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Institutions For Future Generations$
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Iñigo González-Ricoy and Axel Gosseries

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746959

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746959.001.0001

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Pension Funds, Future Generations, and Fiduciary Duty

Pension Funds, Future Generations, and Fiduciary Duty

(p.385) 23 Pension Funds, Future Generations, and Fiduciary Duty
Institutions For Future Generations

Joakim Sandberg

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that pension funds, because of their enormous influence on commercial enterprise and therefore on society in general, need to take a stronger responsibility for the effects of corporate activities on future generations and fragile stakeholders. Contemporary understandings of the role of pension funds are predicated on the concept of fiduciary duty, which emphasizes obligations to the funds’ beneficiaries. The chapter explores a variety of interpretations of fiduciary duty and argues that it ultimately hinders more than facilitates a commitment to more sustainable investment philosophies. The proposal is instead that pension funds are given independent social and environmental obligations. These obligations should form a separate legal mandate for the funds and provide a platform for engagement with sustainability issues. The proposal implies a need to develop goals, expertise, and reporting that more directly concerns future generations and fragile stakeholders.

Keywords:   pension funds, institutional investment, fiduciary duty, social responsibility, sustainability, ethics

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