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"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%."
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Ethical Investing News/Commentaries: Sept. 2007


Commentaries by Ron Robins

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Myanmar (Burma) - Global Oil Companies Directly Supporting The Military Regime. - [COMMENTARY] Take a look at all the oil companies mentioned in this report who are doing business with this cruel military regime! If you are an ethical investor investing in ethical stocks and bonds, you just might want to review your portfolio to determine if any of the companies you invest in might be doing business with this regime - and decide what to do according to your values.
As Myanmar cracks down on protesters, oil companies keep up controversial ties. (AP Business Writers Rajesh Mahapatra in New Delhi, Elaine Kurtenbach in Shanghai and Malcolm Foster in Bangkok contributed to this report.) September 28, 2007, Oil Week Magazine, Canada.

Amnesty International Partners In New US Colleges & Universities Guide On Socially Responsible Investing (SRI). - [COMMENTARY] Amnesty International partners with Responsible Endowments Coalition to target higher education trustees, administrators and student activists wanting to push for responsible investing on their campuses. Institutions of higher learning everywhere are under pressure to employ ethical investing, environmental and socially responsible investing, in the management of university endowments and other funds. This guide will be helpful in that regard.
Amnesty International USA and Responsible Endowment Coalition Launch Guide to Support Responsible Investing by U.S. Colleges and Universities, press release, September 28, 2007, USA.

Climate Change Brings ’Third Industrial Revolution’ To Germany Creating New Industries And 250,000 New Jobs. - [COMMENTARY] A new study by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, a top independent consulting firm in Germany, suggests that new industries engaged in wind power, electric cars, fuel cells etc., are becoming the top job creators in Germany. The results of this study should be required reading by all corporate and government leaders. Ethical investors, socially responsible investors too, by looking further into these findings may well find more ideas for stocks that are good to invest in.
Germany’s green example could be revolutionary, by Eric Reguly, September 28, 2007, The Globe & Mail, Canada.

Many In UK Believe That Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Is All About Image. - [COMMENTARY] Apparently 44% of the UK public and 66% of British MPs believe that the motivation of CSR is mostly about corporate image, according to a survey by BPRI and BMRB. It is clear that businesses need to do more about showing the advantage of using corporate social responsibility not only for themselves, but also to the public. Again, I state that there has to be standardized reporting and an independent auditing procedure of all corporate social, environmental reports. Only then can the public and politicians begin to have confidence that a company’s CSR policies and actions are valid.
Wake-up call for firms doing the right thing, September 29, 2007, Telegraph.co.uk, UK.

World’s 20 Top Sustainable Companies For 2007 - According To SustainableBusiness.com & KLD. - [COMMENTARY] This is a list worth checking-out if you are looking for the best ethical stocks and bonds. The article is published in the Fall, 2007 issue of the GreenMoney Journal. There are many other good articles to read on the GreenMoney site too.
Twenty Diverse Companies Make the Sustainability Cut, by Anne Moore Odell, socialfunds.com, in the GreenMoney Journal, Fall 2007, USA.

HSBC Launches New Global Climate Change Equity Index. - [COMMENTARY] The benchmarking index includes 300 companies from 34 countries. The index itself is divided into four areas: climate change; low carbon energy; energy efficiency; and water, waste and pollution management. One can only hope that they release the names of the companies in the index soon. This will be another source of information for ethical investors looking stocks that are good to invest in.
HSBC creates climate change index, by Angela Monaghan, September 25, 2007, Telegraph.co.uk, UK.

California To Order Its Two Huge Pension Funds To Divest Companies Engaged In Energy Or Arms Activities With Iran. - [COMMENTARY] Governor Schwarzenegger of California said he is about to sign a bill authorizing the State’s two big pension funds to divest themselves of holdings in companies that are engaged in energy or arms activities with Iran. A trend is becoming apparent in the USA with governments there taking commercial and investment actions against states that sponsor terrorism. For businesses, it demonstrates the importance of business ethics in the global society - that a stand for higher ethics can pay them dividends in the longer run!
Pensions to drop firms with Iran ties, by Bill Ainsworth, September 25, 2007, Union-Tribune San Diego, USA.

