Ethical Investing News/Commentaries
Commentaries by Ron
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Three New Climate Change Index Series
Launched by S&P Dow Jones Indices and Toronto Stock
"S&P Dow Jones
Indices (S&P DJI), one of the world's leading
providers of financial market indices, and Toronto
Stock Exchange have today announced the launch of
three new climate change index series for Canada:
S&P/TSX 60 Carbon Efficient Index, S&P/TSX 60 Carbon
Efficient Select Index and S&P/TSX 60 Fossil Fuel
Free Index. All three indices are derived from the
constituents of the S&P/TSX 60, Canada's leading
is a terrific development for the Toronto Stock
Exchange (TSX) and ethical investors, though it's
about time the TSX got involved in this way.
Three New Climate Change Index Series Launched by
S&P Dow Jones Indices and Toronto Stock Exchange,
press release, October 29, 2015, Canada.
Advisers in the dark on ethical
"A global survey of
400 IFAs showed that more than a third (38 per cent)
had never discussed ethical investment with their
clients. Almost a third (31 per cent) of advisers
admitted they don’t know enough about responsible
investing, while 66 per cent said they lacked access
to information on it.
The survey was conducted by responsible investment
clear to see why ethical related retail funds still
account for only about 2% of retail fund assets --
most advisors still don't know or seem to care it
about such funds. Considering the returns of
ethically related funds in recent years and that
most investors want to invest ethically, these4
advisors aren't doing their best for the clients or
abiding b y the 'know thy client rule.'
Advisers in the dark on ethical investment, by
Stephen Spurdon, October 29, 2015, FT Advisor, UK.
Strong sustainability track record can
account for 11% of a company's value - report.
last week’s Commit Forum, held in New York, the
authors of a recent study, Project ROI, claimed that
a top level corporate reputation for responsibility
and sustainability can account for 11% of a firm’s
value. 'The majority of the academic research finds
that an average of 33% of a company’s value can be
attributed to its name,' Steve Rochlin, CEO of
advisory firm IO Sustainability and one of the
study’s co-authors, told the Guardian. 'Up to one
third of that name value can come from good
any company now not want a top-level reputation?
Strong sustainability track record can account for
11% of a company's value - report, by Bruce
Watson, October 29, 2015, The Guardian, UK.
Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens Ranked.
"Ecolab, Campbell Soup and Microsoft are among the
Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens, according to
Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s fifth annual
understand these ratings come from insiders who are
mostly concerned with corporate disclosure and not
necessarily with real corporate performance. You might want
to view these findings that perspective.
Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens Ranked, October
26, 2015, Environmental Leader, USA.
World's largest banks guilty of ignoring
climate risks, warns report. "The world's
largest banks are failing to take a strategic
approach to climate-related risks, with a huge
divide remaining between current practices and the
potential to support the transition to a low-carbon
That is the finding of a new report from
investment managers Boston Common Asset Management,
which examined the management of climate-related
risks at 61 of the world's largest banks."
banks need to read the speeches of Britain's Bank of
Mark Carney! That'll perhaps give them the
wake-up call they need.
World's largest banks guilty of ignoring climate
risks, warns report, by Jocelyn Timperley,
October 23, 2015, Business Green, USA.
DOL Gives Green Light For ESG Investments In
Retirement Plans. "The Department of
Labor gave its blessing Thursday for socially
responsible investments in retirement plans for the
DOL’s permission to plan fiduciaries covers
everything from environmental, social and governance
(ESG) investments to the ability to put money into
community development funds and other types of
economically targeted investments (ETI) without the
worry of being penalized for ERISA violations."
is a big development for many American retirement
plans. It sets a great precedent and over the
long-term will further boost the opportunities for
ethical investment returns.
DOL Gives Green Light For ESG Investments In
Retirement Plans, by Ted Knutson, October 22,
2015, FA Magazine, USA.
Major U.S. Companies Join White House Climate
Action Pledge. "As key international climate
negotiations near, 81 additional companies today
joined the White House-led American Business Act on
Climate Pledge. Companies making the pledge have set
significant greenhouse gas reduction and renewable
energy sourcing goals for 2020 and beyond, and are
focusing on increasing energy efficiency, boosting
low-carbon investing and making sustainability more
accessible to low-income Americans."
momentum is building for hopefully an historic
climate pact at COP21Paris! Well done Ceres for
bringing all this together.
Major U.S. Companies Join White House Climate Action
Pledge, press release, October 19, 2015, Ceres,
Plan Participants and Social Responsibility.
"While 61 percent of participants with less than
$10,000 in their retirement account do consider the
social responsibility of a company before making an
investment, only 36 percent of those with $100,000
or more in their account take the same approach."
a lot of data in this short article. I suggest
ethical investors read it in its entirety.
Plan Participants and Social Responsibility, by
Kent McDill, October 15, 2015, Millionaire Corner,
Women want to make a difference with their
money. "New research from Standard Life shows
that women want to make a difference when they
invest. Women investors are 10% more likely than men
to want to invest in companies that achieve positive
social outcomes (41% vs 31% respectively) and 9%
more likely than men to want to invest in companies
that minimise environmental damage (48% vs 39%)."
data to support the importance of women to ethical
investing. It's good such research is being done as
it sharpens the focus of ethical investing advisors
and fund managers as to who their target markets
Women want to make a difference with their money,
press release, October 15, 2015, Standard Life, UK.
