Ethical Investing News/Commentaries:
Commentaries by Ron
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In Zimbabwe Gains Traction. -
Many investors are now calling for disinvestment
from Zimbabwe. Firms with significant interests
there include, "Shell, Barclays Bank, BP, Tesco,
Rio Tinto, WPP and Anglo American." Ethical
investors, particularly, may want to consider their
stance concerning such investments. It is
interesting that the companies cited in this article
are high on most ethical investing lists.
Trading with Mugabe, by Jeremy Kuper, June 30,
2008, The Guardian, UK.
The UN Global
Compact Office Delists 630 Companies For Failure To
Communicate Progress. -
"The Global Compact is a framework for businesses
that are committed to aligning their operations and
strategies with ten universally accepted principles
in the areas of human rights, labour, the
environment and anti-corruption." The delisting
of these companies may not mean that they are
slipping on their Global Compact commitments, but
simply have failed to report their progress.
Nonetheless, it is worthwhile for ethical investors
to review the list to see if they are invested in
any of these companies. After all, ethical investors
only want to invest in ethical stocks and bonds.
630 Companies Delisted as Part of Integrity
Measures, June 25, 2008, United Nations Global
Executives See Benefits In Sustainable Investing.
"The Economist Intelligence Unit found 64 per
cent of Asia Pacific executives agreed that benefits
outweighed any costs of sustainable investment. The
survey found 42 per cent believed improved
shareholder value was the greatest advantage."
The concept of sustainable investing is fortunately
now global in its dimension. Many companies in Asia
are well ahead of their U.S. and European
counterparts in the products they produce. Think of
the automobile hybrids!
Asia firms adopt sustainability, by Meagan
Kelly, June 27, 2008, Asian Property Report,
World Wealth Report Has Good News On Socially
Responsible Investing. -
I thought that readers might like to look at
the actual report. It states that the rich are
becoming greener in their investing, and, "...
[That] more than US$70 billion was invested globally
in clean energy and clean technology markets in
2006, a 43% increase over 2005." The report
makes special mention that demand for socially
responsible investments is growing among the rich.
All investment advisors and financial planners
should review this report.
Wealth Report, June, 2008, Merrill Lynch & Co.,
American, The Mining Giant, Creates Uproar With
Planned $400 Million Investment In Zimbabwe.
Anglo American is taking tremendous heat from
ethical investors and politicians all over the world
with its plans for a platinum mine in Zimbabwe. Most
other big resource players are taking a pass on the
country until there is a change in government there.
Outrage over £200m UK investment in Zimbabwe,
June 25, 2008, Timesonline.co.uk, UK
Islamic Index Launched. -
"The Eastwind Capital Advisors Pvt Ltd., the
Indo-Arab Economic Forum and Institute of Objective
Studies launched the EW India Islamic Index...
comprises only of Shariah compliant companies equity
and excludes companies engaged in alcohol products,
pork-related products, conventional financial
services like banking and insurance, gambling,
hotels and all other business which the Shariah
supervisory board considers as unethical."
Shariah compliant investing continues to grow around
the world and has some similarities to ethical
Shariah compliant India Islamic Index launched to
tap Gulf investors, June 25, 2008,
Interactive Poll Says, "Seventy-One Percent of
Consumers Say the Reputation Of Corporate America Is
However, the Harris Interactive Reputation Quotient
(RQ) survey "... found that a strong statistical
correlation exists between a company’s overall
reputation and the likelihood that consumers will
purchase, recommend or invest in a company or its
products and services... companies that pay
attention to enhancing their reputation see bottom
line results." Companies perceived as ranking
high on social responsibility - and thereby
demonstrating good returns are: Whole Foods, Google,
General Mills, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson. If you
are looking for socially responsible stocks to
invest in, look at the full article.
Seventy-One Percent of Consumers Say the Reputation
Of Corporate America Is ’Poor’, But Consumers Will
Buy, Recommend and Invest in Companies that
Concentrate on Building Their Corporate Reputation,
June 23, 2008, Trading Markets, USA.
