Share Action

How we define responsible investment

The investment system could be decisive in whether the world is able to fix the climate crisis, protect nature, and improve people’s health and working conditions. But to play their part, investors need to move beyond a dangerously narrow focus on financial return. They also need a common target to aim for.

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The challenges we face are urgent. Slow and steady is no longer enough. The current approaches to what’s called ‘responsible investment’ aren’t up to the task. It’s time to ensure the financial sector takes full responsibility for all its impacts on people and planet.

ShareAction's definition of responsible investment is ambitious - but it's what the world needs.

We believe that “Responsible investment is a transparent approach, embedded throughout the investment process, that takes the negative and positive impacts on people and planet as seriously as financial risk and return.”

We know there are significant barriers to doing the right thing in the current investment system. That's why we're campaigning to reform the rules.

But our research shows that major investors could be doing so much more to address social and environmental challenges then they currently are.

We are working with investors to do better. Our Responsible Investment Standards & Expectations (RISE) guidance series gives asset managers practical advice on how to do this.

Key principles for being a responsible investor


Responsible investors show their working. As well as how they decide where they invest, they are transparent about how they engage with companies they invest in, and how they lobby governments.

Integrated approach throughout the investment system

Responsible investors ensure that long-term impacts are actively and consistently considered across all their funds and investment decisions. They model the standards they expect of companies they invest in.

Considering negative and positive impacts on people and the planet

Responsible investors take full responsibility for the impacts of their investments on the world and actively drive solutions.

Taking impact as seriously as financial risk and return

Responsible investors apply a transparent and methodical approach to balancing impact against financial risk and return.

Learn more about what makes a responsible investor

Investment professionals can use our more detailed principles for responsible investment.

We are also publishing a series of guidance papers on how to put our Responsible Investment Standards & Expectations into practice.

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