Message from the Chair: Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)

Wanda
By: Wanda Lopuch, Chair, The Global Sourcing Council

 

 


Why Socially Responsible Investing?

In global sourcing, in both services and products, we frequently talk about efficiencies, cost savings, about the cloud innovations and automation; we talk about return on investment of sourcing projects; but … socially responsible investing? And sourcing? That is a stretch… or is it?

The connection is closer than some of the “efficiency” experts realize, or frankly – are willing to admit. Just consider these perspectives:

  • In 2011, Microsoft shareholders adopted a resolution requiring the management of Microsoft to turn its 100,000+ strong supply chain into a socially responsible supply chain. Now the “Global Citizenship” factor at Microsoft accounts for 11% of the total vendor score.
  • In 2013, following the tragedy at the Rona Plaza in Bangladesh, investors and consumers of such global brands as Zara, H&M, Carrefour and others, forced changes in labor codes, vendor management and transparency in reporting.
  • Nike’s “Manufacturing Index” which monitors, measures and rewards suppliers, allocates 25% value equally to four factors: quality, on-time-delivery, cost and sustainability.
  • A 2014 Nielsen global consumer study of 30,000 households from 60 countries reports that on average consumers are paying 10% premium for brands positively associated with social values, with the social premiums as high as 13% in Latin America. This report found that brands increase sales by an average of 5% using social responsibility actions.

These are powerful messages: brand managers listen to 5% sales increase; top management listen to shareholders resolutions and to consumers demands. Isn’t time for sourcing “efficiency experts” to embrace the “social responsibility” message as well?

According to the US SIF Foundation, in 2012, over 11% of the 33.3 trillion in total assets under management tracked by Thomson Reuters Nielsen, were managed according to SRI strategies. This means that one of every nine dollars under professional capital management comes from SRI investors. And these investors actively look for enterprises with specific goals, behaviors, or they force behaviors in firms they invest in, like the shareholders of Microsoft, followed by Dell, Intel, Oracle, and many others.

Investors in the UK and elsewhere as you will find out in this issue of The Source, are teaming up with governments in creating public-private enterprises to move forward the SRI agenda.

What is Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)?

SRI, also referred to as sustainable, values-based investments, socially conscious, “green” or ethical investing, is investment strategy which considers both financial returns and nonfinancial factors so called ESG factors, (environmental, social and governance).

In the classical Milton Friedman system of a free market, investment decisions are based on the principle of assuring the highest return on capital for investors; otherwise referred to as the “greed is good” principle.

In the SRI approach to the market, the decisions are based on optimizing returns beyond the financial dimension, rather then maximizing financial returns at any cost. Other factors such as measurable social and environmental effects are being taken into account in evaluating investment opportunities.

SRI is not a philanthropy, although one may look for SRI roots in seasoned philanthropists. SRI is a broad spectrum of investment strategies. On one end of this spectrum there is the “avoiding harm” principle, such as not investing in cigarettes, alcohol, or fire-arm related enterprises, or negative screening related to oppressive regimes, for example Sudan, or terrorism activities. On the other end of the spectrum, SRI investors actively look for investment targets which support social goals in addition to economic gains (such as investing in enterprises which focus on opportunities for minorities, or channeling capital to poor communities). Amy Domini, a prominent, long-standing member of the socially responsible investing community who founded the Domini Social Equity Fund in 1991 (www.domini.com) has stated that shareholder advocacy and community investing are pillars of socially responsible investing and that doing only negative screening is “not what I would consider adequate”.

Top 10 ESG The growing body of research documents a strong and positive link between ESG factors and the long-term financial performance of enterprises. As it pays off to be socially responsible, assets managers are looking into ESG factors more frequently to increase returns and better mitigate risks in global enterprises.

SRI – from Side Street to the Main Street

The total of SRI assets in the US is $3.74 trillion, according to the 2012 Report on Sustainable and Responsible Investing Trends in the US, a 22% increase from 2009. Click to read more. It constitutes 11.3% of the total assets under management tracked by Thomson Reuters Neilsen in the US.

Since 1995, SRI assets under professional management have grown over 480%, while general assets in the same time have grown 370%, according to estimates from Thomson Reuters Nielsen. On an average, SRI assets grow annually 1.24% faster then all professionally managed investment assets in the US.US SIFThe growth of SIF globally is reflected in the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment program, which as of November 1st, 2014 has more than 1,300 signatory firms from all over the world (http://www.unpri.org) with assets over $30 trillion or approximately 20% of total value of global capital market.

