Ethical Investing News/Commentaries:
Commentaries by Ron
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(Burma) - Global Oil Companies Directly Supporting
The Military Regime. -
Take a look at all the oil companies mentioned in
this report who are doing business with this cruel
military regime! If you are an ethical investor investing in
ethical stocks and bonds, you just might want to
review your portfolio to determine if any of the companies
you invest in might be doing business with this
regime - and decide what to do according to your
As Myanmar cracks down on protesters, oil companies
keep up controversial ties.
(AP Business Writers Rajesh Mahapatra in New Delhi,
Elaine Kurtenbach in Shanghai and Malcolm Foster in
Bangkok contributed to this report.) September 28,
2007, Oil Week Magazine, Canada.
International Partners In New US Colleges &
Universities Guide On Socially Responsible Investing
Amnesty International partners with Responsible
Endowments Coalition to target higher education
trustees, administrators and student activists
wanting to push for responsible investing on their
campuses. Institutions of higher learning everywhere
are under pressure to employ ethical investing,
environmental and socially responsible investing, in
the management of university endowments and other
funds. This guide will be helpful in that regard.
Amnesty International USA and Responsible Endowment
Coalition Launch Guide to Support Responsible
Investing by U.S. Colleges and Universities,
press release, September 28, 2007, USA.
Change Brings ’Third Industrial Revolution’ To
Germany Creating New Industries And 250,000 New
A new study by
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, a top
independent consulting firm in Germany, suggests
that new industries engaged in wind power, electric
cars, fuel cells etc., are becoming the top job
creators in Germany. The results of this study
should be required reading by all corporate and
government leaders. Ethical investors, socially
responsible investors too, by looking further into
these findings may well find more ideas for stocks
that are good to invest in.
Germany’s green example could be revolutionary,
by Eric Reguly, September 28, 2007, The Globe &
Many In UK
Believe That Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Is All About Image. -
Apparently 44% of the UK public and 66% of British
MPs believe that the motivation of CSR is mostly
about corporate image, according to a survey by BPRI
and BMRB. It is clear that businesses need to do
more about showing the advantage of using corporate
social responsibility not only for themselves, but
also to the public. Again, I state that there has to
be standardized reporting and an independent
auditing procedure of all corporate social,
environmental reports. Only then can the public and
politicians begin to have confidence that a
company’s CSR policies and actions are valid.
Wake-up call for firms doing the right thing,
September 29, 2007, Telegraph.co.uk, UK.
Top Sustainable Companies For 2007 - According To
SustainableBusiness.com & KLD.
This is a list worth checking-out if you are looking
for the best ethical stocks and bonds. The article
is published in the Fall, 2007 issue of the
GreenMoney Journal. There are many other good
articles to read on the GreenMoney site too.
Twenty Diverse Companies Make the Sustainability
Cut, by Anne
Moore Odell, socialfunds.com, in the GreenMoney
Journal, Fall 2007, USA.
New Global Climate Change Equity Index.
The benchmarking index includes
300 companies from 34 countries. The index itself is
divided into four areas: climate change; low carbon
energy; energy efficiency; and water, waste and
pollution management. One can only hope that they
release the names of the companies in the index
soon. This will be another source of information for
ethical investors looking stocks that are good to
HSBC creates climate change index, by Angela
Monaghan, September 25, 2007, Telegraph.co.uk, UK.
Order Its Two Huge Pension Funds To Divest Companies
Engaged In Energy Or Arms Activities With Iran.
Governor Schwarzenegger of California said he is
about to sign a bill authorizing the State’s two big
pension funds to divest themselves of holdings in
companies that are engaged in energy or arms
activities with Iran. A trend is becoming apparent
in the USA with governments there taking commercial
and investment actions against states that sponsor
terrorism. For businesses, it demonstrates the
importance of business ethics in the global society
- that a stand for higher ethics can pay them
dividends in the longer run!
Pensions to drop firms with Iran ties,
by Bill Ainsworth, September 25, 2007,
Union-Tribune San Diego, USA.
Disclosure Project Reports Companies Taking Greater
Action On Carbon Emissions Reporting & Control.
