E-newsletter of Investing for the Soul May 30, 2013
Top ethical investing news for May 2013
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!
Survey: Most Would Boycott Irresponsible Company. - [COMMENTARY] "Nine out of 10 consumers say they would boycott companies that are being irresponsible, according to an international "corporate social responsibility" report being released Wednesday. And it's more than theoretical exercise: More than half of consumers in 10 countries say they have refused to buy a product in the past year because of what they saw as bad corporate behavior, according to the report by marketing and public relations agency Cone Communications, which has specialties in cause marketing and corporate social responsibility."
Obviously, activist consumers are necessary to hold companies to
account. Hopefully, this trend will continue. Ethical investors will
benefit greatly from it.
Shareholders Press Companies To Disclose More About Political Spending. - [COMMENTARY] "As regulators wrestle with whether to force companies to disclose more about their political spending, an increasing number of shareholders are taking matters into their own hands, thrusting the issue before boards of directors at companies across the country. The number of shareholder proposals demanding more transparency in political spending has more than doubled since 2010, jumping from 61 to 128 this proxy season, according to the Sustainable Investments Institute, a research group that tracks the issue."
It seems obvious to me and most ethical investors that companies should
disclose all political contributions. Transparency of all spending
should be available to shareholders. Company boards and officers should
not be allowed to secretly support their political favourites with
European Responsible Investment Grown 19% Since 2010.
- [COMMENTARY] "Assets under
management in European responsible investment funds now total €237.9
billion (£201 billion) – a 19% increase since 2010 – according to a
survey by the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry (ALFI). The
European Responsible Investment Fund Survey, published by accountancy
giant KPMG on behalf of ALFI, found that the proportion of responsible
investment assets compared to the total had increased by 1.6%." In
time, most of the conventional fund industry will also move towards a
responsible-ethical investing approach. They will realize that
evaluating investments on an ESG basis simply makes more money.
Investor Group Proposes ESG Disclosure Rules.
- [COMMENTARY] "The Ceres-led
Investor Network on Climate Risk has proposed that companies listed on
US and global stock exchanges be required to include a series of
environmental, social and governance sustainability disclosures in their
annual financial filings." It's good that CSR/SRI groups maintain
their pressure on regulatory authorities on this issue, as regulators
are less likely to make such changes without it.
Has Sustainability Become A Risky Business? - [COMMENTARY] "A new report released by Ernst & Young presents a disconcerting paradox when it comes to corporate sustainability efforts. While more companies are concerned about increased risk and proximity of natural resource shortages, corporate risk response appears to be inadequate to address the scope and scale of some of these challenges."
As in most human activities, it's only when a crises hits that remedial
and proactive action to mitigate future problems are enacted. So, it's
not surprising to find companies poorly prepared to address future
material sustainability issues.
Report: Half of U.S. Fracking Wells Are Drilled In Highly Water-Stressed Regions. - [COMMENTARY] "A report released last week maps the relationship between water stress and the unconventional oil and gas reserves that have pushed the boom, while outlining actions energy companies can take to improve resource management. Nearly half of the wells drilled in the U.S. in recent years, 47 percent, are located in river basins with high or extremely high risk of water stress, according to the report from Ceres, a nonprofit that works with investors, businesses and credit rating agencies to identify environmental risks in business models."
Will the fracking boom be cut dry due to water scarcities? It could
Investor Attitudes, Investment Screen Use, And Socially Responsible Investment Behavior. - [COMMENTARY] "We find that four out of five components of the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale, a measure of basic environmental attitudes, are associated with specific attitudes towards environmentally responsible investment. These specific attitudes in turn are positively associated with SRI screen use, and SRI screen use is positively associated with the percentage of investors’ portfolio held in SRIs. There is also a significant direct relationship between specific environmentally responsible investment attitudes and SRI holdings. Our results suggest that there are complex, multi-dimensional relationships between investor attitudes, SRI screen use, and investment behavior."
Though these are unsurprising findings I do believe this type of
research is useful.
Phil Angelides Wins Joan Bavaria Award For Promoting Sustainable
Markets. - [COMMENTARY]
"Phil Angelides has been awarded the fifth-annual Joan Bavaria Award for
Building Sustainability into the Capital Markets. The announcement was
made today, the first day of the annual Ceres Conference, which is
running May 1-2 at The Fairmont in San Francisco, CA." Awards such
as these help spur interest in sustainable and ethical investing. That's
why I like to mention them.
Global Women's Equity Fund A First For Canada.
- [COMMENTARY] "In a first for the
Canadian investment landscape, the Global Women’s Equity Fund announced
today that it is almost ready to launch.'This fund is great for society,
great for women and a unique concept that didn’t exist here in Canada'
said Chief Marketing Officer Alexis Klein. The fund will invest
primarily in equity securities of companies that have demonstrated their
support of women’s causes and are leaders in promoting gender equality
in the workplace." This fund will serve an interesting niche. It's
already known that where women are well represented on company boards,
the boards function better and the companies have relatively higher
earnings. I wish the find sincere best wishes.
Most Firms Don’t Report GHG Emissions, Report Says.
- [COMMENTARY] "Only 37
percent of the world’s largest companies report their greenhouse gas
emissions fully and correctly, according to research from the
Environmental Investment Organisation." Again, not an unsurprising
outcome. It's interesting to see who does report though.
India's BSE Launches Broad-Based Islamic Index.
- [COMMENTARY] "May 1 (Reuters) -
Mumbai's stock exchange (BSE) has launched an Islamic equity index based
on the wide-measure S&P BSE 500 index, providing a new benchmark for
Islamic investors in one of the world's largest stock exchanges."
This index could a real winner, especially in India's huge Muslim
Featured New Book
The Short Guide to Sustainable Investing, by Cary Krosinsky, Do
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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 © 2013 Ron Robins. All rights reserved.