Ethical Investing News/Commentaries:
Commentaries by Ron
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Compact Delists Hundreds Of Companies For Missing
Similar to ’greenwashing’ where companies say they
are green but are not, companies signed-on en masse
to the UN’s Global Compact’s ten principles. "The
Global Compact’s ten principles [are] in the areas
of human rights, labour, the environment and
anti-corruption enjoy universal consensus..."
Check this list to see if any of the companies
you have invested in are on it. If yes, as an
ethical investor you may want to contact the company
to see what they have to say!
Update: Over 900 Global Compact Participants Marked
“Inactive” or Delisted, January 28, UN Global
Compact, United Nations.
Ethical Investing Index Launched By S&P Subsidiary,
It seems the World Bank, KLD, Crisil and S&P are all
involved in putting together this index which
comprises the stocks of 50 Indian companies. The
index constituents have performed largely in line
with the Indian National Stock Exchange′s 50-share
index, also known as the S&P CNX Nifty. Now ethical
investors from all over the world will have a
further source of information for Indian ethical
stocks and bonds.
Crisil launches index to track firms on social
responsibility, by Gargi Banerjee, January 31,
2008, livemint.com, India. See also,
S&P ESG India.
Banking Becomes Controversial Among Muslims In
The Muslim Canadian Congress, a secular group says,
“Islamic banking is nothing more than an attempt
by Islamists, with backing from Middle Eastern
financial institutions and their Western partners,
to scare Muslim Canadians into believing that they
should pay more to the banks and demand less in
return, as an act of religiosity,” said MCC
president Farzana Hassan in an open letter to CMHC."
The CMHC -- Canada Motgage & Housing
Corporation -- is doing a study on Islamic banking.
Halt Islamic banking study, group says, by Tavia
Grant, January 29, 2008, The Globe & Mail,
Responsible Investing Does Not Mean Lower Returns.
Eugene Ellmen, Executive Director of Canada’s Social
Investment Organization cites studies showing that
ethical investing, socially responsible investing,
etc., has a ’neutral to positive relationship with
performance.’ In fact, overall, it is possible to
achieve really good returns with ethical stocks and
Socially responsible investment and performance,
by Eugene Ellmen, Stockhouse.com, Canada.
Being Made On Corporate Sustainability Reporting
I welcome the developments in this area! If
investors are to have faith in environmental, social
and governance reporting by companies, there must be
a uniform standard for these reports as well as
independent auditing and audit commentary, on them.
All companies will come to see the advantage of
using corporate social responsibility (CSR)
reporting. Competing on a such a basis, companies
will be more efficient, effective and maximize
profits. Leading companies in almost every industry
are usually the ones with the best CSR policies and
THE FUTURE OF NON-FINANCIAL CORPORATE REPORTING: How
to influence the next generation of ASSURANCE
STANDARD, January 29, 2008, Accountability-Central.com,
Shareholder Engagement Activity Report for 4Q07.
Shareholder Association for Research and Education
report is interesting reading for any ethical
investor investing in Canadian companies.
SHARE Engagement report, January 2008, SHARE,
Reviews Impact Of European Commission’s Renewable
Energy Directive On Companies.
The directive will have enormous impact on many
green stocks. This article describes its potential
impact on some of Europe’s biggest green energy
Impact of Renewable Energy Directive on companies,
January 28, 2008, Easier Finance, UK.
Trust Says 19% Of Gen X Millionaire Households Vs 12% Of Baby
Boomer Millionaire Households Own Socially Responsible Investments.
A fascinating survey of high-net-worth US households
and the way they invest. Particularly interesting is
that the younger millionaire households are more
likely to hold socially responsible investments and
that 64% of all high-net-worth households surveyed
were aware of socially responsible investing (pages
20/22). This survey is interesting to read to
understand the mind-set and developing investment
trends among the US wealthy.
Wealth in America Survey, January 25, 2008,
Northern Trust, USA.
Investing In India Takes-Off.
A good overview of faith-based or spiritual
investing in India provided by this article.
Indian index has a religious edge, by Raja M,
January 23, 2008, Asia Times, Hong Kong.
Knights And Innovest Strategic Value Advisors
Announce At Davos Their Global 100 Most Sustainable
This list is always worthwhile looking at, as it is
compiled by two outstanding organizations and
includes companies whose stocks are among the best
socially responsible stocks to invest in. The UK has
the most companies in the list: 24 UK companies. The
USA follows with 16 and Japan 13.
