GLOBAL - The European socially responsible investment (SRI) market has almost doubled since 2008, reaching approximately €5trn in assets under management.

According to the 2010 European SRI Study by the European Sustainable Investment Forum (Eurosif), invested SRI assets were up 87% on the €2.7trn recorded in 2008, despite the slowdown in economic growth over the last two years.

The study also found that bonds were now the favoured asset class among SRI investors, representing 53% of total SRI assets, while equities have dropped to 33%.

Microfinance funds are also beginning to generate interest from SRI investors, and Eurosif predicted the alternative asset class would grow quickly as investors demanded integration of ESG criteria into more diverse areas.

Matt Christensen, executive director at Eurosif, said: "The previous questions about the financial performance of SRI funds are now being replaced by queries about how best to measure the ESG impacts to meet the rising expectations of investors.

"These newer questions about how to best tackle and measure ESG factors in fund management will remain an evolving process, with many unforeseen and interesting innovations in the coming years."

Eurosif uses Core SRI - estimated at €1.2trn - and Broad SRI - estimated at €3.8trn - as a means of segmenting the SRI market.

Core SRI consists of norms and values-based exclusions and different types of positive screens, while Broad SRI encompasses simple exclusion, engagement and integration approaches.

Created with the support of Amundi, BNP Paribas Investment Partners, Crédit Agricole Cheuvreux and Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management, the 2010 European SRI Study highlights the scale of the European SRI market, as well as European and national trends across 19 countries, including for the first time the Baltic states, Poland, Greece and Cyprus.

The study can be found here. A more extensive article will appear in IPE's November issue.

In other news, information service provider Thomson Reuters has become a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.

Thomson Reuters said its decision reflecting its ongoing commitment to responsible practices around environmental, social and corporate governance considerations after acquiring founding signatory ASSET4 in November 2009 and Point Carbon in May 2010.