Ethical Investing News/Commentaries:
Commentaries by Ron
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Forecasts Near Doubling Of Wealthy Europeans
Investment In Sustainable Investing By 2012.
"Nearly three-quarters of respondents have seen
an increase in interest in sustainable investing in
the last 12 months, according to the Eurosif survey,
which also forecasts more than €1,000bn (£805bn,
$1,473bn) of rich people’s money will be in
sustainable investments by 2012. This represents a
near doubling of the absolute levels in 2007, and a
proportionate increase from 8 per cent to 12 per
cent of rich people’s wealth." Together with the
Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report published
in June, it confirms the trend of the world's
wealthy into sustainable investing. We continue to
see great and growing interest in green-ethical
New era for sustainable investing, by Sophia
Grene, August 31, 2008, Financial Times, UK.
Covalence EthicalQuote Scores Show Reputations of
Nissen, Toyota, Gaining; Chevron, Siemens, Shell,
Covalence of Switzerland has a unique ratings system
where it scores the reputations of major companies.
It is always interesting to check with them from
time to time to see the reputations of the companies
you invest in, or are considering to invest in.
Generally, stocks that are good to invest in often
have rising reputations.
progress and degression over current month. Updated
27 August 2008, Covalence SA, Switzerland.
Replaces The UK In The Top 5 Most Attractive
Countries For Renewable Investment. -
"China's heavy investment in renewables, most
notably in its government's pledge to produce 15% of
its energy from non- carbon sources by 2020, has
bumped up the country's ranking to fourth." -
For actual report, see
Renewable energy country attractiveness indices,
Ernst & Young, UK.
Norwegian Government To Ask Top Companies To Report
& Standardize Reporting Of Issues Related To
Environment, Labour & Human Rights. -
Norway may well become the first nation to do this.
I continue to promote the whole idea of mandatory
standardization, auditing, and reporting of
environmental, social, and governance issues (ESG).
Many, many things have to be worked-out before this
can be accomplished. Most companies hate the idea of
complying with such new regulations. However, I
maintain that for investors to really understand the
longer term risks associated with companies - such
as from climate change or labour policies - these
risks must become transparent to investors!
Norway’s biggest investors outline plans to go
direct to companies for ESG data, by Hugh
Wheelan, August 28, 2008, Responsible Investor,
US Builder Of Coal Powered Power Plants Ordered To
Disclose To Investors Global Warming Risks.
"The agreement Wednesday between [New
general, Andrew M. Cuomo, and the company, Xcel
Energy of Minneapolis, is the first of its kind in
the country. It could open a broad new front in
efforts by environmental groups to pressure the
energy industry into reducing emissions of the
greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming."
There is a powerful reason why this is happening.
Major greenhouse gas emitters could be liable to
lawsuits by investors and others by not disclosing
climate change risks posed by their activities.
Furthermore, with potential costly restrictions on
carbon production possible, investors must be warned
about these risks too. Here we see an example of the
importance and the advantages of using corporate
social responsibility proactively.
Xcel to Disclose Global Warming Risks, by
Nicholas Confessore, August 28, 2008, The New
York Times, USA.
Major Companies To Act On Climate Change.
"[In 2008] A record 57 climate-related
shareholder resolutions were filed with U.S.
companies, of which nearly half were withdrawn after
the companies agreed to positive climate-related
commitments. Remaining resolutions that went to a
vote received record high average voting support of
23.5 percent, including 39.6 percent support for a
resolution filed with coal company CONSOL Energy,
the highest vote ever on a global warming
shareholder resolution." The number of
environmentally conscious major corporations grows
rapidly. This is good for the world - and great for
ethical investors. Well done
Ceres and the
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
for promoting these proxy fights.
Investors Achieve Major Company Commitments on
Climate Change, Ceres/ICCR press release, August
26, 2008, Accountability Central, USA.
Possible For Green Funds In Australia. -
"Only 1 in 20 Australians have or are aware of
having a direct exposure to 'green' funds despite
77.8% of both investors and non-investors believing
their own behaviour can make a difference to
environmental issues." Clearly, if the opinion
polls are right, the market for green-ethical stocks
and bonds in Australia has hardly been tapped.
or Greed, August 26, 2008, burningpants.com,
Investors Can Help The Hungry. -
This is a good article on what ethical and socially
responsible investors can and are doing to help
solve the world's food problems.
How can investors help the hungry? By G. Jeffrey
MacDonald, August 25, 2008, The Christian Science
92% Of Large
UK Companies Surveyed Have Environmental Policies In
Place Compared To Only 58% Of Small Companies.
"Envirowise and EEF talk to 562 companies for the
report "Measuring performance - Environment survey
2008." The manufacturing companies represent more
than 122,000 employees." The survey also says
that these environmental policies are all approved
at the board level. This is a terrific showing and
demonstrates that UK companies understand the
advantage of using corporate social responsibility.
