Britain lacks two actors key to American shareholder activism: religious shareholder activists and firms such as Trillium Asset Management dedicated to social investment. This is why Greenpeace approached an American investment firm in order to find the one significant investor in BP Amoco needed to file the resolution.
In a November 4 report prepared by Trillium Asset Management on behalf of the Social Investment Forum, it was announced that $2.16 trillion in assets are involved in socially and environmentally responsible investing in the United States. Approximately one out of every eight dollars, or roughly 13% of the total $16.3 billion in investment assets under professional management, is part of a socially responsible portfolio. That’s up from 9% of the total in 1997. Social assets grew at twice the rate of all assets under professional management over the past two years. Between 1997 and 1999, total assets involved in socially responsible investing grew 82% - from $1.185 trillion to $2.16 trillion. In the same period, according to Nelson’s Directory of Investment Managers, assets under professional management grew by 42%.
Using the same approach that companies have used to ensure worldwide quality standards, Social Accountability International (formerly Council on Economic Priorities Accreditation Agency) has created a workers' rights standard: Social Accountability 8000, or SA8000.