E-newsletter of Investing for the Soul November 29, 2010
Top ethical investing news for November 2010
Links may only be valid a limited time Commentaries by Ron Robins
Twitter allows me to cover more--and breaking news--to help you do better!
US SRI Assets Top $3 Trillion, Almost 1 In Every 8 Dollars Under Management. - [COMMENTARY] "SRI Assets Up 13 Percent in Current Economic Downturn, While Overall Assets Increased Less Than 1 Percent... sustainable and socially responsible investing (SRI) in the United States is continuing to grow at a faster pace than the total universe of investment assets under professional management, according to the new 2010 edition of the Social Investment Forum Foundation’s Report on Socially Responsible Investing Trends in the United States."
This is exciting news. The data that I particularly like to compare from period to period are that of retail SRI mutual funds, as I believe they best indicate how the average investor invests in relation to ethical/socially responsible investing.
In 2007, there were $171.7 billion in total
net retail SRI fund assets in 173 different funds, which rose in 2010 to
$316.1 billion in total assets in 250 different funds. In 2007 SRI
retail funds represented just under 2% of total US retail fund assets.
It appears that they are now probably over 3%. This is really good news.
2010 Moskowitz Prize Winner Shows Companies With Environmental Concerns Pay More For Debt. - [COMMENTARY] "An academic paper that shows that environmental concerns such as litigation and regulation mean that exposed companies are paying up to 64 basis points (0.64%) more for their debt, has won the 2010 Moskowitz Prize, the only global award recognizing outstanding quantitative research in the field of socially responsible investing (SRI). The paper by Rob Bauer, the former head of research at ABP, the Dutch pension fund, and Daniel Hann, a PhD student, both of Maastricht University’s European Centre for Corporate Engagement (ECCE), studied the environmental profile and debt costs of 582 US public corporations between 1995 and 2006."
This is a significant paper. It informs
companies to be proactive in regard to environmental concerns--or pay
much higher rates for their debt! Congratulations to Rob Bauer.
US Investor Group File Shareholder
Resolutions At Accenture, IBM, Pepsi and Pfizer, To Review Policies &
Oversight Of Political Expenditures Through Trade Associations.
"The investors said that despite good corporate governance records,
the four companies were compliant to political lobbying by the Chamber
of Commerce against issues such as healthcare reform and climate change.
US SRI investors and the country’s Chamber of Commerce have locked horns
over numerous issues in recent years including climate change,
engagement, proxy access and say-on-pay." It seems the stated aims
of these companies could be at odds with those of the Chamber of
Commerce. These companies, and many others for that matter, need to come
clean with their politics.
Islamic Financial Assets To Reach $1.5
Trillion By 2012. - [COMMENTARY]
"The Islamic finance assets base is likely to reach $1.5 trillion by
2012 with bright future growth prospects, according to a senior expert
at the Islamic Development Bank." For those not familiar with
Islamic finance, it has aspects to it that some ethical investors find
appealing. See my article,
The Rise of Islamic Finance.
Malaysia's Stock Exchange To Launch SRI Index. - [COMMENTARY] "Bursa Malaysia [Malaysia's stock exchange] is working towards establishing an environmental, social and governance (ESG) index to influence public-listed companies to adopt sustainability practices in their business operations. The proposed ESG index is also expected to attract socially responsible investment (SRI) funds into the country."
Incidentally, Malaysia is also a world
leader in Islamic finance. SR/ethical investing has huge support there,
right up to, and including, their prime minister.
Socially Responsible/Ethical Investors
Favouring Bonds. - [COMMENTARY]
"A surge of interest in fixed income within the SRI space has divided
industry experts. While latest figures show investors increasingly
looking to bonds for SRI portfolios, some specialists play down the
significance of this move." It seems that ethical investors are
little different to conventional investors in this regard. As most
people know, they have also been favouring bonds.
Gold Company, IAMGOLD Corp., Wins CSR Award. - [COMMENTARY] "IAMGOLD was recognized for having established over 28 community and NGO partnerships companywide, in Suriname, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Canada and French Guiana... The Conference is convened to celebrate and showcase excellence in the area of Social, Economic and Environmental sustainability. The driving force behind the Conference is Algonquin College with strong support from four Ontario academic institutions: Carleton University, La Cite Collegiale, the University of Ottawa and the University of Waterloo as well as Red River College in Manitoba."
the universities and colleges backing this award, it is significant that
a gold mining company won it. Barrick Gold Corp., the world's largest
gold producer, also, in recent days, appears to be getting very
proactive in its CSR activities too. Perhaps the extractive industries
are starting to get the CSR message?
Tatas, Reliance, Infosys & ITC Top BT
Sustainable Development Index (India). -
"Developed in partnership with global public opinion company
GlobeScan, the BT SD Index findings are based on a survey of 253 senior,
academic, corporate, government, media and NGO leaders from all over
India and measure perception about business performance on sustainable
development indicators and not actual performance."
Ethical investors in
emerging markets might like to review the BT Sustainable Development
(SD) Index. It assesses the business performance in India companies in
Investors Representing $15 Trillion In
Assets Call For US Action On Climate Change.
