Ethical Investing News/Commentaries
Commentaries by Ron
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Companies with greater carbon efficiency
"According to a new
report published by the world’s largest asset
manager BlackRock, businesses that have been at the
forefront of improving their carbon efficiency for
the last three years have dramatically outperformed
the ones that have been laggards in this area.
The report analyzed the stock market performance of
over 1,850 companies that have joined the CDP
(formerly, Carbon Disclosure Project). It includes
companies across sectors, ranging from energy and
auto giants such as BP and General Motors to
technology leaders such as IBM."
study like this from the world's largest asset
manager is likely to influence corporate boards
globally. Blackrock is clearly showing that ethical
investors positioned in companies with carbon
reducing strategies -- especially compared to their
peers -- offers the opportunity for superior
Companies with greater carbon efficiency outperform
markets, by Vikas Vij, November 30, 2015,
Stronger Focus Needed on Business Ethics
and Whistleblowing Arrangements: IBE Survey.
Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) has published its
Ethics at Work Surveys for Britain, France, Germany,
Italy and Spain. The survey shows that about half of
employees who aware of misconduct do not voice their
concerns. According to Philippa Foster Back,
Director of IBE, weak speak-up arrangements leave
companies vulnerable. If managements do not know
what is going on, they cannot protect their
businesses against crisis.
The survey showed that 61 percent of those who did
speak up said they were dissatisfied with the
outcome. This percentage has more than doubled when
compared with 2012."
that ethics is still an issue at most companies.
Generally, businesses reflect the ethics of the
society where they operate. It's obvious that only
in a highly ethical society will the majority of
businesses behave with high ethics. I believe ethics
is largely a societal issue. However, that's not to
say that individual businesses should not attempt to
be more ethical.
Stronger Focus Needed on Business Ethics and
Whistleblowing Arrangements: IBE Survey,
by Vikas Vij, November 26, 2015, Justmeans, USA.
(Benefits) Consultants adding ESG factors
to decision mix. "According to research
from Cerulli Associates, consultants are finding
that they need to incorporate ESG factors into their
manager selection decision-making process. More than
half (53 percent) of consultants polled by Cerulli
have dedicated resources for ESG manager research,
and another 20 percent are considering adding
in ESG continues to spread -- with this report that
benefits consultants in their choice of investment
managers are now largely taking managers'
perspectives on ESG into account.
Consultants adding ESG factors to decision mix,
by Marlene Satter, November 25, 2015, Benefits Pro,
Decarbonizer: The first planetary
investment tool... answers the question - 'Does it
pay to decarbonize?' "Created by
Corporate Knights and powered by carbon data from
South Pole Group, the Clean Capitalist Decarbonizer
is a free interactive tool that shows the financial
implications of divesting high carbon companies in
favour of those that derive at least 20% of their
revenues from environmental markets or new energy.
The Clean Capitalist database covers 7,000
securities (comprising more than 85% of global
market capitalization), including all primary public
equity securities with a market cap over $2 billion
and/or listed on major national and global indices.
A professional version of the Clean Capitalist tool
for the investment community will be launched at the
upcoming Paris Climate Conference."
to Corporate Knights and the South Pole Group for
creating an extraordinarily useful tool for
investors wanting to know how portfolios would do
were they to rid themselves of carbon related
by Corporate Knights and South Pole Group, 2015.
Institutional Investors Increasingly
Consider ESG Factors.
"The number of U.S.
institutional investors that incorporate
environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors
into investment decision making increased from 22%
in 2013 to 29% in 2015, according to results of a
Callan survey. The investment consultant’s 2015 ESG
Interest and Implementation survey found that, by
fund type, foundations (39%) and endowments (37%)
have the highest rates of ESG adoption. Public fund
usage of ESG factors has nearly doubled in the past
two years, from 15% in 2013 to 27% in 2015."
really wonder if I should continue posting these
surveys. They're all so repetitive -- but in a great
way! The only remarks I'll make about this survey is
that it demonstrates how far ahead foundations
and endowments are relative to others and it
would've been good to compare them to European
Institutional Investors Increasingly Consider ESG
Factors, by Rebecca Moore, Asset International,
Stranded assets may add up to $2.2
trillion — blame COP21?
"U.S. fossil fuel
companies and their shareholders are exposed to $412
billion in potentially unusable assets from oil,
coal and gas projects on their books that may never
be needed, according to a report released today.
That vast U.S. exposure is part of $2.2 trillion
globally in excess in fossil fuel drilling or mining
projects that could well become stranded assets on
the books of various private and state-run
companies, according to Carbon Tracker."
Tracker has produced a fascinating study on this
subject. All investors have to be aware that their
portfolios often contain expose to many investments
that could be hit hard due to asset write downs,
etc. Fortunately, many ethical investors are ahead
of the game.
Stranded assets may add up to $2.2 trillion — blame
COP21? By Barbara Grady, November 24, 2015,
Low level of climate integration into
"Only a minority of
major European investors, found in a sample of asset
owners that invests €7.3 trillion, integrate climate
change into their investment policies.
However, research into these asset owners also found
that 53% consider climate change to be a top
priority. Nearly 90% of those surveyed use one of
three recognised methods of responsible investment:
stock screening; shareholder engagement; or
selecting stocks based on environmental, social and
governance criteria. Novethic says this shows
investors are strengthening their responsible
survey continues the trend -- found in countless
other surveys too -- that responsible investment/ESG
factors are increasingly a concern for investors.
