E-newsletter of Investing for the Soul July 30, 2010
Top ethical investing news for July 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!
Intel, Weyerhaeuser & Merck Tops In
Green Governance Rankings, Says Governance and Environmental Management
Strength (GEMS). -
"The GEMS Rating gives companies a score on a 100-point scale, based
on their ability to anticipate and manage environmental issues that
offer risks and opportunities to their operations. The GEMS Rating
assesses companies depending on the presence or absence of 49 indicators
in five categories: governance, policy, infrastructure and systems,
performance results and transparency and accessibility." See the top
ten companies in the link below.
Environmental & Social Shareholder
Resolutions Make Big Gains So Far In 2010.
"The season was marked by record-breaking investor approval for
corporate policies that protect LGBT rights, more reporting on
sustainability in general and the environment in particular, and
increased disclosure of political spending. Results are now available on
nearly all the 387 shareholder proposals Si2 is tracking, including
votes on the 166 resolutions that came to votes in the first six months
of the year." This is another item of good news. Many companies need
to be held to task for their actions more than ever before.
Netherlands Study Examines Why Both SRI
& 'Sin' Stocks Outperform. -
"A segmentation of the socially responsible investing (SRI) movement
by values-versus-profit orientation solves the puzzling evidence that
both socially responsible and controversial [sin] stocks produce
superior returns." This is a fascinating new study discussing
ethical -socially responsible investing from an insightful perspective.
New Study Finds SRI Funds Slightly
Outperform On A Risk-Adjusted Basis. -
"[The study] found that while SRI funds tended to slightly
underperform their non-SRI peers (-17 bps per year), they tended to
slightly outperform on a risk-adjusted basis (+1 bps year), results that
were neither statistically nor economically significant."
Study period was 19
years. It is a useful addition to the already significant body of
research on this topic.
US Congressional Budget Office Report
Highly Critical Of Benefits From Ethanol Tax Break.
"In its calm and measured way, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
just delivered a blistering assessment of the environmental value of
corn-based ethanol." When this subsidy was first announced I, like
many others, proclaimed it as a way to buy farm votes and was a terribly
expensive method to help the environment. Now it seems the CBO agrees.
Over 90% Of Institutional Investors Want
Green Investments. -
"Green private equity is on the agenda of virtually all institutional
investors, with more than 90 per cent wanting exposure to the sector,
according to a new survey. Over 90% of institutional investors claim
they want to have exposure to 'green' investments... The challenge for
green private equity and venture capital managers is to accelerate the
current levels of interest and future expectations into actual
commitments into their funds sooner rather than later." This
another good sign
for ethical investors and for the planet.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Launches Sustainability Indexes. - [COMMENTARY] "Hang Seng Indexes has become the latest to launch a series of sustainability indices, covering Hong Kong and Chinese companies. The aims of the index series is to 'further raise awareness about corporate sustainability' as well as to meet international demand for socially responsible investment in Chinese companies."
It will not
be long before corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting becomes
mandatory in some form in most countries around the world. See my recent
Call for Mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting,
'Too-Big-To-Fail' Banks Excluded From US Socially Responsible Mutual Fund. - [COMMENTARY] "Last week Appleseed Fund began tarring 'too-big-to-fail' banks with the same brush as pornographers, weapons-makers and others... 'Given the failure of regulators to prevent the credit crisis and the subsequent failure of legislators to break up the massive and interconnected banks that helped create the crisis, it's incumbent on depositors and investors to vote with their wallets,' co-portfolio manager Adam Strauss said."
Controversial, but this is a stand I agree
with. American and European big bank management attitudes and practices
have not changed, and pretty much the same executives involved in
causing this mess are still in place. Well done Appleseed!
Hong Kong Giving Investors Two Days To
Change Their Minds On Some New Investments.
"Beginning in January of 2011, the HKMA has mandated that banks allow
first-time investors and those over the age of 65 a two-day period in
which to think about the investment they’ve just gotten into. Lenders
will be looked at in regard to the selling of unlisted securities,
futures products and structured deposits but not listed stocks, futures
and warrants." Do you think this will catch-on? I guess they had to
leave out listed securities.
Western European CEOs Do Not Believe
Decline In Biodiversity A Problem For Business Growth.
"More than 50% of a sample of chief executive officers (CEOs) in
Latin America (167 companies surveyed) and 45% (40 companies surveyed)
in Africa believe a decline in biodiversity – such as plant and animal
habitats – is a challenge to business growth, against less than 20% of
peers in western Europe (442 companies surveyed), according to the
findings of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) report
released yesterday." I suspect the numbers might be similar for
North American CEOs too. There is a lot of education yet to take place.
The increasing focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG)
issues should help.
Fund Focuses On Shareholder Activism. - [COMMENTARY] "Australian Ethical Investment (AEI) has launched an index fund that seeks to engage with companies about their policies on climate change and improve their disclosure. The Climate Advocacy Fund (CAF) invests in Australia's largest companies by economic footprint, which is measured by sales, cash flow, book value and dividends."
This is a
new concept for ethical investors to consider. I remain on the sidelines
as to whether this will work or not. It will be interesting to see what
the fund actually does and the results it achieves.
New UK Guide For Charity Trustees. Of Interest To Charity Trustees Globally. - [COMMENTARY] "Jointly launched by the EIRIS Foundation and Charity Finance Directors' Group (CFDG), the free guide provides practical advice and presents case studies of charities that have adopted a responsible investment approach to help other charities to align their principles with their investment practices."
UK has a relatively smaller ethical investing footprint than the US, it
seems to account for a disproportionate amount of leading edge ethical
investment research, studies and news. This guide is typical of the
quality of material coming from the UK. As I indicated too, it is
worthwhile reading for anyone, anywhere who is engaged in managing
Global Cleantech Venture Capital
Investment Up 63% In First Half Of 2010.
"Clean technology venture investment worldwide has soared by 65% in
the first half of 2010 compared with the same period last year.
According to preliminary
Recent Commentaries by Ron Robins on Alrroya.com
Sin or Ethical Investing: Which Pays Best? July 13, 2010.
Can Ethical Investing Produce Higher Returns? July 19, 2010.
GDP is a Bad Statistic. Alternatives Coming, July 28, 2010.
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. 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.