Ethical Investing News/Commentaries:
Commentaries by Ron
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US Coming Clean On Their Political Contributions.
Finally, more US public companies are seeing fit to
provide details on their political contributions. I
believe that this sort of reporting should be
mandatory for public companies everywhere. You can
see a list of the companies providing this
information at the following link.
Political disclosure tops 50 companies, May 29,
2008, Accountability-Central.com, USA.
Students In US Rate Brands On How Green They Are
There is no single best corporation to invest in,
however, this survey of American college students
provides some insight as to what they feel are the
best, and worst, green companies today. The list is
worth a look at if you are a green investor.
Going Green for Generation Y: New Bentley College
Study Reveals Perception is Key to Attracting Young
Consumers, press release, May 22, 2008, Bentley
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Trends
Examined In FTSE 100 Companies. -
The UK’s Ethical Investment Research Services (EIRS)
has produced a report examining the ESG trends in
the FTSE 100 companies. Overall, they cite progress
on these issues. The activities of individual
companies are not mentioned.
FTSE100 snapshot: Trends in ESG performance, May
27, 2008, Ethical Investment Research Service, UK.
Biggest Givers To Charities. -
The advantage of using corporate social
responsibility to pursue corporate aims is not lost
on US companies. "Ninety-four percent of U.S.
respondents said they had donated money to community
groups or charitable causes, compared with only 65
percent of companies in other countries. And 82
percent of U.S. businesses took part in activities
related to community service, compared with 55
percent of companies elsewhere." Further, the
study states that the "main motivation [in
giving] was to promote recruitment and retention...
Given a list of reasons for engaging in corporate
social responsibility, Americans were by far the
least likely to cite ’saving the earth’ as a
motivator. In fact, only 21 percent said their
efforts were motivated by this sort of idealism,
compared with 40 percent worldwide."
The Best Cause of All, by Mark Hofman, June
2008, Inc.com, USA.
The World’s Largest Investment Consultants, Adds
Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Factors
Into its Mainstream Investment Analysis. -
Ethical investing continues to make great headway
among large traditional investment consultants. This
move by Mercer, in particular, may spur many other
consultants and money managers to adopt ESG criteria
in their analysis and holdings as well. Ethical
stocks and bonds receive yet another boost!
Demand forces managers to disclose SRI stance,
by Mark Noble, May 26, 2008, advisor.ca, Canada.
Ernst & Young
Says Islamic Funds & Investments Reach $267 billion
In GCC Countries And The Far East. -
This is their estimated total of Sharia compliant
investments. The GCC countries are: Saudi Arabia,
Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates,
the Sultanate of Oman, and the Republic of Yemen.
Some experts believe that Sharia compliant
investments are growing around 15+% a year.
Therefore, they are likely to be an increasingly
large player in world financial markets. These
investments in many ways resemble ethical investing,
however, the receipt of interest is forbidden.
Lack of diversification and human resource hiccups
’haunting.’ May 27, 2008, Gulf Daily News,
Carbon Tax By British Columbia (BC), A Canadian
Province, Set To Cost CDN$500 Million To Its
Resource Industries. -
This is going to be interesting to watch. BC is in
the forefront of introducing a carbon tax, which
comes into effect July 1. Though revenue neutral to
the government, it is not revenue neutral to
affected industries. Green investors everywhere may
want to pay attention to what happens in BC as it is
in some respects a test case, particularly for North
Carbon tax to cost exporters $500-million a year,
by Nathan VanderKlippe, May 26, 2008, Financial
F&C: 88% In
Survey Say It’s Important That Companies Act
Responsibly In Regard To Environmental, Social &
Governance Issues (ESG). -
Commenting on this survey, F&C says that London’s
financial firms are missing out on a great
opportunity by not promoting ethical investing. The
survey clearly demonstrates the potential for
ethical stocks and bonds in the UK.
City’s only ’scratching the surface’ of ethical
investment, May 26, 2008, Fair Investment
Companies Investing In States Deemed ’Terrorist’
Have Poor Returns. -
"Companies with links to regimes with
questionable human rights practices make poor
investments, financially as well as ethically...
Conducted with Bloomberg by the Genocide
Intervention Network, a private group based in the
United States, and its Sudan Divestment Task Force
project, the study will most likely bolster the
growing clamor among investors for socially
responsible policies and investment vehicles."
Hopefully, the study stands-up to statistical
scrutiny. It will be good to have some real data
supporting that investing in terrorist, dominated
jurisdictions, is not so good financially. When the
study is released on May 27 it will draw a lot of
new attention and possibly more funds into ethical
Sudan divestment campaigns gain momentum, by
Holly Hubbard Preston, May 23, 2008,
International Herald Tribune, France.
Elizabeth Building The World’s Tallest Wind Turbine.
It appears the UK’s royal family’s conversion to
alternative energy is complete. The turbine will
have a capacity of 7.5 megawatts and cost $65
million. This is a good indication that the elites
of this world are taking climate change more
Queen goes for world′s biggest wind turbine, by
Alan Harten, May 23, 2008, Fair Home, UK.
