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As US Chamber Of Commerce Tries
To Block Environment Bill, Investor Groups Advocate
Nike To Quit Chamber.
"US SRI and environmental fund managers, have
written to Nike, the sportswear company, urging it
to quit the US Chamber of Commerce, the country’s
largest business federation, after Nike joined other
companies in criticising the Chamber’s opposition to
measures tackling climate change. In a letter to
Mark Parker, president and chief executive officer
of Nike, fund managers Green Century Equity Fund and
Newground Social Investment, alongside the Basilian
Fathers of Toronto, a catholic religious order,
turned Nike’s own slogan “Just do it” on the
company, to urge it to quit."
an ethical investor you
may want to see if the companies you are invested in
are members of the US Chamber of Commerce, and if
concerned, contact them to express your views.
SRI investors tell Nike “just do it” and resign from
US Chamber of Commerce over climate controversy,
by Hugh Wheelan, September 30, 2009, Responsible
Water Usage Could Inhibit
Alternative Energy Projects.
"Here is an inconvenient truth about renewable
energy: It can sometimes demand a huge amount of
water. Many of the proposed solutions to the
nation’s energy problems, from certain types of
solar farms to biofuel refineries to cleaner coal
plants, could consume billions of gallons of water
every year." I must say that this is something I
had not given much serious attention too. However,
where water is scarce, some renewable energy
projects might not be the answer.
Alternative Energy Projects Stumble on a Need for
Water, by Todd Woody, September 29, 2009, The
New York Times, USA.
US Fossil Fuel Subsidies Dwarf
That Of Renewables. Obama Seeks To Change That.
A new report by the Environmental Law Institute and
the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
says that US fossil fuels receive $70.2 billion in
federal subsidies compared to $12.2 billion for
Of course, these figures do not even come close to
the true costs of carbon, particularly if you figure
related to global environmental degradation,
climate change, and the defense costs for various
oil interests in the oil rich areas of the world. A
real analysis of ALL subsidies would undoubtedly
show that the true full cost of carbon on a given
unit of energy basis likely far exceeds that of
renewables. In time, society will realize this.
Fossil fuel subsidies dwarf clean energy subsidies;
Obama wants to eliminate them, by David Roberts,
September 23, 2009, GRIST, USA.
SocialFunds Discusses Recent
Mergers In The ESG Research Sector.
This article is a good overview of what is happening
in the ESG/SRI-ethical investing research industry.
It is worthwhile reading for all ethical investors.
Jantzi—Sustainalytics Merger the Most Recent in the
Consolidation of ESG Research Sector, by Robert
Kropp, September 23, 2009, SocialFunds, USA.
UNEP Says Global Government Green
Stimulus Packages Only Half Of What Is Needed.
"The Asian economies of China and the Republic of
Korea are emerging as global leaders in their
commitments to invest significant slices of their
stimulus packages in environmental, 'green new deal'
projects... Yet UNEP and economists are warning that
major pitfalls remain in terms of the overall size
of the green component of the global stimulus
package. This currently falls short of the $750
billion or one per cent of global GDP that is
recommended for reducing carbon dependency and
seeding the process of transition." Here we
have even more reasons
why Asia needs to be on the ethical investor's
One Year On - Many Countries Factoring Environmental
Investments into Economic Stimulus Packages - United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), press
release, September 24, 2009, USA.
(UPDATE 1) Environmental Ranking Of
America's 500 Largest Corporations--Newsweek.
The top three are HP, Dell, and Johnson & Johnson.
This is a good analysis of America's most
environmentally conscious major corporations, and
useful reading for ethical investors. Partners in
the research were KLD Research & Analytics, Inc.,
Trucost, CorporateRegister.com, and ASAP Media.
Green Rankings - Newsweek.com,
September 21, 2009, USA. For a good insight into how
the date was determined and compiled, see
Joel Makower's commentary at GreenBiz.
China Surpassing US In Green
"Even as China overtakes the U.S. in the dubious
category of 'world’s leading greenhouse gas
producer,' it is also well ahead of the U.S. in
developing the technologies and policies to solve
the problem—and selling those solutions to us at
massive profits which could have been ours. On a
recent trip, I saw entire Chinese towns powered by
farm waste and enough windmills for jousts with ten
thousand Don Quixotes." Considering the
foregoing and other similar reports, ethical
investors might want to consult with appropriate
advisors about the opportunities for green
energy/tech investment in China.
China is leaving the U.S. in the dust as it surges
ahead on clean energy, by Terry Tamminen,
September 17, 2009, GRIST, USA.