In this year’s report, it seems that
environmentally conscious major corporations are
taking action on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as
never before. Over 76% are now actively reducing
their GHGs compared to 48% last year. The report
also finds that US based companies generally lag in
this area. Environmentally conscious, ethical
investors may want to see this press release.
Carbon Disclosure Project: Press Releases,
September 24, 2007, USA & UK.
Investors Group Adds More Socially Responsible
Investing (SRI) Funds.
Mirroring the growth of ethical investing, socially
responsible investing mutual funds by Canada’s
banks, Investors Group is now adding two other SRI
funds to its Summa line-up: a global SRI fund and a
global environmental fund. Investors original Summa
Equity Fund was one of the earliest Canadian SRI
funds - and is still Canada’s largest Canadian
equity SRI fund.
Investors Group Announces Investors Summa Fund
Family(TM), press release, September 24, 2007,
Applications Trigger Concerns In Canada.
The Canadian Office of the
Superintendent of Financial Institutions has at
least two applications to create Canadian Shariah
banks. However, since Islamic laws forbid
speculation and interest, while profits and losses
are mutually shared among concerned parties, it is
reported that the Canadian authorities are having
difficulty deciding how to regulate these banks. The
UK already has one Shariah bank - the Islamic Bank
of Britain. With the huge increase in global Muslim
wealth, it is going to be fascinating to watch how
Shariah banking - which might be called a form of
’socially responsible banking’ - unfolds.
Sharia-bank bids trigger concerns, by Steven
Chase and Tavia Grant, September 24, 2007, The Globe
& Mail, Canada.
Ethics. Banks With Huge Losses Expect & Get Public
The Bank of England’s bailout of
Northern Rock, the European Central Bank’s and US
Federal Reserve’s massive injections of money into
the banking system, all show that banks can get away
with massive speculative losses with full knowledge
that they will be bailed-out by public institutions!
What other businesses can expect the same treatment?
Banks have the public by the throat - and they know
it. The writer of this article, Philip Stephens, is
an expert on the UK financial scene. He argues that
the irresponsible ethics of banks and other
financial players will now be emboldened further
with an increase in moral hazard and much more
difficult times to come.
The Bank loses a game of chicken,
by Philip Stephens, September 21, 2007, The
Financial Times, UK.
Fuels Groups Ask OECD To Disavow Fuels Report (See
Below, OECD Slams Biofuels Push).
The groups - the European Bioethanol
Fuel Association (eBio) and the Renewable Fuels
Association (RFA) say that the media have taken the
report to be official OECD thinking whereas the
paper clearly states that it does "not
necessarily reflect the views of the OECD or the
governments of its Member countries." So the
associations are asking the OECD to make this
clarification to the media. The report was written
by the Chair of the Round Table on Sustainable
Development at OECD. In the link below, the
associations also makes their case for the
biofuels/renewable fuels industries. In supporting
their view, they say that only 1.5% of European
grain production goes towards these biofuels. Why
they leave-out the fact that almost 50% of US corn
production and a huge amount of Brazilian sugar-cane
already goes towards biofuels, only weakens their
Renewable Fuels Association and EBio Urge OECD to
Declare New Report as Not Reflecting Official
Ethanol Industry Policy, September 21, 2007,
Insurers Launch Project To Promote Greener Policies.
Climatewise is a project launched by
the Association of British Insurers (ABI) "... to
help insurers adapt to, and help mitigate, the
possible effects of climate change, such as the
increased risk of flooding, storms and heat waves."
- See link below. So far 30 of the UK’s
400 insurers have signed-up to the initiative.
Hopefully many more will join the project. Those
that are signing-up obviously see the advantage of
using corporate social responsibility for all their
Insurance industry starts to wise up to climate
change, September 20, 2007,
Supermarkets Touting Ethics Are Accused Of Colluding
On Dairy Prices.
Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s
and dairy processors including Dairy Crest and Arla
are accused by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading in
colluding to keep dairy prices artificially high in
2002-2003. It remains to be seen if these
allegations hold. The big UK supermarkets have been
priding themselves in creating an ethical business
environment. As to whether these are ethical stocks
that are good to invest in - get help with investing
from your investment advisor.
