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Sustainable Investment: Short-term craze or modern-day necessity?

19:18 15/01/2019
Ed Read Cutting, Director of The Fry Group (Belgium), explores the growing trend of socially responsible investment

Wherever you look these days investment firms are all marketing themselves as leaders in Socially Responsible Investment (SRI), yet it is often difficult to know how a firm manages its selection criteria.

Is this a short-term craze, some type of marketing ploy to try and attract the modern-day investor? Or should we be less cynical and consider this actually a modern-day necessity? Do we need to change the way we view the world and invest in ways that benefit the planet and therefore our own long-term sustainability. 

I’ll attempt answer these questions in reverse order. It is hard to argue against the need to change the way we view our world and its finite resources. Those of us with children and grandchildren will be only too aware that we are borrowing the planet for the blink of an eye and want to pass it on in a better shape than we inherited it. The increase in recycling, alternative fuels or even recent legislation on single use plastics shows that things are being taken seriously. 

So, this answers the second question in that it probably is a necessity. Is enough being done to make the world sustainable?  No, so we need not only to change our views but our actions. And not just as individuals but as businesses small, medium and large.

Is this a short-term craze and possible marketing ploy?  Possibly the latter for some, but for others, and I include The Fry Group in this, it is a genuine attempt to try and help address the long term. The SRI label has been around for quite a long time yet has only recently been picked up as mainstream. So it could be seen as a trend but it has legs and I genuinely think it will be around forever. If it is a necessity, then it needs to become widespread and not soon enough.

A glance at any newspaper will highlight policies introduced by business to address this through positive screening, which we highlighted in our first blog. These are companies that may tackle issues such as pollution, workplace practices, diversity and product safety. 

So most mainstream investors will already have some element of sustainable or social responsibility funds in their portfolios, illustrating again that this is this is not a short-term craze but a reality.

But to understand more on this subject, investors also need to be able to decipher the all the jargon surrounding Sustainable Responsible Investing (SRI). Acronyms you may come across include: ESG, EI, CSR, II and SEE, among others. A useful beginner’s guide to these and other acronyms can be found here.

SAVE THE DATE: 4 April 2019, The Atrium 14B, Rue de Science, 18:00 – 20:00. An interactive seminar with the experts – more information to follow in our next blog. Or register an interest at

The Fry Group (Belgium)
Avenue de Tervuren 168
1150 Woluwe-Saint-Pierre
02 639 45 60