Ethical Investing News/Commentaries:
Commentaries by Ron
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Says IT Firms Need More Focus On Climate Change.
"Greenpeace yesterday launched its newest
campaign aiming at urging the IT industry to do more
to help address climate change issues, and finds
that the industry has plenty of room for
improvement." IT stocks are a big percentage of
most ethical investing funds. Yet according to
Greenpeace they are lacking in their response to
sustainability and climate change. Ethical investors
might want to question their fund holdings in some
of these IT firms.
Greenpeace Finds IT Firms Lacking on Climate
Leadership, May 29, 2009, GreenBiz, USA.
Companies Lead In Response To Climate Change.
"Last year, EIRIS completed a study on the
corporate response of the 300 largest cap global
companies to climate change. This is a regional
update focusing on Asian (Japan, Hong Kong and
Singapore) companies listed on the FTSE All World
Developed Index and Korean companies to be listed in
September 2009. This paper analyses the current
state of corporate response to climate change in
comparison with global peers listed on the FTSE All
World Developed Index and examines the implications
The Japanese environmental consciousness has created
a regulatory framework that has not only spurred
their companies to be more environmentally
sensitive, but one could also argue it allows them
a competitive advantage in developing sustainable,
green products and services. Japan is already the
leading market for
Climate Change Tracker: Asia, May 2009, EIRIS,
Largest Stock Exchange Group To Provide ESG
Information On Its Listed Companies.
"NYSE Euronext's equities markets, consisting of
the New York Stock Exchange, Euronext, NYSE Arco,
and NYSE Amex, include more than 8,000 listed issues
worldwide, representing almost 40% of the world's
cash equities trading volume. Under the agreement,
NYSE Euronext becomes the first major stock exchange
in the world to provide ASSET4's
assetmasterExecutive product to a number of its
listed companies. The product is designed to allow
corporate executives to manage their corporate
social responsibility (CSR) strategies with
This is a tremendous step forward for the
recognition of ESG (environmental, social and
governance) issues in relation to securities
analysis. Also, it encourages companies to realize
the advantages of using corporate social
responsibility to the fullest possible extent.
World's Largest Stock Exchange Will Provide ESG
Information to Its Listed Companies, by Robert
Kropp, May 27, 2009, SocialFunds.com, USA.
New Canadian Shariah Compliant Index.
"The S&P/TSX 60 Shariah Index recategorizes
equities on the S&P/TSX 60 and excludes all those
that do not comply with Islamic law, which is based
on the Qur'an holy book. These include companies
involved with alcohol, entertainment, pork-related
products, tobacco and financial services. As well,
companies with certain ratios of cash, leverage, and
involvement in non-compliant business activities do
not qualify. Banks are excluded because investors
are not allowed to profit from interest, which is
considered an unequal distribution of risk."
This index will prove to be another boost for
ethical stocks and bonds!
New Shariah Index follows letter of law, by Eric
Lam, May 27, 2009, Financial Post, Canada.
Help Choose UK's Greenest Companies.
A fascinating ranking by The Sunday Times of
London of what are considered to be the greenest UK
companies. Ethical investors again might find some
investment leads here.
The Sunday Times Green List 2009, May 24, 2009,
The Sunday Times, UK. For company rankings,
Pension Funds Should Incorporate Climate Change As
Part Of Their Fiduciary Duty.
"Pension funds should be pursuing investment
strategies to mitigate the potential systemic risk
of climate change and profit from low carbon capital
opportunities as part of their fiduciary duty,
according to a report produced by the United Nations
Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative
(PRI) and launched as part of Ban Ki-Moon, UN
Secretary General’s ‘Caring for Climate’ research
series. The report says institutional investors with
long-term investment horizons and broad allocations
across the economy will be exposed to serious
investment risks from unmitigated climate change
unless they counteract.” We increasingly observe
that major funds with a long-term horizon are
beginning to take climate change into account.
This is good news for green and ethical investors in
the years and decades ahead.
Pension funds should address climate change as part
of fiduciary duty: UNPRI, by Hugh Wheelan, May
26, 2009, Responsible Investor, UK.
Toyota, France Telecom Among Top-Scoring CSR
"The center at Claremont McKenna College
announced on Tuesday the release of five reports
detailing the sustainability reporting efforts of
five sectors: consumer food, food production and
beverages; forest and paper products; industrial and
farm equipment; motor vehicles and parts; and
telecommunications. The center also issued two
reports on the energy and utility sectors."
Consumer oriented companies especially, see the
advantages of using corporate social responsibility.
Coca-Cola, Toyota, France Telecom Among Top-Scoring
CSR Reporters, May 19, 2009, GreenBiz,
Financings Increasing Again.
"The outlook turned sharply negative earlier this
year. In the first quarter, worldwide investment in
green energy projects of all kinds plunged 53%
compared with the same period in 2008, to $13.3
billion... But that picture is already starting to
brighten. After raising just $100 million from the
debt and equity markets in the first quarter, green
energy companies have scared up $2 billion in the
second quarter so far." As oil prices climb back
up and the realization that carbon based energy will
become ever more expensive due to climate change
measures increasingly restricting their use, green
energy investments are likely to continue to gain.