Australian/New Zealand Demand For
Responsible Investment Products Doubles In One Year. -
"In a time when many are still reeling from the effects of the global
financial crisis, the consumer demand for responsible investment
products has almost doubled with ethical advisor portfolios growing an
extraordinary 50% from AU $972 million to AU $1.46 billion after a
decrease of 21% in the 2009." Despite its critics,
responsible-ethical investing is growing around the planet.
New Study Says That SRI Performs Best In
Less Volatile Markets. -
"We find a positive relationship between the idiosyncratic risk (i.e.
unsystematic risk) and
This is an
interesting piece of research from a new perspective--that of how SRI
performs in markets of differing volatility.
Carbon Disclosure Project Releases Results Of Questionnaire On Water Use At 137 Companies. - [COMMENTARY] "The CDP, which is backed by 137 institutional investors representing $16trn (€11.7bn) of assets, sent out its inaugural water questionnaire to 302 of the world’s 500 largest companies in the FTSE Global Equity Index Series."
'Water is the new oil' is a common phrase
these days. Its scarcity in coming years is going to lead to enormous
changes for societies--and for innumerable companies. This is a first
rate report on the subject.
TBLI Conference Names Sustainalytics As
Best ESG Research House. -
"Sustainalytics, also known as Jantzi-Sustainalytics in North America
because of its connection to Canadian SRI pioneer Michael Jantzi, was
named Best ESG Research House at the TBLI Conference Europe 2010 in
London this week." Congratulations to Sustainalytics and especially
to Michal Jantzi and friends at Jantzi-Sustainalytics.
8% Of UK Savers Have Green & Ethical
Investments; 37% More Want To Do So Soon.
"Penny Shepherd MBE, UKSIF Chief Executive, said: 'Recent
environmental and economic crises have made people think more carefully
about the long term impacts
just ended a very successful promotional week in the UK for ethical
investing. Well done to all involved. The US, Canada and other countries
should promote such a week too!
73% Of UK Public Want British Banks To
Have Ethical Lending Policies. -
"73% of the British public think that banks should have ethical
lending policies in place to prevent them from investing in, or lending
to, companies involved in controversial areas such as arms
manufacturing, or companies with poor records on the environment and
human rights, according to new research released today." The
interest in ethical finance and investing appears to be an unstoppable
trend, not only in the UK, but around the world. However, this
contrasts, I believe quite sharply, with the lack of teeth in new
financial regulations that have appeared in the US, EU, or in Basel 3,
UK Ethical Investing Shows Biggest
Annual Increase In Past Decade. -
"The amount of money saved or invested ethically by consumers has
shown its biggest annual increase in a decade according to a new report
released today (6 November) by
Most Chinese Companies Uninvolved In
"More than 70 percent of China's top corporations do not engage in
corporate social responsibility, according to a recent report by the
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CAS)... There were 300 companies
that participated in the evaluation, and only China Ocean Shipping Group
Company (COSCO) scored 80 points, putting it into the 'excellent'
category." I suppose this is not unexpected. However, I suspect that
the Chinese do want to do better in regard to CSR given the recent bad
publicity of worker suicides at some of their factories.
New US SEC Proxy Vote Rule Not For 2011.
CalSTERS Threatens Legal Action. -
"The US Securities & Exchange Commission has said it does not expect
proxy access (the ability to nominate company directors for a
shareholder vote) to be available to investors for the 2011 AGM season,
following a legal challenge from the US Chamber of Commerce and Business
Roundtable. The legal action taken at the end of September by
Continuing, "In August, the SEC approved rules to give shareholders who own 3% of a company’s stock for at least three years the right to have their board nominee included in companies’ proxy materials."
It seems to me that the Chamber of Commerce
fears too many corporate boards and board members will be threatened
with the new SEC ruling. After all, shareholders may actually want to
replace some board members and boards! The new SEC ruling allows the
opportunity to get more corporate boards truly focused on environmental,
social and governance (ESG) matters. I hope that the pressure from
CalSTERS and others moves the SEC to implement the rule soon!
Recent Commentaries by Ron Robins on Alrroya.com
Religion: A Force In Ethical & Green Investing, November 11, 2010.
Gold Price Suppression: The Hidden Truth, November 25, 2010.
Note: Articles are linked to the original source. Some sites may require registration, and may, or may not, archive stories. All links were active at the time of publication.
Disclaimer: Neither The Soul Investor nor Ron Robins make investment recommendations. Nothing in this newsletter should be interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation to buy/sell any securities or investments. The Soul Investor is a source of general information and resources for spiritual investing, ethical investing, and socially responsible investing (SRI). Investors should consider their actions thoroughly and consult their professional advisers prior to taking any investment action. The Soul Investor does not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed in articles in its newsletter or offered on the web pages to which it might be linked. Such opinions are the responsibility of the writers themselves. Furthermore, The Soul Investor does not offer or provide any warranties, representations, guarantees, implied or otherwise, as to the accuracy, legality, copyright compliance, timeliness or usefulness of the information, materials or services in this e-newsletter, or other sites, to which it might be linked. Also, Mr. Ron Robins is not an investment advisor, nor is he licensed with any professional investment related body, and thus is not able to, nor does he make, any investment recommendations.
The Soul Investor is a publication of Investing for the Soul, a registered business name in Ontario, Canada. Copyright © 2010 Ron Robins. All rights reserved.