Change Risks Underestimated In Many Sectors.
Areas such as transportation, tourism, aviation,
healthcare, the financial sector, and the oil and
gas industries scored high on risks but low on
preparedness. Thus they are prone to significant
financial shocks. Ethical investors may want to
re-evaluate their holdings in these sectors.
Climate change risks tend to be underestimated -
survey, by Christy van der Merwe, May 22, 2008,
Engineering News, South Africa.
Defense Fund (EDF) Shows Companies How To Profit By
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger helped
launch EDF’s latest report on how businesses can
make money by going green. The report cites green
activities of many environmentally conscious major
corporations. Green investors might get some ideas
from this report.
Innovations Review: Making green the new business as
usual, May 20, 2008, Environmental Defense Fund,
Institutional Investors Urge US Senate On Climate
Change Legislation. -
"Organised by Ceres and the Investor Network on
Climate Risk (INCR), around 52 institutional
investors are supporting the call including the
California Public Employees’ Retirement System and
California State Teachers’ Retirement System, along
with state controllers and asset managers such as
F&C Investments and Boston Common Asset Management."
With the Bush administration on its way out, we
actually might see some real action by the US
government on climate change as the Lieberman-Warner
climate bill is set for debate nest month.
US Senate urged to tackle climate change, by
Keren Holland, May 20, 2008, Global Pensions,
Green Investments To Exceed €500 billion By 2014.
Frost and Sullivan, investment analysts, "...
reveal that the [green investment] sector has
increased by about 20 per cent between 2006 (€150bn)
and 2007 (€180.40bn), and is expected to grow at a
rate of around 18 per cent between 2007 and 2014, to
reach €572.9 billion by 2014, with huge investments
being made in green product and technology
European Green Investment market tipped to exceed
€500 billion, by Gemma Taylor, May 20, 2008,
Investment Advisors May Soon Be Required To Ask
Clients About Their Personal Values. -
The Investment Dealers Association of Canada may
soon make the ’know-thy-client’ rule mandatory, effectively requiring investment advisors to know
more about their client’s personal values. Should
this go into effect, it could provide a significant
boost to ethical investing in Canada.
Social responsibility could be a KYC issue, by
Romana King, May 16, 2008, advisor.ca, Canada.
UK Teens: 85%
Want Firms They Invest In To Not Harm The
The future for green investing in the UK is
decidedly promising as its teen population espouses
enormous support for the environment. This article
also says that teens are heavily influencing their
parents in their investment choices in favouring
ethical stocks and bonds.
Teens boost demand for ethical investors, May
19, 2008, myfinances.co.uk, UK.
Could Provide 20% Of US Energy Needs By 2030.
Finally, even the US government -- at least its
Department of Energy -- is getting on the
alternative energy bandwagon.
could provide 20% of nation’s energy, May 12,
2008, Associated Press on MSNBC, USA.
Usage Cut By Half Since 1970. -
This is good news, but the American Council for an
Energy-Efficient Economy warns that much of
energy efficiency could be wasted. Green investors
might find this report interesting from a macro
"Invisible" U.S. Energy Efficiency Boom: ACEEE
Report Finds U.S. Energy Consumption Cut in Half by
One Major Measure since 1970 … But Much of the
Untapped Energy Efficiency Potential Could Be
Wasted, May 15, 2008, American Council for an
Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), USA.
Advisors See Significant Increase In Clients
Requesting Ethical Investing Products. -
Continuing great news from the UK concerning the
growth of ethical investing in the country. This
survey by the Association of Independent Financial
Advisers’ (Aifa) finds that there has been a 23%
increase in the number of enquiries for green
investments. Also, however, 82% of advisors find it
difficult to obtain information on ethical
investing. It is helpful that the UK Social
Investment Forum has organized the National Ethical
Investment Week which begins on May 18!
Advisers report growing demand for ethical
investments, by Gemma Westacott, May 16, 2008,
FT Advisor, UK.
Responsible, Ethical Investing, Growing
Substantially Among European Churches. -
According to organizers of this Conference of
European Churches, such a conference focusing on
socially responsible investing would have been
unthinkable even five years ago. It is high time
that religious and philanthropic organizations
everywhere get behind socially responsible
investing, ethical investing, etc., if their words
and deeds are to ring true.
churches increase commitment to social investment,
May 15, 2008, Ekklesia, UK.
Companies Show Improvement On ClimateCounts
This is their second year in ranking companies on
climate change policies and activities. If you are
interested in green stocks that are good to invest
in -- you might get some useful ideas by searching
this scoreboard and understanding the company
Climate Counting More with Consumer Companies,
press release, May 7, 2008, USA. To view actual
company scores, see
Climate Counts Company Scorecard,
Put Faith In Religious Funds. -
Interesting article on the growth of morally
conscious investing in the US.
