CFP Responsible Investment in Times of Turmoil


We invite contributions in the form of papers for an edited book volume


        to be published by Springer (Issues in Business Ethics Series)


Wim Vandekerckhove (Ghent University),
Jos Leys (Catholic University of Leuven),
Kristian Alm (BI Norwegian School of Management),
Bert Scholtens (University of Groningen),
Silvana Signori (University of Bergamo),
Henry Schäfer (University of Stuttgart).


                     Invited Content

                     Guidelines for Authors




Just before the current economic and financial turmoil, the Responsible Investment (RI) phenomenon was said to be entering the mainstream of financial intermediation.   From a fairly marginal practice promoted or campaigned for by NGOs and religious groups and at odds with financial practice and orthodoxy it grew into well formulated policy adopted by a wide range of investors. Academic literature on RI has also boomed on the assumption that mainstreaming is taking place.

However, little thinking has been carried out on questions specifically arising from this alleged ‘mainstreaming’. This book, addressed to those with a scholarly or practitioner’s interest in RI,  starts filling this neglected dimension.

Today, one cannot ignore the difficulties of main stream financing.  The financial spheres are trembling globally in one of the worst crises since the 1930’s. As a response to the crises, the intermediation of “financial responsibility” will undoubtedly be the subject of new regulation and scrutinizing.  This book looks into what these turbulences will imply for RI.

In view of these circumstances, we must ask ourselves whether the phenomenon was not an empty fad during the exuberant high of financial euphoria that came abruptly to an end with current financial crises.  Are financial intermediaries that promote “sustainability” credible,  while it is obvious that some developments in financial intermediation -predictably, as some say- were unsustainable? Further, is the current turmoil an opportunity for enhancing RI because of the strength and superiority it has developed or will it disappear due to a return to financial myopia?

This book is the first to question the future of RI in such a radical way.
The book will encompass 5 blocks of chapters:
1.Knowledge about RI
2.Lessons from RI
3.Ethics of RI
4.Politics and RI
5.Global Worries for RI


Invited Content

Block 1 – Knowledge about RI (chapters covering questions like)

  1. Do we need a consensus on the conceptualisation of RI or SRI? What is the S in SRI, what is the R in SRI, what is the I in SRI? Are all three necessary?
  2. Can there be different ‘speeds’ of mainstreaming and if so, how can we adequately conceptualise these?
  3. How do we measure the ‘growth’ of RI?
  4. If SRI is mainstreaming, the fortune of mainstream finance impacts the fortune of RI.  Now, mainstream finance has been trembling, eroding and ownership is shifting.  What types of RI will suffer and what types of RI will prosper and for what reasons?
  5. Given the fact that instruments of exercising responsibility within chains of financial and information intermediation vary from screening for best-in-class, over the a priori exclusion of certain corporate activities (by means of law or voluntarily) to a wide range of engagement processes, how is the effectiveness of each to be evaluated?
  6. Which institutions have geared RI innovation in the last decade? Is it likely that they will continue to do so or are new innovators emerging?
  7. How can we measure the impact of RI? More precisely, what does it impact on, how can we know this impact and how can we report the impact?
  8. Does ‘growth’ of RI automatically mean an increased impact of RI?

Block 2 – Lessons from RI (chapters covering questions like)

  1. If traditional reporting did not prevent the mainstream crises, is there something to be learned for SEE-reporting (social, environmental, ethical) ? 
  2. Have best-in-class screens been able to select the financial intermediaries that still stand and to screen out those that already belong to history, or were the screens, with hindsight, rather worthless methodologies?  And if one or the other, through what mechanisms?  And is it even relevant – were best-in-class screens ever meant to fulfil this purpose?
  3. The failure of mainstream or credit rating agencies is obvious.  It might be attributed to greed, stupidity, system design, lacking regulation, incompetent oversight and so on.  What factors can be identified and are they also at play in responsibility-rating agencies?  Is the responsibility and scope of function of these rating agencies equivalent to those of their traditional counterparts or do they differ structurally?  Is the subject matter they take into account overlapping or additional?