Supermarkets ’fixed dairy prices’,
September 20, 2007,
Charity SRI -
New UK Ethical Investing Website For Charities And
"This website provides
information and resources on Responsible Investment
- what it is, reasons for doing it and how to go
about it. Responsible Investment is about aligning
investments with mission and incorporating social,
environmental and ethical issues into investments.
It is also known as ethical or socially responsible
investment (SRI)." - From their website. EIRIS
and the UK Social Investment Forum have founded
Charity SRI. The website caters to charity staff,
trustees, supporters, and particularly to their fund
managers and advisors. Charities around the world
have largely failed in aligning their investments
with their charitable goals! I hope that sites like
this can be founded in countries around the world
September 19, 2007, UK.
Mutual & Ethical Investing Funds Proxy Voting Record
There is a hug difference in the way
Canadian mutual funds and socially responsible,
ethical investing funds, conduct their proxy voting
vote. “The results of this study cast doubt on
the voting diligence of Canadian mutual fund
companies,” says the report. The Social
Investment Organization (SIO) and Institutional
Shareholder Services Inc. need to be congratulated
for this ground breaking work in Canada.
Articles: Canadian Mutual And Ethical Funds Proxy
Voting Survey, September 18, press release,
Social Investment Organization, Canada.
UN Needs Help
On Collecting Information For A Global Corporate
Social Responsibility (CSR) Database.
Follow the link below for
information about the UN’s endeavour to amass a
global CSR database and about its call for
volounteers to help accomplish that. They say it can
even be good for one’s resume.
UN seeks online volunteers to help with
international database on corporate social
responsibility, blogpost by Lisa Mighton,
September 17, 2007, Canada.
Index Adds 22 Companies From UK, But Deletes A Net
12 From USA.
The FTSE 100 and FTSE 350 are
leading London Stock Exchange equity indices. This
same information provider a few years ago created
the FTSE4Good series of indices for globally
socially responsible companies. In changes to its
indices just announced, I find it interesting that
so many additions came from the UK while nearly all
their deletions were from the USA! To see the list of
additions and deletions, follow the link
below. Anyone interested in ethical investing,
socially responsible investing, may well want to
review this list.
SEMI- ANNUAL REVIEW OF THE FTSE4GOOD INDICES,
September 2007, September 13, 3007,
Over Half Of
All Britons Bought Organic Foods & Drinks In Past
Year, And Ethical Investing Funds Outperformed
The UK’s Soil Association reported
the significantly increased consumption of organic
foods and drinks, while Life & Pensions
Moneyfacts (first reported here on August 29)
described the outperformance of UK ethical investing
funds. The UK is a leader in these developments and
results like this are being seen around the world.
As a result, I expect the interest in ethical stocks
and bonds to grow immeasurably in the years ahead.
Put your cash where your principles are,
September 15, 2007, The Guardian, UK.
Harm’ Smoking Product To Be Tested By Imperial
I suppose it is better that if
people have to smoke, then it then they should smoke
something that is less likely to kill them and
others. However, it could also become an easy excuse
for smokers to not quit as well. Obviously, for
tobacco companies this new product could
substantially increase their revenues, as not only
might it appeal to current smokers, but may become
acceptable to many hitherto non-smokers as well!
Hey, how about the
tobacco companies creating products that get people
to quit smoking and increase their revenues that
way? Will these companies’ securities ever become
stocks that are good to invest in for anti-tobacco
Imperial Tobacco Canada lives up to its corporate
social responsibility promise,
September 12, 2007, press release. Canada.
Have Much Higher Standards Of Behaviour Now - EIRIS
The study also says that North
American companies lag those in Europe concerning
environment, social and governance policies (ESG).
Also, "Nearly 75 per cent of European companies
operating in "high risk" countries had a basic or
advanced human rights policy, compared with fewer
than 40 per cent of North American firms and about a
sixth of those from Asia, he found." It is great
news though, that companies are increasingly
realizing the advantages of using corporate social
responsibility as a means to become more highly
regarded by all their stakeholders.
US firms fall behind Europe in ethical standards,
says Eiris, by Sean O’Grady, September 15, 2007,
The Independent, UK.
