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Real SRI engagement small among funds

NETHERLANDS - Most pension funds muse over socially-responsible investing (SRI), though often falter in implementing solid strategies, suggests a new report.

The Dutch organisation of investors for durable development, (VBDO), says in its report pension funds have "a long way to go in terms of implementation, transparency and communication" of an SRI policy.

Though the organisation finds schemes are developing a SRI policy or are reviewing their current policy, most still have to find ways to shape the SRI policy.

"Only 40% of the respondents engage in a dialogue with companies, and only 20% said social responsibility affects their voting behaviour during shareholder meetings," VBDO commented.

Moreover, only one in 10 screen their equity selection following SRI criteria, and if there is a screening method, it usually only screens one category, for example producers of controversial weapons).

The study also argued funds still do too little to communicate their investment policy.

"Only five of the 30 surveyed institutions give an overview of the firms in which they invest, and only three seek a dialogue with the community," according to the report.

VBDO found PGGM, PME, ABP and PMT, the largest funds in the Netherlands, score the best, albeit adding "though they still need to improve".

This latest study comes as Dutch Sustainability Research (DSR) has called for a more standardised corporate reporting on climate change.

In its own report, Climate Change and Benchmarking, published last week, DSR argues climate change related reporting is too fragmented to be meaningful, and it is therefore difficult overall to assess corporate leadership on climate change.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Carolyn Bandel on +44 (0)20 7261 4622 or email carolyn.bandel@ipe.com

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