E-newsletter of Investing for the Soul January 30, 2009
Top ethical investing news for January 2009
Links may only be valid a limited time Commentaries by Ron Robins
Management Survey Found 71% Of US Wealthy Have
Socially Responsible & Green Investments.
"The survey of 1,263 wealthy Americans, all of
whom had at least $500,000 in investable assets,
revealed that 71 percent have socially responsible
and green investments in their portfolio, while 57
percent say they have up to 25 percent of their
portfolio in such investments, while nine percent
have between 25-50 percent. One quarter (25 percent)
believe that green investments will gain in 2009."
These are impressive figures. Increasingly, stocks
that are good to invest in could have a green
colour. Obama's new stimulus package will also help
in this regard.
Publishes Its Updated Ethical Rankings List Of
"Geneva-based Covalence is publishing today its
annual ethical ranking covering an enlarged universe
of 541 multinationals within 18 sectors and based on
a renovated calculation methodology combining
popularity and diversified performance... Leaders
are HSBC, Intel, and Unilever... The following
companies enter the top 10: Xerox (5th), General
Electric (8th), and DuPont (10th), replacing IBM
(14th), Hewlett-Packard (30th), and Toyota (34th)."
It is always useful for ethical investors to review
US Poll Finds Investor Interest In Green Investments Undiminished. - [COMMENTARY] "About 78%, said they believed that there will be more policies encouraging investment in the environment in the next year than under the Bush administration and that environmental technology could be the 'next great American industry'... 48%, said that it is likely that they will make an investment this year to capitalize on the environmental trend... [yet] 85% of the investors surveyed said that advisers had made no recommendations to them about environmental investing."
This survey for
Allianz Global Investors demonstrates again a great
disconnect between what investors would like to do
and what most mainstream advisors advise them to do.
Certainly, the advisors fiduciary duty is to show
caution concerning their clients' investments.
However, by not even discussing green/environmental
investment opportunities with their clients they run
the risk of losing them! (See my editorial,
Advisor: KNOW Your Client. Know their values!)
Survey Says Ethics In UK Financial Sector Badly
"Only 2 per cent of the 852 adults questioned
said their bank was ethical, while 4 per cent said
it was trustworthy, and 5 per cent said it was
transparent, according to the study by
communications firm Cohn & Wolfe." It is no
wonder that Triodos and other socially conscious
banks are gaining in the UK when public perception
of the mainstream financial industry is so pitiful.
On Factory Labour Standards In Emerging Markets From
An Investors' Perspective.
A fascinating read for ethical and socially
responsible investors. One key point that many
economists have also stressed is that it will be
rising incomes from factory workers in the
developing world who will help lead the world to
greater future prosperity.
Views On How Downturn Is Affecting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) & Green Corporate Behaviour. - [COMMENTARY] FORTUNE magazine describes how Intel and other companies continue to grow their CSR activities despite the downturn. Meanwhile, a Booze & Company survey reveals, "... that 40% of respondents expect 'green' and other corporate social responsibility initiatives to significantly slow due to the downturn. The pullback will be especially pronounced in transportation and energy industries, with, respectively, 51% and 47% of respondents in those industries saying CSR agendas will be delayed."
Studies show that carefully thought-out and
implemented CSR/green initiatives can reduce costs
and/or become revenue generators for companies.
Thus, this is not the time to cut them. Ethical
investors might want to see how companies in their
portfolios are reacting in this recession in regards
to their CSR/green activities.
Launches First Islamic Bond Programme. -
Concerns Regarding Investment Analysts' Research.
If you read analysts investment reports or studies,
you should read this! It cites inadequacy and bias
in many investment studies.
Shareholder Resolutions Concerning Nanotechnology Use And Policies Growing. - [COMMENTARY] "... companies that use nanomaterials will increasingly be asked by shareholders to disclose the presence of nanomaterials in their personal care and food products and to describe their policies for dealing with nanomaterials. Socially responsible investment firms and advocacy organizations are targeting such companies, and resolutions have been filed for the 2009 annual meetings of Avon Products, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, and McDonald's Corporation."
