Investing for the Soul
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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
-- Cerulli Associates
"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."
"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
Ethical Investing News/Commentaries:
Commentaries by Ron
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Bombay Stock Exchange To Launch
Shariah-Compliant Stock Index.
"The Bombay Stock Exchange Ltd (BSE) and Taqwaa
Advisory and Shariah Investment Solutions (TASIS)
will launch the BSE TASIS Shariah 50 index from
Monday, December 27."
This index has great potential, considering that
India has over 133 million Muslims representing
about 14% of its population. It might also be of
interest to ethical investors everywhere too.
BSE to launch Shariah-compliant Index to promote fin
inclusion, December 24, 2010, The Economic
Jantzi-Sustainalytics Issues New
Report On Nanotechnology For Investors.
"Current understanding of the potential risks of
nanotechnology is limited and regulations lag behind
technological development. Given this uncertainty,
how can investors address this new
area? This brief offers investors a roadmap to
navigate the potential risks and opportunities of
this emerging industry."
The debate around nanotechnology is going to be
every bit as big as that about GMOs! This is an
important report for ethical investors.
Brave New World: Investors and Nanotechnology,
by Stephanie LeNguyen, Jantzi-Sustainalytics,
Wealthy Middle Eastern Women
Investors Increasingly Favour Socially Responsible
"Dubai: Wealthy women in the Middle East are
increasingly choosing to pour their money into
social investments, according to financial advisers.
They controlled 22 per cent, or around $700 billion
(Dh2.57 trillion) of the region’s assets under
management (AUM) last year, according to a study by
Boston Consultancy Group (BCG). Popular among women
investors are sustainable development projects in
the environment, construction and retailing, said
Shimi Shah, former chief executive of Forsa and
Chairman of Carousel Solutions."
This is good news for socially responsible/ethical
investing in the region. Are women, as compared to
men, generally more likely to choose ethical
Women investors target corporate responsibility,
by Deena Kamel Yousef, December 22, 2010,
Derivative Products Begin In Malaysia.
"Standard Chartered, the U.K. bank that earns most
of its profit from emerging markets, will begin
selling contracts in the first quarter that provide
protection from fluctuations in the cost of items
such as rice and oil, according to an e-mailed reply
to questions yesterday. Bank Islam Malaysia, the
country′s oldest Islamic lender, will offer swaps
that allow two parties to exchange different forms
of payments from an underlying asset."
The article continues, "Asia Pacific overtook
North America as the biggest market for derivatives
in the six months through June and accounted for 38
percent of the global total, according to data from
the Washington-based Futures Industry Association
published in September. That compares with North
America′s 33 percent market share."
In principle, the idea of being able to hedge risk
is great. In practice, if unregulated and with
negligible reserves/collateral by issuers, they can
be ’weapons of financial mass destruction’ as we
have seen in the past two years--and as Warren
Buffett has called them.
Shariah-Compliant Hedging Derivatives Start in
Malaysia: Islamic Finance, by Soraya Permatasari
and Suryani Omar, December 22, 2010, Bloomberg,
EIRIS Study Shows Investors
Exposed To Biodiversity Risks.
"Research firm EIRIS has put forward five
recommendations to enable investors to help them
address failings by corporations on biodiversity. It
suggests investors understand, be aware of,
encourage, engage and collaborate on the issue."
This is a unique report that investigates a subject
that is not well known even to sophisticated ethical
EIRIS research points to biodiversity risk for
investors, by Daniel Brooksbank, December 20,
2010, Responsible Investor, UK.
The Royal Society Of Canada
Issues Report On Environmental & Health Impacts Of
Canadian Oil Sands.
Useful reading for any ethical investor concerned
with energy investing.
Environmental and Health Impacts of Canada’s Oil
Sands Industry, (PDF) December 2010, The Royal
Society of Canada, Canada.
SEC Calls For Mandatory Reporting
Of Payments By Extractive Industries.
"The Securities and Exchange Commission, the US
financial regulator, is to clamp down on payments by
extractives companies, mine safety and conflict
minerals. The proposals are among a raft of measures
put forward by the SEC under the Dodd-Frank Act."
All I can say it is about time that such payments be
revealed so that stockholders, especially, can gauge
how well company management deals with these issues.
SEC to clamp down on extractives payments, mine
safety and conflict minerals, by Daniel
Brooksbank, December 16, 2010, Responsible Investor,
Survey Shows US Consumers Demand
Companies Engage In Cause Marketing & Support
"Two new public opinion surveys released today by Do
Well Do Good, LLC indicate that consumers demand
that companies should engage in cause-marketing and
corporate social responsibility programs. Over 88%
of consumers think companies should try to achieve
their business goals while improving society and
then environment and 83% of consumers think
companies should support charities and nonprofits
with financial donations."
Good to see this especially at this time of year.
New Study: Consumers Demand Companies Should Engage
in Cause-Marketing & Corporate Social Responsibility
Initiatives, press release, December 15, 2010,
Do Well Do Good, USA.
Dow Jones Launches New Index That
Helps Generate Funds To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and
"The Dow Jones Global Fund 50 Index is the flagship
of a new index series, which will include indexes
with overlaying strategies and additional themes.
The index has been licensed to db X-trackers, the
leading ETF platform of Deutsche Bank, to serve as a
basis for a financial product, the db x-trackers
Global Fund Supporters ETF. The ETF begins trading
today on the Frankfurt stock exchange."
