Ethical Investing News/Commentaries
Commentaries by Ron
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The 2017 100 Best Corporate Citizens.
"Compiling the 18th annual list of the 100 Best
Corporate Citizens began with our research team
documenting 260 data points of disclosure and
performance measurements for the entire Russell
1000. The data was gleaned from publicly available
information and each company was ranked in seven
This is a great list compiled by people who really
know the subject. Hasbro, Inc,; Intel Corp; and
Microsoft Corporation are the top three. See the
The 2017 100 Best Corporate Citizens, April 21,
2017, CR Magazine, USA.
The Ethics & Trust in Finance Prize --
Formerly Ethics in Finance, Robin Cosgrove Prize.
"[The prize] promotes greater awareness among
young people throughout the world concerning the
benefits of ethics in finance, and encourages
high-quality management of banking, insurance and
financial services based on trust and integrity.
Launched in 2006 and now in its 6th Edition,
the global competition for the Prize for Innovative
Ideas for Ethics & Trust in Finance is open to young
people, aged 35 years or younger, from throughout
the world. The competition invites creative papers,
which may be submitted in English or French, setting
out analyses or proposals for innovative ways to
promote ethics & trust in finance. The Jury
allocates the prize money of USD 20,000 among the
I've been promoting this prize almost since it's
inception. It's a very worthy endeavour and I
encourage those under 35 with an interest in this
subject to submit their ideas! The fact that
Christine Lagarde, IMF's Managing Director has been
involved, demonstrates the importance of what the
prize is attempting to do. For entering the
competition or information on the prize, go to
Trust in Finance Prize.
Hermes finds 'clear relationship' between
ESG and credit spreads. "Companies with
the weakest ESG credentials, as captured in low QESG
scores, tended to trade with the widest CDS [credit
default spreads] spreads, Hermes found – indicating
a higher risk of default."
It makes sense that companies with bad ESG
characteristics are poor credit risks. And
that's why their financing costs are higher too. As
companies understand that good ESG performance means
lower financing and human resources' costs with
potentially higher prices for their shares,
they'll increasingly strive to improve their ESG
Hermes finds 'clear relationship' between ESG and
credit spreads, by Susanna Rust, April 19, 2017,
Investment & Pensions Europe, UK.
US companies rank miserably low on the
UN’s new corporate responsibility rankings.
"The SDG Commitment Report 100... is the
first-ever analysis to use annual reports as the
sole metric to assess corporate commitments to the
UN’s 17 sustainable development goals. Analysts
argue that the corporate annual report, a
legally-required document, is a higher—and
better—standard to judge a company’s commitment to
sustainability than any voluntary corporate
... Apple is joined at the bottom of the
gilded heap by more than a dozen companies who also
ignored sustainable development in their annual
reports, including Disney, Walmart, and General
This report is deeply embarrassing for those
multi-national corporations priding themselves in
their good social and environmental activities.
Obviously, the UN wants to shame these corporations
to significantly engage in their Sustainable
US companies rank miserably low on the UN’s new
corporate responsibility rankings, by Dan
Morrison, April 19, 2017, OrbMedia, USA.
ESG increasingly important in global
shift towards sustainable economy. "In
a bid to better understand the mindset of investors
globally, EY recently
surveyed, for its 'Is your nonfinancial performance
revealing the true value of your business to
investors?' report, part of the global investment
community, which included 320 participants, of which
one-third have more than $10 billion under
This EY survey is revealing in showing how far
the investment community has come concerning the
importance of climate change and sustainability in
assessing potential investments. For instance, the
concept of stranded assets -- unknown just a few
years ago -- has become a major concern to
ESG increasingly important in global shift towards
sustainable economy, April 13, 2017,
Green Bonds Awards, Environmental
Finance. They cover banks,
underwriters, companies, etc.
An interesting list, particularly for those in the
investment industry. Provides good insight into the
growing importance of the green bond market.
