Survey: Investors Liking SRI Funds to Keep Firms In Line

January 23, 2005 ( - American investors think that socially responsible (SRI) mutual funds contribute to better corporate behavior by keeping companies more honest and influencing them to make safer products, according to an SRI industry survey.

The poll by the Calvert SRI fund family found that over half (54%) of investors not in socially responsible investment (SRI) mutual funds now say they are interested in investing in them, according to a news release. Calvert said that was increased significantly from 1999 (40%) and somewhat from 2002 (49%). 

The Calvert survey showed that more than half (55%) of Americans believe it is very important that socially responsible mutual funds use their interaction and investment practices to pressure corporations to act more socially responsible.  As to the results of such efforts, respondents indicated that SRI mutual funds contribute the most to:

  • product safety (66%)
  • corporate honesty (60%)
  • environmental safety (59%)
  • generating fairer wages for employees (55%)
  • reducing sweat shop labor conditions in Third World countries (52%)
  • making it more likely that women and minorities will be hired and promoted (both at 51%).

Also, according to the news release, more than half of Americans (52%) believe that SRI mutual funds are at least somewhat successful at achieving goals such as inducing companies to make safer products, keeping companies more honest, and making it less likely that companies will engage in environmentally harmful behavior.

In fact, knowing that a company is rated higher in terms of their social performance would make 71% of Americans more likely to invest in that company, and 77% of Americans would purchase more of their products and services.

Over half of the respondents (55%) indicate they strongly/somewhat agree that socially responsible companies carry less risk, and 52% agree that they deliver better returns.

The Calvert Group commissioned The Segmentation Company, a division of Yankelovich to conduct the survey, which included 800 telephone interviews in December 2005.