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Shareholder Values

"Forty-five percent of U.S. households prefer an environmental, social and governance (ESG) approach to investing… Among those between the ages of 30 and 39, this increases to 64%, and for those younger than 30, it is 67%."
-- Cerulli Associates
    October 2018

"The vast majority of Canadian investors are interested in responsible investments (RI) that incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, and they would be more likely to choose responsible investments if their financial advisor suggested suitable RI options for them."
-- Responsible
    Association (RIA)
    June 2017

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


Ethical Investing News/Commentaries: March 2007


Commentaries by Ron Robins

If a link does not work, please e-mail us. Link may only be valid a limited time. 

Bad Ethics. The Bashing of China’s Trade Policies. - [COMMENTARY] The US Commerce Department announced that it is going to place economic sanctions on Chinese paper imported into the US. It has determined that China provides an unfair subsidy to these products. Before the US proceeds too far down this path, it should note the biblical injunction that ’Those without sin caste the first stone!’ Good ethics demands that the US be much more transparent in the activities of the Treasury’s secretive Exchange Stabilization Fund and The Working Group on Capital Markets. I will write more about these major ‘market influencing’ mechanisms sometime.
China Trade Sanctions, by Brian Wingfield, March 30, 2007, Forbes.com, USA.

PR News Gives CSR Awards To Twelve Companies. - [COMMENTARY] These companies earned their awards for both their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and for being able to effectively communicate to their constituencies. PR News Announces Winners of Corporate Social Responsibility Awards, March 29, 2007, PR News, USA.

Malaysia Opens CSR Portal. - [COMMENTARY] This portal is not only for companies, but also for consumers, employees, investors and the community at large. This shows that rising ethical values are spreading around the world.
New Corporate Social Responsibility Community Portal for Malaysia, March 30, 2007, CSRwire.com, Malaysia.

Whole Foods Ups the Ante On Sustainable Products. - [COMMENTARY] Whole Foods will be certifying some products as sustainable. These products will likely carry a premium price but in return, Whole Foods will pay a higher price to the producers of those goods. It will be fascinating to see how far consumers will go to pay higher prices to help out producers. Since Whole Foods caters to the more discriminating upscale consumer, it will likely work. I hope so.
Whole Foods to Certify Sustainable Products, March 30, 2007, Greenbiz.com, USA.

Canadian Government Roundtable Urges CSR In Canadian Extractive Companies’ Foreign Subsidiaries. - [COMMENTARY] This is a great step forward. About 60% of global mining finance is raised in Canada. The Canadian government in February also announced its support of the international Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
Advisory Group Report, National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries, Government of Canada, March 29, 2007, Canada.

Green Buildings Are Key. - [COMMENTARY] The UNEP press release says that buildings account for 30-40% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Everything associated with green building materials and construction may offer interesting investment opportunities in the decades ahead. As an aside, you might also like to explore an ancient Vedic (Indian) system of building called Sthapatya Veda.
Buildings Can Play a Key Role in Combating Climate Change, March 29, 2007, United Nations Environment Programme, USA.

European Utilities Ahead In Green Energy. - [COMMENTARY] This review could provide some insight on investing in green utilities.
Gain A Deep Insight into The Green Energy Strategies in European Utilities Players: Renewable Growth, Green Tariffs And R&D In New Technologies, (source Business Wire) March 29, 2007, Digital50.com, USA.

Burger King Will Begin Buying ’Humanely Raised’ Meat & Chickens. -  [COMMENTARY] What a victory for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). This raises the bar for the fast food and restaurant industries. Personally, I would like to see people enjoy more meatless meals. That would be healthier for them as well as for the planet. The farmland required to feed a vegetarian is around 30%-40% compared to that of a meat eater!
Burger King Shifts Policy on Animals, March 28, 2007, Starnewsonline.com, USA.

Social Entrepreneurs Make Big Gains. - [COMMENTARY] This is a fascinating quantitative survey of 100 social entrepreneurs around the world. Social entrepreneurs try to marry concerns in areas such as health and the environmental with business. It may also be possible to get some investment ideas by reading this report.
Business + Social Entrepreneurs = Solutions To Insoluble Problems, March 28, 2007, SustainAbility, Ltd., UK.