The 2012 SIF report shows a strong trend of SRI strategies being adopted by firms that have not historically identified themselves with SRI.

Here are the few highlights of the report:

  • Rise of investment in sectors such as clean technology or community development finance indicates that “investors have an appetite for profitable investment that can address social challenges, including helping to alleviate poverty or reduce carbon emission”.
  • Social criteria, such as Sudan-avoidance policies, are the most prominent in asset-weighted terms incorporated in the management of $1.2 trillion across a range of 622 investment vehicles.
  • As a response to shareholder engagement by SRI advocates, global corporations increasingly embrace ESG practices and disclosure and incorporate these standards into their operations. In the past year, there has been a sharpened focus on both “integrated reporting” (which links a company’s strategy, governance and financial performance with the ESG context in which it operates) and on the newly created Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (which is establishing standards for integrated reporting and an understanding of relevant and material issues to 35,000 publicly listed companies in the United States). These developments promise a fundamental change in corporate reporting that is also likely to spur more companies to consider and adopt sustainable business practices.

Top 5 TypesThese trends are not just a blip on the radar. With one of every nine dollars in assets under the SRI umbrella, SRI is moving from the side-line to the main-stream of capital markets. That 11.3% of assets in 2012 has a significant power to change market behaviors, such as embracing ESG factors in reporting. Although, as Lisa Woll, the CEO of SIF states: “it is clear we have much more to do in order to further advance the scale of sustainable and responsible investment and to effectively grapple with other challenges to building a robust, equitable and sustainable economy”.

Please submit your comments to contactgsc@gscouncil.org. We will share your views with the community.

Editor’s Note: Positive Enterprise

By: JoDeen Urban, Editor In Chief, The Source

The aspiration that as a global community we will leave the world a better place figures prominently in our collective psyche. Impact Investing is many things and at its heart is the compact that governments, companies and investors will collaborate towards this end. Acts of social and environmental conscience, executed in good faith, backed by sound financial reasoning with the expectation of profit – an ethos evidenced by the growing momentum and mainstreaming of impact investing.

Impact investors actively seek to place capital in businesses, nonprofits and funds that can harness the power of positive enterprise. These investors are primarily distinguished by their intentions to address social and environmental challenges. In contrast, practitioners of Socially Responsible Investing also include negative (avoidance) criteria as part of their investment decisions as discussed by our GSC Chair in her opening commentary of this issue.

Impact investing is on the rise and its relevance is undisputed.

According to the Global Impact Investment Network (GIIN) “Impact Investments” are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets, and target a range of returns from below-market to above-market rates, depending upon the circumstances. In this description, it is important to acknowledge that governments and global leaders are also at the forefront, not just providing their advocacy of this movement but actively engaging in the solution-making process.

In this month’s issue several prominent companies, a leading foundation, a rural sales and service company with microfinance roots, and individual contributors weigh-in on this topic. Each one has enriched the discourse on this subject, elevated the end-state vision and contributed to the creation of a financially inclusive and environmentally safer world. Whether it is Sutherland Global Services, Accion, US SIF Foundation, Frontier Markets, or our Board correspondent reporting this month from the UK, a common message is stressed – impact investing is on the rise and its relevance among clients, investors and the international capital markets is undisputed.

We encourage you to read each insightful, thought-provoking article as they reaffirm the power of the individual, the power of allied action, and the power of impact investing.

We welcome contributors to this publication. Please share your insight and opinions at contactGSC@gscouncil.org, or contact me directly at jodeen@gscouncil.org.

JoDeen Urban
Editor In Chief

JoDeen is an independent management consultant working with established companies as well as start-ups on strategy, organizational capability and business model innovation.

 

A Two-Tiered Approach to Impact Investment Strategies

Essley Jay100x100
By: Jay Essley,
Director of Global Client Engagement, Sutherland Global Services

 

 


Impact Sourcing and Social Investment

At first glance the word “investment” typically invokes thoughts of fiscal capital spent in order to receive future financial gain, whether in profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value. However, equally as important in the definition is the expenditure of time, effort, and resources in order to effectuate the desired outcome or goal. For Sutherland, it is the marriage of both concepts that ultimately defines our impact sourcing and social investment strategy.

