E-newsletter of Investing for the Soul March 29, 2010
Top ethical investing news for March 2010
Links may only be valid a limited time Commentaries by Ron Robins
Twitter allows me to cover more--and breaking news--to help you do better!
Ethisphere Announces Its 2010 Rankings Of The World’s Most Ethical Companies. - [COMMENTARY] "The World′s Most Ethical Companies designation recognizes companies that truly go beyond making statements about doing business ’ethically’ and translate those words into action. WME honorees demonstrate real and sustained ethical leadership within their industries, putting into real business practice the Institute′s credo of ’Good. Smart. Business. Profit.’”
Most noteworthy is that stocks of the 2010
World′s Most Ethical Company honorees have outperformed the S&P 500 and
FTSE since 2005. Whether you agree with their criteria or not, it is
great to see this superior stock performance.
Including ESG Analysis Delivers Financial Benefits, Says Study. - [COMMENTARY] "A landmark study strengthens the position of ESG advocates. The results reveal that a focus on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) factors can significantly reduce portfolio risk or enhance returns. The study by risklab [a division of Allianz Global Investors] is the first systematic quantitative analysis explicitly examining ESG risk in a portfolio context."
This is exactly the kind of work that needs
to be done to convince investors and analysts everywhere that accounting
for ESG factors can potentially improve returns!
S&P, Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) Launch S&P/TSX Clean Technology Index. - [COMMENTARY] "The S&P/TSX Clean Technology Index draws companies from the investable universe of public companies whose activities provide value-added solutions to environmental problems. S&P and TSX chose Jantzi-Sustainalytics, one of the world’s leading providers of environmental, social, and governance research and analysis, to develop and maintain the Clean Technology Classification System."
More welcome news on the clean tech index
front. Congratulations to Michael Jantzi, Kevin Ranney, and all those at
Jantzi-Sustainalytics in developing this new index.
American Companies Lag In CSR.
"U.S. businesses are lagging behind their counterparts in Europe,
Australia and South Africa in taking seriously their corporate social
responsibility or CSR, according to a new study released today by Echo
mirrors what other studies have found, namely that when compared to
Europe, Australia, etc., US companies lag in the implementation of
corporate social responsibility policies.
Questions Raised About Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) Ratings. -
"’As a result, making the List [100 Best Corporate Citizens] is worth
millions or even billions in increased shareholder and brand value.’
This should be good news for Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil,
Chevron and Monsanto which, despite their notoriety, have been counted
as ’Best Citizens’ by Corporate Responsibility numerous times. ’When
I could not
agree more. That is why I always suggest when viewing such lists to try
and understand how they do the rankings--and who pays for them to be
UK ISA (Tax Free Savings Accounts) To
See 1,000% Rise In Ethical Investments This Year Says The Co-operative.
"Ethical investments currently have a 1% share of the ISA market, but
The Co-operative predicts that this could increase thirteen-fold later
this year as savers use their increased ISA allowance for more
eco-friendly investments. The Co-operative′s study found that 13% of
investors would like to put
money into an ethical fund." The UK continues to be a leader in
Big American Pension Fund Reportedly
Suing Goldman Sachs Over ’Excessive’ Payouts.
"A US labour union pension fund has reportedly filed a lawsuit
against Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank, over claims of excessive
executive pay. The Philadelphia-based International Brotherhood of
Electrical Workers Local 98 Pension Fund has lodged the writ at Delaware
Chancery Court, according to Thomson Reuters." It is about time that
institutional funds challenged the extraordinary payouts of Goldman and
others in the investment industry. What other industry allocates around
40% of its profits as bonuses?
US Companies Based In More Religious
Environments Take Fewer Financial Risks.
"Gilles Hilary and Kai Wai Hui of Hong Kong University of Science &
Technology say researchers have long demonstrated the link between
religion and an aversion to risky behavior among individuals. Rates of
gambling, alcohol abuse and crime, for instance, are lower on average in
communities where church attendance and religious affiliation are
The results of this study should not
surprise anyone. It simply highlights that communities with strong
spiritual and religious values are less likely to engage in potentially
reckless activities. It has been my contention for decades that
individuals imbibing higher spiritual and community values, such as the
Creatives’ as described by sociologist Paul Ray, is the only way the
world will be able to free itself from its problems.
HP, Intel, General Mills Top List Of
Best Corporate Citizens. -
"Corporate Responsibility Magazine today released its 11th annual
Best Corporate Citizens list... the full list this year includes a
number of shakeups, including that Bristol-Myers Squibb, last year’s top
firm, fell to the seventh position in the rankings. Coca-Cola, which
appears in eighth place this year, was ranked 56 last year." As
ethical investors, such lists may provide us with ideas on what to hold,
or sell, depending on our values and how it fits with our investment
UK’s F&C Wins Best Ethical Investing
Manager Awards. -
"At the Global Pensions Awards ceremony held in London on Wednesday
March 2nd, leading asset
MSCI Buys RiskMetrics For $1.55bn. - [COMMENTARY] "MSCI, the index and risk group is buying RiskMetrics, the New York-listed risk management and corporate governance firm, in the latest twist to consolidation in the ESG research and governance space. It is paying approximately $1.55 billion in a cash and stock transaction that values RiskMetrics at $21.75 per share. RiskMetrics last traded at $18.69 and its highest ever share price was $25.50 during 2008... In November 2009, RiskMetrics finalised the $10m buy-out of Boston-based KLD Research & Analytics, which also gave it a foothold in the SRI index business via deals with FTSE and Canada′s Jantzi Sustainalytics. That came after a February, 2009, $16m buy-out of Toronto-based Innovest."
Cost savings are the purported rationale
for this transaction. What it means for ethical investors will be
unclear for sometime. So do I welcome this merger? I do not have an
answer at this point.
Vodafone, Nokia & HP Ranked Highest In
New Sustainability Rankings. -
"The companies subjected to this Tomorrow′s Value Rating were the 20
largest ICT companies according to the Fortune Global 500 list, which
ranks the world′s largest companies by revenue." I find when looking
at rankings like this, it is good to check out how companies do on
several different ranking systems.
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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. Also, Mr. Ron Robins is not an investment advisor, nor is he licensed with any professional investment related body, and thus is not able to, nor does he make, any investment recommendations.
The Soul Investor is a publication of Investing for the Soul, a registered business name in Ontario, Canada. Copyright © 2010 Ron Robins. All rights reserved.