Well, we have credit cards that give a portion of
their proceeds to charities and good causes, now we
are getting indexes/ETFs doing the same. It is
certainly a good step for charities. Constituent
companies in this index will be those who provide
funds to help eradicate AIDS, TB and malaria.
Dow Jones Indexes and The Global Fund Launch The Dow
Jones Global Fund 50 Index, press release,
December 13, 2010, Dow Jones Indexes Press Room,
First Global Christian ETF
"Db X-trackers, Deutsche Bank′s exchange-traded
funds (ETF) platform, claimed it has launched the
world′s first ETF for Christians who wish to invest
in line with their faith... Companies are chosen
from the broader Stoxx Europe 600 index, with
suitability for inclusion determined by an
independent Christian faith commission."
This may well be the start of a trend of global
faith/ethically-based ETFs. They could be attractive
to many ethical investors.
World’s first ETF for Christians from Deutsche Bank,
by Cara Waters, December 13, 2010, Financial
Many Reasons Cited By Asset
Managers For Integrating ESG Issues, Says Survey.
"The survey [by Novethic, the French SRI research
and media company]... received responses from 251
asset owners, was carried out in partnership with
the European Sustainable Investment Forum (Eurosif).
It found that 59% of French asset owners and 68% of
their German peers believe the main incentive for
ESG integration is to contribute to a more
sustainable development model for investment. But
only a minority of Danish (21%) or UK (17%)
investors share this opinion. Instead, most UK
investors (57%) say ESG integration is dictated by
No matter the reasons given, the fact that
environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues
are being incorporated into asset management is the
Asset owners reasons for ESG integration vary
markedly across Europe: survey, by Hugh Wheelan,
December 10, 2010, Responsible Investor, UK.
Thesis Finds It Difficult To
Evaluate Effects Of CSR On Corporate Financial &
"’On the one hand, companies engaging with CSR might
be viewed as high-risk players because they’re
either committing substantial resources to
unnecessary CSR activities or because CSR is used as
a distraction from unflattering corporate behaviour,
and are, therefore, earning higher returns. On the
other hand, good performance can be viewed as a
surprise that can be attributed to the company’s CSR
engagement, previously not taken into account, a
kind of mispricing. Mispricing is found as the more
prevalent explanation, because the CSR premium has
decreased in recent years, perhaps also because most
companies are now communicating their CSR activities
The fact that most companies are doing better with
CSR is good news.
Hard to tell whether CSR has a positive effect on
profitability or not, by Cristiana Manescu,
December 6, 2010, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
3M, Nike, Suzlon Among Winners Of
Gigaton Awards At COP16.
"CANCUN, Mexico — At the unveiling of the first
annual Gigaton Awards, six companies were recognized
as leaders in their respective industries. The
Gigaton winners and their sectors are: Suzlon
(Energy), Vodafone Group (Telecommunications),
Reckitt Benckiser Group (Consumer Staples), Nike
(Consumer Discretionary), 3M (Industrials) and GDF
Gigaton Prizes were developed and awarded by the
Carbon War Room, a non-profit organization that
harnesses the power of entrepreneurs to implement
market-driven solutions to climate change. The
awards ceremony took place during the World Climate
Summit and was co-hosted by Sir Richard Branson and
José María Figueres and sponsored by ECCO2, in
partnership with Fuseproject and Televisa."
The Carbon War Room and its
activities will be well worth watching considering
who its backers are.
3M, Nike, Suzlon Among Winners of Gigaton Awards at
COP16, December 4, 2010, GreenBiz, USA.
Mexico To Launch ESG Index At
Cancún Climate Conference.
"The Bolsa Mexicana de Valores′ (Mexican Stock
Exchange, MSE) sustainability index will be formally
launched at this week′s United Nations Climate
Change Conference in Cancún. Thus far in 2010, the
Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) and the Brazilian
Stock Exchange (BM&FBOVESPA) have signed the UNPRI
and several stock exchanges have launched
SRI/Sustainability indices including the Indonesia
Stock Exchange (the KEHATI-SRI Index), the Shanghai
Stock Exchange (Social Responsibility Index), and
the Egyptian Exchange (S&P/EGX ESG Index)"
Sustainable-ethical investing is clearly catching on
in the emerging markets too. This offers
opportunities for ethical investors to invest
Mexico joins ESG index rush with Cancún launch,
by Lisa Hayes, December 2, 2010, Responsible
Canadian Impact Investing Could
Reach $30 Billion.
"Social finance offers an unprecedented
opportunity for Canada′s charities, non-profits, and
social purpose businesses (collectively referred to
as social enterprise) to open new sources of
financing. Many non-profits are trapped in a cycle
of short term subsistence funding that diverts
attention from their mission and impact and many
social purpose businesses face a
lack of options for patient capital."
The idea of non-profits and charities running ’for
profit’ businesses that further their causes is
great in theory. However, though I like this concept
I do have great concern that precious donated
dollars might be sometimes diverted to failing
businesses, particularly when the businesses are run
by non-profits with little business experience and
when 90% of all new businesses fail in five years.
Perhaps there should be a ’Chinese wall’ between the
donations received by the charity and the business
Mobilizing Private Capital for Public Good, Summary
Report, December 2010, Canadian Task Force on
Social Finance, Canada.
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