Ethical Investing News/Commentaries:
Commentaries by Ron
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61% Of French
Institutional Investors Had Ventured Into Socially
Responsible Investing In 2007, Up From 48% In 2006.
"Altogether, 31% of the institutions surveyed
have invested more than 5% of their total invested
assets in SRI. This represents a major change
compared with 2006, when only 12% of all
institutional investors queried had made such
investments." The market for ethical stocks and
bonds continues to grow rapidly throughout Europe.
French Institutional Investor Buy-In on SRI
Continues to Increase, But Shareholder Engagement
Lags Behind, November 30, 2007, CSRwire.com,
& Social Performance Of Luxury Goods Makers Reviewed
by World Wildlife Fund, UK.
"The WWF-UK’s report, Deeper
Luxury, graded the 10 largest publicly-traded
brand-owners based on their self-reported
performance and views by the media and
non-governmental organizations. The report looked at
the brands’ actions and reputations related to
environmental, social and governance issues. L′Oreal
tops the list with a C+, followed by Hermes and LVMH,
each of which also earned a C+. Next is Coach with a
C; Tiffany & Co. with a D+; Swatch, PPR and
Richemont, all with D′s; and rounding out the list
is Bulgari and Tods, each with an F. Some of the
brands owned by the companies include Gucci, Yves
Saint Laurent, Garnier and Louis Vuitton." The
report makes it clear that these luxury brands have
yet to engage the advantages of using corporate
social responsibility in a serious way.
WWF-UK Gives Luxury Companies Poor Grades,
November 30, 2007, GreenBiz.com, USA.
UK On Ethical Goods & Services Up 81% From 2002.
The figure now stands at£32.3bn. according to the
UK’s Co-operative Bank. "Households last year
spent an average £664 on organic and fair trade
food, environmentally-friendly and other products in
line with their ethical values, compared with just
£366 in 2002." This is more good news for those
investing in ethical stocks and bonds.
Ethical spending on the up, by Kevin Feddy,
November 30, 2007, Manchester Evening News,
Exchange Commission (SEC) Agrees Not To Change
Shareholder Resolutions Process.
It seems the massive negative response the SEC got
when it proposed limiting shareholder resolutions
was enough to change its mind (for now) about the
proposed changes! However, its decision that
shareholders cannot participate in the nomination of
directors is unfriendly to shareholders. An ethical
business environment also demands an ethical proxy
voting process for directors.
Socially Responsible Investors Applaud SEC Decision
Not To Curtail Shareholder Resolutions, But Strongly
Oppose Curbs On Director Nomination Process,
press release, November 27, 2007, Social Investment
How Real Is
Corporate Reporting Of Environmental, Social and
Governance (ESG) Issues?
This report by Bill Baue of Social Funds is a good
overview of the situation today. I believe it is
absolutely necessary that we get agreed to ESG
standards which are annually reported and audited --
such as financial statements are now -- before we
can have any real confidence in what companies are
telling us. For ethical investors seeking stocks
that are good to invest in, corporate ESG reporting
is still a minefield when trying to evaluate
Environmental, Social and Governance Standards:
Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full? By Bill Baue,
November 27, 2007, USA.
Report Evaluates Online Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) Information Of Major Company
Jungle Rating, internet consultants, has just
evaluated about 50 corporate websites of some of the
world’s largest companies in terms of their ability
to accurately communicate their CSR efforts. It is
often difficult to know if what you see on these
sites is complete and accurate. Reading this report,
it is large -- a PDF file of 7MB -- is quite a read.
Jungle Rating, Online Sustainability Research 2007,
November, 2007, The Netherlands.
Olympics’ Corporate Sponsors Criticized By Darfur
"Samsung, Kodak, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Johnson
& Johnson were among the 16 out of 19 top Olympic
sponsors that either failed or received a “D” by the
Dream for Darfur report card." Most of the
companies cited in this report pride themselves for
their corporate social responsibility practices. The
Save Darfur Coalition is making a stand now in
asking these companies to live up to their CSR
ideals and criticize China for its support of the
Sudanese government’s Darfur policies. The group
obviously feels that these companies, who are major,
paying Beijing game sponsors, might have some
influence on the Chinese government to pressure the
Sudanese government in creating a peaceful solution
to the Darfur conflict. Investors who believe they
only want to invest in the best ethical stocks and
bonds might want to also ask the issuers of their
securities about their support of Beijing’s
activities in Sudan.
