By Max Clarke

Socially responsible investing (SRIs) have grown dramatically in their popularity over the past decade, offering competitive returns with less volatility.

With the UK planning to launch a Green Investment Bank set to start operations in 2012, prospects for green investment are at their highest.

Although SRIs have traditionally appealed to investors who want to align their green principles with making profit by investing in ethically-minded products, at a time when many traditional investment vehicles are displaying poor returns due a number of systemic and environmental crises, more and more mainstream investors are turning to these alternative channels of investment due to concern over the stability of their traditional investments strategies.

Rob Hague, sales director at Emerald Knight comments, "There's no reason why people cannot generate strong returns whilst doing something that's positive for the environment. SRIs provide retail and institutional clients with opportunities in growth markets to which they have not traditionally had access".

This trend however, has led some of the less-experienced investors to overlook the importance of selecting industry experts to maximise their chances of making profitable and eco-friendly investments. Rob explains why taking time to select the right consultancy will pay off in terms of maximising profits and maximising security for your investments.

"Given the myriad of options available, investors are often spoilt for choice by companies offering SRIs - and not necessarily always good ones. First time investors in particular should lean towards choosing from a core selection of easy to understand investment products. By doing so, we provide our clients with eco-friendly, clear and transparent investment strategies in growth markets we believe are most likely to generate stable returns to add value to their diversified portfolios. It is thus critical to seek guidance from experts who have the necessary experience and expertise to spot demand and only select projects which meet the strictest criteria and provide you with capital appreciation on the money you invest".

Prior to selecting a recommended SRI, all projects should have already undergone rigorous selection processes. Make sure you are presented with an in-depth document comprising of a rigorous due diligence, including extensive research and analysis, market comparisons and on-site inspection checks. In doing so, your capital is significantly higher protected through the range of extensive background and security checks projects undergo prior to their recommendation.

Presentation of this information in a clear and concise way is also key. "Be very weary of making an investment into an SRI if your consultancy practices otherwise. We believe in empowering our investors with clear and insightful knowledge so that they can carry out educated investment strategies designed to reduce risk and more likely to generate stable returns".