E-newsletter of Investing for the Soul June 29, 2013
Top ethical investing news for June 2013
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!
The 21st Century Investor: Ceres Blueprint For Sustainable Investing.
- [COMMENTARY] "This Blueprint is
written for the 21st Century investor— institutional asset owners and
their investment managers—who need to understand and manage the growing
risks posed by climate change, resource scarcity, population growth,
human and labor rights, energy demand and access to water—risks that
will challenge businesses and affect investment returns in the years and
decades to come." The blueprint is good reading for all ethical
investors. Download it
Review Of Evidence: Database of SRI Academic Studies, Commissioned By
Calpers, Compiled By UC Davis Graduate School Of Management.
- [COMMENTARY] "CalPERS has
commissioned this review of evidence as part of its Sustainable
Investment Research Initiative (SIRI). It is a searchable database of
over 700 academic studies on sustainability factors spanning four
decades of research, which examine the impact of these factors on
investment risk and return." This is a great comprehensive review of
SRI research that many ethical investors might want to look at.
Insurers Inflating Books, New York Regulator Says.
- [COMMENTARY] "New York State regulators are calling
for a nationwide moratorium on transactions that life insurers are using
to alter their books by billions of dollars, saying that the deals put
policyholders at risk and could lead to another taxpayer bailout."
Here we go again with yet more unethical behaviour among the financial
The 2013 Best Green Global Brands. - [COMMENTARY]
"The 2013 Best Green Global Brands is produced by Interbrand and
“powered by” Deloitte, according to the study′s — well, branding. The
study measures the environmental perception of 100 global brands and
compares it to those companies′ actual environmental performance. This
year′s ranking shows Toyota maintaining the No. 1 spot, with Ford,
Honda, Panasonic, Nissan, Johnson & Johnson, Volkswagen, Danone, Nokia
and Dell rounding out the top 10." What is useful is not so much the
ranking as how the survey is explained in the linked article.
Barclays, MSCI Launch Fixed Income ESG Indices. -
[COMMENTARY] "Barclays and MSCI Inc. (NYSE: MSCI)
today announced the launch of a global family of Environmental, Social &
Governance (ESG) fixed Income Indices, the first fixed income benchmark
indices based primarily on ESG factors. The indices are co-branded
“Barclays MSCI” and will be independently marketed by both firms."
This is milestone development. It demonstrates that large investors are
showing interest in fixed income ESG products. Fixed income ESG products
could see more rapid growth now. For a good description of the green
bond market see,
Painting the Bond Markets Green at yourSRI.com
Private Equity Adopting ESG, Says Malk Sustainability Partners
Survey. - [COMMENTARY] "’Our study
shows that ESG management is growing up. Over the past year, more
private equity firms have initiated ESG efforts. Those with programs are
pushing further. As a relatively young concept in private equity, ESG
management is catching on as an important area to align GP performance
with LP interests,’ said Andrew Malk, Managing Partner of MSP."
Private equity and limited partnerships can be more entrepreneurial and
nimble--better able to adopt new trends they find profitable. Thus, you
see the interest of these asset managers in ESG.
Top 50 Canadian Socially Responsible Companies 2013.
- [COMMENTARY] "For the fifth year in a
row, Maclean′s has partnered with Sustainalytics, a global leader in
sustainability analysis, to select 50 leaders in corporate social
responsibility–companies who know that doing good is just good business.
Canada′s Top 50 Socially Responsible Companies were selected on the
basis of their performance across a broad range of environmental,
social, and governance indicators and rank at the top of their industry
groups." For ethical investors investing in Canada, this is a good
review to read.
CFO Survey: Corporate Social Responsibility Lags in U.S., Optimism
About U.S. Economy Grows. - [COMMENTARY]
"U.S. businesses trail their global counterparts in terms of how much
importance they place on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and
sustainability. Nearly half of U.S. chief financial officers rate CSR
and sustainability as moderately important or very important items in
their business strategies. By contrast, the rating in Europe is 63
percent, 67 percent in Asia, 76 percent in Latin America and 83 percent
in Africa." The data revealed here is nothing new. The US has lagged
for many years. In some European countries and elsewhere, government
mandates promote corporate awareness and interest in CSR and
WattzOn Survey: U.S. Workers Want Their Companies to Take More Action to Protect the Environment, Perception and Participation Is Low. - [COMMENTARY] "Three out of four (76 percent) U.S. workers say it’s important that their employer takes action to protect the environment. While recycling and waste reduction programs are the most prevalent programs employers utilize in and outside the workplace (66 percent and 44.4 percent, respectively), only 27 percent of U.S. workers are very satisfied with their employer’s efforts to help the environment."
I’m curious, were many senior managers included in this survey? I wonder
what their response was? I’m sure that privately, many managers respond
to such questions similarly to the mass of employees, but, with
financial constraints and other priorities, environmental activities
just aren’t a priority.
Public Backing for Going Beyond GDP Remains Strong: Global Poll. - [COMMENTARY] "The public around the world remains strongly in favour of replacing GDP with a broader way of reporting national progress, according to a new global poll released today. The study, conducted by GlobeScan on behalf of Ethical Markets, business think tank Tomorrow′s Company and the ICAEW, surveyed 10,845 adults across 11 countries. It shows that more than two-thirds - 68 percent of citizens on average - in the countries surveyed favour replacing GDP with a broader indicator embracing health, social and environmental statistics as well as economic ones. Twenty-three per cent would rather retain a focus on money-based economic statistics."
There are presently a number of good
alternative indices. The real question though, is how to wean the global
business community away from the ridiculously flawed GDP concept? See my
GDP is a Bad Statistic. Alternatives Coming.
Morningstar 2013 Global Fund Investor Experience Survey.
- [COMMENTARY] "The Global Fund
Investor Experience report was designed to encourage a dialogue about
global best practices for mutual funds from the perspective of fund
shareholders. This biennial report measures the experiences of mutual
fund investors in 24 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and
Africa. Morningstar researchers evaluated countries in four
categories—Regulation & Taxation, Disclosure, Fees & Expenses, and Sales
& Media—with greater weight given to factual, empirical answers as well
as the high-priority issues of fees, taxes, and transparency." This
survey is worth reading for all investors.
UK Pension Fund Trade Body Launches Responsible Investment Guide.
- [COMMENTARY] "The National
Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has launched a guide to responsible
investment, which encourage its members to take factors other than
financial returns into account when investing." This guide is not
only useful for UK pension funds, but for asset managers everywhere. The
guide demonstrates the increasing relevance of ESG/responsible
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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 © 2013 Ron Robins. All rights reserved.