Page 2: Sustainable economic growth
SRI is concerned with identifying and investing in companies that are taking a responsible approach towards their own growth and to economic growth in general. When politicians talk about delivering economic growth, they are looking to increase the amount of goods and services produced.
However, people are increasingly expressing doubts and fears about economic policies aimed at increasing current levels of consumption. Some are becoming more concerned about the likely effect on the quality of life for future generations. This questioning of current attitudes towards economic growth is based on three main concerns:
- Some of the earth’s resources are not renewable and are being used up at a rate which is accelerating, e.g. oil reserves.
- Some potentially renewable resources are being depleted at a rate that is too fast to allow for their recovery and renewal, e.g. tropical hardwoods and stocks of fish. As a result, these resources run the risk of becoming lost to future generations.
- Some of the earth’s resources are being used in ways that are damaging the environment.
Ways of life are being put at risk for people already born and those still to be born. For the most part, critics of current policies on economic growth are not arguing that growth should be abandoned. They are saying that economic growth should take place in ways that protect the interests of future generations. They argue in favour of economic growth that is sustainable. This involves meeting present needs in ways that do not endanger the world’s ability to meet the needs of future generations.