Welcome to the EIRIS responsible investment blog. Get our perspectives on the latest trends and developments in responsible investment and corporate social responsibility.
If 2012 was the year that the world woke up to the inequities of corporate tax avoidance, with the tax activities of large high profile companies appearing on the front pages. And 2013 was the year that Governments started to respond (albeit meekly), with the UK‘s pledge to close the tax gap and the G8 nations accepting the need to clamp down on tax avoiders at their summit in June. Then 2014 will hopefully be the year that consumers become empowered to take action with their wallets; and investors recognise the leaders on responsible taxation and highlight the issue to the laggards.
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In December 2013, I attended the second annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva. More than 1,700 people registered for the event — a dramatic increase from the first Forum a year earlier, which attracted around 1,000 people. Does the enthusiastic participation in such an event represent a groundswell of support for the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and for the broader concept that business has a responsibility to respect human rights?
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The first thing to say about the Law Commission’s consultation on fiduciary duty is that it makes a number of good points. These include statements to the effect that: Read more >
2013 was EIRIS’ 30th year of empowering responsible investment. A new year offers an opportunity for investors to review current investment strategies. Here at EIRIS, we reflect on what we’ve learnt last year. This blog sets out highlights from the global EIRIS network in 2013.
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In December 2013, the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) published the results of its second structured benchmark of the farm animal welfare management and reporting practices of the world’s leading food companies. Companies were assessed on the basis of their published information on their management commitments and farm animal welfare-related policies, their management systems and processes, and their commitment to innovation and leadership on farm animal welfare.
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2013 marks ten years since the genocide in Darfur began. A few weeks ago, declaring that “the crisis constituted by the actions and policies of the Government of Sudan. . . has not been resolved,” the U.S. Government renewed its economic sanctions on Sudan. Fighting is ongoing in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states on the Sudan-South Sudan border, and many analysts fear that Sudan and South Sudan may continue to battle over the oil industry and its infrastructure.
Responding to this ongoing crisis, more than 20 U.S. states have enacted targeted Sudan divestment legislation and more than 60 endowments incorporate Sudan-related investment criteria.
In this context, EIRIS Conflict Risk Network has released its 2013 Sudan Company Report. This year’s report profiles 74 companies, among which: Read more >
In August/September 2013, we – as part of a wider project on gold mining – interviewed a number of investment managers and ESG research providers including EIRIS to gather their views on the key ESG issues for the gold mining sector and on their expectations of the sector. Read more >
What does the post-2015 agenda of Sustainable Development Goals mean for investors?
This year I was fortunate enough to join over 1,000 Corporate Leaders at the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Leaders Summit in New York.
The Summit, chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is a triennial gathering of top executives. This year it set the stage for business to shape and advance the post-2015 development agenda, and the convergence of the two tracks of the post-Millennium Development Goals (MDG) agenda and the Rio+20 process for developing universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Read more >
Reflecting on the early days when EIRIS was establishing itself and pursuing its mission, it is staggering to review how much has developed in the field of ethical and responsible investing. In the 1980s there was an emerging group, of which Peter Webster was one, who saw that there was a place for looking thoroughly at how an investor might align their moral obligations and societal concerns with their investment behaviour. Whilst the notion of ethical investing was already in existence, more in the USA than the UK at that time, there was very little understanding of the topic or simple ways of accessing thoughtful investment which reflected both the financial and ethical imperatives. One or two unitised funds existed; nothing like the array of options now available.
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Every business worth its salt these days understands that sustainability is important. There may be confusion about what it means and what to do about it, but survey after survey finds that senior executives know that it matters – for example, Accenture reported last year that 44% of senior executives thought it was ‘critical’ to their business.
That’s an amazing transformation since EIRIS first opened its doors in 1983. Back then, barely anybody in business had even heard the term “sustainability”. Read more >