Carbon Disclosure Project Reports Companies Taking Greater Action On Carbon Emissions Reporting & Control. - [COMMENTARY] In this year’s report, it seems that environmentally conscious major corporations are taking action on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as never before. Over 76% are now actively reducing their GHGs compared to 48% last year. The report also finds that US based companies generally lag in this area. Environmentally conscious, ethical investors may want to see this press release.
Carbon Disclosure Project: Press Releases, September 24, 2007, USA & UK.

Canada’s Investors Group Adds More Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Funds.  - [COMMENTARY] Mirroring the growth of ethical investing, socially responsible investing mutual funds by Canada’s banks, Investors Group is now adding two other SRI funds to its Summa line-up: a global SRI fund and a global environmental fund. Investors original Summa Equity Fund was one of the earliest Canadian SRI funds - and is still Canada’s largest Canadian equity SRI fund.
Investors Group Announces Investors Summa Fund Family(TM), press release, September 24, 2007, Canada.

Shariah Bank Applications Trigger Concerns In Canada. - [COMMENTARY] The Canadian Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has at least two applications to create Canadian Shariah banks. However, since Islamic laws forbid speculation and interest, while profits and losses are mutually shared among concerned parties, it is reported that the Canadian authorities are having difficulty deciding how to regulate these banks. The UK already has one Shariah bank - the Islamic Bank of Britain. With the huge increase in global Muslim wealth, it is going to be fascinating to watch how Shariah banking - which might be called a form of ’socially responsible banking’ - unfolds.
Sharia-bank bids trigger concerns, by Steven Chase and Tavia Grant, September 24, 2007, The Globe & Mail, Canada.

Banking Ethics. Banks With Huge Losses Expect & Get Public Bail-Outs! - [COMMENTARY] The Bank of England’s bailout of Northern Rock, the European Central Bank’s and US Federal Reserve’s massive injections of money into the banking system, all show that banks can get away with massive speculative losses with full knowledge that they will be bailed-out by public institutions! What other businesses can expect the same treatment? Banks have the public by the throat - and they know it. The writer of this article, Philip Stephens, is an expert on the UK financial scene. He argues that the irresponsible ethics of banks and other financial players will now be emboldened further with an increase in moral hazard and much more difficult times to come.
The Bank loses a game of chicken, by Philip Stephens, September 21, 2007, The Financial Times, UK.

Renewable Fuels Groups Ask OECD To Disavow Fuels Report (See Below, OECD Slams Biofuels Push). - [COMMENTARY] The groups - the European Bioethanol Fuel Association (eBio) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) say that the media have taken the report to be official OECD thinking whereas the paper clearly states that it does "not necessarily reflect the views of the OECD or the governments of its Member countries." So the associations are asking the OECD to make this clarification to the media. The report was written by the Chair of the Round Table on Sustainable Development at OECD. In the link below, the associations also makes their case for the biofuels/renewable fuels industries. In supporting their view, they say that only 1.5% of European grain production goes towards these biofuels. Why they leave-out the fact that almost 50% of US corn production and a huge amount of Brazilian sugar-cane already goes towards biofuels, only weakens their case.
Renewable Fuels Association and EBio Urge OECD to Declare New Report as Not Reflecting Official Ethanol Industry Policy, September 21, 2007, Grainnet.com, USA.

British Insurers Launch Project To Promote Greener Policies. - [COMMENTARY] Climatewise is a project launched by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) "... to help insurers adapt to, and help mitigate, the possible effects of climate change, such as the increased risk of flooding, storms and heat waves." - See link below. So far 30 of the UK’s 400 insurers have signed-up to the initiative. Hopefully many more will join the project. Those that are signing-up obviously see the advantage of using corporate social responsibility for all their stakeholders.
Insurance industry starts to wise up to climate change, September 20, 2007, ClimateChangeCorp.com, UK.

UK Supermarkets Touting Ethics Are Accused Of Colluding On Dairy Prices. - [COMMENTARY] Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and dairy processors including Dairy Crest and Arla are accused by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading in colluding to keep dairy prices artificially high in 2002-2003. It remains to be seen if these allegations hold. The big UK supermarkets have been priding themselves in creating an ethical business environment. As to whether these are ethical stocks that are good to invest in - get help with investing from your investment advisor.
Supermarkets ’fixed dairy prices’, September 20, 2007, BBC, UK.