Most Olympic Sponsors Flunk Darfur Report Card,
by Ethan Cole, November 27, 2007, Christian Post,
Standard Life Investments Finds Over 80% Of Its
UK Investors Are Mostly Concerned About
Related to these environmental concerns were
forestry practices and operating in countries with
poor human rights records. Surveys like this show
why we are getting so many new green funds being
launched around the globe, all looking for the best
socially responsible stocks to invest in. Hence, the
values of such stocks have risen so much in recent
Environmental issues key for SLI′s ethical
investors, press release, Standard Life
Investments, November, 2007, UK.
Investment Forum Organizing National Ethical
Investment Week For May 18-24, 2008.
This promotional week is to bring green and ethical
investments to a wider investing audience. Ethical
investing in the UK has increased six-fold in the
UKSIF urges financial community to get behind
ethical and green investments, by Mark Banham,
November 26, 2007, The Financial Times, UK.
Compliant Funds Top $500.5bn & Grew Over 30% In A
Year, According To The Banker Magazine.
Also, another report cited in this article says that
Standard & Poor’s believes that Islamic funds now
have about $400bn. in assets. It is clear that
Shariah oriented investment funds are making big
waves in global investment flows. These investments
will continue to enhance the value of ethical stocks that are good to
of Shariah-compliant funds to be addressed at GAIM,
November 24, 2007, AME Info, United Arab Emirates.
Guide To ’Greenwashing’.
Do you wonder if the companies you invest in are
really selling green products? Or are they simply
adjusting their marketing message to provide an
image of being green, that is, ’greenwashing.’ If
you are looking for green stocks to invest in, you
might want to check-out the products they produce
according to TerraChoice’s six sins of greenwashing.
TerraChoice examined over a thousand North American
products with environmental claims.
The Six Sins of Greenwashing, November 2007,
82% Of World’s Largest Companies Issuing
This is a good report for ethical investors
everywhere to read. What the report makes
clear is the necessity for standardized reporting
guidelines. I would add that such reports
need to be uniformly audited as well, so investors
can have faith in what is being reported!
GRI Reporting - aiming to uncover true performance,
survey by WestLB Bank, Germany.
’Say On Pay’
Shareholder Resolutions Gain Momentum.
Christian Brothers Investment Services garnered
shareholders representing 48% of CISCO shares in
supporting a ’say on pay’ proxy resolution. This
will allow shareholders to vote on whether they
believe current or proposed executive compensation
is merited. However, it will not override
compensation decisions, but is advisory only. Such
resolutions are gaining momentum across the US and
from my viewpoint help create a more ethical
Christian Brothers Investment Services: Cisco ’Say
On Pay’ Shareholder Resolution Garners Strong 48
Percent Support, November 15, 2007, PR Newswire
reported on CNNMoney.com, USA.
Organizations Urged To Back Ethical Businesses.
Joost Douma, Secretary General of the International
Interfaith Investment Group (3iG), is encouraging
faiths to "walk the walk" concerning their
investments. He was speaking at a conference in
Paris representing ’two dozen Christian, Jewish and
Buddhist faith organisations, with combined assets
in excess of 135 billion dollars’. It seems
absolutely logical that faith organizations use
their immense investment funds to promote the very
aims of their faiths. Yet, so few of them do that.
It seems to me that most faiths today are driven by
rich status quo elites, rather than by their
will use their billions to back ethical business,
by November 14, 2007, Ekklesia, UK.
BBMG Survey Shows What Matters To ’Conscious
Consumers’. Rates Companies.
The advantages of using corporate social
responsibility policies that marry with the concerns
of the conscious consumer are illuminated by this
BBMG report. For ethical investors, they might glean
some insight into ethical stocks that are good to
invest in. Of course, it is best to always get help
with investing from an investment advisor.
consumer report warns companies of ’green trap’,
November 8, 2007, press release, BBMG, USA.
