The maturing of socially responsible investment: A review of the developing link with corporate social responsibility

Russell Sparkes, Christopher Cowton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

278 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reviews the development of socially responsible investment (SRI) over recent years and highlights the prospects for an increasingly strong connection with the practice of corporate social responsibility. The paper argues that not only has SRI grown significantly, it has also matured. In particular, it has become an investment philosophy adopted by a growing proportion of large investment institutions. This shift in SRI from margin to mainstream and the position in which institutional investors find themselves is leading to a new form of SRI shareholder pressure. Although this bears some resemblance to lobbying campaigns which might take advantage of shareholder rights, we seek to distinguish it as an important phenomenon in its own right — one to which corporate executives are likely to be paying increasing attention in the years to come. We further argue that this approach potentially meets some of the earlier ethical criticisms of certain forms of SRI but, ironically, probably owes its existence to those pioneering approaches. We conclude with some suggestions for further research to inform discussion of the issues highlighted in the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-57
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


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