Executive Ethics Symposium Explores Socially Responsible Investing

Sept. 24, 2014


Ninety leaders from business, government, and nonprofit gathered in August for the 2014 Executive Ethics Symposium, a project of Eller’s Center for Leadership Ethics (CLE).

“This year, our panel of experts focused on the emergence of socially responsible investing,” said Paul Melendez, founder of the CLE. Socially responsible investing accounts for $3.74 trillion in total managed assets, and has experienced significant growth in recent years.

The Executive Ethics Symposium included Dan Ahrens, managing director and chief operating officer of AdvisorShares Investments; Chris Lamoureux, Diamond Professor of Finance at the Eller College; and Steven Lydenberg, partner with Domini Social Investments.

Lydenberg oversees the integration of Domini’s social and environmental standards into its research processes and into its communications with shareholders, corporations, and the public. He became active in social research in 1975, and co-founded KLD Research & Analytics with the goal of providing information to investors. “Social screens became a part of that,” he said. “In the early days, there were few socially responsible products out there, and effectively no sources of systematic social and environmental records for publicly traded companies.”

With his colleagues, he became the first: Lydenberg is a co-founder of the Domini 400 Social Index, an index to use social and environmental standards. Now, he said, the field has grown considerably. “The amount of information provided by companies has increased,” he said, along with demand from investors who are interested in it.

In addition to Tucson community members in attendance, the event also served students, including MBA members of Net Impact, a nonprofit membership organization that promotes using business skills for social change. “The event was honestly the best I’ve attended at Eller, and I heard this sentiment echoed from the other MBAs,” said Eller Net Impact president and second year MBA Jaron Weston. “It brought a lot of excitement as we begin the semester.”