Marketing challenges and strategies for socially responsible investment initiatives
The fi nancial services industry, in general, is not an industry that is known among the public for its adherence to social responsibility and ethics. In many ways this is not surprising given the number of highly publicized scandals that have been associated with the fi nance industry, such as Enron, WorldCom, Nick Leeson and the Barings Bank, to name a few (Boatright 2008 ). However, while people have never rated the ethical standards of Wall Street highly, it seems that public opinion has hit new lows with the recent credit crunch and subprime crisis. For example, in a summary of attitudes towards the fi nance industry, Owens ( 2012 ) highlights that only 23 per cent of Americans agreed that bankers had a ‘high’ or ‘very high’ level of honesty and ethical standards in 2010. Moreover, 8 per cent of respondents said that they had ‘only some’ or ‘hardly any’ confi dence in the people running Wall Street. These extremely negative perceptions are beginning to be recognized by the industry itself. For example, in a survey among fi nancial services professionals, 96 per cent agreed that they have invited this negative attention through their own acts or omissions (Makovsky 2012 ).