EUROPE – European Commission moves towards standardisation of SRI investment principles have been welcomed by Claudia Kruse, a leading UK SRI researcher, with a caveat that their implementation may not be so easy.

Speaking at the UK Social Investment Forum (UKSIF) seminar to discuss the European Commission’s green paper on corporate social responsibility, Kruse, corporate responsibility analyst at Global Risk Management Services, highlighted some of the difficulties for standardisation from a research perspective: “Standardisation certainly has a role and we are working towards a set of core principles. However, our experience is that our clients’ needs vary enormously, as they each have their own differing information needs.”

Kruse added that SRI research was in the midst of constant innovation as issues, approaches and demands on methodologies change, but believed that this was part of a natural learning curve that would eventually lead to a greater consensus on standardisation.
“We welcome the EC’s Green Paper and hope that it will stimulate debate on how to establish core criteria for the medium and long term.”

The EC Green Paper recognises the importance of Socially Responsible Investment in the development of the business case for Corporate Social Responsibility and addresses both the issue of methodology in research and reporting requirements for companies.
Following a consultation process, the EC expects to issue a white paper on SRI by mid-2002.