Norway’s €1.9bn Nestlé Stake
"Norwegian Government Pension Fund’s NOK17bn
(€1.9bn) stake in Nestlé has come under scrutiny
from labour unions. In a joint letter, the unions
have asked the Finance Ministry to assess an alleged
'systemic pattern of human rights abuses' by the
Swiss food group. The company is the fund’s second
largest equity holding." I have friends in
various breast feeding advocacy groups that say
Nestlé is a major antagonist to their cause too. So
far ethical investors have considered Nestlé as a
somewhat benign organization. It will be interesting
to follow the outcome of fund's analysis and
Norway’s €1.9bn Nestlé stake under scrutiny, by
Daniel Brooksbank, September 21, 2009, Responsible
Corporate America Embracing Green
"Corporate America's embrace of sustainability
has more than doubled in strength in the past three
years with 76 percent of the largest U.S. firms
reporting efforts and commitments that exceed those
required by law, according to a new study from
Siemens Building Technologies Inc. and McGraw-Hill
Construction." Though energy costs are the main
reason given for their interest in green projects,
competitive pressures are also a driving reason
given by 66% of companies surveyed.
Corporate America's Adoption of Green Practices
Doubles, Study Says, September 17, 2009,
IPE Says 70% Of Fund Trustees
Surveyed Cite ESG Issues As Important.
"Around 70% of the 42 respondents – with a total
of €197.6bn invested assets – said it was trustees’
fiduciary duty to include ESG in their
decision-making process and during manager selection
processes. Only a quarter disagreed with this."
It is difficult for me to imagine how ESG
(environmental, social and governance) issues would
not be considered important in fund and fiduciary
ESG equals fiduciary duty, says IPE survey, by
Nina Röhrbein, September 18, 2009, IPE, Europe.
Business Week Publishes Names Of
Top Global Brands.
"Companies as diverse as McDonald's, Ford, and
American Express are revamping their marketing to
win back that most valuable of corporate assets."
All investors will be interested in this
analysis with the data provided by Interbrand.
Best Global Brands 2009, September 28, 2009,
Business Week, USA.
Exchanges Push Sustainability.
"The report, which was produced by sustainable
investment consultancy Delsus Limited, found
exchanges were increasingly active in three main
areas promoting sustainability: provision of
information tools for sustainable investors such as
indices; fostering specialised listing and trading
platforms for sustainable investment niches and in
less advanced markets, increasing awareness of
environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues
among listed companies. Dan Siddy, founder and
director of Delsus and author of the report, said:
'Over the last five years or so, social and
environmental risks and opportunities have emerged
to become commonplace long-term investment themes in
the world’s capital markets.'"
This report provides exceedingly
good news for ethical investors, and will only
enhance the prospects for investing in ethical
stocks and bonds.
Exchanges Push the Sustainability Agenda, by Dan
Siddy, September 17, 2009, Responsible Investor,
Consumers Still View Green
Products As Inferior.
"NMI [Natural Marketing Institute] knows
that consumers, even many LOHAS consumers, don’t
want to compromise when buying green products (58%
on average). And, while products such as the Prius
and Green Works prove that 'good' and 'green' aren't
mutually exclusive, only 26% of Americans say
'seeing that a product is environmentally friendly
makes me think that it is higher-quality.' More
disagree with that statement than agree, validating
that consumer sentiment remains against the 'good
and green' connection." It is clear that green
products still face big headwinds. Nonetheless,
green products are generally doing well in most
markets. If they were not, the ad and marketing
industries would not be swamping us with green
Green products still seen as inferior, September
10, 2009, LOHAS Online, USA.
US Consumers May Buy 600,000
Plug-In Electric Hybrid Autos By 2015, Says Study.
"A new study by Pike Research indicates that
demand for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
will skyrocket after the first generations are
introduced in 2010, to 600,000 vehicles by 2015."
I am still unsure as to the overall net benefit,
both environmentally and for society as a whole, of
PHEVs. Though gas/petrol consumption will be
reduced, the demands on inefficient electrical grids
and generation will be substantially increased. If
anyone knows of any good studies on this subject or
on potential investment prospects, please let me
Consumers Demand Electric Vehicles, September
10, 2009, Sustainable Life Media, USA.
Developing Countries' Banks
Concerned About Climate Change, Ceres reports.
Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH -- found strong
evidence that most Asian, Latin American and other
emerging market banks are aware of the wide-ranging
business impacts from climate change, such as the
growing physical risks from increased drought and
flooding and the growing investment opportunities
associated with renewable energy, energy efficiency
and climate adaptation projects. Despite these
trends, the report shows that only a small number of
banks are financing clean energy programs and fewer
still are participating in carbon trading projects."
It seems that environmentally and socially conscious
banks are still a rarity in the developing world
despite the general acknowledgement that the effects
of climate change could have on their operations.
First-Ever Survey Shows Emerging Market Banks
Growing Interest in Climate Change, press
release, September 17, 2009, Reuters, USA.
