A new Civil Society Organisation (CSO), the European Responsible Investment Network (ERIN), was launched last week at a conference in Berlin. The network is made up of 25 organisations from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the UK. Members range from Dutch sustainable investment associations and Italian ethical banking groups to NGOs that address Norway’s sovereign wealth fund’s investment practices.
The network’s creation has been led by the UK-based Responsible Investment charity, ShareAction. Friederike Hanisch, European Outreach Officer at ShareAction, who has been building the network over the past year, said: “The level of interest in the network is a testament to the variety of ways in which responsible investment can be used to have a positive impact. We have a range of projects lined up, and we are looking forward to using this collaborative approach to secure change in investment practices across Europe, and at a policy level.”
Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive of ShareAction, hopes the network will help foster a European investment industry that is a global leader in responsible investment. She said: “The responsible investment landscape has changed dramatically in the last ten years, but much remains to be done to embed sustainable thinking and practice in the strategies of European pension funds and other large investors. Civil society has a critical role to play in driving progress. We are both proud and excited to be playing a role in uniting civil society to advance Responsible Investment in Europe. Together these groups have the potential to make Europe a global leader in the field.”
Vicky van Heck, Sustainability Manager at VBDO, the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development, agrees: “In the past few years the Netherlands has become a front runner on sustainability in Europe. We see the ERIN network as an opportunity to strengthen and expand these practices to make Europe a global leader in Responsible Investment, since so many organizations from different countries are involved.”