In order to immerse oneself in a field of study, one must first get an understanding of who the players are that are contained within the 'universe' of that particular field. Once these actors have been identified, it becomes important to understand the dynamics of their operations, particularly with regards to the nature of their communications, both within their community as well as between their community and the larger society in which they operate.
This paper will provide an overview of the players and their modes of communication within the field of socially responsible investing (SRI). It is presented primarily in the format of a typology, rather than as an exhaustive analysis of the inner workings of the field, in order to serve as an orientation device for action researchers seeking to do further investigative interventions into this community.
The typology is not presented with a complete set of examples. Such an endeavour, while perhaps an ideal to pursue at some future point, is beyond the scope of this research at the present time. Rather, the limited number of examples for each category of actor and communication venue were chosen on the basis of their assumed reputation and stature in the field, their importance to the field, and the degree to which they are illustrative of their respective categories.
For the most part, the organizations and information resources included in this study exist in the English-speaking countries of Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Though SRI-related enterprises do exist in other parts of the world, the vast majority of the movement resides in these three countries.
Because the field is relatively new and very dynamic, many of the leading institutions are not financially able to publish extensively. However, thanks to the relatively inexpensive option of the Internet and the World Wide Web, many are beginning to post their information online. Most of the research for this paper was done over the Internet, and the quotations used were taken from the online electronic copy. The extensiveness of these quotations help to avoid ambiguity from interpretation, and provide details to further enrich the knowledge base of the reader. The numerous citations also allow for subsequent follow-up where desired.