Industry Fights Back Concerning Its Environmental
This is a fascinating response to the environmental
and social challenges facing the mining and
extractive resource industries. It is published by
the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM),
based in London. Whether we like it or not, with
over 3 billion more people becoming consumers,
demand for resources is growing at frantic rates. We
just have to agree on how resources can be extracted
in ways that minimize their environmental impact,
while maximizing its social benefits and returns to
Sustainable Development in the Mining and Minerals
Sector: the Case for Partnership at Local, National
and Global Levels, by Kathryn McPhail, ICMM. For
an overview of the paper see:
The Dutch Curse of Mining, by Jack Caldwell,
June 23, 2008, Mining and Resources, USA.
Accountants Creating New Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) Rules. -
With so much interest in India these days, it is
truly welcome to see the Institute of Chartered
Accountants of India (ICAI) making mandatory CSR
reporting. New guidelines will be issued to
companies. When implemented, it will make evaluating
environmental, social and governance (ESG)
activities in Indian companies much easier than it
is now. By doing this, India will be among a select
few countries making CSR reporting mandatory. Others
include Singapore and Malaysia. If developing
countries can do this, why not developed countries?
Editorial: Measuring CSR, June 24, 2008, Business
Capable Of Contributing 10% To US Power Needs By
The just released Utility Solar Assessment (USA)
Study by Clean Edge and Co-op America says that
solar power will cost no more than conventional
energy production within a decade. We are indeed
heading for a major power revolution. With
predictions like these, it is no wonder that so much
money is going into green energy.
Solar Power Could Reach One-Tenth of Energy Supply
by 2025: Report, June 17, 2008, GreenBiz,
Group Environmental Growth Companies Index Launched.
"The new index, called the FTSE Environmental
Opportunities All-Share Index, will be made up of
450 constituents, each demonstrating a minimum 20
percent of their business comes from environmental
markets or clean technologies. The index will cover
companies working in alternative energy, energy
efficiency, water treatment, pollution control,
waste technologies and resource management."
This index is obviously something different from
other environmental indexes as companies are only
required to have 20% of their business in
FTSE, Impax launch second environmental index,
June 19, 2008, Reuters, UK.
Companies With Profit Sharing Schemes, Half Offer
Socially Responsible Investment Funds. -
"More than half the French companies offering
profit share savings schemes include at least one
socially responsible investment (SRI) fund and 20
percent of those who do not will consider SRI
options in the short term, according to a study
sponsored by Axa... At the end of 2007, SRI profit
sharing assets amounted to 2.8 billion euros versus
2.3 billion euros gathered at the end of 2006. More
than half of these assets were invested in equity,
while bond investments amounted to 23 percent last
year." It is clear that in France, as in many
other countries, investors are increasingly
favouring ethical stocks and bonds.
Half of French profit sharing savings schemes offer
SRI - Axa study, by Cecilia Valente, June 19,
2008, Thomson Investment Management News, UK.
(Access to article requires subscription - which is
Billion Oil Fund Reluctant To Ban Investments In
Blacklisted Countries. -
So far this fund has been a leader among the
sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) concerning ethical
investing. It might be back-tracking a bit here.
Nonetheless, in most of its investment policies, it
is ahead of other major SWFs.
Norway says oil fund reluctant to blacklist states,
by Aasa Christine Stoltz, June 18, 2008, Reuters,
GlaxoSmithKline & Novo Nordisk Lead In Access To
Medicines For Poor In Developing Countries - Study.
The Access to Medicine Index has now been launched
rating twenty of the world’s top drug manufacturers
as to how they help the poor in the poorest
countries get medicines. If you are looking for
ethical stocks and bonds in drug companies, you
might want to review the information compiled in
Access to Medicine Index, June 16, 2008, Access
to Medicine Index, The Netherlands.
Société Générale Ranked By Peers As Top In Socially
Responsible Investing (SRI) Research. -
In addition, the Thomson Reuters Extel survey of
7,500 investment professionals from 63 countries
found that "87% of respondents said they expect
increasing SRI involvement over the next 12 months."
SG wins best SRI research award as sector booms:
Thomson Reuters Extel Survey, by Hugh Wheelan,
June 13, 2008, Responsible Investor, UK.