Green Bonds Awards, Environmental Finance, press
release, April 13, 2017, Environmental Finance, USA.
Arabesque Combines Big Data and AI to
Launch Unique Corporate Transparency Tool.
"A new tool that allows investors, regulators,
NGOs, corporates, and consumers to monitor the
sustainability of over 4,000 of the world’s largest
corporations has been launched today. Arabesque
S-Ray™ is designed to streamline vast amounts of
environmental, social, and governance (ESG)
information into one easy-to-use, smart application.
Its unbiased diagnostic technology processes
countless data points to evaluate companies in three
Arabesque S-Ray™ is the first tool of its
kind to score corporate performance on the normative
principles of the United Nations Global Compact:
Human Rights, Labor Rights, the Environment, and
Another great analytical tool for ethical investors.
However, the free version is pretty basic.
Arabesque Combines Big Data and AI to Launch Unique
Corporate Transparency Tool, press release,
April 11, 2017,
Academic Research Based on RepRisk Data
Shows That Negative ESG News Increases Credit Risk.
"A new academic study shows that negative news
linking a company to environmental, social, or
governance (ESG) issues increases credit risk. The
study used data from RepRisk, a leading provider of
ESG risk analytics and metrics. Researchers at ETH
Zurich, MIT Sloan, and the University of Hamburg
performed the research which was published by the
prestigious peer-reviewed journal 'Strategic
These findings aren't surprising. After all, if a
company has ESG issues creditors less likely to
continue lending to that company as if there are no
problems. Anyway, it's good to see these findings as
it further incentivizes companies to perform better
on ESG issues. And that benefits companies and
Academic Research Based on RepRisk Data Shows That
Negative ESG News Increases Credit Risk, press
release, April 5, 2017, RepRisk, Switzerland.
2017 Future 40 Responsible Corporate
Leaders in Canada ranking. "Shifting
the spotlight to medium-sized corporate
sustainability leaders across Canada."
An interesting and useful list, particularly for Canadian
ethical investors. It includes many
Future 40 Responsible Corporate Leaders in Canada
ranking, April 6, 2017, Corporate Knights,
This Man Will Purify Your Portfolio.
"Portfolios were far from [Michael] Jantzi's
ambitions when he landed degrees from Canadian
universities in economics and international affairs.
He was going to help humanity via a career in the
foreign service. But those jobs were scarce. He was
partway through the process of getting licensed in
securities sales when he had a revelation. If he
must sell out to Wall Street, why not feed its less
avaricious appetites? He would do research on
This is a terrific overview of the career to-date of
Michael Jantzi, one of the world's true pioneers in
ethical investing and presently CEO of
Sustainalytics, a global leader in ESG ratings.
Under Mr. Jantzi's direction,
Sustainalytics has recently made a great
breakthrough in bringing their individual ESG
company ratings directly to the investor through
Scotia iTRADE, the large Canadian discount broker.
It's likely only a matter of time before many more
brokers offer this service and the retail public
finally has direct inexpensive access to quality
individual company ESG ratings and research.
This Man Will Purify Your Portfolio, by William
Baldwin, April 3, 2017, Forbes, USA.
Sustainable strategies on growth track in
U.S. "Assets under management in U.S.
mutual funds and exchange-traded funds using an
environmental, social and governance-only approach
reached $200 billion at the end of February, up 5.8%
from Dec. 31 and up 17% from year-end 2015,
Morningstar Inc. data show. The data do not include
institutional separate accounts or ESG assets
managed internally by U.S. pension plans."
Good overview by Mr. Diamond of US funds utilizing
ESG criteria. Also, it's great to see Morningstar
collecting and publishing fund/ESG data since they
have a such a terrific database to mine for it.
Their benchmarking will be particularly useful.
Sustainable strategies on growth track in U.S,
by Randy Diamond, April 3, 20-17,
Pensions&Investments, USA. (Subscription
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