The relative importance of ethics, environmental, social and governance criteria

  • Suzette Viviers Department of Business Management, Stellenbosch University
  • Janine Krüger Department of Business Management at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
  • Danie JL Venter Unit for Statistical Consultancy at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Keywords: Corporate governance criteria, ethical criteria, environmental criteria, pension/provident funds, responsible investing, social criteria


Responsible investing (RI) is a growing phenomenon in the international investment arena. This article investigates the level of knowledge of members of South African pension/provident funds with regard to RI and the importance with which they view various ethical, environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. Respondents (n = 281) indicated a relatively low level of understanding of the concept of RI. Significant differences were noted in the perceptions of respondents about the relative importance of ethical and ESG criteria based on their gender and level of education. The findings could assist asset owners in reformulating their investment mandates, which in turn, will enable fund managers to invest in a more responsible manner. 


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