practical implications

This study provides a venue for Islamic funds managers to consider SRI screening as fully in line with shariah-compliance requirements, while preserving the performance of their portfolios.

Social implications

Potentially, the reconciliation of Islamic investment with positive SRI practices may foster the implementation of CSR policies by firms’ manager willing to attract Islamic investors.

Originality/value

With reference to the many studies emphasising the compatibility between CSR criteria and Islamic principles, this experimental study is the first to investigate the integration of a positive screening process designed to select companies based on their ESG performance in addition to a traditional shariah-compliant screening.

Details

Finance Reconsidered: New Perspectives for a Responsible and Sustainable Finance
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-980-0

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Article
Publication date: 29 April 2020

Mark Anthony Camilleri

This study aims to explain how socially responsible investing (SRI) has evolved in the past few decades and sheds light on its latest developments. It describes different…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explain how socially responsible investing (SRI) has evolved in the past few decades and sheds light on its latest developments. It describes different forms of SRI in the financial markets, and deliberates on the rationale for the utilization of positive and negative screenings of listed businesses and public organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

A comprehensive literature review suggests that the providers of financial capital are increasingly allocating funds toward positive impact and sustainable investments. Therefore, this descriptive paper provides a factual summary of the proliferation of SRI products in financial markets. Afterwards, it presents the opportunities and challenges facing the stakeholders of SRI.

Findings

This research presents a historic overview on the growth of SRI products in the financial services industry. It clarifies that the market for responsible investing has recently led to an increase in a number of stakeholders, including contractors, non-governmental organizations and research firms who are involved in the scrutinization of the businesses’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) behaviors.

Originality/value

This discursive contribution raises awareness on the screenings of positive impact and sustainable investments. The researcher contends that today’s socially responsible investors are increasingly analyzing the businesses’ non-financial performance, including their ESG credentials. In conclusion, this paper puts forward future research avenues in this promising field of study.

Details

Social Responsibility Journal, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-1117

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Book part
Publication date: 21 October 2013

Ben Jacobsen

PurposeResponsible investor (RI) engagement seeks to change corporate strategic priorities while balancing the financial imperative. This chapter uses…

Abstract

PurposeResponsible investor (RI) engagement seeks to change corporate strategic priorities while balancing the financial imperative. This chapter uses an institutional theory framework to explore the tension between financial performance and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues in RI engagement.

Methodology – Discourse of the proponent, supporters and opponents of Australia’s first climate change shareholder resolution – a minority proposal, will be analyzed using framing analysis.

Findings – Framing indicated that the discourse emphasized the dominant financial performance logic while often omitting the ESG logic. One possible explanation is that the process of shareholder proposal nomination and the financial imperative of investment organizations effectively co-opted the engagement.

Research limitations – A case of responsible investment engagement is used to illustrate multiple logics in the investment field. Although there are significant limitations to drawing inferences from a single example, the discussion is relevant to RI support for engagement initiatives such as the UN Principles of Responsible Investment clearinghouse and Carbon Disclosure Project Carbon Action. This chapter argues that attempts to change corporate strategic actions on climate change by RI through engagement will be less effective while the financial performance logic provides relatively more legitimacy to investors.

Practical implications – Integrating the ESG logic with the financial logic is vulnerable to co-optation due to incommensurability. Operationalizing both logics requires establishing a boundary between ESG and financial logics to develop legitimacy.

Social implications – RI engagement on climate change has the potential to be an important part of the social response to the sustainability agenda.

Originality – In applying institutional theory to RI climate change activism this chapter presents original insights into the potential of engagement to effect change.

Details

Institutional Investors’ Power to Change Corporate Behavior: International Perspectives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-771-9

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