Ethical Investing News/Commentaries
Commentaries by Ron
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Candriam: ESG analysis deems 49 countries
'non-investable.' "China, Russia and
Turkey are among 49 countries that are
'non-investable', according to an analysis of their
potential for long-term sustainable development by
Candriam. Of the 35 advanced economies analysed –
based on the definition used by the International
Monetary Fund – only Greece came out as
non-investable. Out of the 88 emerging economies, 48
were classified as non-investable."
Candriam have completed a fascinating analysis of
investible countries based on ESG criteria. What is
especially interesting is that this analysis applies to
both equity and bond investing.
Candriam: ESG analysis deems 49 countries
'non-investable, by Susanna Rust, September 29,
2017, IPE, UK.
The global rise of sustainable investing --
Schroders. "To accurately gauge the latest
attitudes, we surveyed more than 22,000 people from 30
countries who invest. We asked them about their
knowledge, views and actions when it comes to
Schroders survey of global sustainable investing
provides some useful insights for all investors,
particularly supportive for ethical investors. However,
the self-reporting of those surveyed saying that most of
them are already investing in sustainable ways is
questionable. As we know, what people say and actually
do aren't always the same! Nonetheless, it does show
that sustainable investing is increasingly important to
The global rise of sustainable investing -- Schroders,
September 27, 2017, Schroders, UK.
China’s sustainable firms are starting to
outperform. "Chinese companies that
disclose their environmental, social and governance
measures are outperforming on the stock market, data
There's been little evidence to date of Chinese
corporate ESG stock performance. This new data is
probably the first to indicate that possibility.
Companies ESG outperformance and correlated stock
outperformance appear to be a worldwide phenomenon. Most
ethical investors have probably avoided China so far,
but data like this could change that.
China’s sustainable firms are starting to outperform,
by Karen Yeung, September 27, 2017, South China Morning
[UK] Consultants pressure pension funds over
ethical investment. "Twelve large
investment consultants have joined forces to increase
pressure on pension funds that are not taking
environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into
account when making investment decisions.
The group of consultants, which includes the big
three of Willis Towers Watson, Mercer and Aon Hewitt,
advise on close to £1.6tn of pension and insurance
assets in the UK alone and have huge influence over the
investment decisions of asset owners."
This is great news. However, they're taking this action
because the UK government's pension regulator says,
according to the FT, that, "savers face long-term
financial risks because trustees are failing to take
climate change, responsible business practices and
corporate governance into account when making
[UK] Consultants pressure pension funds over ethical
investment. by Aliya Ram, September 23, 2017,
Financial Times, UK.
Canadian Money Saver publishes an article,
"Do-It-Yourself Ethical Investing Pays," by Ron
Robins. "Though DIY sustainable-ethical
investing requires some work it can pay handsomely. The
process is engaging and fun too. But the skills to do it
effectively can be more quickly acquired with coaching
from those experienced in this work."
I wrote this article -- and offer
tutorials on this subject too -- for individual
investors who want to have ownership and save on fees in
creating and managing a stock portfolio that reflects
their personal values.
Canadian Money Saver publishes an article,
"Do-It-Yourself Ethical Investing Pays," by Ron Robins,
September 2017, Canada.
Catching The Wave: The Spread of ESG in
Institutional Investment Portfolios. "More
than a quarter of North American institutions use
environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards in
their investment portfolios, and approximately 60% of
institutions that have not yet incorporated ESG into
their portfolios say they are open to doing so in the
Their study provides some further insights into the
spread and utilization of ESG among institutional money
Catching The Wave: The Spread of ESG in Institutional
Investment Portfolios, press release, September 19,
2017, Greenwich Associates, USA.
LEGO Group Leads Global Ranking of Best CSR
Reputation. "Reputation Institute has
released the main findings of its 201 7 Global CSR
RepTrak® 100 report, including the list of the companies
considered as the most responsible worldwide. The report
is based on over 170,000 ratings from interviews with
the public in the 15 largest economies (United Kingdom,
Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Russia, Brazil, Mexico,
USA, Canada, Japan, China, India, Australia and South
Their top five are LEGO, Microsoft, Google, Walt Disney,
and BMW. Full results
Reputation Institute, September 12, 2017,
Ceres launches water use scorecards on
affected companies. "For food companies,
water management is a business imperative like never
before. And as risks of water scarcity and pollution
steadily increase, corporate leaders must evaluate the
most effective ways to water-proof their business."
Ceres has created an impressive scorecard on how food
companies, in particular, use and manage their water
Feeding ourselves thirsty, September 2017, Ceres,
Big investors take aim at banks over climate
change risk. "A coalition of institutional
investors managing more than $1tn in assets is demanding
that 60 of the world’s largest banks take action to
protect the world from the threat of catastrophic damage
due to climate change."
