Socially responsible investing (SRI) forms part of the overall corporate social responsibility concept. It is a strategy of investing retail or institutional funds which seeks to consider, in equal measure, financial returns and social good.
In their investment decisions, socially responsible investors take into account Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. Therefore, they give preference to enterprises following the principles of sustainable development, environmental protection, protection of consumer rights, protection of human rights and diversity at the workplace.
The value of socially responsible investments has been on the rise globally, and the investors’ interest in this area has a favourable effect on companies. This also relates to Grupa LOTOS, included in the prestigious RESPECT Index of companies meeting the highest standards of corporate social responsibility, which is published by the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
Analyses carried out by Allianz Global Investors and GES Investment Services have revealed that:
- taking into account the environmental, social and governance criteria in the portfolio-building process may considerably reduce the associated investment risk;
- the most spectacular results may be achieved by investing in financial instruments from emerging markets, where the risk can be reduced by as much as 40%;
- optimal asset allocation in terms of the ESG criteria may help reduce the risk by approximately one third.
At the end of 2011, the SRI funds in Europe held assets of EUR 48bn, 38% more than in 2009.
A report prepared by the WSE and Deloitte in 2012, concerning the relevance of responsible business for professional investors, shows that Polish analysts and managers have noted a correlation between companies' CSR activities and their financial performance. They believe that CSR, as a tool for mitigating business risk, will grow in significance as the number of companies following CSR principles increases. At present, the ESG criteria are an investment consideration taken into account by 30% of all professional investors.