E-newsletter of Investing for the Soul                                 December 30, 2008

 

Ron Robins, Editor. E-mail /705-635-3034            Latest news at: www.investingforthesoul.com

Top ethical investing news for December 2008

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News & Commentaries

Links may only be valid a limited time                            Commentaries by Ron Robins  

Giving To Green Causes Is Priority for 69% Of Wealthy US Business Owners According To SunTrust Survey. - [COMMENTARY] "In addition, business owners feel confident about investing in environmental funds. Fifty-nine percent believe that a 'green' investment would generate a rate of return similar to any other fund." This is good news for environmental charities, green funds, as well as for ethical stocks and bonds.
'Green' Investing Remains Priority Despite Economic Conditions, According to SunTrust Survey of Wealthy Business Owners, press release, December 22, 2008, Sun Trust, USA.

Shariah Finance Creates Legal Challenges. - [COMMENTARY] Much has been written about the pros and cons of Shariah based financial products for ethical investors. One area that has received less attention though is the legal issues it brings forth. This article outlines some of them.
Analysis: untried courts test Malaysia's Islamic finance appeal, by Y-Sing Liau, December 19, 2008, Reuters news posted on Exeltra Management blog, Hong Kong.

Taiwan Stock Exchange Regulator Mandates Social Responsibility Disclosure To Listing Rules. - [COMMENTARY] "The FSC [Taiwanese Financial Supervisory Commission] is making disclosure on social responsibility compulsory for Taiwan-listed firms so that investors can better understand the processes and progress that companies are making towards sustainability." I believe that this is the beginning of a global trend as financial regulators everywhere demand higher ethical, social, environmental, and governance standards. This will also help focus the mainstream investment community to the benefits of ethical stocks and bonds.
Taiwan adds social responsibility disclosure to listing rules, by Liz Mak, December 18, 2008, Asian Investor, Hong Kong.

Deutsche Bank Joins JP Morgan & Citi In Eliminating Dedicated Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) Teams. - [COMMENTARY] We continue to see at play the short term orientation of management at the large mainstream financial institutions. It is this attitude that in large part got us into this mess! (See my blog post, Short Term Thinking Created Economic Pain.) ESG is all about looking at corporate long term problems and opportunities. Take this away and investors are in the dark about a company's real long term viability.
Deutsche Bank joins ESG cuts by ending corporate governance research, by Hugh Wheelan, December 16, 2008, Responsible Investor, UK.

New French Study Says No Difference In Performance Between Socially Responsible (SRI) Funds And Conventional Funds. - [COMMENTARY] That is what this study by France's Edhec risk and asset management research centre concludes. However, this would not be your impression from reading the first part of the FT article. The article also mentions another French study published earlier this year by Altedia that did show SRI funds outperforming conventional funds.
‘SRI funds not outperforming,’ by Sophie Grene, December 14, 2008, Financial Times, UK.

Norwegian Government & Major Asset Managers Survey Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Practices In Norwegian Companies. - [COMMENTARY] "... survey received a 49% response rate from 76 Norwegian companies. On a weighted scoring system based on 100 points, 3 companies came out as top quartile performers: Norsk Hydro, Orkla and Statoil Hydro." The survey was conducted by Sustainable Value Creation (SVC), a group of major Norwegian asset managers.
Norwegian investors publish ESG company survey results, plan expansion, by Hugh Wheelan, December 11, 2008, Responsible Investor, UK.

Ceres Publishes Its First Report Ranking Climate Strategies Of Major Global Corporations. - [COMMENTARY] "IBM, Tesco and Dell Receive Top Scores in First-Ever Ranking of Consumer & Tech Companies on Climate Change Strategies... Nike and Wal-Mart Post Highest Scores in Apparel and Retail Sectors." Investors interested in the most environmentally conscious major corporations should look at this report. Ceres is among the world's foremost entities in this area.
IBM, Tesco and Dell Receive Top Scores in First-Ever Ranking of Consumer & Tech Companies on Climate Change Strategies, December 11, 2008, Ceres, USA.