Responsible Investing (SRI) Research Predicted
This article by Bill Baue shows how discriminating
research by ethical investing researchers such as
Strategic Advisors were aware of the forthcoming
subprime mortgage meltdown well before it became a
problem. What this story also shows is a collapse of
an ethical business environment.
The Subprime Meltdown and SRI: Engage, Avoid,
Predict, by Bill Baue, September 12, 2007,
(Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability) Market
Booms In Asia - Far Surpassing US.
Over 30% of Japanese buy LOHAS
related products and services, such as "...
alternative transportation (e.g. bicycles and hybrid
cars), energy-efficient electronics and appliances,
renewable energy, green building and industrial
goods, eco-friendly household products, natural and
organic foods and beverages (e.g. macrobiotics),
natural personal care products, alternative
healthcare (e.g. aromatherapy), vitamins, minerals,
dietary supplements, eco-tourism and travel, and
socially responsible investing." See blog link
below for details.
The LOHASIAN: International Perspectives: LOHAS
Japan, September 13, 2007, Japan.
Britons Do Not Trust Ethical Business Claims.
The study by Ipsos MORI for SEE
Potential, also says that a similar number of
Britons say that companies must back-up their
ethical claims. This shows again the need for
companies to do more than just ’advertise’ their
good behaviour. They must publish an annual
environmental, social and governance (ESG) report
explicitly delineating the company’s promises and
the outcomes they achieved. Then, for the public to
have confidence in the report, it must be verified
by a respected independent auditor! For companies
who follow this path, they will find not only that
they rank more highly than their peers among all
their stakeholders, but also may find their
securities among the elite of ethical stocks and
bonds and increasingly attractive to not only
ethical investors - but to all investors.
Four in Five Britons Distrust Ethical Business
Claims, September 13, 2007, press release by SEE
Continues To Be Accused Of Abusive Marketing
Intel faces legal challenges in
Japan, Europe, and South Korea concerning alleged
abusive marketing tactics aimed at keeping
competitors at bay. Many ethical investing funds
have Intel as one of their premier investments, as
do numerous individual socially responsible
investors. Perhaps it is time to do our homework on
what is going on in Intel.
Korea alleges Intel violated antitrust laws, by
Dawn Kawamoto, September 12, CNETNews.com, USA.
UK’s F&C Says
Insurers At Risk In Not Incorporating Climate Change
Insurers traditionally look at past
payouts in setting premiums. F&C says that since
climate change studies predict an increasing
frequency of extreme climate events and that
insurers will increasingly lose money if they do not
price into their premiums the additional risks posed
by these potential future events. If you are looking
for insurance stocks that are good to invest in,
this could be an important question to research
before making your investment decision.
Insurers slow to adapt to climate change,
September 13, Reuters, UK.
Of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI).
Tessa Tennant, a real pioneer in socially
responsible investment and ethical investing offers
her insights into SRI around the world - and where
she believes it is heading in the future.
Socially Responsible Investing Around The World,
by Tessa Tennant, September 10, 2007,
Environmental News Network (ENN), USA.
Of Corporate Carbon Footprints.
This is a good two-part article on the subject that
any green investor or those interested in ethical
investing, should read.
Leave Only Footprints: Measuring and Managing
Corporate Carbon Emissions, by Bill Baue with
Francesca Rheannon, September 4, 2007,
A new report by the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) says the push
towards biofuels will harm the environment and
push-up food costs - all with only a marginal
decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. Politicians,
looking for votes and an ignorant public seeking
lower fuel prices, are the real culprits though. I
have longed believed that in order to be a leader in
any of today’s western democracies, whether in the
political or economic sphere, that it necessitates
speaking untruths. Unfortunately, an economically
and financially illiterate public makes for a stupid
democracy and continued pathetic governments.
Biofuel push damaging, disruptive, OECD says, by
Richard Blackwell, September 12, 2007, The Globe
& Mail, Canada.
Launches First Environmental Investment Management
"The new state-owned firm will be devoted to
providing investment management services for the
country’s energy-saving, environmental protection
and sustainable development projects. The founding
of the new organization is seen as a formal effort
on the part of the government to actively promote a
’recycling economy’." Aside from this statement,
the information provided in the link below is
sparse. However, this is a step in the right
direction for China. It will be interesting to see
what environmentally conscious major corporations
operating in China avail themselves of its services.
