A History of Scandinavian Socially Responsible Investing

Posted: 20 May 2011

See all articles by Elias Bengtsson

Elias Bengtsson

Halmstad University; University of Gothenburg - School of Business, Economics and Law

Date Written: May 13, 2011


This article contributes to the literature on national varieties of socially responsible investment (SRI) by demonstrating how Scandinavian SRI developed from the 60s and onwards. Combining findings on Scandinavian SRI with insights from previous research and institutional theory, the article accounts for the role of changes in societal values and norms, the mechanisms by which SRI practices spread, and how investors adopt and transform practices to suit their surrounding institutional contexts. Especially, the article draws attention to how different categories of investors act as institutional entrepreneurs during specific historical periods, and how these roles come to shift as institutional rule systems of varying societal levels change. Thus, the insights gained are useful in the future research agenda concerned with advancing knowledge on idiosyncrasies and commonalities of national SRI manifestations, and to understand the reasons underlying such characteristics.

Keywords: institutional change, institutional systems, negative screening, positive screening, responsible investments, shareholder engagement, socially responsible investing

Suggested Citation

Bengtsson, Elias, A History of Scandinavian Socially Responsible Investing (May 13, 2011). Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 82, No. 4, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1840323

Elias Bengtsson (Contact Author)

Halmstad University ( email )

301 18 Halmstad

University of Gothenburg - School of Business, Economics and Law ( email )

Vasagatan 1
Goteborg, 40530

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