E-newsletter of Investing for the Soul January 30, 2015
Top ethical investing news for January 2015
Links may only be valid a limited time Commentaries by Ron Robins
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Helena Morrissey, Aiming at Britainís Glass Ceilings, Gets Results. "Ms. Morrissey has directed her steely focus on Britainís most powerful men. Working behind the scenes, she has persuaded 120 of the countryís top chairmen that they want what she wants: more diverse boards that will produce better company returns.
The approach has produced some remarkable results. Since 2010, the percentage of women on Britainís top boards has nearly doubled, to 23 percent, while in the United States, the figure has crept up a few percentage points to 17 percent."
[COMMENTARY] There's a powerful case
for including more women and minorities on company boards. Many studies
show they improve board performance and corporate results. It's for
those reasons as well as for equity rights -- and most likely Ms.
Morrissey's own impeccable character and credentials -- as to why she's
been so successful.
The (Corporate) Sustainability Yearbook 2015 by RobecoSAM. "A record number of companies participated in RobecoSAMís Corporate Sustainability Assessment. Out of more than 3,000 companies that were invited, 830 companies from 42 different countries participated. RobecoSAM views this as a positive development in corporate sustainability. For investors, the Sustainability Yearbook identifies companies that are strongly positioned to create long-term shareholder value."
[COMMENTARY] Another good review of
the most sustainably oriented companies globally. European companies
take top spot, followed by Asian, then American companies. What's good
here are the industry profiles. Ethical investors might want to review
American High Income Women and Social Responsibility. "Only 15 percent of high income women do not consider social responsibility in their investment decisions."
[COMMENTARY] It's generally observed
that relatively more women than men favour socially responsible-ethical
investing. It's good to see that among rich American women the interest
in socially responsible-ethical investing is so high.
Corporate Knights 2015 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations. "The Global 100 index (which is equally weighted) commenced on February 1, 2005. From inception to December 31, 2014, it delivered a total return of 90.76%, compared to 96.98% for its benchmark, the MSCI All Country World Index. This is the first year-end that the Global 100 Index has fallen behind its benchmark, in large part due to the rising U.S. dollar, as 81 per cent of Global 100 constituents trade in non-US denominated currencies, versus approximately 50% for the MSCI ACWI. The Global 100 is calculated by Solactive, the German index provider. It is available on Bloomberg under the ticker <CKG100 Index> and on Reuters under the ticker <.CKG100>."
[COMMENTARY] The top ten rated firms
are: Biogen Idec, Allergan, Keppel Land, Kesko, Adidas, BMW, Reckitt
Benckiser Group, Centrica, Schneider Electric and Danske Bank. This is
always a good review for ethical investors. For full results,
Canadian Responsible Investments Surpass $1 Trillion says 2014 Trends Report. "Responsible investing (RI) is experiencing rapid growth in Canada, according to the 2014 Canadian Responsible Investment Trends Report. The biennial report, released today by the Responsible Investment Association (RIA) and RBC... suggest that 31 per cent of invested assets under management in Canada involve some aspect of RI."
[COMMENTARY] A quick look at the
figures suggests continuing great growth for responsible-ethical
investments in Canada. What I'm especially pleased about is that retail
responsible-ethical mutual fund assets are growing almost twice as fast
as 'conventional' fund assets. This probably indicates a growing
percentage of Canadian investors moving into responsible-ethical funds.
Ethical Questions of Investing in Pot. "Public pension funds and university endowments are increasingly shying away from putting their money in so-called sin industries and focusing on more ďsocially responsibleĒ investments, but itís unclear where marijuana falls on this spectrum. Is marijuana closer to the health care industry, given its benefits for certain ailments, or should it be lumped into the same category as cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, guns and, in some quarters, fossil fuels and sugary soda?"
[COMMENTARY] This is one of those
issues that ethical investors are beginning to vigorously debate. From
my side, I believe every investor should make up their own mind on this
issue. For ethical investors I've long advocated that to truly reflect
their personal values it might be more appropriate to invest, where
possible, in individual stocks than mutual funds/ETS -- if such products
don't really reflect one's values. However, for those managing other
peoples' assets such as pension funds -- it's a big dilemma and one that
I believe will never be really resolved.
Wealthy (UK) under-40s are more likely to make social investments, Charities Aid Foundation says. "CAF surveyed more than a thousand people with average wealth of £7.5m and found that four-fifths of those under 40 were socially conscious investors, compared with 63 per cent of over-40s."
[COMMENTARY] This is continuing good
news for ethical investors. It suggests that the younger generations of
wealthy will increasingly favour ethical investing. One important
difference between the younger and older generation that might be at
play here, is that the younger generationsí greater concern for the
environment and climate change. After all, they are the ones that are
going to have deal with it.
Clean Energy Investment Jumps 16%, Shaking Off Oilís Drop. "New funds for wind, solar, biofuels and other low-carbon energy technologies gained 16 percent to $310 billion last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It was the first growth since 2011, erasing the impact of lower solar-panel prices and falling subsides in the U.S. and Europe that hurt the industry in previous years."
[COMMENTARY] Much of the gain is
attributable to a 32% rise of renewables' spending in China and huge
offshore wind developments. Lower oil prices might have a detrimental
effect on transportation related growth but it is unlikely to dampen the
continuing growth for renewables in electrical generation where they are
Four in five Americans favor companies with green behaviours. "Tiller Green Survey conducted nationwide has revealed that 78 percent or nearly four in five American consumers believe that it is important to 'purchase products from a socially or environmentally responsible company.' In fact, 43 percent of the respondents said that they have declined to buy a product over the last 12 months out of concern for the impact that the product or its packaging might have on the environment."
[COMMENTARY] This is encouraging
news for ethical investors. So often people say one thing and do
another. The latter point about 43% of people declining to buy something
in the past year that they thought might harm the environment is
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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 © 2015 Ron Robins. All rights reserved.