Global collaboration on sustainable investment advances

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Sustainable investment membership organisations in major markets have 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.
 
This is an important step in helping to identify and compare sustainable investment industry developments across geographic boundaries.  Specifically, the report will analyse the prevalence of investment strategies that consider environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors in investment analysis and ownership activities.
 
The sustainable investment organisations, 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 organisations 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 organisations represent more than 1,000 members including pension funds, asset managers, NGOs, banks, community development organisations, 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 organisation will be responsible for collecting data in its home market.
 
“The enduring strength of sustainable investment organisations 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.”
 
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.

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