Articles in mainstream media

Any organization wishing to get the word out on something is likely to draft up a press release and send it off to as many media outlets as possible. Sometimes they get lucky and it catches the eye of an editor and ends up as a news story or feature article. Occasionally, coverage is national, where the potential audience is enormous.

Media coverage is one of the main goals of trade associations, and this is no different in the SRI field. Undoubtedly thousands of press releases have been written, resulting in hundreds of articles being published in newspapers, magazines (both national and trade), and journals. This section will present a few excerpted samples of these types of articles.

a) newspapers

"Thursday, January 23, 1997

Ethical funds no nightmare for those who sleep lightly


The Financial Post

To invest profitably, you don't have to support companies that pollute, manufacture tobacco products or military weapons, or have a poor record of hiring and promoting women, advocates of ethical investing claim.

'The typical knee-jerk reaction, even in the investment community, is that you have to accept a lower rate of return for investing with a social conscience. But that is not so,' says Chantal Campbell, a financial adviser with Gordon Private Client Co.

Campbell says about 30% of her clients want to make investment choices that are based on social responsibility.

Financial success and social responsibility are not mutually exclusive, agrees Susan Vance-Barrett, a financial adviser with Nesbitt Burns Inc.

Her ethical investment clients, like Campbell's, are typically babyboomers with $100,000 or more in their RRSPs.

'They come to me having thought about supporting companies that reflect their social and ethical beliefs,' she says. 'They're usually not adverse to slightly underperforming the market for these beliefs. But the reality is you don't have to pay a penalty to be socially responsible.'

Most ethical investors ignore companies that deal in tobacco products, armaments or non-renewable resources.

They'll apply their "screens" or guidelines for evaluating corporate behavior to key areas such as environmental responsibility, labor relations and profit-sharing plans..."

According to a 1995 Green Money Journal article, in the US in 1994,

"The press continued its coverage of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) with articles in The Wall Street Journal, Business Ethics, In Business, The New York Times, Washington Post, Out, Smart Money, Los Angeles Times, Co-op America Quarterly, Fortune, The Spokesman-Review, The Lutheran, Barron's, United Airlines' Hemispheres, and Green Living".

b) national magazines

"The ethical imperative: if you don't talk about a wider range of values, you may not have a bottom line [Includes SIO's study of the social performance of TSE 300 companies]

Walker, Robert; and Susan Flanagan

Financial-Post-500, 1997 pg. 28-36.

In business and investing, conventional wisdom tells us that corporate social responsibility and a focus on the bottom line don't mix. Perhaps economist Milton Friedman made the point most directly: "Few trends," he wrote in Capitalism and Freedom, "could so thoroughly undermine the very foundations of our free society as the acceptance by corporate officials of a social responsibility other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible." But conventional wisdom and Milton Friedman are wrong. Companies are beginning to acknowledge the need to accept real responsibilities beyond the financial values of the marketplace. They are starting to engage in a public discussion about the duties and obligations of business to society, and many are implementing policies, programs and practices out of a desire to become better corporate citizens..."

c) trade magazines

"Beyond the bottom line

Schachter, Harvey

Canadian-Banker. v. 103 Sept./Oct. '96 p. 24-8

Canadian banks are among the country's most socially conscious corporations, but some observers believe that they could do more. A recent Report on Business Magazine survey of CEOs named Royal Bank as the most socially responsible of Canadian companies on the basis of its charity and equality measures; Bank of Montreal ranked third and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) tenth. Marc de Sousa-Shields, executive director of the Social Investment Organization, based in Toronto, agrees that the banks are among Canada's corporate social leaders, but he thinks that they can improve on some key fronts. Chris Pinney, director of the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy's Imagine program, says that he is disappointed that only Royal, CIBC, and National Bank have pledged to meet his group's widely accepted benchmark for corporate donations of 1 percent of pretax profits to charitable efforts over three years. Initiatives being taken by banks in the areas of employment equity and diversity, the environment, staff training, and unemployment are discussed."

d) journals

"TITLE: The association between corporate social-responsibility and financial performance: the paradox of social cost

PERSONAL AUTHOR: Pava,-Moses-L; Krausz,-Joshua

SOURCE: Journal-of-Business-Ethics. v. 15 Mar. '96 p. 321-57



ISBN/ISSN: 0167-4544


ABSTRACT: It is generally assumed that common stock investors are exclusively interested in earning the highest level of future cash-flow for a given amount of risk. This view suggests that investors select a well-diversified portfolio of securities to achieve this goal. Accordingly, it is often assumed that investors are unwilling to pay a premium for corporate behavior which can be described as "socially-responsible". Recently, this view has been under increasing attack. According to the Social Investment Forum, at least 538 institutional investors now allocate funds using social screens or criteria. In addition, Alice Tepper Marlin, president of the New York-based Council on Economic Priorities has recently estimated that about $600 billion of invested funds are socially-screened (1992). Reprinted by permission of the publisher."

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