Getting investors to drive corporate sustainability has been tough, but they seem to be finally waking up

Peter Webster is a patient optimist. That’s a must-have quality in his line of work – providing owners, managers and analysts with the information they need to make socially responsible investment (SRI) decisions that move markets.

Peter Webster, CEO, EIRIS

He’s been in the game a long time. As CEO of EIRIS since it was founded in 1983, Webster has been a pioneer in the development of ratings and research based on the environmental, social and governance factors more commonly known as ESG. Today EIRIS monitors some 3,500 companies globally across 100 ESG areas ranging from climate change and human rights to corporate governance, and has a client base that includes banks, wealth managers, asset managers and charities.

Investors have trailed behind corporates in terms of sustainability leadership, Webster admits, but an increasing number are starting to do interesting things. Signatories of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), for example, have to report every year on what they’ve done to engage with companies and to integrate ESG into their investment practices, and this is driving best practice as more investors get on board.

The Principles for...

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