Block 3 – Ethics of RI (chapters covering questions like)

  1. What is an appropriate distribution of responsibilities in RI? What are responsible roles for governments, banks, corporations, retail and institutional customers, rating agencies?
  2. Do different responsibilities arise in different investment-styles (large cap, small cap, bonds)?
  3. Do different responsibilities arise in different RI-techniques (exclusion, inclusion, best-in-class, engagement)?
  4. Do different responsibilities arise with different types of investors (small, large, universal investor)?
  5. What are the ethical possibilities and responsibilities of the distinct functions in the process of financial intermediation?  How to govern these?
  6. If RI is mainstreaming, what is the future of non-RI?
  7. How are financial criteria integrated (or not) in the RI-decision process in the various approaches and projects?
  8. What are the most important information-asymmetries in RI and how could we categorise them? More broadly, how do information asymmetries in the chain of financial intermediation relate to the ‘distribution of responsibilities’?
  9. How to organize, how to know and how to demonstrate that shareholder engagement initiatives are effective and efficient?  How can the governance of those process be optimized in order to avoid ethical risks?
  10. Does RI have a future in private equity?
  11. Will we see a changed role for NGOs?
  12. Will RI mainstream at the cost of, despite or thanks to religiously inspired forms of investment?
  13. How ideological (in a Marxist sense) is RI?
  14. What are the political obstacles to a credible RI (eg. joint ventures between MNCs and failing states) and why these might not be a problem after all?

Block 4 – Politics and RI (chapters covering questions like)

  1. What are the structural preconditions for RI-mainstreaming, and what are the structural consequences of that mainstreaming with regard to information oversight?
  2. How can governments (national and EU) support RI mainstreaming?
  3. Might an RI-bubble be growing and if so, how do we avoid this?
  4. Divergence and convergence of RI practices in Europe – which one to applaud?
  5. What types of “RI” or ambitions of RI-projects are sustainable and what are not in view of ethical and epistemological conditions?

Block 5 – Global Worries for RI (chapters covering issues like)

  1. RI and Responsible Banking
  2. RI and Global Warming
  3. RI and Human Rights
  4. Social Responsibility and Capitalism
  5. RI and financial derivatives


Guidelines for Authors

Authors can contact the lead editor, Wim Vandekerckhove, to discuss their ideas for papers.
(office tel)= +32 9264 3951

Upon submission of draft papers, authors must indicate which questions from which block their paper addresses.
Alternatively, authors may formulate additional questions their paper answers.

We are inviting chapters up to 8,000 words.

Draft papers must be fully referenced, and include an abstract and up to five keywords.

Draft papers must include, on a separate page, the authors' names, affiliations and contact details.

Draft papers must be submitted electronically as a Word file (.doc) to

Format Style:
Times New Roman pt.12, double spaced

Tables and Figures:
Must have a heading
To format the table columns, use the table function.
Do not use the space bar to separate columns, and do not use Excel to create tables.
If a table cell is to be left empty, please type a hyphen ( - ) in it.
Please do not treat simple, one-column lists as tables, but instead set them as part of the running text. Use the displayed list function instead.
Save the tables in the same file as the text, references, and figure legends.

References in the text in the following way:
Author name/s and year of publication in parentheses:
one author: (Miller 1991),
two authors: (Miller and Smith 1994),
three authors or more: (Miller et al. 1995);

Reference list at the end of the paper:
Journal article
Alber, John, Daniel C. O’Connell, and Sabine Kowal. 2002. Personal perspective in TV interviews. Pragmatics 12: 257–271.
Journal article only by DOI 
Suleiman, Camelia, D. C. O’Connell, and Sabine Kowal. 2002. ‘If you and I, if we, in this later day, lose that sacred fire...’: Perspective in political interviews. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research. doi: 10.1023/A:1015592129296.
Cameron, Deborah. 1985. Feminism and linguistic theory. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Book chapter
Cameron, D. 1997. Theoretical debates in feminist linguistics: Questions of sex and gender. In Gender and discourse, ed. Ruth Wodak, 99-119. London: Sage Publications.
Online document (no DOI available)
Frisch, Mathias. 2007. Does a low-entropy constraint prevent us from influencing the past? PhilSci archive. Accessed 26 June 2007.



submission draft papers            July 15 2009

notification of selected papers   September 15 2009

submission final version            October 30 2009

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