Since mining companies depend on debt and/or equity funding to sustain their operations, investors, in theory, could influence mining company policy by making financing conditional on environmental and social performance factors. The rise in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting combined with the increasing trend of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) - different sides of the same coin - CSR provides sustainability information to the market and SRI principles influence the investment decisions of investors.
The purpose of this research was to gain a deeper insight into the influence of sustainability metrics on the investment behaviour of investors when investing in the South African mining industry. The research was conducted by performing in-depth, qualitative interviews with members of the investment community which included asset owners, asset managers, chief investment officers, investment analysts and fund managers.
By and large, the investment community does not consider sustainability metrics published by mining companies when making investment decisions, and the principles and use of sustainability metrics have yet to be integrated into the decision-making process of most asset managers. There is, however, an increasing awareness of the principles of responsible investment and a correlating increase in the number of asset owners and asset managers subscribing to the principle guiding bodies which augurs well for the future.