Corporate Knights Global 100 Most Sustainable
Corporations Announced in Davos, January 23,
2008, Corporate Knights Magazine, Canada.
Publishes Its 100 Best Corporate Citizens List.
This is an interesting list. Personally, I find the
listing of some companies not to my liking. However,
CRO has specific criteria as to how they judge
companies and I guess what goes into that criteria
is what one may argue with. Nonetheless, it is
worthwhile to read their overall summary and then
see the specifics.
Corporate Citizens 2007, January, 2008, CRO
Investors Against Genocide.
Website contains a list of companies and investment
firms that they believe are engaged in helping
states commit human rights abuses. They encourage
investors to contact these firms to show their
displeasure with the company’s participation with
such abusers. Ethical investors may also want to go
to this site to see who is listed. The types of
actions advocated by Investors Against Genocide are
gaining ground and could well affect stock values of
Investors Against Genocide, USA.
Banks Being Requested By Meritas Mutual Funds To
Give Shareholders ’Say On Pay.’
Say on pay resolutions have become relatively
commonplace in the US and UK, but it is just
beginning in Canada. Executive pay in the US, and to
a lesser extent in Canada and the UK, is
significantly higher than in other developed
countries. Corporate executives and board members of
the same company frequently keep close company. So
when board compensation committees meet deciding on
executive remuneration, it can be argued that the
compensation committees are not operating
objectively. I believe that shareholders have an
innate right to offer their opinions as to executive
-- and board members -- compensation.
Resolution gives investors say on pay, by Janet
McFarland, January 24, 2008, The Globe & Mail,
Launches Investors And Advisors Guide To Ethical
This is a great guide for UK ethical investors. It
makes selecting a green or ethical fund easier. Non
UK investors might also find some useful information
in this directory as well.
The EIRIS Green & Ethical Funds Directory,
January, 2008, EIRIS, UK.
Of US Investors See Environmental-Technology
Companies As A Buy.
Allianz Global Investors Distributors LLC just
released this survey that also showed nearly half of
US investors polled want to make green investments
in 2008. Incidentally, the study also found that
among investors, 83% of their advisors had never
recommended such an investment.
Investors see the green in ’going green,’ survey
finds, by Andrew Coen, January 18, 2008,
Investment News, USA.
Responsible Investing (SRI) Index In Malaysia
Outperforms Non-SRI Peer Index.
Around the world ethical stocks and bonds have done
better than unscreened investing approaches. This is
a good sign for the future. However, many ethical
investors and funds are heavily invested in sectors
that can be volatile -- as we see in the markets
today. With consciousness rising as to the concerns
of global warming and corporate ethics, I believe
that over the longer term green and ethical
investing will be the place to be.
Socially responsible firms ‘outperform KLCI,′ by
Sharmila Ganapathy, January 21, 2008, The Edge
Ethics Found Wanting. Positive Drug Studies’ Results
Are Published; Negative Data Ignored.
"The makers of antidepressants like Prozac and
Paxil never published the results of about a third
of the drug trials that they conducted to win
government approval, misleading doctors and
consumers about the drugs′ true effectiveness, a new
analysis has found." -- The New York Times.
Clearly, if you are an ethical investor
investing in drug companies, you must be concerned
about this -- as anyone who participated in their
drug trials or is a patient consuming drugs! Almost
all ethical funds have a significant percentage of
their assets in drug companies. They need to
re-evaluate such holdings.
Antidepressant Studies Unpublished, by Benedict
Carey, January 17, 2008, The New York Times,
New Dow Jones
Indexes Based On Dharmic Religions--Hinduism and
"The Dow Jones Dharma Index series includes the
Dow Jones Dharma Global Index, as well as four
country indexes for the U.S., the U.K., Japan and
India. The indexes are designed to underlie
financial products such as exchange-traded funds and
other investable products that enable investors to
participate in the performance of companies which
are compliant with Dharmic religious traditions...
[these] are the first faith-based indexes created to
measure Dharma compliant equities, said Michael A.
Petronella, president of Dow Jones Indexes."
The development of these indexes is great news for
spiritual investors, especially those who follow
Hindu and Buddhist ideals.