Social, Ethical & Environmental Consumer Index Launched In UK. - [COMMENTARY] "The Times launches the Concerned Consumer Index. It is a monthly poll of just over 1,000 adults whose purchasing decisions are swayed by the social, ethical and environmental behaviour of the company selling the product." -- Timesonline. This is a good step to being able to regularly model consumer attitudes towards what I call higher value purchasing.
Value remains main concern of consumers, by James Harding, March 28, 2007, Timesonline, UK.

Swiss Based Forestry Company Awarded French Sustainability Prize. - [COMMENTARY] Precious Woods practices sustainable forestry management in tropical countries. Their practices set a good precedent for all forestry companies. They are a public company whose stock is listed on the SWX Swiss Exchange in Zurich. See press release below.
Precious Woods is Awarded the Trophée de l’Économie Positive 2007, March 23, 2007, CSRWire, France.

Ethical Marketing In Vogue. - [COMMENTARY] This is a great piece on the latest survey results by GfK NOP on the impact and implications of ethical marketing for both consumers and companies. The survey writers make a strong case for companies to employ high ethical standards.
Analysis: Ethical Marketing, March 23, 2007, UTalkmarketing.com, UK.

Ethics Taught In Many Top-Ranked US Business Schools. - [COMMENTARY] But can ethics be taught? It is my contention that real ethics comes from deep inside ourselves, which requires a high quality of consciousness. My personal belief is that the Transcendental MeditationTM technique is the best way to do this. Nonetheless, it is good that business schools have identified ethics as a major area of engagement for business students.
Can business ethics be taught? by G. Jeffrey MacDonald, March 21, 2007, The Christian Science Monitor, USA.

Motto, New Magazine For Socially Responsible Businesses And Employees. - [COMMENTARY] This magazine seems to have an interesting and timely niche. See their website and check out the magazine.
Motto, March, 2007, USA.

Tips On Banking Green In The US. - [COMMENTARY] It is challenging for us to find banks which may share our values. Hopefully, in years to come we will see banks differentiate among themselves to appeal to individuals with particular personal values.
Your Bank Account Probably Supports Cluster Bombs and Big Coal, by Stan Cox, March 23, 2007, AlterNet, USA

"Chiquita Pleads Guilty to Funding Colombian Terrorists." - [COMMENTARY] So says the headline in this news report. What is interesting is that company managers continued to pay sums to the terrorists even after their own lawyers said to stop such payments. If any companies that you invest in have substantial activities in unstable countries, you just might want to be satisfied as to the management’s ethical practices. After all, as an investor we share in the responsibility for the activities of those companies we invest in, as well as, even in a small way, participate in the outcomes of their corporate actions.
Chiquita Pleads Guilty to Funding Colombian Terrorists, March 19, 2007, PR Watch, Center for Media and Democracy, USA. This site can be a useful source of information regarding PR spin. Original news source Associated Press, USA.

New Social & Environmental Web Video Channel Launched. - [COMMENTARY] The site is currently promoting a clip by Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop. She believes that big business is compromising the ethical values that are the basis of corporate social responsibility. What do you think? This new video channel could be a useful source for investing ideas.
Big Picture TV, March, 2007, Bigpicture.tv, UK

Canadian SRI Assets Soar. - [COMMENTARY] "...assets invested according to socially responsible guidelines have increased significantly, from an estimated $65.46 billion in 2004 to $503.61 billion, as of June 30, 2006...The vast majority of this increase is due to several major pension funds, mostly in the public sector." See report below. Eugene Ellmen and all affiliated with the Social Investment Organization need to be congratulated!
Canadian Socially Responsible Investment Review 2006, March 2007, Social Investment Organization, Canada. See also, Social investment assets soar, by Tavia Grant, March 22, 2007, The Globe & Mail, Canada.

"Financial weapons can be the most effective against terror." - [COMMENTARY] So states this article. It is important for businesses to be held accountable for their actions. As we know, some stocks have already suffered from divestment due to activities in ’problem’ countries. Now stocks in companies doing business with Iran could also suffer significantly if this idea gains traction -- which I believe it could.
Divest from Iran, by Laura Goldman, March 20, 2007, GLOBES online, Israel.