U.K. Manufacturers Increase Green Focus, Gaps Exist
Between Large And Small Companies: Survey,
August 25, 2008, GreenBiz.com, USA.
Website For 'Biblically Responsible Investing'
"Biblically Responsible Investing is the act of
building an investment portfolio consisting only of
companies that do not participate in or promote
lifestyles that are offensive to Christian values."
Also, the site mentions a biblically responsible
stock index it calls Integrity I-DEX.
Moral Money, USA.
Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Groups Team-Up
With UN To Attract SRI Funds To Africa. -
"The European Social Investment Forum - EUROSIF,
Social Investment Forum - SIF, and the Interfaith
Center on Corporate Responsibility - ICCR have
joined Africa investor, the UN Office for
Partnerships and New Partnership For Africa's
Development - NEPAD are co-conveners of the
roundtable to launch the first Pan African
investable SRI Index initiative... NEPAD Business
Group has commissioned Africa Investor, a leading
Africa research and index provider, to launch an
initiative to attract... SRI flow to Africa" This is a
great step forward for Africa where SRI screening
for ethical stocks and bonds is rare, except for
South Africa which has the
JSE SRI Index.
NEPAD appoints Africa Investor to spearhead SRI flow
to Africa, by Judith Akolo, August 22, 2008,
Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation, Kenya.
Social Responsibility (BSR) Publishes New Report On
The Mainstreaming Of Environmental, Social, &
Governance (ESG) Issues By Financial Institutions.
"This report looks beyond socially responsible
investors and explores how mainstream financial
institutions can advance the use of ESG criteria to
maximize financial performance." The report
cites the following points to making ESG issues
being considered commonplace among financial
institutions: more ESG data linking it to
financial returns; the need to regulate the
reporting of ESG information; convincing
shareholders to think long-term where ESG factors
become increasingly critical; larger numbers of investment
professionals knowledgeable about ESG criteria; and
dealing with cynicism about ESG criteria. This report is useful
reading for all investment professionals and ethical
Environmental, Social and Governance: Moving to
Mainstream Investing? August 20, 2008, Business
for Social Responsibility, USA.
Watch Critical Of Olympic Corporate Sponsors.
"The major corporate sponsors of the Beijing
Olympics have failed to uphold their own principles
of corporate social responsibility, Human Rights
Watch said today... The 12 TOP ("The Olympic
Partner") sponsors of the Beijing Games are Atos
Origin, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Manulife,
Johnson & Johnson, Kodak, Lenovo, McDonald's, Omega
(Swatch Group), Panasonic, Samsung, and Visa. Over
the last 12 months, Human Rights Watch repeatedly
contacted all TOP sponsors and met with five of
these companies, off the record. The other seven
failed to respond to repeated requests to meet with
Human Rights Watch."
Many of these Olympics sponsors have hitherto been
among the best socially responsible stocks to
invest in. It will be interesting to see if socially
research organizations change any of their ratings
of these companies as a result of the Human Rights
TOP Sponsors Should Back Introduction of a Permanent
Olympic Rights Monitor, edited by Kandy Ringer,
August 18, 2008, BBSNews.net, USA.
Halve Gasoline Consumption By 2035. -
This is the conclusion from a new Massachusetts
Institute of Technology report. I believe the US and
the world will engage in massive energy conservation
efforts. Together with the growth of alternative
energy solutions, our energy crisis will get
resolved. There will be many green stocks that are
good to invest in. Be sure you get an advisor who
knows this area and keeps-up with developments.
U.S. Could Halve Fuel Consumption by 2035: Report,
August 14, 2008, GreenBiz.com, USA.
Banking In UK Predicted To Double In Size By 2013.
"Islamic banking in London, unencumbered by the
woes of subprime mortgages and the credit crunch, is
undergoing an unparalleled boom. With the
Sharia-compliant market growing by up to 15 per cent
a year and estimated to be worth a trillion dollars
(Dh3.67tn) by 2010, the number of Islamic investment
banks in the UK is predicted to double within five
years, said Samer Merhi, the executive director of
the Gatehouse Bank, an Islamic finance house based
in the UK." London looks like it could become
the leading international centre for Islamic
finance - which does not allow for investment in
products such as alcohol and forbids the charging of
interest. Generally though, it has many similarities
to ethical investing.
UK Islamic banks to double in five years, by
David Sapsted, The National, United Arab
Markets Rankings Survey. -
"Respondents were asked to vote for their
preferred companies covering a range of categories
including: emissions; renewables; renewables supply
& investment; biofuels; clean technology; carbon
sequestration; energy efficiency; and finance...
Emissions trading was identified as the green market
that will provide the best return on investment over
the next ten years, with energy efficiency coming
second, wind power third and clean tech and solar
power both fourth." Energy Risk, a UK specialist
in tracking and reporting on energy markets,
completed and published this survey. It provides an
overview on 'insider' thinking as to what firms
perform the best in various energy markets.