China launches first environmental investment firm,
September 10, 2007, China Economic Review,
Nations Desire To Legislate Corporate Social
Malaysia and Indonesia are leading the charge to
legislate CSR for both domestic and foreign
corporations operating in their countries. I agree
that labour, environmental laws, etc., should be
established. However, it is really the quality of a
nation’s collective consciousness that governs
business activity and its overall wellbeing. That to
me is where the focus ought to be. In other words,
it is individuals who from the depths of their being
feel to do good, not only for themselves, but
for all others too, that counts. You can have all
the laws you want, but if an individual is uncaring
towards others and inherently ’unlawful’, the laws
will not do much to avert bad things from happening.
I truly believe that there are spiritual laws of
Responsibility initiatives – Indonesia and Malaysia
are open for business ethics,
Rajesh Chhabara, September 7, 2007, Ethical
Britons Say Religion Has Important Role To Play In
The Moral Guidance Of The Nation.
The findings in this BBC/ComRes opinion poll
indicate a longing for religious and spiritual
values in a society which believes itself to be in
moral decline. I believe this is positive for all of
us who wish to see our world grow in more spiritual
and moral values, and probably indicates that people
in the UK are now likely on a path to increased
spiritual and religious values that ultimately will
create more morally and ethically based businesses.
survey says people think Britain is in moral decline
and religion could help, September 7, 2007,
Now Included In Dow Jones Sustainability Index!
I find this astonishing, considering the allegations
of many qualified people accusing Barrick of
conspiracy in trying to manipulate gold prices as
well as other problems relating to the communities where it is operating or plans to
Barrick Gold named to Dow Jones Sustainability
Index, September, 7, 2007, CNN Money,
According to this report, Wal-Mart’s goal of reducing
their green house gas emissions by five million tons
annually, is less than one-fortieth of its annual
output! It is good to look at hard numbers
concerning environmental and social issues when
looking for the best socially responsible stocks to
invest in. Furthermore, I have long argued that all
medium and large sized companies that produce
sustainability reports, etc., be legally required to
have them independently audited. Only then can we
have some assurance that these reports are not just
23 Organizations Issue Joint Report Critiquing
Wal-Mart′s Sustainability Initiatives,
September 6, 2007, Natural Newswire, USA.
(Lifestyles Of Health & Sustainability) Sales
Worldwide Now Top $500 billion.
As this article reports, LOHAS is the largest market
that you have never heard of. Illustrating this
markets enormous growth is a new study
suggesting that LOHAS growth in Australia is
set to double in the next five years. The research
was conducted by the Mobium Group. Reading this
article might give you ideas for socially conscious
The biggest business you never heard of, by Leon
Gettler, September 6, 2007, Australia.
Schweppes Is First UK Food Manufacturer To Promise
Absolute Reductions In Its Carbon Footprint - Even
With Increasing Sales.
This is what we want to see, companies pledging to
halve their carbon footprint, even with growing
sales. Cadbury Schweppes is setting a trend and
demonstrating the advantage of using corporate
Cadbury Schweppes: Egging on competitors to reduce
by Zara Maung, September 4, 2007, Ethical
Markets: A New Term For Many Ethical Investors.
I just came across this interesting piece on
environmental markets. With the growth of such
markets, it behooves those looking to invest in
environmentally conscious corporations to understand
the burgeoning activities of environmental markets.
Environmental Markets: The Next Frontier in
Reports On British Companies Considered Having The
The article reveals twenty British companies - many
are multinationals - in the FTSE 350 index who
scored lowest on an ethics ranking. If you are
looking for the best socially responsible stocks to
invest in, this list might be helpful as ones to
Named and shamed: City’s ethical dunces, by Ruth
Sunderland, Heather Stewart and Zoe Wood, September
2, 2007, The Observer, UK.
Of South African Ethical Funds.
It is good to see how ethical investing, socially
responsible investing (SRI), etc., is spreading
around the world.
Personal Finance - Your guide to SRI funds, by
Laura du Preez, September 3, 2007, Personal
Finance, South Africa.
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