Ethical Investing News/Commentaries:
Commentaries by Ron
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The Dream Of
Energy-Efficient Superconductivity At hand.
Green investors take note. Superconductivity has
long held-out the promise of enormous efficiencies
in energy production and transmission. Here is an
example of a pioneer application by American
Superconductor cable gets energized on Long Island,
by David Ehrlich, April 30, 2008, cleantech.com,
Is Big Oil
Giving-Up On Alternative Energy? -
It seems high oil prices have possibly influenced
major oil companies to favour investments in oil
rather than in alternative energy. This is a short
and interesting article.
Dawn of an energy famine, by Jeremy Legett, May
2, 2008, The Guardian, UK.
Study Offers Insight Into Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR). -
This study provides a detailed analysis and
discussion of the legal and economic basis for CSR.
Corporate Social Responsibility through an Economic
Lens, April 2008, Harvard University, Kennedy
School of Government, Faculty Research Working Paper
Outlines Climate Change Risks For Various Types Of
By publishing this report, KPMG has performed an
important service for both companies and investors.
For companies, the report cites four types of
climate change risks: regulatory, reputational,
physical and litigious, and shows their effects on
different business sectors. For investors, this
report could be used as a helpful guide to analyse
how companies are performing in regard to dealing
with these climate change related risks, and assist
them in determining the best stocks that are good to
invest in with regard to climate change.
Climate Changes Your Business, April 2008, KPMG,
US Islamic Fund
Wins Top Honours. -
This year’s Lipper Fund Award winner in the equity
category -- which has over 200 funds -- is the Amana
Trust Income Fund with close to $400 million in
assets. The manager, Nicholas Kaiser, credits his
success to the Sharia principles that guide him in
his investment selections. He has won this award for
two years in a row. Well done Mr. Kaiser!
Managed By God, by Michael Maiello, April 21,
2008, Forbes.com, USA.
Students Seek Jobs Making A Real Societal
"According to the survey of 1,943 MBA students at
15 top-ranked business schools in the U.S., Canada,
and Britain, conducted last fall, 25% of MBAs are
looking for a job with the potential to make a
contribution to society, up from 15% in the Aspen
Institute’s 2002 survey." These numbers are not
large, but they do denote a sentiment that favours
higher ethical conduct and concern for society at
The Do-Good Disconnect, by Kelly Bronk, April
21, 2008, Business Week, USA.
Exchange Proposed For UK. Rockefeller Doing Study.
The concept is to provide a stock market where all
listed companies meet certain environmental, social
and governance criteria. This could be really
interesting for socially responsible and ethical
investors. It will be well worth watching. If it
works in the UK, where government support appears to
be there for it, the concept will spread fast around
the world. Such an exchange could make it easier to
find ethical stocks that are good to invest in.
Rockefeller backs ‘social′ stock market, April
15, 2008, iNSnet.org (originally published in the
Financial Times), UK.
Industry Warming To Climate Change Proxy
Ceres reports that their "Review of Proxy Votes
by 1,300 Mutual Funds Finds Shift from Solid
Opposition to Abstention Middle Ground... "
(Ceres is a US coalition of investors, environmental
groups and other public interest organizations
encouraging companies to address sustainability and
issues related to climate change.) Gradually the
mutual fund industry is realizing the importance of
climate change as it pertains to corporate
performance and to the profits of companies they
hold in their funds.
Mutual Fund Industry Opposition to Climate Change
Resolutions Begins to Thaw, April 16, 2008,
A Call For
Investment Advisors To Better Service Socially
responsible Investors. -
This long article contains interviews with eight
socially responsible investors. It makes fascinating
reading for everyone interested in the subject and
comes from an authoritative source too.
Quiet Conversations: The Expressive Nature of
Socially Responsible Investors, by Meir Statman,
Ph.D., Glenn Klimek Professor of Finance at Santa
Clara University, Leavey School of Business, Santa
Clara, California. USA.
Website Tracks Executive Pay In S&P 500 Companies.
From this site as well as from other sources, it is
clear that executive compensation in America is
growing fast while employee pay increases are unable
to cover the rise in inflation. Furthermore,
executive compensation is frequently tied to short
term financial results which often run counter to
the long-term interests of their companies. The
downfall of America’s big three automakers was in
large measure due to them spending huge sums to buoy
up their stock prices -- which greatly benefited the
compensation of their executives who had inordinate
amounts of stock options -- when they should have
spent these sums on product development. Ethical
investors looking for stocks that are good to invest
in just might want to consider how executive pay,
stock options and stock buybacks, relate to the
companies long-term prospects. I suggest huge sums
spent on stock buybacks and large amounts of stock
options for executives could be signs of unethical
management behaviour and, or, poor business
practices that may eventually harm their companies
2008 Executive PayWatch, April 2008, AFL-CIO,
Financial Institutions Need To Understand The
Business Case For Biodiversity, Says United Nations
Environmental Program’s Finance Initiative (UNEPFI).
Though this report is principally aimed at
management in the finance sector, it is fascinating
reading, particularly also for those investing in
this area as well.
The Business Case for Biodiversity, March 2008,
United Nations Environmental Program’s Finance
Initiative (UNEPFI), Switzerland.
US Faith-Based Mutual Funds. -
There are not too many reviews on faith-based funds.
This is a brief, interesting one for US spiritual
investors. It is worthwhile to note that Sharia
(Islamic) funds are doing especially well as they do
not invest in financial stocks due to their
prohibition on investing in companies who receive
Fever Grows for Faith-Based Funds, by Liz
Wolgemuth, April 11, 2008, U.S. News & World
Selling Tax-Deferred Savings/Investment Plans In New
Zealand Required To State If They Have An Ethical
Investing Policy. -
As far as I know this is the first time any
government has asked such providers to say whether
or not they have an ethical investing policy.
Clearly, it is likely that any providers who do not
have such a policy could be at a disadvantage. The
policy came into effect April 1. Well done New
Winds of ethical change, April 8, 2008,
Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand.
Claims Leading Figures Behind Dow Jones Islamic
Index & Other Sharia Compliant Funds, Back Terror
The financial world’s interest in Sharia (sometimes
spelt ’Shariah’) compliant banking and investing may
undergo more scrutiny due to assertions that some
key figures backing it also back terrorist groups.
This will be an important area to watch in the years
ahead, as Sharia finance has been burgeoning. To me,
the pure concept of Sharia finance looks appealing
and fascinating as it has many of the attributes of
spiritual or ethical investing. However, it does
seem that ’background checks’ of some of the leading
individuals behind it is warranted.
ATTACK ALERT: Wall Street and Sharia Finance, by
Alex Alexiev, April 6, 2008, B’NAI ELAM, Israel.
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