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A brief history of Sustainable and Responsible Investment

Sustainable investment has grown rapidly in recent decades. Its roots were in religious movements in Anglo-American countries in the 18th century. However environmental movements in the early seventies significantly shaped present sustainable investment approaches. In the late 20th century and during the 21st century the rise of sustainable investment has been closely linked to the major changes in society, especially in such key social movements as the environment, human rights and animal welfare. Today, SRI and ESG are increasingly becoming recognised not just for the positive impact it has on the World but also as an opportunity to drive superior long term returns.


Slave trade prohibited

The Quaker (Religious Society of Friends) Philadelphia Yearly Meeting prohibits members from participating in the slave trade – buying or selling humans.


Conscious investing begins

The Methodist Church begins investing in the stock market, and consciously avoiding companies involved in alcohol and gambling.


Nuclear power as ‘cutting edge technology’

Nuclear power is seen as the cutting edge technology and a solution to the increasing energy demands around the world.


Social investing becomes mainstream

Investors contribute to a variety of causes – women’s rights, civil rights and the anti-war movement.


Ethical funds developed: Pax World Fund

One of the earliest ethical funds is developed. The Pax World Fund avoids investments in companies involved in the arms trade industry.


Ethical-environmental banking begins in Europe

The first ethical-environmental bank in Europe is developed – GLS Gemeinschaftsbank.


Chernobyl disaster

The most disastrous nuclear power plant accident in history occurs.


Black Monday

Global stock market crash.


Exxon Valdez oil spill, Alaska

10.8 million US gallons of crude oil spills off the coast of Alaska causing devastating environmental effects.


Dow Jones Sustainability Indices

Dow Jones Sustainability Indices created to track financial success of leading sustainability companies.


The Green Economy rises

Companies and individuals are increasingly looking to associate with and invest in ‘green’ and environmentally conscious businesses. Companies heavily involved with the likes of nuclear power are being selectively screened out of ethical and green funds.


Hurricane Katrina

Major weather events such as Hurricane Katrina point to changes in climate.


Nobel Peace Prize recognises microfinance

The microfinance institute Grameen-Bank and its founder, Muhammad Yunus, are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore’s documentary on climate change is released causing people to reconsider how environmentally friendly their investments are.


Subprime mortgage crisis begins

The subprime mortgage crisis begins in the US, with significant impacts continuing to 2012 and effects still prominent today.


Rana Plaza building disaster, Bangladesh

Garment factory building collapses in Bangladesh killing 1,129 and injuring 2,500 more. Event triggers companies and individuals to re-consider involvement with companies that provide unsafe and poor working environments.


Worldwide humanitarian crisis

Worldwide humanitarian crisis balloons with UN records identifying more than 65 million people as ‘forcibly displaced’.


UN PRI’s 10th Anniversary

In its 10th anniversary year, the UN PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) reaches 1,500 signatories.


Candriam Academy opens

Candriam open an online Academy focused on teaching SRI.