Institutional money managers whose mandate includes socially responsible investment considerations are targeting the following issues in 2014.
- How to reconcile the risk of investing in fossil fuel companies if fully exploiting those companies’ reserves results in worst case global warming.
- How to best mitigate or eliminate the environmental risks posed by the Northern Gateway and Keystone pipelines.
- How to deal with companies that are complicit in the violation of human rights in the countries in which they operate.
- How to encourage garment manufacturers to improve building standards so that the tragic building collapse and loss of life in Bangladesh last year will not be repeated.
- How to promote good corporate governance so that executives are not unfairly compensated at the expense of workers.
- How to ensure that increasing corporate ownership of water does not impinge on the basic human right to its access.
- How to advance agricultural diversity and sustainability in the face of corporate control of seed patents and genetically modified seed supply.
- How to support community investment initiatives that provide sustainable business opportunities and good jobs in our own region or municipality.
- How to ensure that investment capital supports clean technologies and energy efficiencies.
These are some of the primary issues facing socially responsible investors in the year ahead. They recognize that care for the environment, and for the social fabric of our communities, makes good business sense. Indeed it is quite likely that a company’s financial bottom line can be improved by addressing these concerns. Enlightened investors may want to evaluate the extent to which their money management firm is taking action on these matters.