It wasn't long ago that the idea of ethical investment was anathema to most investors – a worthy exercise that delivered dull investment returns at best that only the wealthiest do-gooders could afford to absorb. But for most companies, corporate and social responsibility is no longer just a box-ticking exercise. A wave of regulation and growing customer awareness of social and environmental issues means ethics now have a genuine effect on the bottom line – and that means investors can no longer ignore how clean (or dirty) a company's profits are.
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