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Top Ethical Investing News for December 2017
News & Commentaries
Links may only be valid a limited time Commentaries by Ron Robins
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Why activists are cheerleaders for corporate social responsibility. "Profits, not ethics, are behind big-name investors’ interest in ESG issues."
Now we know ESG has 'arrived' and why it's fast becoming integral to
financial analysis. Investors everywhere are realizing it pays to
incorporate ESG criteria in selecting investments no matter their moral
compass. However, I'd still prefer that the new ESG oriented investors
regard ethics as crucial to their own decision making and behaviour.
CalPERS’ Ongoing Push Into ESG Drives a Healthy Debate. "The debate started when the American Council for Capital Formation published a sharply written report alleging that, as the group puts it, 'CalPERS has prioritized relatively poor performing environmental, social and governance [ESG] investments at the expense of other investments more likely to optimize returns.'"
This is an interesting debate--but I believe CalPERS is right to be ESG
focused and they make a good argument for that.
2017 Engaged Tracking Carbon Rankings. "A transparent, public and standardised ranking of the world's largest companies and their carbon emissions."
Engaged Tracking created its carbon tracking methodology with the help of
the prestigious UK university, Imperial College. So, it has a great
pedigree. Registration--which is free--is advised.
Influential investors urge 100 carbon-intensive companies to step up climate action. "Today, as many as 225 influential global investors with more than $26.3 trillion in assets under management pledged to engage with 100 corporates estimated to be responsible for around 85 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, so as to step up their ambition on climate action."
This could greatly influence the direction of numerous companies
responsible for global greenhouse gas emissions towards environmental
sustainability. It came out in parallel with this week's Emmanuel Macron's
One Planet Summit.
Rediscovering our Moral Compass: JUST Capital’s 2017 List of America’s Most JUST Companies. "Today, JUST Capital, in partnership with Forbes, has released the 2017 list of America’s Most JUST Companies, our annual ranking of the largest publicly-traded U.S. corporations."
With Forbes behind it, JUST Capital is getting much attention--and
justifiably so. The 2017 'just' American companies' list is undoubtedly a
key ranking for ESG-ethical investors to review. My concern with the list
is its leaders are absolutely dominated by tech companies. Hence, it makes
me a little leery as to its methodology.
Index Managers Taking Note as ESG Surges: Morningstar. "Morningstar finds biggest index managers have expanded their stewardship or corporate-governance teams."
Morningstar's research findings are consistent with other similar
More Advisers Expect Increased ESG Demand. "More than one-third, 35%, of asset managers have made the introduction of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing a high priority, and another 57% say they are placing a moderate level of priority on the task. Together, this makes for a full 92% of asset managers on the path to or considering offering ESG investing options, according to the December issue of The Cerulli Edge – U.S. Edition."
Finally, advisors are getting the message. Although I haven't seen other
surveys suggesting this level of interest among advisors in ESG that
Cerulli has found. We'll just have to wait for that. Nonetheless, this
survey is good news for responsible-ethical investors and investments.
Can Index Funds Be a Force for Sustainable Capitalism? "According to my estimates for every dollar actively managed, either through high turnover diversified portfolios or through low turnover concentrated portfolios, there are three dollars in indexing or quasi-indexing. In such a market there will be tremendous rewards for market participants that can provide a differentiated service."
This is a great piece by Harvard's Professor Serafeim on the way forward
for ethical-ESG investing.
DB advisers could be sued over climate change risk. "A report by environmental law firm ClientEarth states that trustees are legally required to respond to climate change risk that may have a material impact on the scheme."
This will come as a shocker to the many pension fund trustees who've
argued against the inclusion of ESG criteria in pension fund management.
It appears that both the EU and UK are seriously desiring to include it in
some way in their pension fund management directives. It will not be long
before much of the rest of the world does the same.
Conscious Investing: Practitioners' views on holistic investing
approaches that benefit people and the planet, by Christin ter
Braak-Forstinger, Harriman House 2017.
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Disclaimer: Neither The Soul Investor nor Ron Robins makes 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.
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