It is no secret that every dollar of investment in a charitable or social mission is only as good as the effort behind the cause. The question, “what will we get for our dollar,” is almost more relevant when discussing social programs. At least with monetary investments for financial gain the goal is simple: increase above and beyond from the principle amount you put in. However, with charitable and social investments the goals are often subjective and vary depending on the cause. Forcing a definitive roadmap for where each dollar goes, and what each dollar accomplishes in the world of social impact is the key to a successful return on investment.

Prudence dictates that an analysis of the force multiplier on an impact investment is of paramount importance. Will the investment be spent in the right places? How many lives will be impacted? What will the impact be? What result will be generated from each dollar given? From a corporate standpoint, these are the types of questions that we must ask ourselves prior to deciding on which social causes and programs to financially support.

Without proper execution by motivated and competent resources,
an investment for social impact slips into the muddy waters and
can become mired in risk and potential failure.

As most of you reading this have probably experienced, simply funding a charitable cause or giving money to benefit a social program does not necessarily guarantee a positive outcome. Just like financial investments for profit, social ones are not immune to risk or failure, even if the intentions are all coming from the right place. With that said there are ways to manage associated risks and increase the odds that the investment reaches its full potential and impact.

Increasing the Odds for Success

Sutherland takes a two-tiered approach when analyzing potential impact sourcing investments. First, capital expenditures may be required to initially fund a project or program but the crucial investment is the human element that follows. Without proper execution by motivated and competent resources, an investment for social impact slips into the muddy waters and can become mired in risk and potential failure.

One solution to increase the chances of impact sourcing investment success is to maintain control, or at least oversight, on the entire project with input or assistance from strategic partners if necessary. This is by no means a criticism of the hundreds, if not thousands, of amazing social programs and sourcing projects in existence but merely an observation based on past experience. Sutherland certainly does not advocate the abandonment of regular charitable and social giving but rather a divestiture of your CSR portfolio to also include some home-grown efforts.

Allow me to provide a real time example. Over the past few months Sutherland made the decision to expand our hallmark CSR project from its existing locations in India and the Philippines to Jamaica. The Community Technology Center program, CTC as it’s called, provides free digital literacy training and certification to the community at large, focusing on vulnerable and underserved areas. The first step was to assemble a team of individuals whose experience and motivation could provide the necessary “effort investment”. This was followed by the capital investment through corporate funds for the required facility space and related assets needed to offer the program.

CTC Jamaica

The Community Technology Center in Jamaica

After the initial set-up was completed, we next leveraged our strategic partnerships. Microsoft generously provides the software needed and the certification curriculum and local NGOs and community groups provide access to a student pool. With all that in place the local team of Sutherland human capital was able to take over and get up and running. We are proud to say that as of right now a soft launch has already begun and Sutherland is now impacting the lives of many people in Kingston by empowering them with a free, basic digital education.

The Sutherland strategy is only one answer of many when it comes to social impact investments but it is one that we have found to be effective, especially when talking about the CTC program. Our success with the CTC program was borne out of trial by error and years of tweaking the model. While we are proud to highlight this program and the awards it has generated, the real reward is the impact it has had on tens of thousands of lives.

In closing, Sutherland invites you to join the worthy cause of worldwide digital literacy. Imagine the number of lives that would be impacted if hundreds or thousands of other socially responsible companies of all sizes invested their time, effort, and capital into this program as well. To that end we have created a “cookbook” of sorts with a recipe that outlines the steps to create your own CTC center and operate autonomously. We encourage you to leverage our experience, successes, and most importantly the roadblocks we faced. Excuse the financial pun but this is an impact investment that is sure to produce a return and we have the prospectus to get you there. Please feel free to reach out and we would be more than happy to assist in your jumpstart.

About the Author: Jay Essley is the Director of Global Client Engagement at Sutherland Global Services where his day to day responsibilities focus on the negotiation of commercial contracts. In addition, Mr. Essley is General Counsel to SGS’ Corporate Social Responsibility Board. In that capacity he has taken a lead in promoting SGS’ efforts to codify comprehensive CSR policies and engage partners in continued CSR efforts.  Prior to joining Sutherland Jay was a commercial trial attorney in New York City and remains a member of the NYS Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Contact Jay at: JasonM.Essley@sutherlandglobal.com

Sutherland Global Services presently maintains relationships with over 150 multinational corporations, healthcare providers, governments and universities around the globe.

