Over the past ten years, SRI has grown – across all styles and all geographies and at a rate that has outstripped growth in most other investment strategies. It has shown little regard for downturns in the wider market and has twice (tech-crash & credit crunch) paused for breath while other strategies have haemorrhaged funds.
This has belied the prejudice that SRI is a luxury for good times and the first thing on the chopping block when times get tough. Through both crashes, SRI has behaved as predicted in that existing SRI investors have proved to be stickier than others. It may even be that instability in other investment styles has attracted new investors to factors such as ‘responsibility’ and ‘sustainability’ as proxies for growth and security.
Establishing precise growth figures, however, is difficult due to a paucity of market data and the rapid development of styles which means that categories remain in a state of constant flux.
Valiant efforts size and categorise markets are made by the various Social Investment Fora – the results of which we summarise below.
The Eurosif European SRI Study 2010 reports that the total SRI assets under management (AuMs) have reached €5 trillion as of December 31, 2009. This is made up of €1.2 trillion of Core SRI and €3.8 trillion in Broad SRI. (Core SRI consists of elaborated screening strategies systematically impacting portfolio construction and often implying a values-based approach while Broad SRI partly represents the mainstreaming of SRI and the growing interest of responsible investors, particularly large institutional investors, in this area.)
The Social Investment Forum’s 2010 Report on SRI Trends identified $3.07 trillion in total assets under management using one or more of the three core socially responsible investing strategies—screening, shareholder advocacy, and community investing. This equates to nearly $1 in every $8. The report also states that "Since 2005, SRI assets have increased more than 34 percent while the broader universe of professionally managed assets has increased only 3 percent. From the start of 2007 to the opening of 2010, a three-year period when broad market indices such as the S&P 500 declined and the broader universe of professionally managed assets increased less than 1 percent, assets involved in sustainable and socially responsible investing increased more than 13 percent."
ASRIA reports that total money under SRI management in Asia is less than US$2.5bn, but is likely to increase substantially as there are now over 200 funds in existence. Japan is the largest market with 50 funds.
The RIAA Benchmark Report notes that Core SRI in Australia totals $16bn while Broad SRI totals $60bn 2009. It notes that responsible investment in New Zealand total NZ$16bn.
The Social Investment Organisation’s Canadian Socially Responsible Investment Review 2010 reports that total Canadian assets invested according to socially responsible guidelines is $530.9 billion and that SRI is holding steady at about one-fifth of assets under management (AUM) in Canada.
As far as we are aware, no formal market analysis has been published of the penetration of SRI within emerging markets.