Carbon Capture Gaining Momentum. - [COMMENTARY] This is a potentially important development as it signals that even the oil rich producing states are taking the carbon emissions more seriously.
UAE begins groundbreaking carbon capture & storage initiative, March 20, AME info, United Arab Emirates

UK Survey Shows Consumers Choosing Green. - [COMMENTARY] "82 per cent of UK consumers would choose to buy an eco-friendly product in favour of a non-eco friendly product in order to do their bit to combat climate change." This is an astonishing number. It is likely that consumers in most other OECD countries will follow. You might like to talk to your advisor as to how to profit from these changes in consumer preferences.
Consumers look to make green the colour of their money, March 20, 2007, UK.

Is Ethanol A Financial, Ecological Disaster? - [COMMENTARY] From where I stand, the real pros and cons of ethanol are only now beginning to be understood. I believe that when you get behind the hype surrounding ethanol, the case for it is very, very, weak. Read this blog. It might help you make your own decision on this subject.
What is the Real Cost of Corn Ethanol? by Ronald R. Cooke, March 19, 2007, USA.

New ’Cultural Creatives’ Media Site. - [COMMENTARY] This site may provide some interesting investing ideas.
Personal Life Media Debuts Podcast and Blog Network on Relationships, Spirituality and Personal Growth, PRWeb Press Release, March 19, 2007, USA.

GMOs Have Problems. - [COMMENTARY] It seems that Monsanto’s Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) is now having a hard time in the marketplace. In the article below, Mr. Peck makes the argument that we need to be extremely weary of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our foods. I for one, avoid any food with GMOs. Ethically, would you like to invest in a company with a GMO product that, although the current science says ’may be’ ok, but years from now might be responsible for an environmental disaster and much human suffering? What do you think?
Monsanto - How Now Brown Cow? by John E. Peck, March 18, 2007, Infoshop News, USA.

Shareholder Proposals Derailed. - [COMMENTARY] It seems that some Canadian provincial regulations are serving to derail shareholder proposals to get companies to divulge their climate change and human rights -- that is if they have any! Should not the small investor have the right to submit shareholder resolutions? I certainly think so.
Shareholder proposals derailed by Canadian Natural Resources, March, 2007, Share E-News, Canada

Youths Pay Lip Service To Environment. - [COMMENTARY] Ms. Goldstein reports on a fascinating international study on youth by Sweden’s Kairos Future. The main point, especially for the Swedes, but others too, is that "they [the youth] do not want to buy environmentally friendly products ...Consumption is guided by the advice from friends." This reminds me of another recent UK student survey that showed, "Only 16 per cent of those surveyed said that their lifestyle choices were considerably affected by environmental concerns, despite 92 per cent believing that society does not do enough to help the planet." The bottom line, the youth still buy what is ’hip’ and affordable!
Global Youth: Money + Status = Happiness? by Anastasia Goodstein, March 16, 2007, YPulse.com, USA

Mutual Fund Proxy Voting? - [COMMENTARY] As of August, 2004, the US Securities Exchange Commission started to require mutual funds to report on their proxy voting policies. It seems this ruling has only marginally assisted more conscientious voting by them. It is only fair to mutual fund investors that they know how their funds are voting. After all, it might well affect whether they continue to invest with that fund.
Mutual Funds Inch Toward More Conscientious Proxy Voting on Social and Environmental Resolutions, by Bill Baue, March 14, 2007, SocialFunds.com, USA.

Shareholder Proposals Derailed. - [COMMENTARY] It seems that some Canadian provincial regulations are serving to derail shareholder proposals to get companies to divulge their climate change and human rights -- that is if they have any! Should not the small investor have the right to submit shareholder resolutions? I certainly think so.
Shareholder proposals derailed by Canadian Natural Resources, March, 2007, Share E-News, Canada

Mutual Fund Proxy Voting? - [COMMENTARY] As of August, 2004, the US Securities Exchange Commission started to require mutual funds to report on their proxy voting policies. It seems this ruling has only marginally assisted more conscientious voting by them. It is only fair to mutual fund investors that they know how their funds are voting. After all, it might well affect whether they continue to invest with that fund.
Mutual Funds Inch Toward More Conscientious Proxy Voting on Social and Environmental Resolutions, by Bill Baue, March 14, 2007, SocialFunds.com, USA.

