‘SR-IR’ should be a shared responsibility between sustainability/corporate responsibility and investor relations departments.

  • In the best cases, this gives rise to creative collaboration between the two departments;
  • In the worst cases, it means that the work falls between the cracks or, worse still, that one department takes responsibility for the area without consulting the other;

To ensure efficient and compliant practice in future, companies should designate two named individuals as responsible for managing communications with SRI investors:

  • The Head of Sustainability / CSR
  • A single designated member of the IR team (typically not the team head)

Control the flow

It should be made clear to all investors and analysts that all enquiries should be routed via these individuals and these individuals only.

Some companies allow SRI investors to make contact directly with the CSR department and/or with technical specialists without any IR oversight.  In our view, this is a mistake.

Even if SRI questions are different from investors’ usual lines of enquiry, SRI investors are still looking to make investment decisions.  As a result, in our view, their communications should still be subject to the oversight of the IR team.

Occasionally specialists will be brought in to communicate specific messages (e.g. Head of R&D, Head of Regulatory Affairs, Head of Human Resources, etc.)  In these circumstances as well, the SR-IR team should remain in control of channelling and managing investor interests.