EUROPE – An overwhelming majority of financial analysts and managers across Europe believe that there is a lack of transparency in the definition of Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) criteria and that this is holding back its development, according to a survey on SRI carried out by Taylor Nelson Sofres.

The survey, sponsored by Euronext, CDC, and CSR Europe, confirms that this is the view of 86% of respondents, whilst a further 78% pointed to a lack of consensus in the industry on SRI assessment criteria and methodology.

The report also finds that three quarters of analysts and managers blame companies for the lack of communication on SRI practice within the financial markets.

Communication and definition problems aside, there is demand from both private and institutional investors for increased use of SRI, according to the research.

In addition, managers and analysts also endorse SRI to the extent that many financial establishments across Europe are setting up dedicated SRI products and investment managers are beginning to incorporate SRI criteria into their practices.

However, the survey underlines the disparity in SRI between different countries, with Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK perceived as having better established SRI products than other leading financial markets in Europe.

The survey sought the views of 302 financial and analysts in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Closed–question telephone interviews constituted the main methodology, supported by a further 15 in-depth telephone interviews about the aforementioned countries’ markets.