UK SRI firms unite to pressure companies on issues

Campaigning socially responsible investors form secretariat to push issues such as climate change and healthcare issues.

The group, which includes ISIS Asset Management, Co-operative Insurance, Henderson Global Investors, Insight Investment, Jupiter Asset Management, Morley Fund Management, Schroders, and the Universities Superannuation Scheme, is already very active on several areas they see as key business risks for companies they invest in.
All are already active members of the UK Social Investment Forum, the London trade body for socially responsible investing. The new move is part of a plan to "institutionalise" their efforts jointly as a core group of investors, reported the Financial Times yesterday.

Karina Litvack, head of socially responsible investing at ISIS, said that the move would, "serve as a basis for current initiatives and those that have yet to come on stream".

The new secretariat will work on the existing campaigns pushed by the investors group, such as the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change and the Pharmaceutical Shareowners Group.

Other members of the investors group concurred with Ms Litvack, claiming the scheme would create value for all the funds involved and that it was cost effective. The group represents some £454bn of assets, and includes one pension fund, the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

Big polluters in the energy sector and large pharmaceutical companies have already been pressured by the group on carbon emissions and access to medicines, raising the profile of the issues within the financial community.

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