Africa (South Africa, in particular) gave us the Sullivan Principles, which outlined investment strategies to move toward ending apartheid. At the time (1977), I thought it was way too little, way too late, but I came to appreciate that for its time, it was revolutionary: perhaps the first declaration by corporate America that they had a clear role to play in improving conditions around the world. And this was not so long after the US has been involved in such disgusting maneuvers as (to ame just two among dozens of equally awful examples) overthrowing the democratically elected governments of Mossadeq in Iran (1953, in the interests of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company) and Arbenz in Guatemala (1954), on behalf of United Fruit)—actions that have had horrific consequences down to the present day in Iran and through at least 1996 in Guatemala.
Now, Ron Robins, of Investing for the Soul, postulates that Africa is on the brink of an explosion in socially responsible investing. It’s a very interesting article, and among his points are these:
Worldwide, SRI now accounts for 1 of every 9 dollars invested. However, even though Africa was a pioneer in this field (not just with the Sullivan Principles but also the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s first-in-the-world SRI index), it has lagged—but rapid growth appears to be imminent.
Go and read it.