Is the one in the headline a legitimate question to ask? IMHO I think so, looking at what happened in the last few months, if not weeks. But let’s put some things in order.
In Switzerland pension funds members (1,200 the ones polled in a survey commissioned by RobecoSAM) said they want their funds to invest in a sustainable way, since they’re convinced that a stronger integration of Esg factors in the investment process could lead to better decisions, especially in a long-term perspective. Moreover, a large majority don’t want the funds to invest in companies which don’t respect human rights, labour rights, the environment.
According to the main findings of another research, this time with respect to Uk pension fund members (it was conducted by the National Association of Pension Funds), a large majority again of pension scheme members feel important for pension providers to invest in companies that are not involved in unethical practices. In addition to that, nearly half the respondents would like to receive specific information about the companies their money are invested in.
In the Netherlands, researchers from TIAS Business School found that the biggest aversion pension participants have is against the arms industry and the violation of human rights (less against tobacco and alcohol…). In Australia some superannuation funds back new Sri and impact funds. The London Stock Exchange says that Sri screening is used by seven of the world’s 10 largest pension funds. And it must be remembered that in the Uk the Law Commission clarified that considering Esg factors is part of the fiduciary duty of pension fund trustees.
The list could be easily more extended. But the message is quite clear: we (the members) want to know where our money are invested in, we want to have a say in the matter, we want you (pension funds) to align investments with our values.
The word that comes first to my mind to try to describe what’s happening isn’t shareholder activism, even though it would certainly make sense. The word is revolution. From the bottom. For a better, more conscious way of thinking about investing and finance in general. And a better world.
Are we at the beginning of a #SRIvolution?