E-newsletter of Investing for the Soul April 29, 2012
Top ethical investing news for April 2012
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!
Walmart Investors Voice Deep Concerns Over Bribery Allegations. - [COMMENTARY] "Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a coalition of faith-based and responsible investors that have been actively engaging Walmart on social, environmental, and governance issues are dismayed by recent reports in the New York Times alleging systemic bribery and corruption to facilitate the rapid expansion of their retail operations in Mexico."
For a company that’s trying to make it to the forefront of CSR, if
proven true, this could seriously erode what little support the company
presently has among ethical investors.
UK Investors With £1.5 Trillion Of Investments Rally Against
Excessive Pay. - [COMMENTARY]
"A coalition of pension funds and asset managers, who
together control more than £1.5 trillion of investments, hits out at
’disproportionate’ rises in bonuses and calls for companies to ’claw
back’ unwarranted payouts... [They include:]... Allianz Global
Investors... two Swedish state pension funds with more than £40 billion
in funds under management together, the City group F&C Asset Management,
a clutch of ethical investment funds and the Local Authority Pension
Fund Forum, whose members control more than £100 billion in funds, and
the Church of England Pensions Board." Finally, these groups are
standing together to fight excessive management compensation.
Canada Promoting Board Diversity. - [COMMENTARY] "The Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) announced today it is launching Canada′s first ever database of diverse candidates for board of director positions in Canada′s largest 500 organizations. The new initiative, Diversity 50, supports the Council′s mandate to increase representation of candidates who reflect the diversity of the broader Canadian population."
For multinational companies, board diversity should be a given so as to
optimize corporate performance in multi-lingual, multi-cultural markets.
Yet that is often not the case. This is a good socially responsible
initiative by Canada that is also likely to benefit corporate
’Say On Pay’ Stockholder Vote Rebukes Citi CEO’s Pay Package.
- [COMMENTARY] "In a stinging
rebuke, Citigroup shareholders rebuffed on Tuesday the bank′s $15
million pay package for its chief executive, Vikram S. Pandit, marking
the first time that stock owners have united in opposition to outsized
compensation at a financial giant." Finally, it’s happening! The
outsized compensation packages for financial industry executives are
being scrutinized by stockholders as never before. This could be the
beginning of a trend that might influence the entire financial industry.
I hope so.
Global Green Energy Investments Fall.
- [COMMENTARY] "Global investment in
green energy fell sharply in the first three months of 2012 as European
financial woes, upcoming U.S. elections and fears of declining federal
support fed a ’destabilizing uncertainty,’ a report unveiled Thursday
finds. New financial investment fell 28 percent from the prior quarter
to $27 billion, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which called
the first quarter 2012 tally ’the weakest since the depths of the
financial crisis’ in early 2009." If oil prices continue to climb,
green energy investments could still recover.
UK Banks & Insurers Blacklist Cluster Bomb Companies. - [COMMENTARY] "The Guardian has learned that major firms such as Lloyds Banking Group (through its investment arm Scottish Widows), Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, and the Co-op have imposed a blanket ban on holding shares in companies that make or supply cluster munitions, purging them from nearly all their share portfolios. Royal Bank of Scotland has banned all new lending to the same companies, and is now reviewing its defence industry shareholdings."
It seems that some financial institutions are taking a higher ethical
stance. Perhaps many more will follow? Let’s hope so. It’s good news for
ethical investors and investments.
Why Businesses Aren’t Trusted. - [COMMENTARY] " ...trust appears to be increasing in value to our clients’ businesses at the same time as it is becoming more elusive. Trust -- or the absence of it -- is having an ever-greater impact on the things that businesses care about such as such as brand equity, customer loyalty and market share, propensity for collaboration opportunities and the attraction and retention of talent. Time and again, when we look into what drives the success of our clients’ businesses, trust is at the heart of it. And yet the corporate world as a whole continues to suffer from a chronic trust deficit."
When societies and individuals within those societies demonstrate caring
attitudes towards each other, trust can grow. When the rich grow richer
at the expense of the less fortunate, distrust grows. It is in the
interests of the rich to demonstrate they care for everyone’s welfare.
It requires a change in consciousness.
HP, Intel & GE Create Fund To Boost Conflict-Free Minerals.
- [COMMENTARY] "A U.S. law
requiring companies to disclose if they source key minerals from
conflict-torn areas has lit a fire under businesses to trace their
supply chains and find conflict-free supplies. But with other countries
also pressuring companies to eliminate conflict materials, there’s more
demand for conflict-free minerals than supply." It’s a shame that it
took a new US law for companies to get behind this, but it’s a good
start. However, will Chinese and Russian companies participate as well?
Social Investment Organizations To Produce Global Ethical Investing Data. - [COMMENTARY] "Sustainable investment membership organisations in major markets have agreed to join forces to create a trailblazing report on the global scope of sustainable and responsible investment. For more than a decade, these regional bodies have produced research reports, generally on a biennial schedule, on the trends in sustainable and responsible investing within their own markets. The release of this harmonized global ’Trends’ report, the first ever, is scheduled for December 2012."
I’m happy to see this. I hope too, that they’ll publish data in relation
to global non-SR-ethical investing equity and bond market assets. That
way, investors can assess exactly how large and proportional are
SR-ethical investing assets in relation to the universe of stock and
Eiris Says European Companies Lead, Americans Lag, In ESG. - [COMMENTARY] "UK and continental European companies have outstripped their US and Asian counterparts in taking a ’socially responsible’ approach to their business and reducing risk, according to findings based on more than 2,500 FTSE global companies by Eiris, the responsible investment research specialist. A fifth of UK companies scored A (the highest of five grades) based on environmental, social and governance issues, followed by 12 per cent of mainland European ones. But only 2 per cent of US companies and 1 per cent of Asian ones made the top grade in Eiris′s recently launched Global Sustainability Ratings."
These are significant results and may encourage ethical investors to
review some of their holdings in US companies.
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 © 2012 Ron Robins. All rights reserved.