UNPRI Signatories With $1.5 Trillion In Assets Ask Starbucks, GlaxoSmithKline and Carlsberg Group, And Others, To Disclose Water Use Policies. - [COMMENTARY] "[UNPRI has asked] 100 of the world’s leading corporates to disclose their policies on water use and make structural improvements where possible or necessary.... the investors said they believed that companies that manage the risks and opportunities presented by limited global water availability are more likely to be viable long-term investments."

UNPRI, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, is an investor alliance which includes some of the world's largest asset managers. This initiative by the group is commendable. Water shortages loom, water pollution and costs are increasing. Companies must take this issue seriously. Ethical investors looking for the best socially responsible stocks to invest in will want to see how the companies contacted by UNPRI respond.
1.5 trillion dollar investor alliance pushes Starbucks, GSK, Carlsberg and peers on water policies, by Hugh Wheelan, December 9, 2008, Responsible Investor, UK.

World's Largest Database Of Corporate Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) Reports To Be Online In Spring of 2009. - [COMMENTARY] "PRI [United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI)] signatories have told the initiative that one of the biggest barriers to the growth of ESG integration into investment is the availability of good quality research." UNPRI members represent many of the world's biggest banks and investment firms. They collectively manage $18 trillion in assets. This could represent a landmark development in the use of ESG by the mainline investment community.
PRI launches ESG broker research database, by Hugh Wheelan, December 4, 2008, Responsible Investor, UK.

Major Banks Sign-On To New Environmental Regulatory Pact. - [COMMENTARY] "Crédit Agricole, HSBC, Munich Re, Standard Chartered and Swiss Re [are among the] first firms to sign up to standards that could see them refuse financing to projects that fail to disclose carbon emissions." These financial institutions know the advantages of using corporate social responsibility!
Global banking giants sign up to climate principles, by Tom Young, December 1, 2008, Business Green, UK.

HSBC Climate Change Poll Shows Environment Tops Economy. - [COMMENTARY] "The environment remains a top concern for people around the world despite the financial crisis, according to a global poll by the HSBC Climate Partnership, which includes HSBC, The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and WWF. The new poll... finds that 43 per cent see climate change as a bigger problem than the economy." This is good news for green stocks which have taken a beating recently.
Surveys call for Unity to Combat Climate Change, November 27, 2008, UNEP, Kenya.

HSBC Climate Change Poll Shows Environment Tops Economy. - [COMMENTARY] "The environment remains a top concern for people around the world despite the financial crisis, according to a global poll by the HSBC Climate Partnership, which includes HSBC, The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and WWF. The new poll... finds that 43 per cent see climate change as a bigger problem than the economy." This is good news for green stocks which have taken a beating recently.
Surveys call for Unity to Combat Climate Change, November 27, 2008, UNEP, Kenya.

New Book Releases

Socially Responsible Investing For Dummies, by Ann C. Logue, For Dummies 2008.
"This practical, hands-on guide to smart social investing shows you how to maximize your profits while remaining true to your values. You get expert advice in targeting an issue you're passionate about, researching potential investments, and putting your socially responsible choices into action."—Back cover.

Billion Dollar Green: Profit from the Eco Revolution, by Tobin Smith, Wiley 2008.
"Toby Smith has the rare ability to put his finger on the hottest trends in the marketplace while cutting through the clutter to decide if the trends are investable—or simply more noise."—Adam Lashinsky, Senior Writer, Fortune magazine.

Note: Articles are linked to the original source. Some sites may require registration, and may, or may not, archive stories. All links were active at the time of publication.

Disclaimer: Neither The Soul Investor nor Ron Robins make investment recommendations. Nothing in this newsletter should be interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation to buy/sell any securities or investments. The Soul Investor is a source of general information and resources for spiritual investing, ethical investing, and socially responsible investing (SRI). Investors should consider their actions thoroughly and consult their professional advisers prior to taking any investment action. The Soul Investor does not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed in articles in its newsletter or offered on the web pages to which it might be linked. Such opinions are the responsibility of the writers themselves. Furthermore, The Soul Investor does not offer or provide any warranties, representations, guarantees, implied or otherwise, as to the accuracy, legality, copyright compliance, timeliness or usefulness of the information, materials or services in this e-newsletter, or other sites, to which it might be linked.

The Soul Investor is a publication of Investing for the Soul, a registered business name in Ontario, Canada. Copyright © 2008 Ron Robins. All rights reserved.