Charity SRI - New UK Ethical Investing Website For Charities And Their Supporters. - [COMMENTARY] "This website provides information and resources on Responsible Investment - what it is, reasons for doing it and how to go about it. Responsible Investment is about aligning investments with mission and incorporating social, environmental and ethical issues into investments. It is also known as ethical or socially responsible investment (SRI)." - From their website. EIRIS and the UK Social Investment Forum have founded Charity SRI. The website caters to charity staff, trustees, supporters, and particularly to their fund managers and advisors. Charities around the world have largely failed in aligning their investments with their charitable goals! I hope that sites like this can be founded in countries around the world soon.
Charity SRI, September 19, 2007, UK.

Canadian Mutual & Ethical Investing Funds Proxy Voting Record Differ Enormously.  - [COMMENTARY] There is a hug difference in the way Canadian mutual funds and socially responsible, ethical investing funds, conduct their proxy voting vote. “The results of this study cast doubt on the voting diligence of Canadian mutual fund companies,” says the report. The Social Investment Organization (SIO) and Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. need to be congratulated for this ground breaking work in Canada.
Articles: Canadian Mutual And Ethical Funds Proxy Voting Survey, September 18, press release, Social Investment Organization, Canada.

UN Needs Help On Collecting Information For A Global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Database. - [COMMENTARY] Follow the link below for information about the UN’s endeavour to amass a global CSR database and about its call for volounteers to help accomplish that. They say it can even be good for one’s resume.
UN seeks online volunteers to help with international database on corporate social responsibility, blogpost by Lisa Mighton, September 17, 2007, Canada.

FTSE4Good Index Adds 22 Companies From UK, But Deletes A Net 12 From USA. - [COMMENTARY] The FTSE 100 and FTSE 350 are leading London Stock Exchange equity indices. This same information provider a few years ago created the FTSE4Good series of indices for globally socially responsible companies. In changes to its indices just announced, I find it interesting that so many additions came from the UK while nearly all their deletions were from the USA! To see the list of additions and deletions, follow the link below. Anyone interested in ethical investing, socially responsible investing, may well want to review this list.
SEMI- ANNUAL REVIEW OF THE FTSE4GOOD INDICES, September 2007, September 13, 3007, FTSE4Good, UK.

Over Half Of All Britons Bought Organic Foods & Drinks In Past Year, And Ethical Investing Funds Outperformed Mainstream Funds. - [COMMENTARY] The UK’s Soil Association reported the significantly increased consumption of organic foods and drinks, while Life & Pensions Moneyfacts (first reported here on August 29) described the outperformance of UK ethical investing funds. The UK is a leader in these developments and results like this are being seen around the world. As a result, I expect the interest in ethical stocks and bonds to grow immeasurably in the years ahead.
Put your cash where your principles are, September 15, 2007, The Guardian, UK.

’Reduced Harm’ Smoking Product To Be Tested By Imperial Tobacco Canada. - [COMMENTARY] I suppose it is better that if people have to smoke, then it then they should smoke something that is less likely to kill them and others. However, it could also become an easy excuse for smokers to not quit as well. Obviously, for tobacco companies this new product could substantially increase their revenues, as not only might it appeal to current smokers, but may become acceptable to many hitherto non-smokers as well! Hey, how about the tobacco companies creating products that get people to quit smoking and increase their revenues that way? Will these companies’ securities ever become stocks that are good to invest in for anti-tobacco ethical investors?
Imperial Tobacco Canada lives up to its corporate social responsibility promise, September 12, 2007, press release. Canada.

Companies Have Much Higher Standards Of Behaviour Now - EIRIS Study. - [COMMENTARY] The study also says that North American companies lag those in Europe concerning environment, social and governance policies (ESG). Also, "Nearly 75 per cent of European companies operating in "high risk" countries had a basic or advanced human rights policy, compared with fewer than 40 per cent of North American firms and about a sixth of those from Asia, he found." It is great news though, that companies are increasingly realizing the advantages of using corporate social responsibility as a means to become more highly regarded by all their stakeholders.
US firms fall behind Europe in ethical standards, says Eiris, by Sean O’Grady, September 15, 2007, The Independent, UK.

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Research Predicted Subprime Meltdown. - [COMMENTARY] This article by Bill Baue shows how discriminating research by ethical investing researchers such as Innovest Strategic Advisors were aware of the forthcoming subprime mortgage meltdown well before it became a problem. What this story also shows is a collapse of an ethical business environment.
The Subprime Meltdown and SRI: Engage, Avoid, Predict, by Bill Baue, September 12, 2007, SocialFunds.com, USA.

LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability) Market Booms In Asia - Far Surpassing US. - [COMMENTARY] Over 30% of Japanese buy LOHAS related products and services, such as "... alternative transportation (e.g. bicycles and hybrid cars), energy-efficient electronics and appliances, renewable energy, green building and industrial goods, eco-friendly household products, natural and organic foods and beverages (e.g. macrobiotics), natural personal care products, alternative healthcare (e.g. aromatherapy), vitamins, minerals, dietary supplements, eco-tourism and travel, and socially responsible investing." See blog link below for details.
The LOHASIAN: International Perspectives: LOHAS Japan, September 13, 2007, Japan.

80% Of Britons Do Not Trust Ethical Business Claims. - [COMMENTARY] The study by Ipsos MORI for SEE Potential, also says that a similar number of Britons say that companies must back-up their ethical claims. This shows again the need for companies to do more than just ’advertise’ their good behaviour. They must publish an annual environmental, social and governance (ESG) report explicitly delineating the company’s promises and the outcomes they achieved. Then, for the public to have confidence in the report, it must be verified by a respected independent auditor! For companies who follow this path, they will find not only that they rank more highly than their peers among all their stakeholders, but also may find their securities among the elite of ethical stocks and bonds and increasingly attractive to not only ethical investors - but to all investors.
Four in Five Britons Distrust Ethical Business Claims, September 13, 2007, press release by SEE Potential, UK.

Intel Continues To Be Accused Of Abusive Marketing Practices. - [COMMENTARY] Intel faces legal challenges in Japan, Europe, and South Korea concerning alleged abusive marketing tactics aimed at keeping competitors at bay. Many ethical investing funds have Intel as one of their premier investments, as do numerous individual socially responsible investors. Perhaps it is time to do our homework on what is going on in Intel.
Korea alleges Intel violated antitrust laws, by Dawn Kawamoto, September 12, CNETNews.com, USA.

UK’s F&C Says Insurers At Risk In Not Incorporating Climate Change Strategies. - [COMMENTARY] Insurers traditionally look at past payouts in setting premiums. F&C says that since climate change studies predict an increasing frequency of extreme climate events and that insurers will increasingly lose money if they do not price into their premiums the additional risks posed by these potential future events. If you are looking for insurance stocks that are good to invest in, this could be an important question to research before making your investment decision.
Insurers slow to adapt to climate change, September 13, Reuters, UK.

A Worldview Of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI). - [COMMENTARY] Tessa Tennant, a real pioneer in socially responsible investment and ethical investing offers her insights into SRI around the world - and where she believes it is heading in the future.
Socially Responsible Investing Around The World, by Tessa Tennant, September 10, 2007, Environmental News Network (ENN), USA.

The Measuring Of Corporate Carbon Footprints. - [COMMENTARY] This is a good two-part article on the subject that any green investor or those interested in ethical investing, should read.
Leave Only Footprints: Measuring and Managing Corporate Carbon Emissions, by Bill Baue with Francesca Rheannon, September 4, 2007, SocialFunds.com, USA.

OECD Slams Biofuels Push. - [COMMENTARY] A new report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says the push towards biofuels will harm the environment and push-up food costs - all with only a marginal decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. Politicians, looking for votes and an ignorant public seeking lower fuel prices, are the real culprits though. I have longed believed that in order to be a leader in any of today’s western democracies, whether in the political or economic sphere, that it necessitates speaking untruths. Unfortunately, an economically and financially illiterate public makes for a stupid democracy and continued pathetic governments.
Biofuel push damaging, disruptive, OECD says, by Richard Blackwell, September 12, 2007, The Globe & Mail, Canada.

China Launches First Environmental Investment Management Corporation. - [COMMENTARY] "The new state-owned firm will be devoted to providing investment management services for the country’s energy-saving, environmental protection and sustainable development projects. The founding of the new organization is seen as a formal effort on the part of the government to actively promote a ’recycling economy’." Aside from this statement, the information provided in the link below is sparse. However, this is a step in the right direction for China. It will be interesting to see what environmentally conscious major corporations operating in China avail themselves of its services.
China launches first environmental investment firm, September 10, 2007, China Economic Review, China.