Climate Change Summit: Green Investing Returns,
by Mark Scott, May 22, 2009, Business Week,
Co-operative Investments Says 18% More British
Investors To Make Ethical Investments In 2009.
"New research from The Co-operative Investments
reveals that 18 per cent more people intend to
invest ethically this year,.. Zack Hocking, head of
investments at The Co-operative Investments said:
'The financial crisis appears to have encouraged
investors to think not only about how much money
they make, but importantly, how it is made...'
According to latest IMA figures, retail inflows into
ethical funds have now exceeded outflows for each of
the fourteen months since February 2008..." This
is further evidence that ethical stocks and bonds
continue to be favoured in the UK.
Ethical investors to rise by 18% in 2009, May
20, 2009, Easier Finance, UK.
Consumers Drive Functional Foods Market Growth:
"'Consumers are re-evaluating their health,
nutrition and lifestyle choices adopted years ago,'
said Tatjana Meerman, publisher of New York-based
Packaged Facts. 'This reevaluation includes
considering the role functional foods and beverages
could or should play in diets in order to avoid or
help treat all kinds of health conditions. This new,
proactive approach is fundamentally different from
the reactive tendencies of consumers in the past who
only treated health problems after they arose.'"
What is happening with consumers is evidence of a
higher consciousness taking hold that is
transforming our society. Please see these related
editorials and understand their implications for
ethical investing. They are:
Everyone becoming A Cultural Creative; LOHAS
- Opportunities for Ethical Investors; and
Voluntary Simplicity? An Ethical Investing
Healthy Consumers Drive Functional Foods Market
Growth: Study, May 18, 2009, Lohas.com, source,
Progressive Grocer, USA.
Report Promotes ESG For Foundation Funds.
"The consideration of ‘extra-financial’ factors,
such as environment, social and governance (ESG)
issues in investments is nothing new. A number of
charities have been doing this for decades.
Organisations such as the Joseph Rowntree Charitable
Trust have invested in line with their charitable
objectives without losing out financially. Whether
or not you agree with the mission case for
incorporating ESG factors, there is growing evidence
that this is an astute financial decision and can be
used to safeguard and enhance returns." For
foundations to be true to their missions, it means
in most cases they are duty bound to incorporate
environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors
into their investment evaluations.
The value of environmental, social and governance
factors for foundation investments, May 2009,
Indian, Brazilian, & Chinese Consumers Are The
"For a second year in a row, consumers in India,
Brazil and China scored the highest -- and those in
the U.S., the lowest -- for green behavior among the
countries included the Greendex survey conducted by
the National Geographic Society and international
polling firm GlobeScan. The second annual Greendex
survey canvassed 17,000 adults online in 17
countries this year to gauge consumer attitudes and
their behavior." The results of this survey seem
to infer that the lower ones income the greener one
is? Perhaps it is also that poorer people are more
frugal and concerned about wasting resources. This
is a fascinating survey that may have some nuggets
of insight for green and ethical investors.
Consumers in India, Brazil and China are the
'Greenest': Greendex Survey, May 13, 2009,
GreenBiz, USA. For actual survey,
A Review Of
Ten New US Green & Socially Responsible Funds.
"Here, are ten Green mutual funds, each offering
new prospects to participate in social and
environmental responsibility while profiting from
our expanding need to conserve and sustain global
resources. They include: Appleseed, Integrity Growth
& Income, Wells Fargo Advantage Social
Sustainability, Dreyfus Global Sustainability,
Calvert Large Cap Value, Calvert Global Water, Pax
World Global Green, Pax World International, Pax
World Small Cap and Firsthand Alternative Energy.
Each fund offers a unique blend of financial
pathways to sustainable prosperity. All data is as
of 12/31/08." Article is one of several great
reads from the new edition of GreenMoney Journal.
Ten New Green Mutual Funds (Expanded Version),
by Ted Ketchum, May 2009, GreenMoney Journal,
To Grow In Canada According To New Ivey/Jantzi
"The report, based on an ongoing collaboration
between the Richard Ivey School of Business and
Jantzi Research, reveals continuing improvement in
performance during 2008, with 79 per cent of
companies improving CSR ratings, up from 65 per cent
the previous year. The study finds, across all
categories, that companies are investing in,
formalizing and communicating their CSR
initiatives." For companies, the advantages of
using corporate social responsibility are obvious
and growing world-wide. As a result we are moving
into a new ethical investing era.
Ivey/Jantzi research report shows CSR trending
upwards, press release, May 13, 2009, Richard
Ivey School of Business and Jantzi Research,
Slowdown, Companies With A Sustainability Focus
Outperform In Financial Markets.
