In my view, the best writing (whether in academic journals, the small but growing number of books on responsible investment, and the general trade/professional press) on responsible investment has been strongly grounded in practice. Areas that have seen particularly robust contributions include active ownership (or engagement) in equity investments, the investment implications of climate change policy, the opportunities presented by renewable energy and clean technology, the investment performance of ethical/SRI funds, and corporate governance. These are all areas where investors have significant practical experience, and where there is a reasonable amount of published information and data.
However, one of the consequences of this focus on areas where there is a pre-existing body of practical experience has meant that important issues (for example, most social issues), important asset classes (contrary to what a casual observer might think, the majority of investments are not in listed equities), and important actors (for example, sovereign wealth funds) are not well covered in the literature. This lack of focus on these important issues means that many of the lessons that have been learned are frequently not being carried across to other asset classes, other issues and other actors.
Greenleaf’s Responsible Investment series is intended to, at least partially, address this gap through providing a forum for outstanding empirical and theoretical work on all aspects of responsible investment. Reflecting the comments above, Greenleaf is particularly interested in proposals that focus on:
• Responsible investment in asset classes other than equities.
• Responsible investment in sovereign wealth funds.
• Responsible investment in emerging markets.
• Responsible investment on social issues (e.g. human rights, labour standards).
Dr Rory Sullivan
Senior Research Fellow at the University of Leeds
Greenleaf Author and General Editor of the Greenleaf Responsible Investment series