The roots of ethical investing

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Early ethical investing was based on religious teaching. Jewish law dating to Biblical times includes the responsibility of owners to prevent immediate and potential harm, while Islamic teaching (609-632CE) has become the source for modern Shariah compliant investment standards. Historically, several religions have included bans on the practice of lending money for interest. This is usually prohibited in Islamic finance but was also banned in medieval Christian tradition.

Western ethical investing tradition has religious roots, notably among the Methodists and Quakers. More recent developments have been in response to the Vietnam War (the 1960s), concerns about nuclear issues (Three Mile Island 1979 and Chernobyl 1986), South African apartheid 1985-1993, global warming, biodiversity and plastic pollution.

This article outlines some of the background leading to the modern conception of ethical or sustainable investing.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Specialist publicationDISCUS (Discretionary Investment Services Coming Under Scrutiny) platform article
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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