Companies Led by CEOs with Daughters More
Committed to Social Responsibility says University
of Miami Study. "Among the nation's largest
U.S. firms, those led by CEOs with daughters spend
13 percent more of their net profits on corporate
social responsibility (CSR) efforts than those with
CEOs who do not have daughters, according to a new
study by the University of Miami School of Business
Administration. This adds up to an average of nearly
$60 million more in CSR spending per year by firms
that have CEOs with a daughter."
is interesting not only because of its findings --
and that CSR spending often correlates with higher
profits -- but when added to the body of evidence
that women on boards tend to make companies more
profitable -- well gentlemen, make way for the
Companies Led by CEOs with Daughters More Committed
to Social Responsibility says University of Miami
Study, press release, October 14, 2015,
University of Miami School of Business
Consumer Goods Brands That Demonstrate
Commitment To Sustainability Outperform Those That
Don't. "Committing to sustainability might
just pay off for consumer brands, according to the
2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report.
In the past year alone, sales of consumer goods from
brands with a demonstrated commitment to
sustainability have grown more than 4% globally,
while those without grew less than 1%."
in the 1% group should be thinking hard about the
business and profits they're missing! It's this kind
of data that will eventually bring the world ever
closer to sustainability, higher profits for ethical
investors, and a better future for all of us.
Consumer Goods Brands That Demonstrate Commitment To
Sustainability Outperform Those That Don't,
press release, October 12, 2015, Nielsen N.V., USA.
Many 'ESG' Managers Fail To Explain How They
Screen Investments, Report Says. "Disclosures
of the type of standards used were not made for 62
percent of the assets being invested using ESG
criteria, the SIF Foundation says. ESG integration
is defined as the systematic inclusion by investment
managers of environmental, social and governance
factors into financial analysis and is one of
several sustainable, responsible and impact
investing (SRI) strategies, according to the
The study looked at 16 of the nation's largest ESG
money managers, and only eight of them at least
partially disclosed the criteria they consider,
according to the report."
survey results are unsurprising at this juncture. In
time, many more will disclose their criteria.
Many 'ESG' Managers Fail To Explain How They Screen
Investments, Report Says, by Karen Demasters,
October 8, 2015, Financial Advisor, USA.
Corporate Responsibility Impresses Millennials,
Survey Finds. "About 66 percent of millennial
respondents said they are likely to invest in a
company well-known for its corporate
social-responsibility program, compared with 48
percent of adults older than 34. Eighty-two percent
of millennials are likely to seek employment at a
company recognized for its ethics, compared to 68
percent of people older than 34." (Survey by
well known among ethical investing advisors that
millennials are among the foremost groups interested
in ESG/CSR related investing.
Corporate Responsibility Impresses Millennials,
Survey Finds, by Rebecca Koenig, October 7,
2015, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, USA.
ESG Still Not a Priority for CIOs. "A
new survey by Hermes Investment Management found
that 90% of respondents believed fund managers
should price in corporate governance risks as a core
part of their investment analysis.
Despite this show of ESG awareness, 47% still said
pension funds should focus exclusively on maximizing
retirement incomes—a goal the majority believed
would not be met by focusing on ESG issues. Just 46%
believed ESG-focused investing would produce better
appears that many investors and fund managers are
unaware of how a focus on ESG can enhance returns.
What is good news though, is that this knowledge
among investor groups has improved immeasurably in
ESG Still Not a Priority for CIOs, by Amy Whyte,
October 5, 2015, Chief Investment Officer, USA.
Global Food Companies Unite On Climate Action.
"With key international climate negotiations fast
approaching in Paris, the chief executive officers
of, Mars, Incorporated, General Mills, Unilever,
Kellogg Company, Nestlé USA, New Belgium Brewing,
Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, Stonyfield Farm and Dannon
USA today released a joint letter to U.S. and world
leaders pledging to accelerate business action on
climate change and urging governments to do the same
by forging a robust international agreement this
does it again by coordinating a major industry
statement on climate change and the need for success
at the Paris talks.
Global Food Companies Unite On Climate Action,
press release, October 2, 2015, Ceres, USA.
Survey: 2 Out Of 5 Financial Advisors Say
They Already Offer "Impact Investing" To Clients,
Another 15 Percent Plan To Do So.
First Affirmative survey is based on 508 responses
to an online survey of financial professionals not
usually identified as SRI practitioners. The survey
was conducted between September 25 and October 19,
is great news. I do believe though that the
definition of impact investing here includes what we
generally call SRI. Furthermore, I must question to
some degree the advisors' responses -- since retail
SRI funds at just around 2-3% of all retail funds --
seem to indicate these advisors might be playing
with words a bit. Nonetheless, it's really good to
see their interest in this area.
Survey: 2 Out Of 5 Financial Advisors Say They
Already Offer "Impact Investing" To Clients, Another
15 Percent Plan To Do So, press release, October
28, 2015, The SRI Conference/First Affirmative
Financial Network, USA.
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