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Shareholder Values

"64% of those polled were interested in investing, or
investing more money, in SRI fund options; and 22%
said they were very interested."
    November 2014

"92% of Canadians say that it's important to choose investments that are aligned with their values. By contrast, only 14% of advisors raised the topic of RI [responsible investing] with their clients."
Deb Abbey referring
    to 2014 NEI study
(Canada) April 2015

"70% of people [in UK] want to invest ethically but the financial services industry is failing to respond." Referencing research by Abundance.
(UK) June 2015




Global Ethical Investing News & Commentary



Commentaries by Ron Robins  E-mail us your feedback

Links may only be valid for a limited time   November 30, 2015

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(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 resources."

[COMMENTARY] Interest 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, USA.

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."

[COMMENTARY] Congratulations 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 assets!
Decarbonizer, 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."

[COMMENTARY] I 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 equivalents.
Institutional Investors Increasingly Consider ESG Factors, by Rebecca Moore, Asset International, USA.

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."

[COMMENTARY] Carbon 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, GreenBiz, USA.

Low level of climate integration into investments. "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 investment practices.

[COMMENTARY] This 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."

[COMMENTARY] The 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, UK.

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 leadership index."

[COMMENTARY] It'll 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. "Institutional 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."

[COMMENTARY] This 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 climate: Report. "Corporate board 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."

[COMMENTARY] These 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.' "The influential 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."

[COMMENTARY] What 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 Transparency. "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."

[COMMENTARY] The 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 study.)
SRI 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 Sustainability Guidance. "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 policies."

[COMMENTARY] More 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 Dismantled. "Two scholars 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 alpha-generating way."

[COMMENTARY] This is a fine article about an important study. The study counters the notion of sin industries outperformance! (See study.)
The ‘Sin Stock’ Premium: A Neat Illusion Dismantled, by "cfaille," November 3, 2015, UK.

Survey: 2 Out Of 5 Financial Advisors Say They Already Offer "Impact Investing" To Clients, Another 15 Percent Plan To Do So. "The First Affirmative survey is based on 508 responses to an online survey of financial professionals not usually identified as SRI practitioners. The survey was conducted between September 25 and October 19, 2015."

[COMMENTARY] This is great news. I do believe though that the definition of impact investing here includes what we generally call SRI. Furthermore, I must question to some degree the advisors' responses -- since retail SRI funds at just around 2-3% of all retail funds -- seem to indicate these advisors might be playing with words a bit. Nonetheless, it's really good to see their interest in this area.
Survey: 2 Out Of 5 Financial Advisors Say They Already Offer "Impact Investing" To Clients, Another 15 Percent Plan To Do So, press release, October 28, 2015, The SRI Conference/First Affirmative Financial Network, USA.

Three New Climate Change Index Series Launched by S&P Dow Jones Indices and Toronto Stock Exchange. "S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI), one of the world's leading providers of financial market indices, and Toronto Stock Exchange have today announced the launch of three new climate change index series for Canada: S&P/TSX 60 Carbon Efficient Index, S&P/TSX 60 Carbon Efficient Select Index and S&P/TSX 60 Fossil Fuel Free Index. All three indices are derived from the constituents of the S&P/TSX 60, Canada's leading equity benchmark."

[COMMENTARY] This is a terrific development for the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and ethical investors, though it's about time the TSX got involved in this way.
Three New Climate Change Index Series Launched by S&P Dow Jones Indices and Toronto Stock Exchange, press release, October 29, 2015, Canada.

Advisers in the dark on ethical investment. "A global survey of 400 IFAs showed that more than a third (38 per cent) had never discussed ethical investment with their clients. Almost a third (31 per cent) of advisers admitted they don’t know enough about responsible investing, while 66 per cent said they lacked access to information on it.

The survey was conducted by responsible investment manager Alquity.

[COMMENTARY] It's clear to see why ethical related retail funds still account for only about 2% of retail fund assets -- most advisors still don't know or seem to care it about such funds. Considering the returns of ethically related funds in recent years and that most investors want to invest ethically, these4 advisors aren't doing their best for the clients or abiding b y the 'know thy client rule.'
Advisers in the dark on ethical investment, by Stephen Spurdon, October 29, 2015, FT Advisor, UK.