Investment Portfolios Screen For Inclusion Of Women In
"Guylaine Raby, Vice-President and
Assistant Portfolio Manager at Desjardins Securities and
her team are
innovating with the launch of three new portfolios that
performance with corporate values that favor the
presence of women in high
executive positions at publicly traded companies...The
composition of these portfolios is backed by a series of
studies which indicate that companies with women in
decision-making positions generate higher financial
returns. A recent study carried out by a HEC Montréal
research group showed that these companies’ returns were
6% above the average between 2001 and 2004." This is
fascinating research. If you are looking for the best
socially responsible investing stocks to invest in, you
might like to check to see the number of women in
Desjardins Securities: New Funds Screen For Women
Executives, press release, November 13, 2007,
Desjardins Securities, Canada.
Suggests UK FTSE And Conflict Securities Advisory
Group (CSAG) Are Partnering To Create A ’Terror
Free’ Stock Index.
I have not seen any official announcement of this
new index. Indeed, as of the time of writing,
nothing was being said on the FTSE site about this
rumored index. The idea of such an index would be
to incorporate companies that have no -- or very
restricted -- activities in countries promoting
terrorist agendas. This is certainly something that
could appeal to those interested in morally
Invest terror free, by Frank J. Gaffney Jr.,
November 13, 2007, The Washington Times, USA.
Sachs, Barclays Criticised For Not Doing What They
Preach, Says FairPensions Report.
Both Goldman Sachs and Barclays have been publicly
in the forefront among investment firms in
advocating sustainable investing -- except their own
analysts do not follow along, according to this
FairPensions report. Frankly, this is not surprising
to me. The mainstream investment analyst still finds
it inconvenient to incorporate environmental, social
and governance (ESG) analysis in their work. Most of
these analysts are primarily concerned with short
term stock price movements, whereas ESG is largely
about longer term issues.
Socially responsible investment – Do asset managers
mean it? ByTobias Webb, November 12, 2007,
Ethical Corporation Magazine (Europe), UK.
New Free UK
Charities Site That Monitors Companies For Unethical
"Investment analysis firm Ethical Screening has
launched a free online search facility that allows
charities to identify unethical companies so they
can monitor their socially responsible investment
policies. The service, which has been given three
years’ funding by charity investment managers UBS
and Rensburg Sheppards, allows organisations to
search the top 350 UK firms according to ethical
criteria, and then to decide which ones they wish to
exclude." This is excellent news for UK
charities. Nothing is said though about charities
outside the UK, who may also be investing in UK
shares, whether they would be eligible for the
Free online ethical company monitor is launched,
by Helen Warrell, November 14, 2007, Third
Capital (VC) Surges Into Sustainable Investing. Al
Gore Joins Major VC Firm In Sector.
Just look at the chart in this FORBES/CNN Money
piece! Total VC investment in sustainable investing
is expected to be close to $1.9 billion this year.
So Al Gore wants in at the VC stage and is joining
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the famous US VC
firm. This is also an interesting article to get an
idea on what is developing in alternative energy and
sustainable investing, generally. It might also give
you some ideas as to green stocks that are good to
Al Gore joins Kleiner Perkins to save the planet,
by Marc Gunther and Adam Lashinsky, November 12,
2007, FORTUNE article reproduced on CNN
According To londonstockexchange.com, The
Guardian Newspaper Reports That, HSBC’s Global
Climate Change Index will have produced returns of
125 per cent since the beginning of 2004, compared
to a 55 per cent rise in the MSCI World Index over
the same period."
See short article at
Green funds are on the increase, November 12,
2007, London Stock Exchange, UK. Some observers cite
green mergers and acquisitions’ activity pushing
run-up in green stock prices -
Green M&A′s drive performance of SRI funds,
November 9, 2007, Easier Finance, UK.
For UK Ethical Investors, An Easy Way To See
Which Ethical Funds Match Your Personal Values.
Hargreaves and Lansdown have created a simple
matching device for UK ethical investors. Simply
’tick’ the values that are important to you, and
their computer will display to you online what funds
use your criteria when selecting their investments.
Ethical Fund comparison | HL’s ethical fund
comparison tool, Hargreaves and Lansdown, UK.
In Renewable-Energy Initial Public Offerings (IPOs).
