E-newsletter of Investing for the Soul October 30, 2015
Top ethical investing news for October 2015
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!
DOL Gives Green Light For ESG Investments In Retirement Plans. "The Department of Labor gave its blessing Thursday for socially responsible investments in retirement plans for the first time.
DOL′s permission to plan fiduciaries covers everything from environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments to the ability to put money into community development funds and other types of economically targeted investments (ETI) without the worry of being penalized for ERISA violations."
[COMMENTARY] This is a big
development for many American retirement plans. It sets a great
precedent and over the long-term will further boost the opportunities
for ethical investment returns.
Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens Ranked. "Ecolab, Campbell Soup and Microsoft are among the Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens, according to Corporate Responsibility Magazine′s fifth annual ranking."
[COMMENTARY] I understand these
ratings come from insiders who are mostly concerned with corporate
disclosure and not necessarily with real corporate performance. You
might want to view these findings that perspective.
World’s largest banks guilty of ignoring climate risks, warns report. "The world’s largest banks are failing to take a strategic approach to climate-related risks, with a huge divide remaining between current practices and the potential to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.
That is the finding of a new report from investment managers Boston Common Asset Management, which examined the management of climate-related risks at 61 of the world’s largest banks."
[COMMENTARY] These banks need to
read the speeches of Britain’s Bank of England Governor,
Mark Carney! That’ll perhaps give them the wake-up call they need.
Major U.S. Companies Join White House Climate Action Pledge. "As key international climate negotiations near, 81 additional companies today joined the White House-led American Business Act on Climate Pledge. Companies making the pledge have set significant greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy sourcing goals for 2020 and beyond, and are focusing on increasing energy efficiency, boosting low-carbon investing and making sustainability more accessible to low-income Americans."
[COMMENTARY] The momentum is
building for hopefully an historic climate pact at COP21Paris! Well done
Ceres for bringing all this together.
Plan Participants and Social Responsibility. "While 61 percent of participants with less than $10,000 in their retirement account do consider the social responsibility of a company before making an investment, only 36 percent of those with $100,000 or more in their account take the same approach."
[COMMENTARY] There’s a lot of data
in this short article. I suggest ethical investors read it in its
Women want to make a difference with their money. "New research from Standard Life shows that women want to make a difference when they invest. Women investors are 10% more likely than men to want to invest in companies that achieve positive social outcomes (41% vs 31% respectively) and 9% more likely than men to want to invest in companies that minimise environmental damage (48% vs 39%)."
[COMMENTARY] More data to support
the importance of women to ethical investing. It’s good such research is
being done as it sharpens the focus of ethical investing advisors and
fund managers as to who their target markets are.
Companies Led by CEOs with Daughters More Committed to Social Responsibility says University of Miami Study. "Among the nation’s largest U.S. firms, those led by CEOs with daughters spend 13 percent more of their net profits on corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts than those with CEOs who do not have daughters, according to a new study by the University of Miami School of Business Administration. This adds up to an average of nearly $60 million more in CSR spending per year by firms that have CEOs with a daughter."
[COMMENTARY] This is interesting not
only because of its findings -- and that CSR spending often correlates
with higher profits -- but when added to the body of evidence that women
on boards tend to make companies more profitable -- well gentlemen, make
way for the women!
Consumer Goods Brands That Demonstrate Commitment To Sustainability Outperform Those That Don’t. "Committing to sustainability might just pay off for consumer brands, according to the 2015 Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report. In the past year alone, sales of consumer goods from brands with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability have grown more than 4% globally, while those without grew less than 1%."
[COMMENTARY] Those in the 1% group
should be thinking hard about the business and profits they’re missing!
It’s this kind of data that will eventually bring the world ever closer
to sustainability, higher profits for ethical investors, and a better
future for all of us.
Many ’ESG’ Managers Fail To Explain How They Screen Investments, Report Says. "Disclosures of the type of standards used were not made for 62 percent of the assets being invested using ESG criteria, the SIF Foundation says. ESG integration is defined as the systematic inclusion by investment managers of environmental, social and governance factors into financial analysis and is one of several sustainable, responsible and impact investing (SRI) strategies, according to the organization.
The study looked at 16 of the nation’s largest ESG money managers, and only eight of them at least partially disclosed the criteria they consider, according to the report."
[COMMENTARY] The survey results are
unsurprising at this juncture. In time, many more will disclose their
ESG Still Not a Priority for CIOs. "A new survey by Hermes Investment Management found that 90% of respondents believed fund managers should price in corporate governance risks as a core part of their investment analysis.
Despite this show of ESG awareness, 47% still said pension funds should focus exclusively on maximizing retirement incomes—a goal the majority believed would not be met by focusing on ESG issues. Just 46% believed ESG-focused investing would produce better long-term returns."
[COMMENTARY] It appears that many
investors and fund managers are unaware of how a focus on ESG can
enhance returns. What is good news though, is that this knowledge among
investor groups has improved immeasurably in recent years!
Major U.S. banks call for leadership in addressing climate change. "Bank of America, Citi, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo – have issued a joint statement calling for cooperation among governments in reaching a global climate agreement. The statement, published today by the sustainability advocacy nonprofit Ceres, voiced support for policy frameworks that ’will provide greater market certainty, accelerate investment, drive innovation in low carbon energy, and create jobs.’”
[COMMENTARY] It appears to me that
there’s little doubt the COP21 Paris climate talks will come up with a
significant agreement. I’m sure most investors heard Bank of England’s
Mark Carney, commenting on the extreme risks that climate change
poses to humanity. From his position, representing the financial elites,
only adds momentum to a successful climate agreement. Fossil fuel
companies will face severe challenges in the years ahead.
Featured New Book
The Routledge Handbook of Responsible Investment, by Tessa Hebb,
James P. Hawley, Andreas G.F. Hoepner, Agnes L. Neher, David Wood,
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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.