Global Warming Affects UK Investor Decisions. - [COMMENTARY] It is a pity that it takes a very warm winter for investors to wake-up to the financial implications of global warming. Be sure to read the quotes from  Annabel Brodie-Smith, near the bottom of this press release.
Global Warming may affect nearly two thirds of active investors’ investment decisions, March 14, 2007, The Association of Investment Companies, UK.

Test CSR Claims? - [COMMENTARY] Companies make all sorts of claims in their social, environmental and sustainability reports, but there really needs to be put in place a qualified public auditing function, much as we have for financial statement reporting. The EU is really taking the lead here.
’Time to test’ corporate social responsibility claims, by Norwich Union Risk Services, March 13, 2007, UK

Is Nanotechnology Safe? - [COMMENTARY] Nanotechnology is rising as an area of major investment. "Global sales of nanoproducts were worth US$32 billion last year and forecast to grow to US$1 trillion by 2011," according to this report. Needless to say, there are immense ethical issues regarding this technology. The following article provides some insight into these concerns.
Is Nanotechnology Rushing Into A Repeat Of The Biotechnology Backlash, published in Azonano.com, though source is Friends of the Earth nanotechnology Project.

SRI Funds In The USA. - [COMMENTARY] A good overview of what socially responsible investing is, and its performance, in the USA.
Stocks With Scruples, by S. J. Caplan, March 13, 2007, The Motley Fool, USA.

Sustainability In Canada’s Oil Patch Wanting. - [COMMENTARY] Worthwhile to get if you are an investor in Canada’s oil and gas industries, this study by Canada’s Ethical Funds Company appears to have much to offer environmentally responsible investors.
Canada′s oil and gas sector is slow to take action on their climate change responsibilities, March 13, 2007, Ethical Funds, Canada.

All the CSR Reports You Need. - [COMMENTARY] Here is one central place where you can find corporate social, environmental and sustainability reports all in one place. Registration, though free, is required.
CorporateRegister.com is based in the UK.

Canadian SRI Funds Fare As Well As Others. - [COMMENTARY] This study concludes that Canadian socially and environmentally responsible mutual funds did at least as well in 2006 as the general Canadian mutual fund universe. That is because they all hold similar investments!
SRI screens have little impact on returns: study by Steven Lamb, March 12, 2007, Advisor.ca, Canada.

Religious Mutual Funds. A Good Overview. - [COMMENTARY] David Kathman’s article provides a good overview of religious mutual funds in the US.
Putting Faith in Religious Mutual Funds, by David Kathman, March 13, 2007, Morningstar.com, USA.

SRI Mutual Fund Arrives in India. - [COMMENTARY] This is exciting. It shows Indian investors may now be ready to join-in the global movement towards incorporating investments with a sustainability bias.
ABN Amro AMC launches ABN Amro Sustainable Development Fund, March 12, 2007, The Economic Times, India.

UK Charities Still Not Onboard SRI Train. - [COMMENTARY] What is interesting in this article is that as of 2006, most UK charities still had no interest in socially responsible investing. It seems the Gates have lots of company. You might remember the recent controversy that their foundation will also not employ any social, environmental or governance screening either. How these people justify such behaviour, considering the use their funds go to, in my opinion can only be described as unethical.
Charities no longer complacent says JPMorgan Asset Management,
March 1, 2007, Easier Finance, UK.

US: Exciting New Data for Environmental Products. - [COMMENTARY] LOHAS -- "Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability" represents a fast growing, huge market in the US for consumers who demand socially and environmentally oriented goods and services. Many investment opportunities in these markets.
New LOHAS Market-Size Data Released A $209 Billion Opportunity, March, 2007, GreenMoneyJournal.com, USA

EU Labour Wants Restricitions On Private Equity Deals. - [COMMENTARY] Stratfor has produced an important analysis on how European labour is increasingly demanding more accountability and control of companies who are bought-out in private equity deals. Ethical considerations of corporate behaviour and public policy are key here. (Stratfor is a leader in global political and economic intelligence reporting.)
Private Equity Firms and Public Policy, March 8, 2007, Stratfor, 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 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.


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