Are 'ethical' or 'socially responsible' investments socially responsible?

Sirkku Hellsten, Christine Mallin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


In this article we discuss whether it pays to invest ethically. Our aim is to examine corporate social responsibility from philosophical, moral and practical points of views. We focus on two main issues related to ethical investments. Firstly we discuss the moral dilemma of how capitalism has changed its shape in today’s world and from ‘blaming the business’ there is a general attempt to use the markets to promote ethics values and corporate social responsibility. Secondly, we analyze the growth of ethical investment funds in the UK today, and their performance, and highlight some of the institutional investors involved in the management of ethical funds. We discuss whether ethical investments really succeed in reducing the conflict between profit-making and social responsibility as they promise or whether they use commercial rhetoric and market mechanism to merely sell us our own perceived values back. We conclude that the paper has a key contribution in setting the scene for future research in an area that is evolving and of fundamental importance to companies, investors and various stakeholder groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-406
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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