Modes of Communication in the SRI Community

This section will present a typology of the different kinds of communication venues used in the field of socially responsible investment, and provide examples of each. Whenever possible, an attempt has been made to select examples that are more salient or important in the field.

Interpersonal forums

Aside from the everyday, workplace interactions that take place among employees or with clients, there are a number of other interpersonal venues that are used to communicate information about social investment. Conferences, seminars, speeches, public awards, and educational courses are public areas of discourse, while boards of directors and advisory councils are more private. These will be covered in this sub-section.

Research products

Much of what 'informs' the SRI field is the research undertaken by the players involved. Research initiatives, both commissioned by the organizations themselves as well as outside parties, is often made available to the public afterwards. Much of this work is a reportage of the state of the industry - how it is growing, and in what ways, what the average person knows about it, and how the major issues are evolving. Types of research venues include reports, surveys, studies, doctoral theses, and fund indexes.

Non-electronic publications

There is a growing trend toward the use of computerized media for information distribution, however paper-based media are still the most commonly used. This sub-section includes the more traditional, print-based publications, including books, newsletters, and articles in mainstream print media in the field of social investment.

Electronic media

We live in a wired world. The communications revolution has given us an unprecedented ability to create and distribute information. The marriage of the computer and the communications infrastructures is likely to bring about a full convergence of all forms of electronic media. Will SRI organizations take advantage of these emerging technologies? The following overview of electronic venues shows that, in the main, whether it be video, TV, telephone, software programs, or online forums, the new media are not used much for information dissemination. The one exception, however, seems to be in the use of websites on the Internet, a venue whose potential is only just starting to be realized.


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