U.K. pension fund trustees believe five key areas of responsible corporate behavior will affect the market value of the companies in the FTSE 100 index over the next five to 10 years, according to a survey of 79 funds by the Ashridge Centre for Business and Society for Just Pensions, a project of the U.K. Social Investment Forum. Forty-three percent of respondents cited good corporate governance; another 43% cited quality of customer relations; 34%, effective environmental management; 28%, communication and transparency on social and environmental practices; and 26%, good employment practices. All figures represent an increase over 2003, when the last survey was conducted.
The results show "responsible business behavior is becoming more important for U.K. pension funds," according to a statement accompanying the survey.
Among other findings, 11% of respondents reported using negative screening of investments, up from 2% in 2003. Also, 40% of respondents reported engaging with companies to encourage better practices, up from 26% in 2003.
Of respondents, 35% were with pension funds with more than £1 billion ($1.74 billion) in assets; 9% from £500 million to £1 billion; and the rest from funds with less than £500 million.