Advisers, investors put faith in Catholic funds,
by Andrew Coen, May 12, 2008, Investment News,
(Fund) Manager’s Search Trends Report Cites
Continuing Interest In Alternative Investments.
The press reports on this are interesting reading as
they give you some insight as to what global fund
managers are doing with their investments. Though
not highlighted, the report cites increased interest
in socially responsible investing.
Investors searching for a safe alternative, by
Lorna Thornber, May 12, 2008, MoneyManagement.com.au,
Alternative asset classes becoming more popular,
by Gerry O’Kane, May 12, 2008, FinanceWeek.com.uk,
Emerging Market Project Debt In 2007 Subjected To
Equator Principles. -
Very good news. In actual numbers for 2007, $52.9
billion of $74.6 billion of such financing was
subjected to the Equator Principles. The Equator
Principles came into being five years ago and are
used by financial institutions to manage social and
environmental risk in project financing.
Equator Principles vieren lustrum van milieu-besparingen
en verbeterde bedrijfspraktijken, May 8, 2008,
Netherlands Corporate News, Netherlands.
ClimateChangeCorp.com Publishes List Of Ten
Eco-Innovators To Watch. -
The list includes some well-known names -- GE,
Google and BASF -- and some not so well known names.
Green investors might spot some new areas to look at
by reviewing this list.
Ten eco-innovators to watch, by Zara Maung, May
7, 2008, ClimateChangeCorp.com, UK.
Thoughts On ’Sustainability Lists.’ -
Many such lists of top companies, concerning their
’greenness,’ sustainability credentials, etc., have
an obvious subjective bias and it is good to be
aware of these biases. Personally, when reviewing
such lists I always try to ascertain what the biases
are and the methodology behind the construction of
them. Then I determine if they relate to my personal
beliefs and values. Best to not accept them at face
Letter from America: Sustainability lists – Rankings
without reason, by Peter T. Knight, May 6, 2008,
Ethical Corporation, UK.
Investor Services Launches Unique ESG Client Alert
"... clients will now be alerted when their
portfolios are nearing or have breached limits that
they have set themselves according to environmental,
social and governance (ESG) criteria." This
seems to be a first -- as far as I know. I hope that
it spreads to more firms and covers individual
investor portfolios as well.
SRI alerts launched, by Heather Dale, May 7,
2008, Global Pensions, UK.
US Homebuilders Green Credentials. -
None are really green builders, but KB Home, Pulte,
and D.R. Horton are rated best among the leaders in
endeavouring to be more green. It is tricky finding
green building stocks that are good to invest in.
None of America’s Largest Homebuilders is Fully
Green in Environmental and Sustainable Practices,
But KB Home Ranks Highest, May 6, 2008, Calvert
Funds press release, USA.
Ethical Funds Under Management Fall £500m to £5.4bn
As Of March 31, 2008. -
This is not too surprising considering the enormous
run-up they had last year. Many of the sectors that
ethical funds invest in saw lower returns in the
first quarter as well. New retail inflows were
reduced in the quarter to £27.6m, compared to £99.7m
in the last quarter of 2007.
IMA stats reveal tracker revival, by Chris Salih,
May 7, 2008, MoneyMarketing, UK.
Commission Seeks Big Changes In US Farm Animal
Production. Current System Poses Unacceptable
It is well known that it takes much more land and
resources to feed a meat eater than a vegetarian.
The consumption of meat, in particular, is helping
to create a crises not only in the availability of
food, but also for the quality and sustainability of
our environment, and concerning human health
generally. For the sake of all of us, I hope that
westerners reduce their meat consumption to help
offset the growing demand for meat in the developing
world. Otherwise the cost of food is destined to go
much higher for many, many years to come while the
potential threats to our environment and human
health grow. Those who invest in, or who are
interesting in investing in the agricultural sector,
would be advised to read this report. It will help
them to select agricultural stocks that are good to
For a general read, see:
Pew Commission says industrial scale farm animal
production poses “Unacceptable” risks to public
health, environment, by Annie Richardson, May 2,
2008, Food Democracy, USA. To read the
report, go to:
Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal
Production in America, May 2008, by The Pew
Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School
of Public Health, USA.
Diageo & SAB Miller Best In Water Usage According To
The Ecumenical Council For Corporate Responsibility.
The Council reviewed the water usage of fifteen UK
and Irish food and beverage industries. The
executive summary is brief, but useful for anyone
assessing the environmental behaviour of companies
in the food industry. It could be seen as an
indicator of how seriously these companies take
environmental sustainability, and in that sense
assist investors as to the best socially responsible
stocks to invest in -- in these industries.
Water Sustainability: Meeting the Challenge, May
2008, The Ecumenical Council for Corporate
Has Interesting Article On Terror-Free Investing.
Millions of Americans are getting the opportunity to
invest in ’terror-free’ funds.
Rules of Disengagement, by Adam Zagorin, May 1,
2008, TIME, USA.
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