Low level of climate integration into investments,
November 23, 2015, Funds Europe, UK.
How your pension can change the world.
"According to BNY Mellon research millennials would
allocate an average 42% of their investment
portfolio to social finance products, with those in
the UK keen to invest in projects that focus on
crime prevention and homelessness.
However, they feel that the pension industry is not
listening to them as 95% said that pension funds and
insurers only provide limited, poor or no options
for investing in social finance initiatives."
pension industry is generally slow to adapt to new
opportunities -- though there are some outliers such
as Canada's Canada Pension Plan. It has used a
responsible investment approach for many years.
However, it too, I believe, hasn't gotten into
investments related to the areas mentioned above:
crime prevention and homelessness.
How your pension can change the world, by
Michelle McGagh, November 21, 2015, citywire money,
Individual Investors Can Now Divest From
Fossil Fuels with One ETF.
"A San Francisco
investment firm today launched on the New York Stock
Exchange what it touted as the world’s first
diversified, socially responsible and fossil-free,
exchange-traded fund (ETF) based on a climate
be interesting to watch how this ETF performs
financially compared to other fossil fuel free
funds. It appears unique in its methodology.
Individual Investors Can Now Divest From Fossil
Fuels with One ETF, by Jim Pierobon, November
19, 2015, TriplePundit, USA.
Investors use technology as tool to
dissect ESG portfolios.
investors increasingly turn to new ways of deploying
technology and data to up their ESG game.
Environmental, social and governance issues have
been moving up on the agenda in recent years. Now
they are coming to a head with the onset of
regulatory demand; new guidance from the Department
of Labor stating that investors can consider ESG
factors in their investment without fear of
repercussions; student protests; and general
pressure from investors across the globe."
is a fascinating article on how technology is aiding
portfolio integration of ESG criteria.
Investors use technology as tool to dissect ESG
portfolios, by Sophie Baker, November 16, 2015,
Pension & Investments, USA.
S&P 500 companies up their game on
level responsibility for climate change has soared
to 95 percent in 2015 from 67 percent five years
ago, according to a 2015 climate change report from
the CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project.
Among the other findings, S&P 500 companies actively
working to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions
have increased to 96 percent from 52 percent."
are dramatic numbers and bode well for adaptation by
business to not only climate change but for all
issues related to ESG. It seems the ESG message to
companies from SR-ethical investors over all these
years is finally taking root!
S&P 500 companies up their game on climate: Report,
by Heesun Wee, November 16, 2015, CNBC, USA.
Is this a tipping point? Business action
moves past the 'climate A-list.'
not-for profit CDP released the latest figures in
its annual report on corporate carbon emissions
disclosures on behalf of 822 investors representing
$95 trillion worldwide...
The report indicates that corporates have passed an
important business tipping point with 89 percent of
companies having activities to reduce GHG emissions.
This is compared to less than 50 percent five years
ago, before the ill-fated COP15 in Copenhagen."
great findings! As I've previously commented, it
looks like the wind is at the back for a successful
COP21 Paris conference. Long-term, ethical investors
are likely big winners.
Is this a tipping point? Business action moves past
the 'climate A-list,' by Michael Mathres,
November 11, 2015, GreenBiz.com, USA.
SRI Research Prize Winner: The Market
Places Significant Monetary Value On Greater
"The market values
better corporate disclosure of greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions and these effects appear strongest among
firms in carbon-intensive industries. That
conclusion is drawn by Professor Philipp Krüger in a
major study that was awarded the 2015 Moskowitz
Prize for Socially Responsible Investing during a
special ceremony last night at the 26th annual SRI
Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado."
good news is the continuing and rapidly growing
market of acceptance of GHG reporting due to the
kind of research of Professor Philipp Krüger.
Congratulations Professor Krüger on winning the 2015
Moskowitz Prize! (See
Research Prize Winner: The Market Places Significant
Monetary Value On Greater Transparency, press
release, November 5, 2015, First Affirmative
Financial Network, LLC/The SRI Conference, USA.
World Exchanges Agree Enhanced
"The WFE Guidance &
Recommendations identifies material ESG metrics
which exchanges can incorporate into disclosure
guidance to companies listed on their markets.
Specifically, the enhanced guidance highlights 34
key performance indicators, including energy
consumption, water management, CEO pay ratio, gender
diversity, human rights, child and forced labour,
temporary worker rate, corruption and anti-bribery,
tax transparency in addition to other corporate
great news for ethical investors. Soon all stock
exchanges will have ESG guidelines for their listed
companies, making the task of promoting ESG and
SR-ethical investing that much easier.
World Exchanges Agree Enhanced Sustainability
Guidance, press release, November 4, 2015, World
Federation of Exchanges, UK.
The ‘Sin Stock’ Premium: A Neat Illusion
associated with the University of Reading’s ICMA
Centre, in a new paper, take on the notion that the
so-called “sin stocks” (chiefly: stocks of companies
whose business plan is tied to highly addictive
behaviors) outperform other stocks in an actionable
is a fine article about an important study. The
study counters the notion of sin industries
The ‘Sin Stock’ Premium: A Neat Illusion Dismantled,
by "cfaille," November 3, 2015, UK.
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