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A Market for Environmentally Responsible Investment? Identifying Obstacles and Enablers of Commodification of Environmental Risks in the South African Investment Industry


  • Giamporcaro, Stephanie


This paper analyzes the views of South African investment organizations on the likelihood of commodification of environmental risks in their investment decision processes. It is based on an empirical qualitative survey of 22 investment organizations, which are signatories to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment. We describe a range of issues, identified by the investment players interviewed, that are likely to prevent or accelerate the internalization of environmental risks in the South African investment industry. The chance that broader commodification of the South African investment industry will occur—beyond the growing but still small ranks of responsible investors—seems to be linked to realization of an adequate political framing. This means legislating standardized environmental disclosure by corporations and a long-term commitment by institutional investors to responsible investment philosophies. The tension between social developmental goals and environmental goals is seen as a major political obstacle at the national level.

Suggested Citation

  • Giamporcaro, Stephanie, 2011. "A Market for Environmentally Responsible Investment? Identifying Obstacles and Enablers of Commodification of Environmental Risks in the South African Investment Industry," Discussion Papers dp-11-01-efd, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-11-01-efd

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Catherine Aaron & Isabelle Bilon & Sébastien Galanti & Yamina Tadjeddine, 2005. "Les styles de gestion de portefeuille existent-ils ?," Revue d'Économie Financière, Programme National Persée, vol. 81(4), pages 171-188.
    2. Xavier Basurto & Elinor Ostrom, 2009. "Beyond the tragedy of the Commons," ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 0(1), pages 35-60.
    3. repec:dau:papers:123456789/3030 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Boyer, Robert & Orlean, Andre, 1992. "How Do Conventions Evolve?," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 165-177, October.
    5. Elinor Ostrom, 2014. "A Polycentric Approach For Coping With Climate Change," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(1), pages 71-108, May.
    6. Isabelle Huault & Hélène Rainelli-Le Montagner, 2008. "A market for weather risk ? Worlds in conflict and compromising," Post-Print halshs-00340048, HAL.
    7. Michel Callon & Yuval Millo & Fabian Muniesa, 2007. "Market Devices," Post-Print halshs-00177891, HAL.
    8. Donald MacKenzie, 2006. "An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262134608, November.
    9. Giamporcaro, Stephanie & Pretorius, Lise & Visser, Martine, 2010. "Responsible Investment: A Vehicle for Environmentally Sustainable Economic Growth in South Africa," Discussion Papers dp-10-17-efd, Resources For the Future.
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    More about this item


    commodification; political framing; calculative framing; conventions; environmental risks; responsible investment;

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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