Chapter 14: Social investing without legal imprimatur: The latent possibilities for SWFs
This chapter examines socially responsible investing (SRI) by sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), focusing on the contrasting experiences of three funds that lack an explicit legal mandate to practice SRI: Australia’s Future Fund, Ireland’s National Pensions Reserve Fund and the Alaska Permanent Fund. A range of institutional and contextual factors may drive SWFs to practice SRI, but law does not appear to be determinative in these case studies. The absence of an explicit mandate for SRI does not appear to have inhibited some funds from taking into account social and environmental issues that they perceive to be financially material. However, their current SRI practices are unlikely to leverage significant change towards sustainable development. At most, these SWFs may eschew the most egregious companies and make modest preferential investments in the more enlightened ones.
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