Strong sustainability track record can account for 11% of a company's value - report. "At last week’s Commit Forum, held in New York, the authors of a recent study, Project ROI, claimed that a top level corporate reputation for responsibility and sustainability can account for 11% of a firm’s value. 'The majority of the academic research finds that an average of 33% of a company’s value can be attributed to its name,' Steve Rochlin, CEO of advisory firm IO Sustainability and one of the study’s co-authors, told the Guardian. 'Up to one third of that name value can come from good corporate citizenship.'"

[COMMENTARY] Can any company now not want a top-level reputation?
Strong sustainability track record can account for 11% of a company's value - report, by Bruce Watson, October 29, 2015, The Guardian, UK.

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.
Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens Ranked, October 26, 2015, Environmental Leader, USA.

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.
World's largest banks guilty of ignoring climate risks, warns report, by Jocelyn Timperley, October 23, 2015, Business Green, USA.

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.
DOL Gives Green Light For ESG Investments In Retirement Plans, by Ted Knutson, October 22, 2015, FA Magazine, USA.

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.
Major U.S. Companies Join White House Climate Action Pledge, press release, October 19, 2015, Ceres, USA.

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 entirety.
Plan Participants and Social Responsibility, by Kent McDill, October 15, 2015, Millionaire Corner, USA.

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.
Women want to make a difference with their money, press release, October 15, 2015, Standard Life, UK.

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!
Companies Led by CEOs with Daughters More Committed to Social Responsibility says University of Miami Study, press release, October 14, 2015, University of Miami School of Business Administration, USA.

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.
Consumer Goods Brands That Demonstrate Commitment To Sustainability Outperform Those That Don't, press release, October 12, 2015, Nielsen N.V., USA.

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 criteria.
Many 'ESG' Managers Fail To Explain How They Screen Investments, Report Says, by Karen Demasters, October 8, 2015, Financial Advisor, USA.

Corporate Responsibility Impresses Millennials, Survey Finds. "About 66 percent of millennial respondents said they are likely to invest in a company well-known for its corporate social-responsibility program, compared with 48 percent of adults older than 34. Eighty-two percent of millennials are likely to seek employment at a company recognized for its ethics, compared to 68 percent of people older than 34." (Survey by Aflac.)

[COMMENTARY] It's well known among ethical investing advisors that millennials are among the foremost groups interested in ESG/CSR related investing.
Corporate Responsibility Impresses Millennials, Survey Finds, by Rebecca Koenig, October 7, 2015, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, USA.

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!
ESG Still Not a Priority for CIOs, by Amy Whyte, October 5, 2015, Chief Investment Officer, USA.

Global Food Companies Unite On Climate Action. "With key international climate negotiations fast approaching in Paris, the chief executive officers of,  Mars, Incorporated, General Mills, Unilever, Kellogg Company, Nestlé USA, New Belgium Brewing, Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, Stonyfield Farm and Dannon USA today released a joint letter to U.S. and world leaders pledging to accelerate business action on climate change and urging governments to do the same by forging a robust international agreement this December."

[COMMENTARY] Ceres does it again by coordinating a major industry statement on climate change and the need for success at the Paris talks.
Global Food Companies Unite On Climate Action, press release, October 2, 2015, Ceres, USA.

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 Governor, 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.
Major U.S. banks call for leadership in addressing climate change, press release, September 28, 2015, Ceres, USA.

NGO: 45 Percent of Corporations Obstruct Climate Change Policy. "Nearly half of the world’s 100 largest companies, including Procter & Gamble and Duke Energy, are 'obstructing climate change legislation,' according to a study released last week by the London-based nonprofit NGO InfluenceMap.

And it gets worse: Almost all (95 percent) of these companies are members of trade associations that act in the same obstructionist manner. The recently formed InfluenceMap uses a new research methodology it developed in conjunction with the Union of Concerned Scientists."

[COMMENTARY] The grading of companies on their 'InfluenceMap' is important for all ethical investors to view. This UK organization is providing a valuable function. Its methodology seems robust.
NGO: 45 Percent of Corporations Obstruct Climate Change Policy, by Bill DiBenedetto, September 23, 2015, TriplePundit, USA.

