Publisher SRI World plans to launch a Web new site in August that will help institutional investors research socially acceptable places to put their money.
Institutional bodies, such as pensions, university foundations and churches, will drive the socially responsible investing, or SRI, sector for years to come, said the company's president Jay Falk. Those sorts of investors typically hold huge pools of assets and look for extremely broad market exposure in their mutual funds and other investments, he said.
But in recent years, institutions have been driven by shareholder activism and their own sense of moral obligation to invest in companies that also represent their values regarding the environment, labor, world trade and other matters, Falk said.
He estimates that new socially responsible mutual funds will continue to pop up at a rate of about 10 a year, driving more demand for information and news on the subject.
Falk would not disclose the name of the site or its URL, but said it will include advice for institutions as well as guides to community activism and community investment models. By fall, the company will also publish the first of what it calls an annual indicators report, which includes events of the past year that had an impact on social investing. Those reports will be published in print form, but will include online components, he said.
SRI World currently publishes three other Web sites, csrwire.com, which includes a database of press releases from companies as they relate to social issues, srinews.com, and socialfunds.com, which includes news, directories and other information about socially responsible mutual funds, folios and other vehicles.
Socialfunds.com has proved an asset to fund marketers by creating a target audience of consumers interested in social investing, Falk said. The site includes banner ads from, depending on the day, the likes of First Affirmative Financial Network and Friends Ivory Funds.
Falk said Vermont-based SRI World is not yet profitable - and he would not disclose revenues - but said the company continues to expand its revenue stream through syndication, advertising, charging companies to include contact information in databases and the new products that will launch later this year.