This was bound to happen -- and good that it has.
Financial institutions and companies not reporting or
allowing for climate change effects on their businesses
will likely see reduced investor interest and possibly
lower relative stock prices over time.
Big investors take aim at banks over climate change
risk, by Chris Flood, September 14, 2017, Financial
Responsible Investment Week Canada, "make
money responsibly." October 23-27, 2017.
"Responsible Investment Week is dedicated to education
and awareness about responsible investment (RI). The
Responsible Investment Association (RIA) is coordinating
a week of events across Canada to promote learning about
environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG)
issues that affect investments."
All Canadian investors are encouraged to attend and
participate in RIA's Responsible Investment Week! The
event gets larger every year and the more people that
attend the greater the media coverage.
Investment Week Canada, "make money responsibly."
October 23-27, 2017, September 14, 2017, Responsible
Investment Association, Canada.
US SIF Foundation Releases Resource Guide For
Retail Investors: "Getting Started in Sustainable and
Impact Investing." "This resource is a
concise guide for retail, non-accredited investors
exploring investment options such as mutual funds, ETFs,
and direct ownership of stocks, as well as information
on seeking professional investment help."
A basic guide for novice sustainability focused
investors. It's a useful adjunct to my
Tutorial: Creating A Profitable Personal Values-Based
US SIF Foundation Releases Resource Guide For Retail
Investors: "Getting Started in Sustainable and Impact
Investing," press release, September 14, 2017, US
Big investors to put more money into tackling
climate change. "More than two-thirds of
institutional investors are planning to increase
investments related to tackling climate change,
according to a new survey that suggests 'green finance'
is moving from the margins to the mainstream of global
markets.... in a study commissioned by HSBC, will add
weight to calls from Mark Carney, governor of the Bank
of England, and others for greater disclosure of
'climate risks' in the corporate and financial sectors."
How many companies in the insurance, utilities and other
hurricane affected industries in Texas and Florida have
put as potential liabilities on their balance sheets
potential hurricane damages? Though such costs are
difficult to assess, but, with climate warming/change
becoming increasingly costly for businesses, perhaps
investors need to ask such questions more vigorously.
Companies refusing to acknowledge such costs might be
shunned by investors in years to come!
Big investors to put more money into tackling climate
change, by Andrew Ward, September 11, 2017,
Financial Times, UK.
Investors Can Be Ethical and Still Beat the
Market, Study Says. "Ethical fund managers
don’t have to be envious of the market-beating returns
of so-called sin stocks. They should be able to match
them without dabbling in vice, according to a study in
the Fall edition of the Journal of Portfolio Management.
The study debunks the popular theory that shares in the
alcohol, tobacco, gaming, and weapons industries
outperform because investors shun them, enabling those
with fewer moral scruples to earn a 'reputation risk
So 'sin' stocks only outperform if their profits and
investment also outperform. This is an important
message, but one I feel will take time to be accepted.
Nonetheless, for ethical investors, it's heartwarming to
see the results of this study.
Also, as government health care costs continue to
explode, many sin sectors such as tobacco and alcohol
will continue to be taxed higher and higher, thereby
continually eroding the profitability of companies in
these sectors. Thus, their future outperformance becomes
questionable. See actual study
Investors Can Be Ethical and Still Beat the Market,
Study Says, by Cormac Mullin, September 11, 2017,
Rising carbon prices could slash company
profits. "The impact of climate change
could hit global profits just as hard as the financial
crisis and Schroders have launched a new tool to help
investors work out which companies will suffer most."
This is an important article to read for all ethical
investors. Such research will likely become ever more
important to investors as the world grows increasingly
concerned about climate change.
Rising carbon prices could slash company profit, by
Michelle McGagh, September 6, 2017, Citywire Money, UK.
Sustainable Signals: New Data from the
Individual Investor--Morgan Stanley. "80%
[of investors] are interested in sustainable investments
that can be customized to meet their interests and
Morgan Stanley's Institute for Sustainable Investing has
published the results of its second investors' survey.
Unsurprisingly, the results show a growing interest in
sustainable investing-- especially by millennials.
(Again, for individual investors interested in a
do-it-yourself approach, you'll find participating in my
DIY Ethical-Sustainable Investing Webinars very
Sustainable Signals: New Data from the Individual
Investor, Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable
Investing, September 2017.
Opinion: The pros and cons of ethical debt
instruments. "Innovative debt instruments
help to harness the powerful role of capital markets and
can connect more savings with international development
priorities such as the SDGs. As investor interest
continues to soar, they could help move the world from
billions to trillions of dollars in financing for the
SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals]."
A fine article about ethical-sustainable debt by an
advisor to the UNDP.
Opinion: The pros and cons of ethical debt instruments,
by Gail Hurley, September 4, 2017, Devex, USA.
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