There has been a surge of recent interest in “responsible investment” in and by hedge funds. However, the meaning of “responsible investment” is still being developed. The term broadly refers to the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment criteria; and hedge fund managers are increasingly incorporating ESG factors into their investment strategies. See “More Hedge Funds Are Employing Environmental, Social and Governance Investment Criteria
,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 4, No. 39 (Nov. 3, 2011). However, there is little consensus on the impact of incorporating ESG criteria into hedge fund investments and strategies, or how to do so most efficiently and effectively. In 2006, the United Nations (U.N.) Secretary-General launched the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), a set of aspirational standards designed to guide investors towards creating a sustainable global financial system that fosters good governance, transparency, integrity and accountability. Hedge funds are important investment vehicles for many signatories to the PRI initiative. To assist its signatories in their hedge fund investments, PRI recently issued a white paper discussing how hedge funds can incorporate ESG criteria into their investment strategies and how hedge fund investors can incorporate ESG factors into manager selection. This article provides (1) an overview of PRI’s paper, including its assessment of the advantages and risks of various hedge fund investment techniques and strategies for ESG investors, and (2) a roadmap for responsible investment in and by hedge funds.