Charities get dedicated ethical investment site

Ethical investment research organisation Eiris has launched a website to help charities make socially responsible investments in line with their missions.

The site, Charity SRI, has been developed to boost the work of a charities project run jointly by Eiris and the ethical investment umbrella group the UK Social Investment Forum. It contains information to help charity advisers and fund managers keep up to date with the latest developments in the ethical investment field.

"A lot of charities are keen to make some kind of ethical investment, but sometimes implementing policies can be a lengthy process," said Sam Collin, an adviser for the project. "A study by the University of Glasgow showed that only 55 per cent of large charities in the UK have ethical investment policies, and the focus of a lot of these policies is negative screening rather than positive action."

According to Collin, investing strategically gives voluntary organisations the opportunity to use all possible resources in support of their missions. "This is particularly relevant to large foundations, which often have huge investments," she said. "For other charities, it means they can make more of what they have and make sure that their investments aren't at odds with their work."

Ruth Murphy, director of investment management in the charities business development team at financial services firm Newton, said: "The combination of the growth of the ethical sector, the donor accountability now placed on charities and the revision of the Sorp makes this a timely launch."

David Membrey, deputy chief executive of the Charity Finance Directors' Group, said he was pleased to see more information being made available to charities. "This is a field that is still quite confusing for many charities and we are glad to hear of more practical and objective advice aimed specifically at the sector," he said.

The project is funded by the Eiris Foundation, the Charities Aid Foundation and the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation. The Eiris Foundation has undertaken to provide ongoing funds for maintenance of the site.

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