Renovables SAU lists on Madrid’s stock exchange next
month, it will be the world’s largest
renewable-energy flotation. The company, a world
leader in wind energy, aims to raise between €4
billion and €5 billion, or $5.8 billion to $7.3
billion." (See full article linked to
Merrill Lynch says that demand for renewable-energy
offerings far exceeds supply. Furthermore, this article also provides
information on forthcoming IPOs in the
Demand Is High for Renewable-Energy IPOs, by
Dawn Cowie, November 8, 2007, WSJ.com, USA.
Management Consultants Association Says Socially
Responsible Investing (SRI) Offers As Good, Or
Better Returns, Than Traditionally Managed
This article should spur even more American
investment managers, financial planners, and other
investment professionals, to include SRI in their
investment strategies. Due to studies and reports
such as this, it is likely that over time,
recognized ethical stocks and bonds could outperform
their general, respective markets.
IMCA Journal of Investment Consulting Publishes New
Paper on Socially Responsible Investments,
November 7, 2007, Marketwire.com, USA.
Canadians Now Believe That Socially Responsible
Investing Is More Important Today Than It Was 5
The Canadian Investors Group just published an
exciting new survey of Canadian attitudes towards
socially responsible investing (SRI). The survey
offers insight into Canadians’ attitudes on a number
of SRI and ethical investing issues. Investors Group
was an SRI pioneer in Canada when launching its SRI,
Summa Fund in 1987. The firm is now offering two new
Canadians weigh social and environmental factors in
investment decisions, November 6, 2007, press
release, Investors Group, Canada.
Investors Appetite For Ethical Stocks And Bonds
Grows Unabated In UK!
Ethical investing fund inflows were up 600% in the
third quarter of 2007 over year earlier period. At
£5.8bn. as of September 30, 2007, investments in UK
ethical funds increased by 28% from a year earlier.
Ethical fund inflows up 600% on Q3 last year, by
John Kenchington, November 6, 2007, Investment
New Hong Kong
Islamic Index Launched.
"Dr A S Johan, a well respected financial guru
and member of the Shariah Advisory Council of the
Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Hong Kong,
today announced that the Arab Chamber has developed
a HK Islamic Index to make it easier for Islamic
Funds from the Middle East and elsewhere to invest
in Shariah Compliant Hong Kong and PRC companies."
We have here another milestone in the development of
shariah compliant investing. Shariah law forbids the
charging of interest. In most other aspects, it
mirrors ethical investing.
Arab Chamber develops HK Islamic Index, November
6, 2007, PR-inside.com, Hong Kong.
Investopedia.com Has A Comprehensive Feature On
This is interesting reading for all US green
Green Investing, by Investopedia.com, USA.
Environmentally Conscious Major Corporations In UK.
A Guardian newspaper survey shows 48 of the
largest 100 UK companies are publishing plans to
address their carbon emissions. The paper seems to
think that this is a poor showing. Personally, I
believe this is a great showing. Consider that only
a few years ago the management of most of these
companies was aghast at even the idea of collating
and reporting such information!
Half of UK’s top firms fail to publish plans to cut
carbon emissions, by Murray Armstrong and David
Adam, November 5, 2007, The Guardian, UK. For
Guardian’s list and analysis of the world’s
largest polluters see
How green are the world’s biggest corporations.
Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Issues Gain
New Focus In Socially Responsible Investing (SRI).
The Wall Street Journal’s online web site carries
this interesting analysis of how ESG and SRI is
gaining in mainstream investment analysis.
For Money Managers, A Smarter Approach To Social
Responsibility, by Carolyn Cui, November 5,
2007, WSJ.com, USA.
Overview Of US ETFs Focusing On Green Technologies.
This is a useful review for US investors looking for
a simple way to invest in a diversified portfolio of
green tech stocks.
Color Of Money -- ETFs,
by Kenneth Stier, November 2, 2007, CNBC.com, USA.
For Green Living In The Years Ahead. And Possible
Investments To Research.
This blog by Alison Benjamin, deputy editor of
SocietyGuardian, has some ideas of low-carbon
products consumers might be using by 2022. If you
are looking for stocks that are good to invest in,
especially from an environmental perspective, it is
worth looking at different, though sometimes
How will we be living in 2022? | Ethical Living |
Guardian Unlimited, November 1, 2007, a
Guardian newspaper Blog, UK.
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