Asians Nations Desire To Legislate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). - [COMMENTARY] Malaysia and Indonesia are leading the charge to legislate CSR for both domestic and foreign corporations operating in their countries. I agree that labour, environmental laws, etc., should be established. However, it is really the quality of a nation’s collective consciousness that governs business activity and its overall wellbeing. That to me is where the focus ought to be. In other words, it is individuals who from the depths of their being feel to do good, not only for themselves, but for all others too, that counts. You can have all the laws you want, but if an individual is uncaring towards others and inherently ’unlawful’, the laws will not do much to avert bad things from happening. I truly believe that there are spiritual laws of financial prosperity.
Responsibility initiatives – Indonesia and Malaysia are open for business ethics, Rajesh Chhabara, September 7, 2007, Ethical Corporation, UK.

62% Of Britons Say Religion Has Important Role To Play In The Moral Guidance Of The Nation. - [COMMENTARY] The findings in this BBC/ComRes opinion poll indicate a longing for religious and spiritual values in a society which believes itself to be in moral decline. I believe this is positive for all of us who wish to see our world grow in more spiritual and moral values, and probably indicates that people in the UK are now likely on a path to increased spiritual and religious values that ultimately will create more morally and ethically based businesses.
New survey says people think Britain is in moral decline and religion could help, September 7, 2007, Ekklesia, UK.

Barrick Gold Now Included In Dow Jones Sustainability Index! - [COMMENTARY] I find this astonishing, considering the allegations of many qualified people accusing Barrick of conspiracy in trying to manipulate gold prices as well as other problems relating to the communities where it is operating or plans to operate.
Barrick Gold named to Dow Jones Sustainability Index, September, 7, 2007, CNN Money, USA.

Organizations Critique Wal-Mart - [COMMENTARY] According to this report, Wal-Mart’s goal of reducing their green house gas emissions by five million tons annually, is less than one-fortieth of its annual output! It is good to look at hard numbers concerning environmental and social issues when looking for the best socially responsible stocks to invest in. Furthermore, I have long argued that all medium and large sized companies that produce sustainability reports, etc., be legally required to have them independently audited. Only then can we have some assurance that these reports are not just PR.
23 Organizations Issue Joint Report Critiquing Wal-Mart′s Sustainability Initiatives, September 6, 2007, Natural Newswire, USA.

LOHAS (Lifestyles Of Health & Sustainability) Sales Worldwide Now Top $500 billion. - [COMMENTARY] As this article reports, LOHAS is the largest market that you have never heard of. Illustrating this markets enormous growth is a new study suggesting that LOHAS growth in Australia is set to double in the next five years. The research was conducted by the Mobium Group. Reading this article might give you ideas for socially conscious stock buying.
The biggest business you never heard of, by Leon Gettler, September 6, 2007, Australia.

Cadbury Schweppes Is First UK Food Manufacturer To Promise Absolute Reductions In Its Carbon Footprint - Even With Increasing Sales. - [COMMENTARY] This is what we want to see, companies pledging to halve their carbon footprint, even with growing sales. Cadbury Schweppes is setting a trend and demonstrating the advantage of using corporate social responsibility.
Cadbury Schweppes: Egging on competitors to reduce emissions, by Zara Maung, September 4, 2007, Ethical Corporation, UK.

Environmental Markets: A New Term For Many Ethical Investors. - [COMMENTARY] I just came across this interesting piece on environmental markets. With the growth of such markets, it behooves those looking to invest in environmentally conscious corporations to understand the burgeoning activities of environmental markets.
Environmental Markets: The Next Frontier in Environmental Investing? AltEnergystocks.com, USA.

UK Newspaper Reports On British Companies Considered Having The Worst Ethics. - [COMMENTARY] The article reveals twenty British companies - many are multinationals - in the FTSE 350 index who scored lowest on an ethics ranking. If you are looking for the best socially responsible stocks to invest in, this list might be helpful as ones to avoid.
Named and shamed: City’s ethical dunces, by Ruth Sunderland, Heather Stewart and Zoe Wood, September 2, 2007, The Observer, UK.

An Overview Of South African Ethical Funds. - [COMMENTARY] It is good to see how ethical investing, socially responsible investing (SRI), etc., is spreading around the world.
Personal Finance - Your guide to SRI funds, by Laura du Preez, September 3, 2007, Personal Finance, South Africa.

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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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