"As companies cut costs to get through the
current global economic slowdown, there is often a
temptation to abandon recent forays into
sustainability. Yet a new A.T. Kearney analysis
finds that companies committed to corporate
sustainability practices during this slowdown are
achieving above-average performance in the financial
markets during this slowdown. So before tossing out
those sustainability practices and initiatives, it
might be wise to first determine the real value of
the efforts—especially the possible rewards for
staying the course." Thank you Michael Jantzi of
Research, Canada, for letting us know of this
"Green" Winners, A. T. Kearney, USA.
Bioelectricity Offers More Miles and Fewer Emissions
Than Ethanol: Study.
"Researchers from Stanford University and the
University of California, Merced, studied the
lifecycle of plant-based electricity, or
“bioelectricity,” and ethanol technologies to
determine which delivered more miles of
transportation with fewer environmental impacts.
They concluded battery-powered vehicles that used
electricity derived from biomass provided an average
of 80 percent more miles of transportation per crop
acre than internal combustion engine vehicles
running on ethanol made from corn or switchgrass."
Green and ethical investors might want to look into
this and determine what investments might benefit
Bioelectricity Offers More Miles and Fewer Emissions
Than Ethanol: Study, May 11, 2009, GreenBiz,
Investment Funds Growing For 14 Consecutive Months.
"Figures released by UKSIF, the sustainable
investment and finance association, show that its
members’ ethical investment funds have been growing
for 14 consecutive months since February 2008. Penny
Shepherd, the association’s chief executive,
believes that their investors are less inclined to
take panic measures. 'Green and ethical investors
stick for the long term,' she said." Here we
have continuing encouragement concerning ethical
stocks and bonds.
Ethical banking and investment booming in Britain,
by Parminder Bahra, May 9, 2009, The Times,
Companies Are Becoming More responsible.
"... the number of consumers who say that
companies are more responsible now than they were in
years prior is up 10 percent annually since 2006.
This shift in attitudes may be a sign that the
multitude of company sustainability initiatives is
registering positively with consumers, according to
the 2008 LOHAS Consumer Trends Database." With
consumers seeing the launch of more green products
and services and genuine corporate interest in
sustainability, it is clear that companies
are increasingly realizing the advantage of using
corporate social responsibility.
LOHAS Consumers Want Proof and Third-party
Verification, May 5, 2009, Environmental Leader,
Reviews 30 UK Pension Schemes For Responsible
"Importance of ESG issues: 'a truth universally
acknowledged' but not universally acted upon: All of
the schemes surveyed (with the exception of five
schemes for which no data was available),
acknowledge in their Statement of Investment
Principles the potential importance of ESG factors
in the investment process. However, this is often
not fully reflected in detailed policy,
implementation and performance monitoring." I
consider it heartening that these pension schemes
(funds) are saying that environmental, social,
and governance (ESG) issues are important.
Fair Pensions reviews top 30 UK schemes responsible
investment policies, by Peter Shield, May 7,
2009, Natural Choices, UK.
Releases Its Q1/09 Report On Canadian Shareholder
Issues concerning governance and the environment
lead the list of engagement activities.
Shareholder Engagement Report 1Q/09, May 7,
2009, SHARE, Canada.
Investments, Inc., Is Successful In Getting
Shareholders Of Goldman Sachs To Vote On Its
Economic Security Proposal.
"Harrington Investments, Inc. (HII), a Napa,
California-based socially responsible investment
advisory firm, has been successful in placing a
major bylaw amendment on U.S. economic security
before Goldman Sachs shareholders. The vote on the
amendment will take place at Goldman Sachs annual
meeting on Friday, May 8, 2009 in New York City.
'This resolution will be the first in the country to
call upon the owners of a major financial
institution that has received taxpayer bailout funds
to create a board committee to pledge support for
U.S. economic security,' said John Harrington,
President and CEO of HII, 'Goldman Sachs has
received a $10 billion bailout, $22 billion in bond
guarantees, FDIC insurance, and is eligible for
cheap money from the Federal Reserve, and all the
while denying any responsibility to safeguard our
country's economic future.' This will be
fascinating to watch!
Shareholders to Vote on Resolution Calling on
Goldman Sachs to Adhere to U.S. Economic Security,
May 6, 2009, press release, Harrington
Investments, Inc., USA.
Advisors Gaining Ground In US.
"In a new report published on Tuesday,
researchers at Strategic Insight say they've found
the growing trend of investors shifting away from
commission-based advisers gaining momentum during
the ongoing market downturn. While the report deals
strictly with traditional mutual funds, both no-load
as well as load, it does add another notch to the
belt of fee-based advisers. (It has been fee-based
advisers who've been leading the charge into
exchange-traded funds, especially among individual
investors.)" This is a most interesting trend.
I've always been concerned about the potential
conflict of interest for advisors who both advise
and receive commissions for the products they sell
to clients. I know the majority of advisors in this
position do not believe it an issue. But the
possibility of not doing what is best for the client
and trying to maximise commissions can conflict.
Investors Moving To Fee-Only Advisers During Crisis,
by Murray Coleman, May 5, 2009, IndexUniverse.com,
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