Environmental markets rankings survey, summer
2008, BizResearch, August 15, 2008, UK.
On China's Prospective Sustainability & Corporate
Governance Situation Post Olympics. -
Any ethical investor with holdings in China, or
considering to invest there, will want to read this
report. F&C who wrote the report, are a top-ranked UK ethical investing
firm. The advantages of using corporate social
responsibility are just beginning to be
recognized by Chinese companies.
Preparing for the post-Olympics hangover –
governance and sustainability in China, July,
2008, F&C Investments, UK.
83% In UK
Survey Say They Would Give Less To Charities If They
Do Not Invest Ethically. -
"Almost all (91%) of those surveyed agreed that
charities should be investing their money in an
ethically or socially responsible way. This
highlights a mis-match between public expectations
and the number of charities actually investing
ethically – a 2006 study by ACCA found that just 55%
of large UK charities had an ethical investment
policy." This also illustrates the wrong-headed
approach taken by Bill Gates and his foundation. Mr.
Gates claims that it is right for his foundation not
to worry about where it makes its investments as
long as they maximize returns! Clearly, at least in
the UK, and I suspect almost everywhere else, that
approach is not a popular one. Ethical investing is
a must for charities, or they undermine their
Charities not investing ethically risk losing
support of the public, survey finds, August 11,
2008, Charity SRI, EIRIS, UK.
Challenge Against Shell Over Tar Sands. -
"... the World Wildlife Fund won a challenge
before the U.K. advertising watchdog against Royal
Dutch Shell PLC over its claims that oil sands
projects in Canada are environmentally sustainable."
This should serve as a warning to all companies that
they need to be truly green if they want to promote
themselves and their activities as green.
WWF wins challenge against Shell's oil sands ad,
by Claudia Cattaneo, August 13, 2008, Financial
Another US Socially Responsible
Investing (SRI) Study Confirms That
SRI Delivers As Good Or Better Returns Than
'Conventional' Investing. -
The study compares the performance of many US SRI
funds from their inception up until June, 2006, with
various other funds. You can download it from the
following link, though you must first click 'choose
Socially Responsible Investments, by Meir
Statman, Glenn Klimek Professor of Finance, Santa
Clara University, California, USA.
Energy Venture Capital & Private Equity 2nd Quarter
Investment Hit $5.8 billion, Up From $2.6 Billion In
Previous Quarter. -
"The increase was driven by a massive $2.5
billion inflow of funds in the form of private
equity expansion capital, and also by a strong
showing from private equity buy-outs. The message
was that investors are keen to put to work the money
they raised last year, while other investors are
looking for exits.” Data comes from New Energy
Finance of London, UK.
Clean energy investors shrug off economic
difficulties, August 7, 2008, Environmental
Is Becoming Green. -
This is a good overview of why the banking industry
is becoming green. The article is useful reading for
green or ethical investors with holdings in the
How Banking Became Green, by Victoria
Pennington, August 11, 2008, GreenBiz.com, USA.
Measures Performance Of Green Initial Public
Offerings (IPOs). -
"The Renaissance Green IPO Index captures the
performance of newly public companies whose products
and services offer solutions to environmental
IPOs were the craze at the height of the tech stock
bubble about eight years ago. There has not been a
lot in the way of IPOs since then. However, with the
worldwide interest in solving our environmental
problems, new green IPOs are likely to gain
momentum. This unique index attempts to track their
The Renaissance Green IPO Index, Renaissance
First US SRI
Corporate Bond Index Launched. Created By KLD Research, Analytics, Inc, Ryan ALM, Inc. & Mergent,
"These investable indexes are the first to apply
environmental, social and governance (ESG)
performance factors to a U.S. fixed income asset
class." Finally, we see an ESG US corporate bond
index! This is good news for ethical investors.
Hopefully, such indexes will soon be created elsewhere
KLD, Ryan ALM and Mergent Launch Family of U.S.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Corporate
Bond Indexes, August 7, 2008, MarketWatch, USA.
Venture Capital Investment Hits Record $961.7
million In 2nd Quarter. -
This figure is up 41% from the same period a year
ago and comes from an Ernst & Young report using
data from Dow Jones VentureOne. Cleantech has become
the new dotcom. I do believe though that it promises
to be more durable than the dotcom mania. But it
will certainly have its ups and downs.
US Cleantech Investment Climbs 41% in 2nd Quarter of
2008 to Nearly $1 Billion, The Highest Quarter on
Record, August 4, 20008, press release of Ernst
& Young published on Yahoo Finance, USA.
Invest In Green Fast Food? -
This is a good review article on the beginnings of a
green US fast food industry.
Green Fast Food: Really Here or a Green Dream?
By Anne Moore Odell, August 4, 2008, originally from
SocialFunds.com, published on GreenBiz.com, USA.
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