UK - The UK Social Investment Forum (UKSIF) has lambasted the UK government for failing to address socially responsible investing (SRI) in its Personal Accounts White Paper.
UKSIF said the UK government had a duty to address the issue as a matter of urgency.
Penny Shepherd, chief executive at the UKSIF, said: “There has been a deafening silence from the government on this issue. There is no mention in the white paper of an SRI approach to the personal account system as a whole.”
She said that while the UK government had initially led the way as the first body to introduce pension disclosure regulations in 2000, it was now failing to keep up with the rest of the world.
Shepherd said: “Norway has an independent ethics committee to oversee investments and the French Fonds de Réserve pour les Retraites (FRR) is proactive about SRI in a very considered way. We’re not advocating any particular sorts of approaches and not everyone is doing it, but there is a significant amount of leading practice out there.”
Another bone of contention for UKSIF was the change in the wording of the White Paper from “ensure” to “expect”, regarding the availability of SRI options for savers.
A spokesman from the UK Department for Work and Pensions countered, saying: “It is not for government to set the investment strategy of the scheme – that will be for the independent personal accounts board.”
He continued: “By 2012 there may be other forms of best practice than the UN Principles of Responsible Investment.”
Shepherd concluded: “It’s not that the government has said they won’t be including the approach, it’s that they haven’t said anything at all.”
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