July 2008 Newsletter

July 2008 Newsletter

News & Commentaries by Ron Robins


US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Now Has 200 Companies In Its Climate Leaders Program. [COMMENTARY]“EPA’s Climate Leaders represent more than ten
percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product and have pledged to prevent estimated GHG emissions equivalent to nine million cars annually… Climate Leaders, launched in 2002, is a voluntary program that works with companies to measure greenhouse gas emissions and to set aggressive long-term emissions reduction goals”
Many of the companies in their program are among the most environmentally conscious major corporations in the USA.
EPA Climate Leaders Now 200 Partners Strong, Eight Companies Establish New Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals, press release, July 24, 2008, Environmental Protection Agency, USA.

SustainableBusiness Lists Their Top 20 Global Sustainable Businesses. [COMMENTARY]If you are looking for sustainable stocks that are good to invest in, this is a list you might want to look at. Always get help with your investing from a qualified professional.
SB20: The World’s Top Sustainable Business Stocks, July 25, 2008, SustainableBusiness.com, USA.

Australia’s RepuTex Rates Carbon Emissions of Companies In The S&P ASX300 index. [COMMENTARY]The most highly rated companies in their analysis include Babcock & Brown Wind, Arrow Energy, Queensland Gas Company and Sims Group. The rating of an individual company’s carbon emissions is becoming mainstream. However, the rating techniques themselves still need to be standardized.
The potential of Australia’s top 300 companies to thrive in a low carbon economy has been assessed by market analysts, by David Gibbs, July 22, 2008, edie.net, UK.

Guide Launched For Faith Groups On Influencing Corporate Behaviour. [COMMENTARY]The Guide is co-sponsored by The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR), responsible investment specialists EIRIS and Ethical Screening.“[It] aims to support church members, faith communities and other responsible investors in influencing companies on the basis of Christian and ethical values.”
Investment and Engaging with Companies: A Guide for Faith Communities, July 23, 2008, The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR), UK.

SHARE Reports On Its Company Engagement Activities In Canada.[COMMENTARY]The report covers SHARE’s initiatives with 87 Canadian companies, many from the resource extractive industries. The advantage of using corporate social responsibility is increasingly being seen by companies as necessary to expand their operations and as a means to show that their stocks are good to invest in.
Shareholder engagement report, Q2/08, Shareholder Association for Research & Education (SHARE), July 23, 2008, Canada.

Sustainability Reporting By S&P 100 Companies Makes Great Gains Between 2005-2007. [COMMENTARY]“More than half of the United States′ 100 largest publicly traded companies now report on their sustainability efforts, and more than a third now incorporate elements of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) sustainability reporting guidelines… ” This is great news. I still say however, that for public companies there should be standardized environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting. Furthermore, these reports should be independently audited too! Only then can investors and other stakeholders be really convinced that what is being presently is honest and comparable across companies and industries.
Sustainability reporting by S&P 100 Companies made major advances from 2005-2007, July 17, 2008, Sustainable Investment Research Analyst Network (SIRAN), USA.

London’s EIRIS Releases Study On Climate Change Reporting By The 300 Largest Companies In The FTSE All World Index. [COMMENTARY]This study is worthwhile reading for all investors. How companies deal with their climate change issues will likely have a significant bearing on their long-term stock prices. Companies that focus on sustainability may well lead in investment returns in the years ahead.
The state we′re in: global corporate response to climate change and the implications for investors, July 15, 2008, Ethical Investment Research Services (EIRIS), UK.

The UK’s Business In The Community’s Corporate Responsibility Index Provides Useful Insight On CSR In UK & International Companies. [COMMENTARY]“Since 2002, when it was launched, 280 of the largest companies in Britain have measured themselves via the index. It is in essence no more than a benchmarking tool that allows companies to assess their performance on Corporate Social Responsibility, discover their strengths and weaknesses, and compare themselves to peers… Over the past year alone, 126
companies participated.”
Measuring how companies shape the world, by Ross Tieman, July 8, 2008, FT.com, UK. If you are looking for ethical stocks that are good to invest in, you might want to review the findings shown here:Latest CR Index Results, Business in the Community, UK.

Mercer Survey Says 99% Of Responding InvestmentAnalysts Use ESG In Their Analysis, Though Only 23% Label Themselves As SRI Investors. [COMMENTARY] ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors are now clearly in the minds of investment analysts, whether they be SRI (socially responsible investors) or not. Mercer continues excellent work in promoting and assessing what is happening in the investment world concerning these matters.
ESG ratings of fund managers – a step closer towards the mainstreaming of ESG integration, by Danyelle Guyatt, July 4, 2008, Mercer.

ASSET4 Study Confirms Difficulty Of Funds Integrating Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Factors Due To Short Term Bias. [COMMENTARY]“European pension funds are having trouble integrating long-term environmental, social and governance factors into their investment portfolios because of their asset managers′ and consultants′ focus on the short term, according to a survey published by Swiss ESG researcher ASSET4 and Germany′s Federal Environment Ministry.” Such a bias may well harm long-term results. Pension and fund holders need to question their fund managers on this topic and re-negotiate their terms of engagement.
Short-term focus thwarts Europe plans′ SRI, July 4, 2008, Pensions & Investments, USA.

Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Soci…t… G…n…rale Named Best Providers Of Extra-Financial Issues (EFIs) By The Enhanced Analytics Initiative (EAI). [COMMENTARY]Extra-financial issues include environmental, social and governance factors. “The 30-member EAI initiative collectively owns or manages around …2 trillion (US$3trn) of assets.”
Citi, Goldman and SocGen top for ESG research commissions, says EAI,
by Hugh Wheelan, July 3, 2008, Responsible Investor, UK.

Swiss Bank, Pictet, Says Socially Responsible Companies Have Less Of A Carbon Footprint. [COMMENTARY]“Pictet claims a socially responsible global equities portfolio
would have carbon emissions 40% below those of a portfolio indexed to the MSCI global equities index.”
I have tried to get hold of the actual study, but have only this reference. Still, it is interesting reading.
Pictet measures “extra-financial” returns from socially responsible investing, July 1, 2008, Wealth-Bulletin, UK.

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