Research Handbook on Sovereign Wealth Funds and International Investment Law
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Research Handbook on Sovereign Wealth Funds and International Investment Law

Edited by Fabio Bassan

Research on the role of sovereign investments in a time of crisis is still unsatisfactory. This Research Handbook illustrates the state of the art of the legal investigation on sovereign investments, filling necessary gaps in previous research. Current focus is based on investment flows and trends, grounded in economic scenarios and objectives. Conversely, investigations from a legal standpoint are still few, namely disregarding the host states’ concerns about sovereign investments goals and tools. Hence, most of the many relevant drivers that affect current sovereign investments, be they FDI or portfolio investments, remain unexplained. This book investigates the juridical foundation of sovereign investments and extends our frontier of understanding.
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Chapter 14: Social investing without legal imprimatur: The latent possibilities for SWFs

Benjamin J. Richardson and Angela Lee


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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