Ethical Investing News/Commentaries
Commentaries by Ron
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The carbon taxes we’re already paying.
"The world’s 3,000 biggest companies, according to a
U.N. Environment Program report, cause $2.15
trillion in annual environmental costs, most of
which are not accounted for in their profit/loss
[COMMENTARY] This is a good article
describing the carbon ’taxes’ that we’re already
paying and asks who should pay them!
The carbon taxes we’re already paying, by Mark
Shapiro, July 29, 2014, Justmeans, USA.
Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy Deployment
2014, Ceres. "Benchmarking Utility Clean
Energy Deployment assembles data from more than 10
sources, including state Renewable Portfolio
Standard (RPS) annual reports, U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission 10-K filings and Public Utility
Commission reports, to show how 32 of the largest
U.S. investor-owned electric utility holding
companies stack up on renewable energy and energy
[COMMENTARY] This is a terrific
review of the major public US energy utilities
concerning their clean energy development and
performance. As we know, many investment advisors
regard energy utilities as one of those basic
holdings, but for ethical investors they are often a
problem because of their carbon footprints. This
review should help ethical investors gain a better
perspective on these utilities. You have to register
for the free report.
Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy Deployment 2014,
July 2014, Ceres, USA.
9 key trends in corporate sustainability
reporting. "Nearly three-quarters of
sustainability professionals ranked CSR above seven
out of 10 in relation to their business objectives
(with one being low and 10 being high.) Meanwhile,
most organizations dedicate between $34,000 and
$84,000 of their budget to CSR reporting activity."
[COMMENTARY] For investors, this
provides an interesting perspective on how
sustainability professionals within corporations
rate who and what’s important to them. Interestingly, 45%
said that the most important stakeholder group for
their CSR strategy was customers, while investors
and boards were a distant 20%.
9 key trends in corporate sustainability reporting,
by Victoria Knowles, July 23, 2014, GreenBiz, USA.
Survey: Increasing number of professionals
value sustainability as reason to invest. "A
survey of more than 360 international investment
professionals on sustainable investment has outlined
how environmental, social and governance (ESG)
policies are becoming increasingly fundamental for
the sector. The survey, by Thomson Reuters and the
UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF),
assessed 179 buy-side firms and 14 brokerage firms
and research houses."
[COMMENTARY] See my commentary for
the post immediately below.
Survey: Increasing number of professionals value
sustainability as reason to invest, by Ilaria
Bertini, July 17, 2014, Blue & Green Tomorrow, UK.
Fixed income managers shift focus to ESG.
"A majority of global fixed income managers are
now taking environmental, social and governance (ESG)
factors into serious consideration, according to a
JANA survey. The JANA ESG in Fixed Interest Survey,
which recorded the responses of 63 of the largest
fixed income managers, found 88 per cent of
respondents believe ESG factors influence the
financial outcomes of fixed income investments."
[COMMENTARY] The good news confirming
the mainstreaming of ESG in investment analyses
continues. However, according to other more in-depth
research (I believer by Mercer, particularly),
analysts who say they consider ESG factors in their
work generally only utilize it in a peripheral
manner. They have yet to fully systemize and
integrate it in their research work.
Fixed income managers shift focus to ESG, staff
reporter, July 15, 2016, Investor Daily, Australia.
US corporate polluters are almost never
prosecuted for their crimes. "More than
64,000 facilities are currently listed in [EPA]
databases as being in violation of federal
environmental laws, but in most years, fewer than
one-half of one percent of violations trigger
criminal investigations, according to EPA records."
[COMMENTARY] Before investing in a
company, I’ve always advocated that ethical
investors might want to check what environmental
regulations a company might’ve broken and understand
the possible legal penalties. Well, now we know that
in the US the likelihood of costly environmental
penalties are mostly nil. What a farce! And this
is a nation that boasts about its ’rule of law.’
Unfortunately, it seems that US legislators
purposely starve its regulatory agencies of funds
(SEC, CTFC, EPA, etc.) due to the successful
lobbying and manipulative efforts of potentially
affected corporations--who just happen to be
significant contributors to their political
campaigns. There are names for this style of
government--but I won’t offend my US readers by
Corporate polluters are almost never prosecuted for
their crimes, by John Upton, July 15, 2014,
World Council of Churches pulls fossil fuel
investments. "An umbrella group of churches,
which represents over half a billion Christians
worldwide, has decided to pull its investments out
of fossil fuel companies. The move by the World
Council of Churches, which has 345 member churches
including the Church of England but not the Catholic
church, was welcomed as a ’major victory’ by climate
campaigners who have been calling on companies and
institutions such as pension funds, universities and
local governments to divest from coal, oil and gas."
[COMMENTARY] This is a terrific step
forward for coping with climate change. It will make
many of their followers do the same and possibly
even more. Exxon, Shell and other major oil and gas
companies have been downplaying any possibility of
carbon use restrictions ever happening. This is one
of the first indications that a groundswell of
public opinion to limit first, investments, and then
carbon use, can and will happen. This is continuing
good news for renewable fuels and bad news for
carbon-based companies. Thank you,
Desislava Dechkova, for bringing this article to my
World Council of Churches pulls fossil fuel
investments, by Adam Vaughan, July 11, 2014, The
New Vatican bank chief vows focus on
’Catholic, ethical investments.’ "The newly
appointed head of the Vatican’s bank, the Institute
for Religious Works, pledged on Wednesday to focus
on ’Catholic, ethical investments,’ as part of plans
to clean up the scandal-plagued institution. Over
the decades, the Vatican bank has been involved in a
long list of financial scandals, allegedly offering
safe haven to the funds of Italian mobsters,
politicians and entrepreneurs, going beyond its
prime remit of assisting worldwide church
[COMMENTARY] Of all the religious
institutions that should invest according to
spiritual and ethical principles, you would think
that the Vatican Bank would’ve been in the
forefront. I guess it’s better late than not doing
it at all. Hopefully, the Vatican Bank will become a
major force for spiritual and ethical investing. If
it’s able to influence Catholics everywhere to
invest similarly, then it’ll help create a better
world for everyone, both Catholics and non-Catholics
New Vatican bank chief vows focus on `Catholic,
ethical investments,’ by Alvise Armellini, July
9, 2014, The Record, Canada.
Millenials favour impact investing, real
assets. "The number of Millennials that own
or employ socially responsible investments is
significantly higher than in any other age group,
according to a study that explores family dynamics
in wealthy families. US Trusts′ Insights on Wealth
and Worth 2014 found that 63% of Millennials, those
born between 1980 and 2000, own or are interested in
socially responsible investments compared with 40%
of Generation X. Generation X is defined as people
born between 1960 and 1980."
[COMMENTARY] Perhaps it is that
millenials--who are now starting careers and
families--think more about the long-term for
themselves and their kids and realize that they want
a better, future world. If so, it offers promise for
improved societal ethics, a better climate change
response and the mainstreaming of ethical investing.
Millenials favour impact investing, real assets,
by Michael Finnigan, July 2, 2014, CampdenFB, UK.
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