Buffett & 27 Other Business
Leaders Call For End To Short-Termism Business
“We believe that short-term objectives have
eroded faith in corporations continuing to be the
foundation of the American free enterprise system,
which has been, in turn, the foundation of our
economy. Restoring that faith critically requires
restoring a long-term focus for boards, managers,
and most particularly, shareholders—if not
voluntarily, then by appropriate regulation.”
Such changes, if implemented, would denote a much
higher consciousness taking shape among these
stakeholders and society at large. However, judging
by the present inaction of the US Congress and
regulatory authorities in bringing the culprits of
this financial mess to justice, it could be awhile
yet before anything changes. Who is being prosecuted
for the 'liar loans,' for the fraud perpetrated in
the sale of various derivative instruments, and for
the ratings agencies who may have been possibly
'bribed' by their MBS issuing customers to provide
them with higher than warranted ratings for their
Buffett and Bogle join call for long-term,
responsible investment, by Hugh Wheelan,
September 15, 2009, Responsible Investor, UK.
Toyota & Peugeot Top Bank
Sarasin's 2009 List Of Sustainable Automakers. GM
"When rating the sustainability performance of
car manufacturers, Bank Sarasin concentrates on
three key aspects: the CO2 emissions of the current
vehicle fleet, the capacity to develop low-emission,
leading-edge technologies and – given the increasing
outsourcing of key components and the looming battle
for leadership in new technologies – the
sustainability of supplier relationships." If
you are looking for automobile manufacturers' stocks
that are good to invest in, you might want to review
this report by one of Switzerland's top banks.
Bank Sarasin’s Sustainability ratings 2009 for car
manufacturers: Toyota and Peugeot lead the field,
September 16, 2009, Bank Sarasin, Switzerland.
UK Social Investment Forum To
Hold 2nd National Ethical Investment Week November
"Aviva Investors has today joined CCLA, The
Co-operative Financial Services and Henderson New
Star as a sponsor of the second National Ethical
Investment Week (NEIW), to be held 8-14 November.
NEIW is a cooperative campaign that brings together
financial advisers, charities and trusts, financial
organisations, faith groups, NGOS and community
groups to ensure that everyone knows that they have
green and ethical options for their investments."
The UKSIF's second National Ethical Investment Week continues to
gain big sponsors demonstrating the growing interest
in ethical stocks and bonds in the UK.
National Ethical Investment Week adds Aviva to list
of sponsors, September 14, 2009, FT Advisor,
TIAA-CREF to Divest From Company
Involved in West Bank Settlements.
"Adalah-NY, an advocacy group pushing for
TIAA-CREF to divest stock holdings in Africa-Israel
Investments Ltd., a company involved in Israeli
settlements in the West Bank, issued a news release
overnight stating that TIAA-CREF had in fact already
sold the stock in question." The pressure
continues to grow on Israeli companies.
Professors Urge TIAA-CREF to Divest From Company
Involved in West Bank Settlements, by Emma L.
Carew, September 11, 2009,
Chronicle of Higher Education, USA.
Israeli Companies Worried About Boycott Of Their
"A survey reveals
that 21% of Israeli exporters have had to cut their
prices as a result of the boycott, after a
significant loss of market share, especially in
Jordan, the UK and Scandinavia. [Data from Ma an
News Agency, 31 March, 2009]... This month the UN
will publish the findings of its inquiry into
Israel’s possible war crimes in Gaza in 2008-9.
These are unlikely to lead to legal proceedings, so
there are calls for boycott, divestment and
sanctions to force Israel to comply with
international law." Whether you are for or
against Israel on this, as an investor, you might
want to pay attention to this issue.
Economic retaliation against Tel Aviv, by Willy
Jackson, September 2009, Le Monde diplomatique,
Norway's Giant Pension Fund Drops
Israeli Defence Company, Angering Israel.
"Norway's finance minister on Thursday announced
that the Israeli company Elbit Systems Ltd. had been
dropped from the Nordic country's pension fund due
to ethical concerns because it is involved in work
on the separation wall between Israel and the West
Bank." Among the giant western pension funds,
Norway's stands out with its ethical investing
policy. It is likely that where Norway leads others
In my ethical investing
tutoring, investors often consider defence
contractors among their ethical investment
preferences. Clearly, what is ethical to one person
is anathema to another. However, I believe that if
we all apply our personal values to investing, then,
overall, our mutually agreed higher values--honesty,
integrity, humanity, and so forth--will serve the
purposes of all society in promoting these badly
needed values in the investment, finance, and
Norway's global pension fund drops Israel's Elbit
Systems Ltd. due to ethics concerns, September
3, 2009, Associated Press release in The
Washington Examiner, USA.
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