March 2008 Newsletter

March 2008 Newsletter

News & Commentaries by Ron Robins


US Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Assets Grow By 18% To $2.71 trillion In 2007, From $2.29 trillion In 2005. [COMMENTARY]The Social Investment Forum, a leading SRI organization, released its latest report on the growth of US SRI assets. “Spurred by such factors as rising institutional investor interest, growing demand for climate-related renewable energy alternatives, concerns about the Sudan humanitarian crisis, and the emergence of new products, socially responsible investing (SRI) in the United States is now growing at a much faster pace than the broader universe of all investment assets under professional management…” Investing in ethical stocks and bonds has certainly come-of-age! This is a great report to read.
Socially Responsible Investing Assets In U.S Surged 18 Percent From 2005 To 2007, Outpacing Broader Managed Assets, March 5, 2008, press release, Social Investment Forum, USA.

Calvert Funds Offers Unique Tool For Screening US Mutual Funds On 13 Socially Responsible Criteria. [COMMENTARY]To my knowledge this is a first in the US. Finally, socially responsible and ethical investors are able to easily screen US mutual funds on issues that are important to them. However, users will observe that this site is also to promote Calvert’s own socially responsible funds. Calvert is one of the oldest socially responsible investing US fund groups.
Know what you own, Calvert Funds, USA.

Cond… Nast Portfolio’s Top Ten Polluters. [COMMENTARY]Cond… Nast Portfolio has an interesting look at what they consider to be America’s top ten polluters. If you are looking to invest in environmentally conscious major corporations, you might want to begin by excluding some companies. Here is a good place to start.
10 Worst Corporate Polluters, by Harry Hurt III, March 2008, Cond… Nast Portfolio, USA. Announces Winners Of Its 2007 Corporate Sustainability Reports. [COMMENTARY]Winners for the best sustainability reports include Vodafone (Best Report), BP, Novo Nordisk, Bayer, BMW, Coca-Cola Enterprises, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. You might like to review at the list of award winners here if you are looking for ethical stocks and bonds.
Reporting Awards, March 3, 2008,, Germany.

The FTSE CSAG Terror-Free Index Debuts March 31. [COMMENTARY]“The new terror-free index, created in partnership with a Washington, DC-based outfit tracking terror financing, follows the change in US law that requires managed funds to dump investments in companies doing business in the four rogue nations.” Several new ’terror-free’ funds are likely to be launched on March 31 as well. Legislation such as we see in the US, only adds further impetus to socially conscious stock buying.
ON ’TERROR’ FIRMA, by Paul Tharp, March 27, 2008, The New York Post, USA.

New Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)/Financial Performance Hybrid Index To Be Launched By Credit Suisse. [COMMENTARY]This new index sounds interestingly different. Most SRI indexes focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and the financial performance of the companies in such indexes is left-out and for others to determine and interpret. Ethical investors everywhere will want to watch this new Credit Suisse index to see how it functions and to see if other indexes follow its lead in including financial performance factors in their indexes.
Credit Suisse to launch hybrid SRI/financial performance index, by Cecilia Valente, March 28, 2008, Thomson Investment Management News, UK.

Report Compiled For Oxford University Shows, “UK and global equity ethical funds outperformed the market over one, three and seven years time periods matching
the market over 10 years.”
[COMMENTARY]Those who believe that ethical funds underperform their conventional counterparts should make note of the findings of this report by Jewson Associates, compiled for Oxford University. Ethical stocks and bonds get another boost from this report.
Ethical funds on level footing with counterparts, by Stefanie Ives, March 27, 2008, FT Advisor, UK.

UBS Launches Index That Tracks Low-Carbon Companies. [COMMENTARY]It is wonderful to see all the big investment firms getting on the low-carbon bandwagon. This one is interesting as it tracks companies with a low carbon footprint in the DJ STOXX 600 index.
UBS launches low-carbon tracker index, March 13, 2008, Environmental Finance, UK.

The Finance Network for Sustainable Energy (FiNeSse) Launched In London. [COMMENTARY]London is fast becoming the global leader in green finance. This network invites all green investors to participate. It has been launched jointly by the Renewable Energy Association and UK Social Investment Forum (UKSIF).
UKSIF and REA launch FiNeSse, February 29, 2008, UK.

First US Organic Beauty Standard Launched, OASIS, Backed By 30 Companies. [COMMENTARY]“The beauty of OASIS is that as an industry consensus standard its members range from large, global brands such as Estee Lauder Companies and L′Oreal to third party and private label manufactures to smaller, specialist brands such as Perfect Organics and Juice Beauty… The organic beauty and personal care industry has been growing rapidly, at 15% for the past 15 years. At the end of 2007, US sales of organic personal care products approached $9 billion representing approximately 15% of the personal care market.” Ethical investors looking for beauty and personal care stocks that are good to invest in might want to look at the companies behind OASIS.
Launch of OASIS The FIRST U.S. ORGANIC standard for the BEAUTY AND personal care industry, press release, March 5, 2008, Natural Newswire, USA.

Canadian Chartered Financial Analysts (CFAs) Say 42% Of Canadian Investors Are Paying More attention To Green Or Ethical Investing Products. [COMMENTARY]The question was among several in a first-ever poll of Canadian CFAs about investor attitudes. Despite investor sentiment being considerably bearish, the answer to this question on green and ethical investing was decidedly upbeat.
Poll by Canadian Chartered Financial Analysts reveals current investor attitudes towards their RRSP holdings, press release, March 3, 2008, Toronto CFA Society, Canada.

Links may only be valid a limited timeCommentaries by Ron Robins

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