Ethical Investing News/Commentaries
Commentaries by Ron
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Germany Acts to Increase Limits On High-Speed
"Germany intends to be one of the first countries to
try to put the brakes on high-frequency trading, the
computer-driven force that has been rattling stock
markets across the globe."
Congratulations to Germany! High-speed traders,
by the very speed of their computers and frequent
preferential trade data treatment from exchanges,
disadvantages general retail investors and is
causing increasing volatility in stocks and
commodities. It’s outrageous and unethical that western
securities’ regulators haven’t done much more to
regulate their activities.
Germany Acts to Increase Limits on High-Speed
Trades, by Melissa Eddy and James Kanter,
September 25, 2012, The New York Times, USA.
SRI Funds And Rivals So Alike, Says Study.
"A study published this month by AfU Investor
Research on the ESG Performance of European
Investment funds concludes SRI funds are no more
sustainable than their peers. While socially
responsible investing funds are not “conventional
funds in disguise”, their ESG records are similar to
those of their traditional rivals."
This is a common criticism of many SRI funds--and
it’s largely correct for a lot of them. I’ve always
said that for people who have the means to create a
diversified portfolio with say, 12-15 stocks and
some fixed income assets, might be better off in
being able to find stocks that really mirror their
values while significantly lowering their long-term
costs thus improving their chances for better
SRI funds and rivals so alike, by Ellen
Kelleher, September 23, 2012, Financial Times, UK.
Global Islamic Finance Set To Double By 2015,
Says Standard And Poor’s.
"Global Islamic Finance is set to double in size
between 2011 and 2015 with the sector increasingly
viewed as a real alternative to conventional
finance, according to Standard & Poor’s (S&P)...
Sukuk [Islamic bonds] issuance looks set to cross
the $100bn threshold in September 2012, and is
projected by S&P to grow 25% [annually] over
2012-2015 to reach about $200bn a year in 2015."
This means the Islamic finance market reaching $2.5 to
$3.0 trillion by 2015. As I’ve mentioned in the
past, Islamic finance and investment is something
ethical investors should become aware of and some
might even want to see what it offers them.
Global Islamic finance set to double by 2015, says
Standard and Poor’s, press release, September
20, 2012, Standard & Poor’s, Saudi Arabia.
Weather Events Drive Climate Change Up Boardroom
Agenda In 2012.
"Following increasing incidents of extreme weather
events which disrupted business operations and
supply chains around the world, climate change has
climbed the boardroom agenda, according to the
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Global 5001 Climate
Change report released today. With the hottest US
summer on record, fires in Russia and flooding in
the UK, Japan and Thailand, among other events, 81%
of reporting companies now identify physical risk
from climate change, with 37% perceiving these risks
as a real and present danger, up from 10% in 2010."
Finally, corporate boards of major companies
believe, and are hopefully acting on, climate change.
This is good news--especially for ethical
Extreme weather events drive climate change up
boardroom agenda in 2012, press release,
September 12, 2012, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP),
Investing – We Need A Bigger Boat, Study By Towers
"Asset owners and asset managers around the world
are struggling with what it means to be a
sustainable investor. Here we consider sustainable
investing in its broadest sense, incorporating ESG
but also looking at the large inter-generational
issues that institutional funds need to take into
account. We draw on research undertaken in
collaboration with Oxford University that was
designed to help investors overcome the challenge of
sustainable investing by exploring practical
solutions and processes to enable investors to
become sustainable investors." This is a useful
read for ethical investors and fund managers.
Sustainable investing – we need a bigger boat,
study (download) September 2012, Towers
Watson/Oxford University, UK.
Sustainability Gains Importance For Private Equity
"’"This study confirms that ESG management amongst
private equity funds now goes well beyond the
commendable programs of early adopters. The majority
of funds surveyed are working to generate higher
returns from actively addressing these issues,’ said
Andrew Malk, managing partner of MSP, in a
statement. ’In a private equity investing
environment that demands more operational
involvement to create value, ESG management
practices are being deployed as effective new tools
in the investor’s growing toolbox.’" It could be
that private equity is ahead in implementing ESG!
Sustainability gains importance for private equity
funds, by Lenika Cruz, September 11, 2012,
SRI As Part
Of Decision-Making Expected To Increase, Survey
"Some 61.8% of SRI investment professionals expect
institutional investor acceptance of socially
responsible investing and integration of
environmental, social and governance in the
investment decision process to increase over the
next 12 months, according to survey results released
Wednesday." Mind you, the survey respondents
were a pretty biased group--all SRI investment
professionals. Nonetheless, it’s good to see them so
SRI as part of decision-making expected to increase,
survey finds, by Barry B. Burr, September 5,
2012, Pensions & Investments, USA.
With $2 Trillion In Assets Say Executive
Remuneration, Climate Change & Labour Standards Most
Important Issues For Future Company Engagement.
"Institutional investors managing more than $2
trillion in assets have identified executive
remuneration, climate change and supply chain labour
standards as priority areas for engagement with
companies in their portfolios over the coming year,
according to a new survey by the United
Nations-backed Principles of Responsible Investment
The news that mainstream fund managers are
increasingly interested in what are in effect ESG
issues is gratifying for all ethical investors.
Institutional investors managing $US2 trillion
prioritise executive remuneration, climate change
and labour standards for future company engagement
activity, press release, September 5, 2012,
Test Capturing Of Carbon In Canada.
"In a bid to make oil sands production less
polluting, Royal Dutch Shell announced on Wednesday
that it would go forward with the first carbon
capture and storage project ever tried in the fields
of western Canada... The Shell project, with an
estimated cost of about 1.35 billion Canadian
dollars ($1.36 billion), will be heavily subsidized
by the Canadian federal government and the
provincial government of Alberta, which together are
putting in 865 million Canadian dollars (about $874
million) over more than a decade."
Will it work? I doubt if this will encourage many
ethical investors to go overboard to invest in the
Shell to Test Capturing of Carbon in Canada, by
Clifford Krauss, September 5, 2012, The New York
Times (blog), USA.
Economists & Financial Industry Leaders Advocate
New Financial Industry Fiduciary Standards.
"The rationale for an Institute for the Fiduciary
Standard is straightforward: The fiduciary standard
is important, representing ideas central to our form
of government and free market economy; it is under
significant pressures from market forces that could
sharply limit its reach; no other entity is solely
focused on preserving and promoting the fiduciary
This is a very promising endeavour. However, the
fact that it just came to my attention even though
the Institute has been operational for about a year,
indicates to me how little the real financial and
political leadership wants it publicized. Thanks to
Joe Killoran for informing me of this Institute.
Institute for the Fiduciary Standard, USA.
Of More Tragedies Like Marikana--Where 34 Miners
Were Shot Dead.
"The Marikana stand-off will not be an isolated
incident if South African mining companies continue
to ignore their corporate social responsibilities."
What a terrible, horrific tragedy. This report says that the
CSR practices are atrocious among the mining
companies in South Africa’s North-West platinum belt
where the Marikana workers were on strike.
Report warns of more tragedies like Marikana, by
Fiona MacLeod, September 2, 2012, Mail & Guardian,
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