New Cone Communications Research Confirms Millennials as America's Most Ardent CSR Supporters, But Marked Differences Revealed Among this Diverse Generation. "The study, the most comprehensive snapshot of how Millennials engage with CSR efforts in the U.S., reveals more than nine-in-10 Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average) and two-thirds use social media to engage around CSR (66% vs. 53% U.S. average).

[COMMENTARY] These results demonstrate that CSR will continue to grow and become ever more consequential to consumers and investors.
New Cone Communications Research Confirms Millennials as America's Most Ardent CSR Supporters, But Marked Differences Revealed Among this Diverse Generation, press release, September 23, 2015, 3BL Media, USA.

NGO Ranks 155 Companies Across 20 Industries Revealing Significant Supply Chain, ESG Risks for Major Brands. "Most U.S. large-cap companies are still lagging in efforts to affect positive change with regard to global humanitarian issues, but existing technology and solutions can quickly reverse this trend. That is among the conclusions expected to be revealed today by a panel of experts participating in a webinar regarding the release of a major research study into corporate social responsibility and conflict minerals filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission."

[COMMENTARY] For information on the ESG risks for these companies click here.
NGO Ranks 155 Companies Across 20 Industries Revealing Significant Supply Chain, ESG Risks for Major Brands, September 22, 2015, Responsible Sourcing Network and Source Intelligence, USA.

Corporate responsibility revolution more environmental than social. "Large companies in the US, UK and Germany have made far slower progress in reporting on social responsibility than on their green credentials, a Scottish research project has found.

The three-year study at the universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen, backed by the Economic and Social Research Council, will this week present some of its findings at an Edinburgh seminar staged by Scottish Business in the Community."

[COMMENTARY] This study confirms what most of us in the ethical investing community have known for sometime. It's the 'E' in ESG that garners most corporate and investor interest.
Corporate responsibility revolution more environmental than social, September 20, 2015, The Herald-Scotland, UK.

VW Sets Aside $7.3 Billion as Emissions Probe Widens. "Volkswagen AG plans to set aside 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) in the third quarter to cover the costs of addressing irregularities in diesel engines installed in 11 million vehicles worldwide, as the scandal that started in the U.S. widens."

[COMMENTARY] I find it extraordinary that senior managers that authorize such unethical practices would not realize that at some point they will be found out. The incentives for them to hide this practice must be substantial. Hence, the real blame for this is likely with senior management in the way the company incentivizes its managers.
VW Sets Aside $7.3 Billion as Emissions Probe Widens, by Chris Reiter and Jones Hayden, September 22, 2015, Bloomberg News, USA.

Green funds finally adding-up, says academic study. "University of Edinburgh Business School academics found green mutual funds, invested in companies with exceptional environmental credentials, now outperform ‘black’ funds – which invest in fossil fuels – by more than 14% over the period 2012 to 2014.

Analysing the performance of more than 1,400 funds between 1991 and 2014, researchers also found green funds delivered no worse returns than ‘conventional’ investment vehicles between 2012 and 2014."

[COMMENTARY] As the concept of stranded assets becomes an increasing reality for fossil companies -- plus the possibility of continuing low prices for their products, fossil fuel stocks could continue to underperform. This is especially true as renewables such as solar and wind gain increasing price competitiveness.
Green funds finally adding-up, says academic study, September 17, 2015, The Economic Voice, UK.

Reputation Institute Announces Top Global Companies for Public Perception of Corporate Social Responsibility. "Reputation Institute today released the Global CSR RepTrak® 100, which highlights the companies that have the best reputations for corporate social responsibility (CSR) among the general public in 15 countries. Google tops the ranking for the second year in a row, with a significant lead over all other companies in the ranking.

The Global CSR RepTrak® 100 reflects public perceptions of corporate performance across three dimensions of reputation: citizenship, workplace, and governance."

[COMMENTARY] This is always a good ranking by a company with its own good reputation.
Reputation Institute Announces Top Global Companies for Public Perception of Corporate Social Responsibility, press release, September 17, 2015, Reputation Institute, USA.