Investing in Inclusion

Schlein M100x100
By: Michael Schlein
, President and CEO of Accion

Modern financial markets exclude billions of the world’s poor. That’s a failure of those markets—and a failure of imagination. A more financially inclusive world would give billions of people living in poverty access to a full range of important financial services, yielding a high rate of return by economic, social, and societal measures. The challenge is how to achieve this in a responsible, sustainable way that provides the greatest number of people with the financial tools they need to improve their lives in the shortest amount of time.

That is precisely the mission of Accion, a global nonprofit dedicated to creating a financially inclusive world. We operate in poor communities throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the U.S. and see firsthand how these services help transform lives, create opportunities, and build stronger, more resilient communities.

As nonprofits, Accion and our peers can take chances that the private sector cannot. Over our 50-year history, we have helped build 66 microfinance institutions in 34 countries that today serve millions. In the last few years alone, we have supported institutions in rural communities such as Myanmar and Inner Mongolia and expanded the array of financial services for the poor beyond credit to savings, insurance, and payments.

One point is clear: philanthropy, though critically important, is insufficient to achieve full financial inclusion. We need to harness the capital markets and create institutions that deliver both social and financial returns. Though we are a nonprofit, we work to build sustainable, scalable, for-profit companies dedicated to serving the financial needs of society’s most vulnerable members: those living in poverty.

ACCION Manaus_Environment_AMBR_2012_(43)

Accion in Manuas, Brazil

Today, traditional lending institutions largely ignore the poor. And some nonprofit organizations discount the for-profit motives of the private sector, seeing them as exploitative and off-mission. Neither view is accurate. In fact, for-profit microfinance is sustainable, scalable, and socially progressive—complementing nonprofit services and creating an entire industry of institutions that can compete for clients, expand access, and accelerate innovation.

Twenty years ago, Accion helped create Bolivia’s BancoSol, which today is one of the world’s best-known microfinance institutions. Its creation as a commercial institution dedicated solely to serving the poor was controversial, unprecedented—and a rousing triumph. As the world’s first for-profit bank dedicated to serving the poor, BancoSol tapped the debt and equity markets, attracting both foreign investment and expertise. It focused on strong management and operations, better governance, innovation, and improved responsiveness to clients. To date, BancoSol has loaned more than $3.3 billion, and has an 89 percent client-retention rate and a 99 percent repayment rate.

Accion in Bolivia working with BancoSol

Accion in Bolivia is working with BancoSol

Mexico’s Compartamos Banco, in which Accion was a major founding investor, is equally impressive. Its operations grew so quickly and efficiently that, in 2007, it launched an initial public offering with a monumental response. Thousands of other microfinance institutions were inspired by Compartamos’ success, which in turn creates more competition and better services for the poor.

Accion is proud to have helped launch and grow these pioneering institutions, which are models for the world and whose collective outreach has brought financial services to millions who would otherwise be left out.

But the future of financial inclusion goes beyond traditional microfinance. We embrace this change, investing venture capital and technical assistance via two vehicles – Frontier Investment Group, which invests early and growth stage funding, and Venture Lab, which provides seed-stage funding to pre-revenue firms – into start-ups with bold, disruptive business models aimed at helping those living in poverty.

For example, Accion is investing in companies such as DemystData, which leverages big data—huge sources of information that can be analyzed to help financial institutions broaden their outreach to poorer clients. Others, like Tiaxa, use mobile technology to make small “nano” loans over the phone, which can help reach people living in remote communities. Tiaxa facilitates over 2 million mobile-loans every day across 15 countries – making it one of the most successful big data companies serving the poor. Still others are pushing the boundaries of inclusion, offering financial products such as life insurance to South Africans living with HIV/AIDS—an idea that was unthinkable just a few years ago.

This new dimension of our work is promising for investors: we expect that a major Wall Street firm will approve one of our funds as the first impact product offered to their clients very soon. And we believe that others will follow.

Accion working with Mexico’s Compartamos Banco

Accion is working with Mexico’s Compartamos Banco

Although it is still too early to determine the impact of these brand-new companies, they have the potential to have a significant impact on the lives of our clients. We need to invest in more fast-moving, innovative ideas like these. Although the financial inclusion movement is rapidly evolving, it remains young and has much to learn. Growing pains are normal, but they must be addressed head on to strengthen the industry and inspire the next generation of institutions that will create greater opportunities for the poor.

