E-newsletter of Investing for the Soul June 29, 2009
Top ethical investing news for June 2009
Links may only be valid a limited time Commentaries by Ron Robins
Dell, Procter and Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, Better
Place & Tririga Win 2009 AMR Research Leadership Awards In
Sustainability & CSR. -
"To determine the list, AMR Research surveyed roughly 50 companies, many
of which are part of the Fortune 500. Leaders where chosen based on the
following categories of environmental and social stewardship: corporate
social responsibility, supply chain innovation, and sustainable
leadership including sustainability and innovation, operational
sustainable performance, and clean technology." The report makes
clear some of the interesting strides that the winning companies have
made to sustainability. Ethical investors might want to review AMR's
Big Companies Still Showing Poor Awareness Of Climate Change Impacts On Their Operations. - [COMMENTARY] "Two new studies from investor group Ceres, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Center for Energy and Environmental Security assess the major impacts climate change could have on global companies, and calls on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to set standards for climate-related risk reporting. The two new studies, one an in-depth look filings from 100 global companies in 2008, and another a longitudinal look S&P 500 companies' reports over the past 13 years, detail how slowly some of the world's largest companies are in recognizing and forming a plan to mitigate the impacts of climate change on business operations."
In reviewing these reports, ethical investors might glean
some insight as to whom they feel they are comfortable investing in. It
seems that many companies still do not really understand the advantages
of using corporate social responsibility. The Ceres and Environmental
Defense Fund report actually reviews and comments on individual
Harvard Study Shows How Investors Can Determine Long
Term Portfolio Risks Due To Labour & Human Rights Activities Of Global
paper explores how pension funds and other investors can obtain data on
the long- term sustainability risks posed by the labor and human rights
(LHR) activities of global corporations, with a specific focus on supply
chains." This is a precedent setting study and is something that all
ethical investors need to pay attention too.
Five Industrial Sectors Risk Losses & Reputational
Risk Due To Damaged Ecosystems: EUROSIF.
"The report, entitled Biodiversity Theme Report, addresses risks to
the agricultural, extractive, paper and forestry, real estate and
infrastructure, and tourism industries. It considers both companies that
depend on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and companies whose
activities have an impact on biodiversity and ecosystems. The business
risks associated with species loss and the restricted functional
capacity of ecosystems include decreased availability of resources, the
likelihood of regulatory action to protect environmental resources,
increased prices and limited access to capital and insurance, an
increase in trends toward ecologically responsible purchasing, legal
action, and reputational damage." This report is useful reading for
all ethical investors.
Poor ESG Disclosure In Emerging Markets Deters Major Investors: Survey. - [COMMENTARY] "Approximately 70% of a sample of 67 major asset managers and institutional investors collectively representing $130bn of emerging market investment, told the Emerging Markets Disclosure (EMD) Project, that they wished to see the development of national sustainability indices, ESG listing requirements and greater incorporation by emerging markets companies of global ethical standards and norms before they could commit more money."
A major issue is highlighted here with respect to ethical
investors finding stocks that are good to invest in emerging markets.
However, S&P, Dow Jones and other index providers are increasingly
offering ESG/sustainability oriented indices in these markets. For these
indices see my links page,
Ethical Investing Stock and Bond Indices.
Jantzi Research & Maclean's Magazine Pick Canada's Top
Socially Responsible Companies. -
Jantzi's analysis is always top-notch. Anyone interested in investing in
Canada's best socially responsible companies should review this list.
Société Générale, UBS, & Cheuvreux Named As Tops In
European SRI & Sustainability Research In 2009 Thomson Reuters Extel
[COMMENTARY] This survey is always
interesting to look at, most particularly in the light of recent cuts to
SRI/ESG research by financial institutions.
Three New Indexes Focusing On Sustainability.
"Three index providers this week announced new products focused on
companies that address environmental issues or show class-leading
efforts on sustainability reporting." The expansion in such products
again underlines the increasing interest in green and sustainable
Review Articles On Socially Responsible & Ethical
Investing In Canada. -
[COMMENTARY] "... a
compilation of stories reported from the Social Investment
Organization's conference recently wrapped up in Winnipeg, as well as
other events concerning governance. These articles probe the future of
an investment model built on principles other than returns." These
articles are a worthwhile read for anyone interested in ethical
Institutional Investors Target Fortune 500 Companies
For Deforestation Risks. -
"Investors running assets of US$1.3 trillion have signed up to a new
initiative backed by the United Nations and HRH Prince Charles’
Rainforests Projects that will ask 150 companies in the Fortune 500
index as well as 50 other companies to report on risks that they could
be contributing to dangerous deforestation." This type of initiative
is important to get companies to realize how they might improve their
practices, not only in regard to deforestation, but in many other areas
of environmental, social and governance concerns as well.
Some Banks Cutting Back On SRI Coverage: Survey.
[COMMENTARY] "Several banks are cutting
back their analysis of companies’ socially responsible policies,
Some perspective on these cuts must be noted. Though
unfortunate, they were not disproportionate to the layoffs made
generally in the industry.
Interest In SRI Rising Significantly In Mid-East.
[COMMENTARY] "Economic downturn has
increased Middle East investors' inclination towards socially
responsible investments (SRIs), with interest rising four times in the
past six months... The SRIs are particularly appealing to investors
seeking diversification or opting for investments that are socially
Carbon Cap Could Wipe-Out Many US Companies' Earnings.
[COMMENTARY] "American Electric Power
Co., Allegheny Energy and Ameren Corp’s future earnings potentially
US Pension Shareholder Activism Has No Economic Value,
May Breach Fiduciary Duty: Chamber of Commerce.
"Shareholder proposals filed by union-sponsored and public pension
plans at US corporate AGMs show no clear evidence of short- or long-term
improvements in operating or stock market performance of the target
firms and may be placing trustees in breach of their fiduciary duty
under ERISA guidelines, according to a study commissioned by the US
Chamber of Commerce... The consultant [Navigant Consulting] said its
research found no statistically significant overall short-run or
long-run improvement and said there was actually some indication of a
long-run decrease in market value for target firms in the sample." I
will be fascinating to see if these findings affect future
shareholder resolutions! My guess is that the pace of such resolutions
will only increase until whole industries change.
UK Study Says Ethical Investing Far More Important
Today Than In The Past. -
"The Friends Provident study showed nearly three quarters of Brits (74%)
agree it is important that companies take social, ethical and
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 © 2009 Ron Robins. All rights reserved.