Ethical Investing News/Commentaries:
Commentaries by Ron
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Investors With $546 billion In Assets Lobby US
Senate To Allow The Environmental Protection Agency
To Regulate Greenhouse Gases. -
[COMMENTARY] "We are 44 investors
with $546 billion in assets under management writing
to urge you and your colleagues to allow the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to move
forward with its greenhouse gas regulations and to
oppose any constraints on EPA’s authority to do so."
It is astonishing to think that US elected
officials would take-away such an important
regulatory framework. Many in the US Congress and
elsewhere believe the EPA will be anti-business,
thus there opposition.
Investors With $546 billion In Assets Lobby US
Senate To Allow The EPA To Regulate Greenhouse
Gases, letter to US Senators, March 29, 2011,
Societe Generale Launches New SRI Investment
Whose Management Fees Go To Charity. -
[COMMENTARY] "Societe Generale
has launched its first Socially Responsible
Investment Exchange Traded Note (SRIETN) on the
London Stock Exchange (LSE) donating all the
management fees to Teenage Cancer
Trust." This is a new welcome twist! I hope that
some others follow this lead.
Societe General Launches New Socially Responsible
Investment Exchange Traded Note Donating All
Management Fees to Teenage Cancer Trust, press
release, March 31, 2011, Societe Generale, UK.
Responsible Investment Can Outperform. -
[COMMENTARY] "In a review of
recent academic literature on sustainable
investment, Kimberly Gladman, Director of Research
and Risk Analytics at GovernanceMetrics
International (GMI) has identified more than two
dozen studies published during the past three years
that focus 'on the empirical impact of responsible
investment strategies on performance.' From these
studies, Gladman has written a review entitled Ten
Things to Know About Responsible Investment &
Continuing, "One report, she writes, 'Found
that (funds) sponsored by management companies
specializing in responsible investment significantly
outperformed conventional funds. Those run by
generalist companies, however, underperformed.'"
Good overview of responsible-ethical investing.
Definitions May Vary, but Sustainable Investment Can
Outperform, by Robert Kropp, March 25, 2011,
US Drops To Third In Clean Energy Investment. -
[COMMENTARY] "The United States
fell one spot to third place in clean-energy
investment last year as the lack of a national
energy policy hurt purchases in wind and solar power
and other technologies, a report said on Tuesday.
China came in first and Germany second, according to
the report "Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race" by
the Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent, nonprofit
I just read that President Obama wants to reduce
US oil imports by one-third over ten years and is
getting behind a plan to use alternative/renewable
energy. Let's hope he is serious this time!
U.S. drops to 3rd in clean-energy investment: Pew,
by Timothy Gardner, March 29, 2011, Reuters, USA.
Province Of Ontario, Canada, Requiring
Pension Funds To Report On Sustainability Of
[COMMENTARY] "In a first for
North America, the province will require pension
plans to report to regulators on the sustainability
of their investments, helping to protect pensioners
and guard against systemic risk. The surprise
measure unveiled in the province's annual budget
will compel pension plans to disclose whether they
have given consideration to environmental, social
and governance risks when investing on behalf of
Well done Ontario! Hopefully, many other North
American jurisdictions will follow.
Ontario leads on sustainable investment of pension
funds, press release, March 29, 2011, Service
Employees International Union Canada (SEIUC),
Americans Polled On Issues Related To Green
[COMMENTARY] "As I have done for
the past several years (see 2007, 2008, 2009, and
2010), I've waded through the latest tranche of data
-- nearly a score of research reports from major
agencies (Gallup, Harris, Ogilvy), boutique firms (BBMG,
Cone, Shelton) and some lesser-knowns (Mambo Sprouts
Marketing, anyone?) -- that has come out over the
past several months. It's a tedious, mind-numbing
exercise, to be sure." This is a worthwhile read for
anyone interested in green investing.
Earth Day and the Polling of America 2011, by
Joel Makower, March 28, 2011, GreenBiz, USA.
US Utilities: Dominion, Southern Company & PPL
Corporation, To Provide More Information On Water
Use Due To Shareholder Pressure. -
[COMMENTARY] "The agreements come
as prolonged droughts, growing water demand and
climate change place increasing stress on water
supplies and create challenges for electric power
producers in many parts of the United States. Power
plants, including nuclear, coal, oil and natural
gas, account for 40 percent of the nation’s
freshwater withdrawals..." All big water users
should provide such information without shareholders
having to pressure them.
Water Scarcity Risks Grow, Investors Persuade
Electric Utilities to Disclose Water Management
Plans, press release, March 23, 2011, courtesy
Responsible Investor, Ceres, USA.
UK Government To Establish A Green Bank. -
[COMMENTARY] "Chancellor George
Osborne announced in yesterday's Budget that the new
bank will be launched next year, and will have £3
billion to promote green investment - treble the
original sum proposed... The Chancellor said the
bank would support low-carbon development where the
returns were too long-term or too risky for the
market to invest. He said it would lever in £15bn of
private sector investment during the life of the
successful, many other governments may follow.
