Quite a few people think so, judging by the comments on the KLD blog and on Twitter today.
KLD, one of the leading US ‘socially responsible’ investment houses in the US, makes some salient points in its own defence on the link above.
But this does not excuse the short sightedness of many of the other SRI folks.
Our columnist Jon Entine, a long time critic of US SRI as too blinkered, (but good friends with KLD’s Peter Kinder, who is a great guy) has made a few enemies in the industry, but continues to write on the shortcomings of so-called socially responsible investing. Here’s another link to one of his pieces.
“There are more than 260 socially-screened mutual fund products in the U.S. currently, compared with just 55 SRI funds in 1995…
…Starbucks–widely regarded as a CSR leader–gets delisted from CSR funds because its product offerings include alcohol. Meanwhile, companies that pass the screen (“dry” companies, I guess) get to stay on the list…”
“We’ve earned a decent reputation as sustainable business and responsible brand … and yet SRIs only hold about one percent of our shares…”
For the full article on how SRI might work better, go here.
This is a debate that needs a LOT more airtime. We’ll be publishing more on it in our magazine in the coming months.