For those concerned about the environment, the use
of nanotechnologies is going to be a huge issue in
the years ahead. Though touted as potentially
creating a new industrial revolution benefiting the
whole world, its risks to humanity could be
Increasing Loans In 2009 Over 2008.
"While the rest of the banking sector is cutting
credit lines and rebuilding balance sheets, Triodos
Bank in the UK expects 2009 to be a record year for
its lending to environmental businesses." This
is an example for the whole banking industry. Behave
ethically! Ethical and socially conscious
banks are likely to see big gains in business in the
Socially responsible Investing Funds Outselling
Mainstream Funds. -
"Total sales for the SRI sector for November were
€784.2m ($1bn) to take the overall value of the
sector to €35.3bn. Sales of mainstream equity funds
totalled €588.7m over the same period." Is this
a sign that the European investing public is taking
ethics and the environment more seriously when
investing? It will be interesting to see if this
trend continues and replicated elsewhere.
Mandates Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting
(CSR) For All Large Public & Private Companies By
For a full appreciation of what's going-on and for
my views in this area, again, see
We Need Mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility
(CSR) Reporting. Companies too, are realizing
the advantages of using corporate social
responsibility programmes and initiatives in
enhancing customer loyalty, long-term financial
performance, and potentially higher stock prices.
$300 Billion Pension Fund Ordered To Review Holdings
In Palestinian Territories In Light Of Israeli-Hamas
"The ethical guidelines prohibit the fund from
investing in companies where there is an
unacceptable risk of contributing to serious or
systematic abuses of human rights or serious
violations of individuals' rights in war or
conflict... At the end of 2007, the fund owned
stocks in 12 Israeli companies and bonds from three
Israeli issuers." It remains to be seen if they
find any companies in the region in which they have
holdings violated their guidelines. Ethical
investors investing in companies who may have
activities in war or terrorist conflicts always have
to be alert as to whether their own values are being
compromised by holding such investments. Investors
also have to be concerned of the potential effects
on stock prices of affected companies.
US Green Tech
Venture Capital Declines to $2.5 Billion From $2.9
Billion Between Q3 & Q4, 2008.
Evidence of a slowdown in green tech venture capital
is mounting. However, with the Obama administration
set to increase spending on green energy/tech, it is
possible that this sector will not be as badly hit
as many others will be in 2009.
Apple Not So Green.
"The broadside from Dell, which claimed its
operations reached carbon-neutral status about six
months ago, was launched by Bob Pearson,
vice-president, in a company blog. In the blog he
accused Apple of using environmentalism as a PR
stunt." Furthermore, this article says, "A
survey by Gartner, the IT analysts and intelligence
group, places the development of green policies in
the top three of executives' revenue-raising
priorities for 2009." Green is still in despite
New Book Release
Creative Capitalism: A Conversation with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Other Economic Leaders, by Conor Clarke (Contributor), Michael Kinsley (Editor), Simon & Schuster 2008.
"... at the 2008 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland, [Bill] Gates advocated a creative capitalism in which big
corporations, the distinguishing feature of the modern global economy,
integrate doing good into their way of doing business...
Just Released Research Paper
The wages of social responsibility, by Meir Statman, Glenn Klimek Professor of Finance, Santa Clara University, and Denys Glushkov, Barclays Global Investors, December 2008, USA.
"We analyze returns during 1992-2007 of stocks rated on social responsibility by KLD and find that this tilt gave socially responsible investors a return advantage relative to conventional investors. However, typical socially responsible investors also shun stocks of companies associated with tobacco, alcohol, gambling, firearms, military, and nuclear operations. We find that such shunning brought to socially responsible investors a return disadvantage relative to conventional investors."
(Continuing) "The return advantage... toward stocks of companies with high social responsibility scores is largely offset by the return disadvantage that comes from the exclusion of stocks of ‘shunned’ companies."
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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.