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Ethics and Socially Responsible Investment: A Philosophical Approach
Ashgate Publishing, March 2011, Pages: 60
This volume breaks new ground by approaching Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) as an explicitly ethical practice in financial markets. The work explains the philosophical and practical shortcomings of ‘long term shareholder value’ and the origins and conceptual structure of SRI, and links its pursuit to both its deeper philosophical foundations and the broader, multi-dimensional global movement towards greater social responsibility in global markets. Interviews with fund managers in the Australian SRI sector generate recommendations for better integrating ethics into SRI practice via ethically informed engagement with invested companies, and an in-depth discussion of the central practical SRI issue of fiduciary responsibility strengthens the case in favour of SRI.
The practical and ethical theoretical perspectives are then brought together to sketch out an achievable ideal for SRI worldwide, in which those who are involved in investment and business decisions become part of an ‘ethical chain’ of decision makers linking the ultimate owners of capital with the business executives who frame, advocate and implement business strategies. In between there are investment advisors, fund managers, business analysts and boards. The problem lies in the fact that the ultimate owners are discouraged from considering their own values, or even their own long term interests, whilst the others often look only to short term interests. The solution lies in the latter recognising themselves as links in the ethical chain.
'This book offers an eloquent and accessible philosophic argument for SRI. The authors demonstrate the potential benefits of SRI and use the global financial crisis and climate change to illustrate the dire costs of a single value approach to investing.'
Joanne B. Ciulla, University of Richmond, USA
'The meticulously marshalled philosophical arguments that have been distilled into this highly important and readable book leave us in no doubt that sustainable business is unachievable in the long term without our putting uncompromising ethical values and standards to work.'
Tunku Abdul Aziz, Parliament of Malaysia and former Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the establishment of the Ethics Office
- Introduction: ethics and socially responsible investment
- Socially responsible investment: a nascent global movement
- Non-financial values: from oxymoron to tautology
- The meaning of ethics and criticism of SRI
- A philosophical foundation for SRI
- SRI in Australia
- Engaging SRI: improving Australian SRI engagement
- Fiduciary responsibility and the global growth of SRI
- Global SRI: first link in an ethical chain
Bill Ransome, Research Fellow and Program Director for Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility at the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance (Griffith University) received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Queensland in 2004, and has wide-ranging interests in metaethics, ethical theory and applied ethics.
Charles Sampford is Director of the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law (IEGL) - a joint initiative of the United Nations University, Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology and the Australian National University. Educated at Melbourne and Oxford, he became the Foundation Dean of Law at Griffith University in 1991. In 1994, he was appointed the Foundation Director of ARC Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance. Since October 2004, he has been Foundation Director of IEGL, one of 23 academic elements in the United Nations University that brings together the Key Centre at Griffith University, QUT's Centre for Law and Justice and ANU's Centre for International and Public Law. At the same time he is Convenor of the ARC Governance Research Network and President of an international ethics NGO. Professor Sampford has written eighty articles and chapters in Australian and foreign journals and collections ranging through law, legal education and applied ethics and has completed nineteen books and edited collections for international publishers.
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