Accion’s Center for Financial Inclusion is a good start. It brings together industry players to tackle common challenges and create the conditions to achieve full financial inclusion on a global scale. For example, the center’s Smart Campaign promotes the protection of clients through greater transparency, prevention from over-indebtedness, and the provision of means to address concerns. It’s been endorsed by nearly 1,500 microfinance institutions in 130 countries and represents more than 75 million clients.

By building competitive, commercially viable financial institutions that provide a healthy return on capital and by taking bold risks and investing in innovative ways to expand financial services to the poor, Accion and our partners are spurring new opportunities and sustainable progress throughout the developing world, and helping to bring billions more into the global economy. That is how change happens!

About the Author: Michael Schlein is the President and CEO of Accion, a global nonprofit dedicated to building a financially inclusive world. Mr. Schlein brings nearly 30 years of extensive international banking, management and public service experience to his role as President and CEO of Accion, having previously worked as President of Citigroup’s International Franchise Management, and Chief of Staff at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the Clinton Administration.

In 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Mr. Schlein to serve as the Chairman of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, which encourages economic growth throughout New York’s five boroughs and facilitates investments that build capacity, generate prosperity, and catalyze the economic vibrancy of city life as a whole.

Accion is a world pioneer in microfinance and has helped build 66 microfinance institutions in 34 countries which currently reach millions of clients providing them with the financial tools that can help improve their lives.

 

 

IN CONVERSATION: An Interview with Meg Voorhes

Voorhes  M100x100
Meg Voorhes, Director of Research and Operations, US SIF Foundation

 
 
 
 


By: Wanda Lopuch, Chair of the Global Sourcing Council

 
 
 
 
IN CONVERSATION is a monthly profile of people actively engaged in sourcing. Wanda Lopuch, the Chair of the GSC sits with Meg Voorhes, the Director of Research and Operations for the US SIF Foundation, to talk about Meg’s experience in the area of corporate responsibility and socially responsible investment.

US SIF Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports educational, research and other activities of the Forum for the Sustainable Investing (US SIF Inc.).

[divider]

Lopuch (Q): Meg, I would like to start this conversation on a personal note: can you share with us your journey into the space of socially responsible investment?

Voorhes (A): I was introduced to the field of corporate responsibility in 1979 when, as a very young researcher, I was hired by the Investor Responsibility Center. IRC was created by US foundations and universities to explore questions on how their investments affect societies. I found myself in the middle of discussions on the role of American companies doing business in then apartheid–governed South Africa. A discussion that was economic, political and emotional at times.

At the age of 25, I was sent to South Africa to conduct research on the ground with South African companies and other institutions. It was a fascinating time. I had an opportunity to talk to the managers of international companies about their views on the role of business under apartheid rules; either divesting assets and moving out, or staying-in to support the transformation. I had an opportunity to watch trade unions rising to power. And the rest is history.

Although the heavy lifting in ending apartheid was definitely done inside South Africa, I do believe that the anti-apartheid corporate responsibility movement in the US and elsewhere in the world played a role in how history unfolded itself.

These early experiences created the foundation for my career. In the ‘90s I was involved in a number of projects addressing labor rights, global supply chains and environmental issues. (Lopuch notes: Meg co-edited the 1998 book, The Sweatshop Quandary: Corporate Responsibility on the Global Frontier.)

So when I joined the US SIF Foundation in 2008, it was a continuation of my journey in the field of investors’ responsibility and corporate responsibility.

Lopuch (Q): Meg, please introduce to the GSC membership the Forum of the Socially Responsible Investment (US SIF) and the US SIF Foundation.

Voorhes (A): Our vision is a world in which investment capital helps build a sustainable and equitable economy.

US SIF is The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, a US membership association for professionals, firms, institutions and organizations engaged in sustainable, responsible, and impact investing. US SIF and its members advance investment practices that consider environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact.

US SIF Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports educational, research and other activities of the Forum for the Sustainable Investing or US SIF Inc.

Lopuch (Q): You are responsible for the US SIF Foundation flagship research program called “Trends in SRI”.

Voorhes (A): Since joining the US SIF Foundation in 2008, I have been involved in a number of research projects ranging from examining the size and scope of sustainable, responsible and impact investing (SRI) and measuring attitudes about SRI. These have included specialized reports on community investing, alternative investing, the roles of US foundations endowments, and of course the SRI “Trends” report.

Indeed since 1995, every two years the SIF Foundation tracks the trends in the SRI space. This report provides an overview of the scale and scope of SRI over years. The last published report in 2012 documented dynamic growth in the SRI space. We will be releasing the newest 2014 SRI Trends Report on Nov. 20th this year. Advocates of SRI will find more good news in this year’s snapshot.