Sustainability reporting lacking among world’s largest firms. "According to a study by sustainability adviser Corporate Knights and insurer Aviva.

Only 37 percent of the world’s 4,969 largest listed companies disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, one of seven key indicators, according to a 2015 study based on 2013 data. That’s down from 39 percent in the previous study. Meanwhile, only 10 percent of the companies disclose their injury rates, 12 percent their turnover rates, a fifth reveal waste generated per unit of revenue and 22 percent report on their water usage."

[COMMENTARY] Such lack of data disallows investors from really understanding corporate behaviour and negatively impacts their ability to invest according to ESG principles and factors. Congratulations to Toby Heap and Corporate Knights/Aviva for compiling this important research.
Sustainability reporting lacking among world’s largest firms, by Adam Brown, September 8, 2015, IR Magazine, USA.

Dump CSR Departments, Says BP’s Ex-Chief. "Companies should get rid of their corporate social responsibility and public relations departments, according to Lord Browne, the former chief executive of BP. As PR Week reports, Browne was promoting his soon-to-be published book, Connect, on Radio 4’s Today program. The book says managers should take responsibility for their companies and not hide behind PRs and CSR departments."

[COMMENTARY] Lord Browne makes an interesting point. Every employee in an organization has to imbibe CSR in everything they do. BP was highly respected by ESG rating organizations before the Gulf crises -- largely as a result of its great CSR department. Yet when it came to crunch time the managers in the field behaved badly.
Dump CSR Departments, Says BP’s Ex-Chief, September 11, 2015, Environmental Leader, USA.

Lawyers See ESG Risks as Central to Clients’ Interests. "Our latest research shows a 45 percent growth in the number of ESG-related regulations calling for more robust corporate transparency worldwide since 2012.

As Vanessa Havard-Williams, head of global law firm Linklaters’ sustainability practice and co-head of its risk and governance team, explains: 'Regulatory developments around ESG should be watched closely by business and lawyers alike – we are now making the transition from a normative to a compliance framework. Although the regulatory risks of non-compliance with these regulations are often quite limited, the potential reputational and commercial damage from being seen not to comply can be significant.'"

[COMMENTARY] As regulatory authorities increasingly institute new ESG regulations, lawyers are involving themselves in corporate compliance. It's terrific to see the legal profession developing ESG specializations to satisfy corporate needs.
Lawyers See ESG Risks as Central to Clients’ Interests, September 10, 2015, TriplePundit, USA.

Sustainalytics to acquire ESG Analytics. "Sustainalytics has agreed to acquire Zurich-based ESG Analytics, a provider of analysis software that helps money managers and asset owners to analyze and manage ESG risk and opportunities."

[COMMENTARY] Sustainalytics seems unstoppable in its quest of being the global leader in ESG analysis. Again, congratulations to Michael Jantzi and his outstanding team.
Sustainalytics to acquire ESG Analytics, press release, Sustainalytics, September 8, 2015, USA.

Sustainable investing a fiduciary duty for fund managers, says U.N.-backed study. " U.S. managers were particular laggards in making sure environmental, social and governance (ESG) views were used alongside other financial measures when discussing a company's investability, in part because of an outdated view of fiduciary duty, or acting in the best interests of customers, it [UN study] said."

[COMMENTARY] It's becoming increasingly clear that fund fiduciaries should not only incorporate ESG factors in their investment analysis -- but in some cases could be held legally liable for losses incurred by not paying attention to ESG factors!
Sustainable investing a fiduciary duty for fund managers, says U.N.-backed study, by Simon Jessop; editing by Mark Potter, September 6, 2015, Reuters, USA.

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Disclaimer: This website does not make investment recommendations. Nothing in this site should be interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation to buy/sell any securities or investments. Investing for the Soul 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 financial advisers and other professionals, prior to taking any investment action. This website does not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed in articles on its pages or offered on the web pages to which it might be linked. Such opinions are the responsibility of the writers themselves. Furthermore, this site 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 on this, or other sites, to which it is 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.


Investing for the Soul is a registered business name in the Province of Ontario, Canada.

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