Welcome ERIN, turning point for shareholder activism in Europe

Save the date: June 9-10, 2016. Place: Berlin. A big event is going to be held, something you can probably call a milestone regarding Sri, and specifically when it comes to shareholder activism.

What’s gonna happen? The formal launch of ERIN will take place. Ok, the next question is obvious: what is ERIN? ERIN means European Responsible Investment Network.

Catherine Howarth, Chief executive at ShareActionBut the explanation of the acronym is not enough, of course.

So, to get a better and more complete answer, mondosri asked directly Catherine Howarth, Chief executive at ShareAction, the well-known Uk charity that “helps ordinary savers and institutional investors push for a better economy and world through Responsible Investment”, as its Twitter profile states (with the hashtag #pensionpower in addition), and most of all that organizes the event in Berlin.

mondosri: What is ERIN? And why Berlin for its first conference?

C.H.: ERIN is the first attempt to bring together and coordinate the diverse organisations in civil society across the nation states of Europe that share a commitment to building a sustainable and socially accountable investment system. Its time has come due to the growing recognition in Europe that the challenges our continent and our world faces require a problem-solving, socially responsible orientation from the institutional investors that manage assets on behalf of millions of European citizens. Civil society is needed to shape the future role and responsibilities of the investment sector in Europe.
Being based in the UK, we wanted to get out into the continent of Europe for this first gathering of ERIN members. It could have been hosted in a number of cities across Europe but we are very happy to be in Berlin, which is a special place signifying unification and new beginnings.

mondosri: Which kind of organizations do you expect ERIN to gather?

C.H.: We are open to all CSOs (civil society organizations, Ed.) joining ERIN, indeed we believe the different types of CSO each have their particular skills, histories, values and perspectives. That diversity is a real strength. So far, we are pleased by the level of interest and the mix of organisations that look likely to join ERIN as founding members. We expect to keep building the membership for a while and probably won’t achieve the ideal diversity in the first year.

mondosri: Time has come for active and responsible shareholders from all over the world, or at least from Europe, to speak with one voice? What’s at stake with shareholder activism?

C.H.: We want to see shareholder activism that is motivated by the needs and long term interests of European and global society grow, and attract support from major investors and CSOs across Europe. However, we think there’s a lot to be said for diversity of tactics and perspective. We aren’t looking for a one size fits all solution, indeed we welcome the differences in outlook and priorities that undoubtedly exists within ERIN.

Many thanks, Catherine.

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