Lopuch (Q): What are the highlights of the 2012 Trends Report and what can you unveil about the 2014 report?

Voorhes (A): The most important findings of the 2012 report was the confirmation of the amount of capital involved in the SRI space. We are not talking any more about SRI as a tiny corner of the capital investment space. In 2012 the assets engaged in SRI strategies amounted to $3.47 trillion dollars under the umbrella of the SRI strategies representing over 11% of all the capital markets in the US. New players are coming to the SRI space – firms that traditionally have not been engaged in SR investment strategies. SRI is consistently growing faster than the general capital markets. I can only say now, that there is more good news in the 2014 Report. So stay tuned.

Lopuch (Q): To what factors would you attribute this growth?

Voorhes (A): In 2012 a part of the growth is attributed to the recovery in the economy which was just coming out of the recession. At the same time more players that engaged ESG factors in evaluation of their investment portfolios entered the field – from 497 firms in 2010 to 720 in 2012. This significant increase came from traditional firms, such as large mutual funds that started to embrace ESG as an integral part of their investment strategy. Plus, there are new funds coming to the investment market with ESG factors built-in as the investment parameters.

When we probe our respondents, especially the traditional ones, asking what prompted a shift to embrace SRI strategies or ESG factors, the overwhelming reason is always: clients requests and clients demands. This pressure is visible and growing.

Lopuch (Q): How would you compare this trend towards incorporating ESG factors in the US to other parts of the world? Let’s start with Europe where local governments play an active role in SRI.

Voorhes (A): European institutional investors have generally been ahead of their US counterparts in taking SRI seriously.

There are a number of organizations similar to US SIF in Europe. In both the proportion of capital engaged in SRI strategies as well as organizational infrastructure for SRI space. The European Sustainable Investment Forum, or EuroSIF, consists of country level membership organizations in Belgium, Holland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK, which have strong local agendas. Frequently they collaborate with local governments.

A number of large European pension funds make clear when they search for and select investment managers, that they expect these managers to have expertise in analysis of ESG factors. Members of EuroSIF, frequently international financial management institutions, expect their US financial partners to embrace ESG factors. They expect the managers of funds to be proficient in the ESG framework. This has helped persuade US-based investment management firms to develop SRI expertise in order to compete.

Lopuch (Q): In Europe, local governments play a significant role in pushing the SRI agenda in terms of legislation and/or by participating in public-private SRI initiatives.

Voorhes (A): In the US, the situation is different. There is an Office of Social Innovation in the White House, which is supportive of sustainable and impact investing, although its charter is limited. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has also required publicly traded companies to disclose certain environmental, social and governance factors. It is required under “Dodd-Frank” financial reform law of 2010 to issue a rule to require companies to disclose the ratio of their CEO’s pay to median worker pay. Sustainable and responsible investors are also petitioning the SEC to require companies to disclose their political and lobbying expenditures.

Lopuch (Q): So Europe is ahead of the US. What about other parts of the world?

Voorhes (A): Responsible Investment is definitely a growing global field. In just about every part of the world except Africa, there are organizations that champion responsible investment strategies. US SIF is a member of the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA), which consists of:

  • Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia
  • EuroSIF
  • Responsible Investment Association Australasia
  • Responsible Investment Association of Canada
  • UK SIF – UK Association
  • US SIF – US Association
  • VBDO – Dutch Association

The GSIA releases its own trends report which offers the global outlook on the SRI field. For more information: www.gsi-alliance.org.

Lopuch: Meg, thank you very much for your time and insight. We will be following-up with you on the highlights of the 2014 Trends in Socially Responsible Investment Strategies.

Voorhes: Thank you Wanda and the members of the Global Sourcing Council.

About Meg Voorhes: Meg is Director of Research and Operations for US SIF. Before joining US SIF in 2008, Meg directed environmental, social and governance research for RiskMetrics Group’s Financial Research and Analysis division. She spent much of her career at the Investor Responsibility Research Center where she directed research for institutional investors and corporate clientele on environmental, human rights and other social issues raised by shareholders at U.S. companies and specialized in issues related to multinational investment and corporate responsibility in South Africa.

She is the author or co-author of several US SIF Foundation publications, including its biennial Report on Sustainable and Responsible Investing Trends in the United States.

For more information on US SIF Foundation: http://www.ussif.org/