Support for investor activism among U.k. Ethical investors

Journal of Business Ethics 24 (3):215 - 222 (2000)
Abstract
An important goal of ethical investment is to influence companies to improve their ethical and environmental performance. The principal means that many ethical funds employ is passive market signalling, which may not, on its own, have a significant effect. A much more promising approach may be active engagement. This paper reports on a questionnaire study of a sample of 1146 ethical investors in order to assess whether U.K. ethical investors would support more activist ethical investment and whether they would be prepared to invest in companies which are failing ethically in order to do so. The results show general support for the current practice of passive signalling accompanied by "soft" engagement in the form of lobbying and the development of dialogue in order to improve corporate practice. The "harder" options of investing in companies that err in order to change them is, however, favoured by consistent minorities.
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