Sustainable investment membership organizations in major markets today agreed to join forces to create a trailblazing report on the global scope of sustainable and responsible investment. For more than a decade, these regional bodies have produced research reports, generally on a biennial schedule, on the trends in sustainable and responsible investing within their own markets.  The release of this harmonized global “Trends” report, the first ever, is scheduled for December 2012.

“The sustainable investment promoting organizations are raising the global profile of sustainable investment together,” said Graham Sinclair, President of AfricaSIF.org. “We are nudging investors toward advancing a more sustainable and low carbon economy at the regional and country level.”

This is an important step in helping to identify and compare sustainable investment industry developments across geographic boundaries.  Specifically, the report will analyze the prevalence of investment strategies that consider environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors in investment analysis and ownership activities.

 

The sustainable investment organizations, at the conclusion of their summit in London last week, also agreed to launch a global website in the last quarter of 2012 and to collaborate more closely on policy issues.

 

The organizations at the meeting included the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, the European Sustainable Investment Forum (Eurosif), the Canadian Social Investment Organization (SIO), the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) and the Association for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA). Additionally, the Africa Sustainable Investment Forum Project (AfricaSIF.org) provided the group with input from the African region.

 

The sustainable investment organizations represent more than 1,000 members including pension funds, asset managers, NGOs, banks, community development organizations, research institutions and consulting firms, impact investors and financial advisors.

 

The global sustainable investment Trends 2012 report will document the types of investors involved, break down the strategies employed and make international market comparisons. It will cover all asset classes, from public equities and fixed income to hedge funds and microfinance.  ESG investment strategies such as screening, integration and engagement will be assessed across jurisdictions.

 

This original research will be a valuable resource to investors and policy makers and will serve as the baseline for future research. Each participating organization will be responsible for collecting data in its home market.

 

The global leadership meeting followed a two day symposium in London organized by UKSIF, US SIF and Eurosif.  The program included panels on shareholder engagement and the economics of sustainable investment research, among other topics.

 

Comments from Summit Participants

 

United States of America

“US SIF is committed to the success of our international collaboration with other sustainable investment organizations,” said Lisa Woll, CEO, US SIF. “We believe our work together strengthens the profile of sustainable and responsible investment globally and adds tremendous

value to US SIF’s work."

 

Canada

“The strength of the sustainable investment industry lies in the diversity of our members in Canada and around the world,” said Eugene Ellmen, Executive Director, SIO. “Our collective activities as sustainable investment forums will give voice to our members by showing this global diversity.”

 

Europe

“The SIFs across the world traditionally are the local foothold of sustainable investors,” said Guiseppe Van Der Helm, President of Eurosif and Executive Director of VBDO. “Sharing our experience in advancing sustainable investment will enhance our global thought leadership”.

 

United Kingdom

“This partnership enables us to draw on international knowledge and expertise to support our members to deliver leading edge sustainable investment services.” said Penny Shepherd MBE, UKSIF Chief Executive. “UKSIF was delighted to host this second annual summit which built on the success of last year’s inaugural gathering in New York City.”

 

Australasia

"The enduring strength of sustainable investment organizations is that we are driven by what's needed on the ground in our regions and guided by the deep expertise of our members." said Louise O'Halloran, Executive Director, Responsible Investment Association Australasia. "Bringing that expertise together as a global force is an incredibly powerful benefit for our community of members around the world."

 

ABOUT the sustainable investment membership organizations

 

US SIF www.ussif.org (United States of America)

US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the U.S. national nonprofit membership association for professionals, firms and organizations dedicated to advancing the practice and growth of sustainable and responsible investing (SRI). Critical to responsible investment practice is the consideration of environmental, social and corporate governance criteria in addition to standard financial analysis.

 

UKSIF www.uksif.org (United Kingdom)

The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) supports the UK finance sector to be a global leader in advancing sustainable development through financial services. We promote and support responsible investment and other forms of finance that advance sustainable economic development, enhance quality of life and safeguard the environment. Founded in 1991, UKSIF has over 260 members including pension funds, asset managers, research providers, financial advisers, banks and non-governmental organizations. For more information, visit www.uksif.org.

 

EuroSIF www.eurosif.org (Europe)

Eurosif (the European Sustainable Investment Forum) is a pan-European group whose mission is to Address Sustainability through Financial Markets. Current member affiliates of Eurosif include pension funds, financial service providers, academic institutes, research associations and NGO's. The association is a not-for-profit entity that represents assets totaling over €1 trillion through its affiliate membership.

 

ASRIA www.asria.org (Asia)

The Association for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA) is a not for profit, membership association dedicated to promoting corporate responsibility and sustainable investment practice in the Asia Pacific region. ASrIA's members include investment institutions managing over US$4 trillion in assets, however membership is open to any organization which has an interest in sustainable investment. ASrIA's goal is to build market capacity for SRI. It provides insightful, up to date and accessible information on the development of SRI in Asia and globally.  It has also become the platform for different sectors within the community to exchange information and perspectives on SRI, and to take practice forward.

 

VBDO www.vdbo.nl (The Netherlands)

The Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) was launched in 1995. The VBDO aims at generating a more sustainable capital market by raising awareness both with multinational corporations and investors about the contributions they can make towards a sustainable capital market. The VBDO also formulates strong opinions on different topics related to sustainability. VBDO regularly carries out research and visits Annual General Meetings of stock listed companies and engages in an active dialogue with banks, insurance companies, media and stock listed companies. As such VBDO is the only association in the Netherlands representing institutional as well as individual sustainable investors.

 

Social Investment Organization (SIO) www.socialinvestment.ca (Canada)

The Social Investment Organization (SIO) is a national membership-based organization that includes financial institutions, investment firms, financial advisors, and various organizations and individuals interested in socially responsible investment. The SIO's mandate is to promote the practice of socially responsible investment (SRI) in Canada. SRI is the integration of environmental, social and governance factors in the selection and management of investments.

 

Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) www.responsibleinvestment.org (Australasia)

The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) was established in 2000 and is the industry peak body for organizations and professionals who take environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into account in their investment decisions. RIAA covers Australia and New Zealand and our members include superannuation funds, asset consultants, fund managers, financial advisers, dealer groups, insurance companies and many other participants in the investment chain. In addition to working at a local level, RIAA collaborates with its sister organizations in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Africa, Canada and the United States.

 

In addition, for more information on the Africa Sustainable Investment Forum project, visit www.AfricaSIF.org.
AfricaSIF.org is an independent, pan-African not-for-profit network, knowledgebase and advocate promoting sustainable development across the continent launched in June 2010. The AfricaSIF.org Project is building a network of institutions and individuals promoting sustainable investment in Africa by investors in public, private and philanthropy sectors across asset classes, countries and stakeholders from our platform @ africasif.org.

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