Scroll down the press
Dow Jones Indexes and Dharma Investments to Launch
New Faith-Based Indexes, January 15, 2008, Dow
Jones Indexes, USA.
Are Some US
Investment Banks Profiting From Insider Trading?
The Wall Street Journal has revealed that
investment firms may be benefiting from inside
information concerning their own firm’s deal
activities. Some might say, well what do you expect
of Wall Street? I agree, money and greed trump
ethics all the time among our finance elites. With
the dot.com scenario a few years back, now the
sub-prime mess and the derivative melt-down, the
ethics of many Wall Street firms are being shown to
be rather bad.
Trading in Deal Stocks Triggers Look at Banks,
by Mark Maremont and Susanne Craig, January 14,
2008, The Wall Street Journal, USA.
HSBC Leads Global Banks In Corporate Governance
The Ceres report, Corporate Governance and Climate
Change: The Banking Sector, took a look at forty
global banks as to their management of climate
change issues. "HSBC was followed by ABN AMRO,
Barclays, HBOS and Deutsche Bank, all of which are
European institutions. U.S. banks Citigroup and Bank
of America ranked sixth and seventh. The banks with
the lowest scores include Bear Stearns, Lehman
Brothers, Bank of China and Bank of Nova Scotia."
If you want to invest in environmentally and
socially conscious banks, the Ceres report could be
a good place to start.
Banks Take Steps Addressing Climate Change but Long
Road Ahead: Report, January 11, 2008,
Institute Says As Much As $66 Billion Invested
Globally In 2007 In Wind Power, Biofuels And Other
Alternative Energy Sources.
In 2006, an estimated $52 Billion was invested which
was in itself up by 33% from 2005.
State of the World 2008: Innovations for a
Sustainable Economy, January, 2008, Worldwatch
The UBS Greenhouse Index will "... give investors
exposure to the impact of carbon emissions on global
temperatures... the index will lock into contracts
on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the European
Climate Exchange and on the Nordic exchange Nord
Pool." This appears to be the first of its kind
and demonstrates the interest that major investment
banks are taking concerning carbon trading and
sustainability investing. This stuff is quite
technical and interested investors should always get
help with investing in such products from a
qualified investment professional.
UBS Launches Global Warming Investment Tool, by
Golnar Motevalli, editing by James Jukwey,
Reuters, January 10, 2008, USA.
Picks The Top Five 2007 Socially Responsible News
Another good look back at last year’s socially
responsible investing news. Worth reading if you are
trying to understand the trends in this industry.
Top Five Socially Responsible Investing News Stories
of 2007, by Anne Moore Odell, January 8, 2008,
Social Responsibility (CSR) Expert Looks At Past,
Predicts Future, CSR Trends.
For companies, the advantages of using corporate
social responsibility have never been greater. This
article provides a good look at what has occurred,
and what is likely to become reality, in CSR. It is
a useful review for investors to gain some insight
as to how their favourite ethical companies match-up
in the realm of CSR.
Corporate social responsibility - Looking five years
forward and back, by Mallan Baker, January 7,
2008, Ethical Corporation, UK.
Green Venture Capital (VC) Investing.
This is a useful overview of the state of green
(mostly US) VC investing.
CleanTech Investing: The Green Gold Rush,
January 6, 2008, GreenBiz.com, USA.
Ceres/Association Of Chartered Certified Accountants
(ACCA) Announces Shortlist For The Ceres-ACCA North
American Sustainability Reporting 2007 Awards.
If you are looking for companies with the best
ethical stocks and bonds, you might like to review
Finalists Chosen for Ceres-ACCA North American
Sustainability Reporting Awards, CSRWire/Accountability-Central.com,
Cabot Heritage Corporation In US Finds 85% Of Its
Investors Interested In Green Investments.
Surveys like this one by Cabot Heritage Corporation
continue to show that the vast majority of investors
in the US -- as well as in other developed countries
-- are wanting green stocks that are good to invest
Outlook Bright for ’Green’ Investments as Global
Demand Soars for Energy and Earth-Friendly Products,
January 3, 2008, press release, PR Newswire.com,
Top Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Stories
According To Bill Baue.
Mr. Baue, a longtime, insightful reporter on CSR and
socially responsible investing, provides a good
overview of the top CSR stories in 2007.
Corporate Social Responsibility News of 2007, by
Bill Baue, January 2, 2008, CSRWire.com, USA.
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