E-newsletter of Investing for the Soul October 30, 2010
Top ethical investing news for October 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!
US Companies Vague On Political Expenditures. - [COMMENTARY] "A new study finds that while nearly 80 percent of S&P 500 companies have disclosed direct political campaign spending policies, 86 percent have no disclosed policies regarding indirect political expenditures. Additionally, only 20 percent of corporations disclose how much is actually spent and which organizations or causes receive the funds."
that all corporate political expenses should be banned. At the very
least, they should be pre-approved by shareholders and all such
donations explicitly listed for public view.
Companies With High ESG Scores Suffered
Less In Downturn, Says State Street Global Advisors (SSgA) Study.
"SSgA found that, generally speaking, high -scoring ESG corporates
did, in fact, suffer less during the down markets... " (Page 5).
This is a very interesting read on the evolution, importance and future
of ESG. I recommend it to all ethical investors.
Sustainability Fund Holdings Have
Similar Sustainability Risks To Conventional Funds, Says Study Reported
In UK'S Financial Times. -
"A recent, but as yet unpublished, study by the University of Zurich
measured the sustainability of large sustainable funds with the help of
the RepRisk-Index (RRI), and compared their RRI scores with those of
regular equity funds... Felix Remmers, author of the study, [says] 'The
This is not surprising to me either. It is
to be expected that over time all funds will gravitate to include
'best-in-class' companies. Nonetheless, I am sure some readers will be
surprised by this data. If one can afford it, an individually tailored
portfolio that truly reflects ones personal values might be preferable.
That way, you at least enjoy some real 'ownership' of your holdings and
are not subject to some fund holdings that might be contrary to your
Canada's Northwest & Ethical Funds
Targets 50 Companies For Dialogue On ESG Issues. -
"Northwest & Ethical Investments L.P. (NEI), through its ESG Services
Team, plans to engage in dialogue with over 50 Canadian and
international corporations in 2011 to advance environmental, social, and
governance issues, reduce portfolio risk and increase shareholder value.
The role of stock exchanges in bringing stability and credibility to the
capital markets is an important focus in this year's engagement work."
Congratulations to these firms for this initiative. It is in everyone's
interest that they succeed.
NEWSWEEK's 2010 Green (Company)
"NEWSWEEK's 2010 Green Rankings is a data-driven assessment of the
largest companies in the U.S. and in the world. Our goal was to cut
through the green chatter and quantify the actual environmental
footprints, policies, and reputations of these big businesses." A
quick look at their findings does not reveal anything extraordinary.
Nonetheless, it is useful for ethical investors to peruse.
2010 Clean Capitalism Report On
Canada's S&P/TSX 60 Companies. -
"The report includes an analysis of the ESG status of S&P/TSX 60
companies, benchmark rankings, and best practice highlights. The
intention of the report is to provide companies, regulators and
investors with data and analysis to help drive sustainability
performance for leading companies in Canada. Data was collected on 13
indicators in 4 categories, Environmental, Social, Governance and
Transparency." The people behind producing this report always do a
commendable job. It is worthwhile reading for all ethical investors.
Study Finds European Company CSR Reports
Better Than Those Of US Companies. -
"In a first-of-its-kind research project, the Sethi CSR Monitor© has
analyzed reports by 514 companies selected from a worldwide database of
1,300 companies. 'Our analysis shows a wide range of differences in the
content and quality of these reports,' says Professor S. Prakash Sethi,
the principal researcher and founder of the analytical tool, the Sethi
CSR Monitor." The reports' analysis looks interesting--but at $700
is not for everyone.
80% Of UK Investment Advisors Offer
Green Investments. - [COMMENTARY]
"Over 80% of financial advisers offer green and ethical investments,
a survey for National Ethical Investment Week shows. But it says
concerns remain over the performance of green and ethical funds. This is
despite an October 2009 survey that found 90% of wealth managers
reported their responsible investment portfolios performed the same."
Good news continues for the growth of ethical investing in the UK.
Again, though, I wonder how much is due to a real desire to invest
ethically and according to ones values compared to just investing in
what is considered to be the next 'big thing.'
European SRI Retail Funds Grow 41% In
One Year, Says Vigeo. -
"The number of SRI retail funds increased to 879 from 683, while
assets under management
phenomenal growth. I cannot help but wonder how many investors buying
sustainability oriented funds are buying only because they believe it is
the next 'big' thing, or are really buying also out of ethical
considerations for the planet's welfare? This needs to be studied to
understand if socially responsible-ethical investing is really gaining
ground or not.
Boston College Releases 2010 CSR Index
"For the last three years the Boston College Center and Reputation
Institute have created a ranking of the top 50 companies in the United
States that the public distinguishes for corporate social
responsibility... Top companies are Johnson & Johnson, The Walt Disney
Company and Kraft Foods Inc." This is a 'reputational' index and
therefore many ethical investors may quarrel with the findings from
European Responsible Investment Doubles
To 5 Trillion (About $7 Trillion) In Two Years.
"The size of the European sustainable and responsible investment
market has almost doubled in the last two years, despite the financial
crisis, according to the latest survey of the market by the European
Sustainable Investment Forum (Eurosif). Its 2010 European SRI study
the benchmark survey of institutional investors on the topic estimates
that total SRI assets shot up to 5 trillion as of December 31, 2009, a
significant jump from 2.7 trillion on December 31, 2007 a growth of
87%, or a
This is tremendous growth and indicates a
major shift in investor attitudes towards green-ethical investing.
Honda, Toyota & Hyundai Are Cleanest
Automakers Says Union Of Concerned Scientists.
"For the fifth consecutive time, Honda earned the title of Greenest
Automaker for its efforts of maintain low smog and greenhouse gas
emissions levels in its fleet."
Ford, GM and
Chrysler were ranked the lowest.
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Reports On FTSE 350 Companies. HSBC, Reckitt Benckiser, RBS, Scottish & Southern and Tesco Among Climate Change Leaders. - [COMMENTARY] "According to its latest report, the number of companies in the FTSE 350 responding to the CDP rose to 69% (243 companies) in 2010, from 67% (236) in 2009. This was 'impressive given the context of the economic downturn and uncertainty about the future direction of global climate policy.'"
performs admirable work and reports on carbon emissions of companies
worldwide. It produces very useful information for ethical investors.
California Requiring Companies To
Disclose Supply Chain Policies. -
"SB 657 requires major retail sellers and manufacturers doing
business in California to disclose their voluntary efforts to eradicate
slavery and human trafficking from its direct supply chain for tangible
goods offered for sale." Well done California! Should this become
prevalent, it should help ethical investors in their search for the most
ethical and socially responsible companies.
Recent Commentaries by Ron Robins on Alrroya.com
Investing Ethically? September 30, 2010.
Manipulated Markets Can Cause Ruin, October 9, 2010.
Unethical Investing By Charities, October 21, 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.