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European survey

A survey of more than 300 financial experts in Europe, carried out at the end of 2001, has revealed a high degree of confidence in socially responsible investment (SRI). Eighty-six percent of respondents said they believed social and environmental risk management would have a long-term benefit for a company's market value.

The European Survey on Socially Responsible Investment and the Financial Community, carried out by Taylor Nelson Sofres on behalf of CSR Europe, found that 33% of respondents offered their clients SRI products, and a further 15% had plans to introduce them.

However, these investment products were typically offered to specially targeted groups of customers. Only 15% of providers made them available to all clients.

The survey covered nine European countries, and involved 197 fund managers and 105 financial analysts. Forty-four percent of respondents perceived a specific demand for SRI products.

Assuming identical or higher long-term returns, 77% of respondents said they would prefer an SRI fund to a traditional one, despite possible lower returns in the short term.

The table shows the relative importance of various environmental and social concerns, as perceived by the financial experts interviewed in the survey. 'Respect for human rights' emerged as the top priority, closely followed by 'good corporate governance', 'communication and transparency on social practices' and 'environmental policy'.

Q. Among the following examples of social and environmental policy in companies, which are the ones that you take into account when recommending/selecting investments?

Respect for human rights 86%
Good corporate governance 85%
Communication and transparency on social practices 85%
Environmental policy 85%
Quality of consumer relations 76%
Work conditions and atmosphere 73%
Trading policy/policy for employees' employability 68%
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