However, I just hope that it's not government
bureaucrats that really run it!
Budget 'boosts city's claim as home of UK green
bank,' by Ian Swanson, March 24, 2011,
Can Companies Stay With US Chamber of Commerce
If Chambers Actions Contradict Their Policies?
- [COMMENTARY] "Resolutions will be
filed at IBM and PepsiCo asking them to explain
their position." This is a valid concern and
reflects directly on their ethical, or unethical,
Can big US companies stay with the Chamber of
Commerce when it contradicts their own policies?
By Steve Viederman, March 23, 2011, Responsible
Calvert Recognized By Shared Interest For Investing In South
African Low Income Communities. -
[COMMENTARY] "At its 17th Annual
Awards Dinner, Shared Interest, a leading non-profit
social investment fund, paid tribute to two
pioneering financial institutions for investing in
the well-being of South Africa's low-income
communities and advancing economic and social
rights. The Awards Dinner recognized Calvert
Investments and Calvert Foundation for their
commitment to socially responsible investment to
rebuild and serve South Africa's poor communities.
Prudential Financial, Inc. received the Corporate
Award for serving as a leading example of corporate
citizenship and social responsibility." Well
done Calvert. They have a long history in SRI.
Interest Honors Leading U.S. Financial Institutions,
March 17, 2011, CNBC, USA.
Shale Gas Fracking Debate Heats Up. -
campaigners that are raising fears over shale gas
extraction might just be cutting off their nose to
spite their face, argues Jon Entine." I do not
normally post such things, but I came upon this and
thought that this is such a hot topic among ethical
investors that it would add to the discussion.
Natural gas: Getting fractious over fracking, by
Jon Entine, February 25, 2011, Ethical Corporation,
SHARE Canada Reports On Proxy Voting Of Canadian
Institutional Shareholders. -
[COMMENTARY] "When they cast
their votes at annual meetings, institutional
shareholders are showing a growing intolerance for
poor governance practices according the 10th annual
Canadian Key Proxy Vote Survey. They are also more
willing to tell the public how they are fulfilling
their duty to vote in their clients’ interests. Over
the last five years, the proportion of survey
respondents publicly disclosing their voting record
has grown from 11% (2005) to 42% this year."
Canadian institutional investors are gradually
voting more openly and responsibly--which is
continuing good news.
SHARES 10th annual Canadian Key Proxy Vote Survey
March 15, 2011, SHARE, Canada.
Two-Thirds Of The World's Top 100 Brands Failing
On Climate Change, Says EIRIS. -
[COMMENTARY] "Looking back over
the last three years, our analysis finds encouraging
signs that companies have made improvement in their
response to climate change in the shape of improved
governance, better strategies and
more disclosure. However, no company achieved an
‘advanced’ assessment in their response to climate
change, suggesting significant scope for improvement
remains." This is a very good study that ethical
investors might want to review, courtesy of
Cool Brands versus Hot Brands? March 7, 2011,
Corporate Responsibility Magazine Announces Its
12th Annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens List. -
[COMMENTARY] Their top three are
Johnson Controls Inc., Campbell Soup Co. and
International Business Machines Corp. You can review
their methodology in great detail should you wish
Corporate Responsibility Magazine announces its 12th
annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, March
3, 2011, CR Magazine, USA.
Stoxx Launches 3 Islamic Indexes. -
[COMMENTARY] "The Stoxx Europe
Islamic index and two blue-chip sub-indices, Stoxx
Europe Islamic 50 and Euro Stoxx Islamic 50, will
measure the performance of sharia-compliant
companies selected from the Stoxx Europe 600 index."
More such indexes are always welcome. It shows a
growing interest and recognition of Islamic finance
Stoxx expands with sharia-compliant indices, by
Aamina Zafar, March 3, 2011, FT Advisor, UK.
US Oil Giants Ask SEC To Eliminate Proxy Votes
Related To Environment. -
[COMMENTARY] "US oil majors
including Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Occidental are
seeking SEC approval to write off shareholder
resolutions lodged by institutional investors on
environmental issues from votes at their forthcoming
annual general meetings (AGMs). Their lawyers have
written to the US regulator seeking assurance that
it will not act against them if the proposals are
omitted from the shareholder proxy voting form ahead
of the AGMs, according to SEC filings. The process
is entirely legitimate."
I believe though this might be legal, it is a
terrible backward step. All ethical investors should
be concerned about this. US socially responsible
investors and groups should let the SEC know how
they feel on this topic.
US oil majors petition SEC to write off
environmental shareholder resolutions from AGM
votes, by Daniel Brooksbank, March 2, 2011,
Responsible Investor, UK.
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