chapter
204 Pages

Introduction

Responsible investment – the integration of environmental, societal and governance (ESG) issues into investment decision-making – can be a difficult and complex task. Including or excluding companies, engaging with companies, partnering with stakeholders, evaluating environmental and societal controversies, defining criteria and, all the while, producing a competitive return for investors . . . these tasks can raise multiple questions that cannot be dealt with simply. The practice of responsible investment inevitably raises many such dilemmas as it seeks to balance the competing goals of business, society and finance and to judge how best to reconcile what are often conflicting concerns. Although these dilemmas are not always easily resolved, we believe that they are also a source of valuable and necessary debate about the appropriate role of corporations in society and the ability of the financial markets to serve appropriately the society within which they operate. It is important that investors acknowledge these dilemmas and participate through a variety of means in these debates. Although they may not have simple solutions, these dilemmas provide a valuable framework for public debate and can encourage the emergence of innovative answers and approaches. Responsible investors join in these debates when they:

Examine the societal and environmental implications of business t activities, actions and behaviour

Facilitate dialogue between corporations and their stakeholderst

tal issues

Reward companies that are making genuine efforts towards t sustainability

Integrate societal and environmental data into financial analysist

It is our belief that the acknowledgement and confrontation of these dilemmas position responsible investors at the heart of many of these debates and allow them to participate in important innovations in business and finance. Contending with these dilemmas helps enrich the investment profession and ultimately contributes long-term rewards to society.