This paper has presented a initial typology of the players in the field of socially responsible investment and their modes of communication. Examples of each type were presented, along with primary source, quoted descriptions where possible.
Players were grouped into two categories: core organizations and SRI-affiliated organizations.
Core organizations included: national trade associations, regional and special interest networks, research organizations, general SRI resource organizations, shareholder activists, publishers and distributors, social/ethical investment trusts and funds, and investment advisors.
Affiliated organizations included: corporate social responsibility organizations, consumer organizations, financial institutions, social change nonprofits, educational institutions / academic researchers, institutional investors, and individual investors.
The modes of communication section was divided into four areas: interpersonal forums, research products, non-electronic publications, and electronic media.
Interpersonal forums included: conferences, forums and seminars, speeches and presentations, public awards, boards of directors / boards of trustees / advisory councils, and educational courses.
Research products included: reports, surveys and studies, Ph.D. dissertations, and SRI stock indexes.
Non-electronic publications included: books, newsletters / magazines, articles in mainstream media.
Electronic media included: video and television, telephone hotlines, software programs, online forums and mail lists, extensive websites, and interesting and useful online tools.
Socially responsible investment is a rapidly growing field, and the number of organizations involved in it is also growing. Like in many nascent industries trying to define their evolving niche in society, SRI-related organizations are doing their best to keep each other, and the world at large, informed about what they are thinking and doing.
Traditional methods of communication, particularly interpersonal interactions and print-based media are still the most important, though the new medium of the Internet is beginning to change that. More and more players are developing their own websites and becoming Internet-savvy, seeing in it a more cost-effective means of both acquiring and distributing information. Interpersonal exchanges in the online environment are still rare, though this may change as the technology becomes more user friendly.
The social investment community is young and dynamic, with strong support from a wide range of social change movements, and with an increasing respect from more traditional business circles. As it grows, as it surely will, the players will need to pay close attention to their modes of communication.
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Last update of this page May 8, 1998