What is SRI?
Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)
According to the Social Investment Forum,
"Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is a broad-based approach to investing that now encompasses an estimated $2.3 trillion out of $24 trillion in the U.S. investment marketplace today. SRI recognizes that corporate responsibility and societal concerns are valid parts of investment decisions. SRI considers both the investor's financial needs and an investment’s impact on society. SRI investors encourage corporations to improve their practices on environmental, social, and governance issues. You may also hear SRI-like approaches to investing referred to as mission investing, responsible investing, double or triple bottom line investing, ethical investing, sustainable investing, or green investing.
As a result of its investing strategies, SRI also works to enhance the bottom lines of the companies in question and, in so doing, delivers more long-term wealth to shareholders. In addition, SRI investors seek to build wealth in underserved communities worldwide. With SRI, investors can put their money to work to build a more sustainable world while earning competitive returns both today and over time. Socially responsible investors include individuals and also institutions, such as corporations, universities, hospitals, foundations, insurance companies, public and private pension funds, nonprofit organizations, and religious institutions. Institutional investors represent the largest and fastest growing segment of the SRI world."
While several strategies may be employed to address SRI issues, the Shareholder Advocacy Committee at Loyola University Chicago utilizes an approach centered on advocacy.
In the new handbook for colleges and universities "Integrating Environmental, Social and governance Issues Into Institutional Investment", co-produced by the Responsible Endowment Coalition (REC) and the Business & Human Rights Program of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), it explains:
"...shareholder advocacy involves actively working with the company management to encourage business practices that respect human rights, promote environmental sustainability, and fulfill other aspects of social responsibility and good corporate governance. Unlike social screening, shareholder advocates do not refrain from investing in certain corporations; instead they seek change by engaging with company leadership. The goal is to make it clear to management that a specific social issue is a concern for investors. Change is achieved by convincing corporate management to adopt socially responsible business practices, either as a result of shareholder pressure through the filing and voting process, and/or through ongoing dialogue."