Mutual Funds Overwhelmingly Support Management In
Proxy Voting -- Except For Socially Responsible
This result is not unexpected. A thank you to
Shareholders Association for Research and Education
(SHARE) for keeping tabs on these votes.
Proxy Voting by Canadian Mutual Funds, June 12,
2008, press release, SHARE, Canada.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting
Standards Likely To Be Soon Adopted. -
The need for standardized corporate ESG reporting
may well be given a major push by the European
Federation of Financial Analysts Societies, whose
membership comprises 14,000 European investment
professionals. This is most welcome news! I would
like them to go further to encourage appropriate
governing bodies in all countries to make such
reporting not only mandatory for all public
companies, but to also include independent
auditing and reporting of this information and then made
available to all.
New European ESG company performance indicators
could herald mainstream investment analysis, by
Hugh Wheelan, June 13, 2008, Responsible
Investment Market To Gain 35% In Two Years.
That represents $700 billion and will bring such
assets managed for their environmental, social and
governance (ESG) issues, up to $2.94 trillion
globally. This is according to the RI Landscape
Asset Managers 2008 Survey which included 98
fund managers with $19.4 trillion in assets. It was
conducted by IPE and Responsible-Investor.com
earlier this year and just released.
Fund managers predict $700bn rise in RI assets by
2010: RI landscape report, by Hugh Wheelan, June
10, 2008, Responsible Investor, UK.
List Of Cell Phones With Most Radiation; LG Has
Lowest Emissions. -
If as an investor or user of cell phones you are
wondering how different phones perform with regard
to radiation emissions, then read this article and
follow the links.
How Much Radiation Does Your Phone Emit? By Tara
Parker-Pope, June 11, 2008, The New York Times,
Which Are The
Best Pharmaceutical Companies Granting Access To
Drugs For World’s Poor? -
A new index to be launched June 16, tries to do exactly that. "The Access
to Medicine Index is designed to provide
standardized information on pharmaceutical companies
with regard to their efforts to improve global
access to medicines... The Index is construed from a
framework of 28 ‘indicators′ which are grouped into
8 main ‘criteria′. All have carefully fine-tuned
weightings." Ethical investors looking for
pharmaceutical stocks that are good to invest in
might want to review the information presented.
Click here for
the index. Also see:
New guide to help investors target ethical Pharma,
June 11, 2008, NewScientist.com, UK.
Still Faltering On Backing Credits For Alternative
I have seen this item come-up in several news
sources. It seems that after the present credits
expire at the end of the year, there is not
anything to replace them. This creates uncertainty
for those in the US alternative energy markets.
Republicans Block Two More Bills With Green
Investing Impact, by Mark Langner, June 11,
2008, Green Street Investor, USA.
Burt’s Bees, In US; Body Shop, Marks & Spencer In UK
-- Named As Greenest Brands. -
The 2008 ImagePower Green Brands Survey also found
that Americans believe the environment is worse now
than five years ago. But the survey further
determined that the economy and energy had surpassed the
environment as the main concerns of consumers.
Economy and Energy Edge Environment as Top Consumer
Concern: Survey, June 5, 2008, GreenBiz.com,
That Investors Rank Low In Influencing Corporate
Environmental Policies. -
This is one of the findings of a survey by The
Economist Intelligence Unit. It also found that
regulators and government exert the most pressure
after management on corporate environmental
Managing Environmental Risk by Looking through the
Rear-view Mirror, by David Wigder, June 1, 2008,
Issues Its 2008 List Of World’s Most Ethical
A case can be made that stocks that are good to
invest in are usually ethical stocks. Ethisphere
shows an interesting chart that the shares of
companies they rate as most ethical continually
outperforming the S&P 500 Stock Index. They also
show the names of companies they deem as the best in
their industry groupings.
World′s Most Ethical Companies, June 3, 2008,
Investments Tied To Iran; McCain Still Deciding.
US law forbids investment by US companies in Iran.
But companies elsewhere have no obligation to do the
same. The importance of ethical investing and
business ethics in the global society is coming to
Candidates tied to Iran-tainted investments, by
Matt Kelley and Ken Dilanian, June 3, 2008, USA
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