April 2009 Newsletter

April 2009 Newsletter

News & Commentaries by Ron Robins


Ethisphere Publishes Its 2009 Edition Of The World’s Most Ethical Companies. [COMMENTARY] This year, 99 companies made the cut. Twenty companies dropped off the list from last year, and 25 companies were newcomers. A remarkable 44 companies are “three-peats,” making the list for the past three years.” No-doubt that Ethisphere has a robust selection criterion. But when the top three companies cited are all in the US aerospace and defence industries, their criteria just do not sit right with me.
2009 World′s Most Ethical Companies, April 2009, Ethisphere, USA.

BankTrack Creating ESG Bank Profiles On World’s Major Banks. [COMMENTARY]“The bank profiles aim to provide both bank campaigners and professional observers of bank activities a ‘one stop′ overview of the state of sustainability commitments of banks. The profiles feature key facts, all relevant voluntary ESG commitments, internal ESG policies, possible Equator Principles commitments, as well as a rating of the quality of all ESG commitments in a number of key sectors and on key issues.” This will be one site to regularly visit if you are interested in socially conscious banks.
BankTrack re-launches bank profiles section on website, April 23, 2009, Netherlands.

European SRI Fund Sales Increase Even Though Overall Fund Sales Were Met With Redemptions. [COMMENTARY]“Sales of European SRI funds remained positive during February this year with net inflows for the sector of …599m and continue to buck the trend of mainstream equity funds which saw withdrawals of …2.8bn over the month, according to the latest available figures compiled for Responsible Investor by Lipper Feri, the investment data group.” I believe investors are finally realizing that ethical stocks and bonds are likely to outperform over the longer term.
SRI funds continue to sell strongly, bucking mainstream equity fund withdrawals, by Hugh Wheelan, April 16, 2009, Responsible Investor, UK.

SRI Fund Launched For Africa.[COMMENTARY]“The Africa Sustainability Passive Equity Fund, offered to institutional investors by Mauritius-based Sustainable Capital, will apply
ESG criteria to both countries as well as companies in Africa.”
This is great news for Africa. It seems that there are only a few areas of the world left where investors do not have an ethical investing option.
Sustainable Investing Fund Is Launched in Africa, by Robert Kropp, April 15, 2009, SocialFunds, USA.

India’s First Shariah Fund Attracts Mostly Non-Muslims. [COMMENTARY]“The Shariah fund called Taurus Ethical Fund launched by Taurus Asset Management Company has attracted bulk of the investment from the non-Muslims. It is the country’s first actively managed equity oriented Shariah compliant diversified fund. Waqar Naqvi, chief executive, Taurus Asset Management Co said about 70 percent of the corpus has come from non-Muslims.” The hunger for quality religious and ethical funds will only continue to grow worldwide as ethics, environmental, social, and governance issues come to the fore.
Shariah fund a hit with non-Muslims, April 24, 2009, The Times of India, India.

India’s Karmayog Announces CSR Ratings On 1,000 Indian Companies. [COMMENTARY] Karmayog is probably India’s foremost corporate social responsibility rating organization.
Report on the Karmayog CSR Ratings of the 1000 largest Indian companies – 2008, Karmayog, April 8, 2009, India.

GE Wins Top Sustainability Award From Ceres. [COMMENTARY] “GE Corporation has earned the top sustainability reporting award at the 2009 Ceres Conference in San Francisco, California. The winners of the Ceres-Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) reporting awards also included Seventh Generation, Ball Corporation, Symantec, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Games and Dell Inc.”This award encourages something dear to my heart–reliable and comprehensive environmental, social and governance reporting. Well done GE and the other award winners.
GE Wins Award for Best Sustainability Reporting, April 10, 2009, Environmental Leader, USA.

New Blog Of Interest To Ethical Investors. [COMMENTARY] “This is UKSIF′s blog on creating a robust operating framework for sustainable and responsible financial services. It covers laws, regulation, fiscal measures, voluntary standards, skill requirements and cultural norms.” This could be an important place to go for all the latest ideas on creating a more responsible financial environment from an ethical investment perspective.
Finance for a Sustainable Recovery, UKSIF blog, UK.

International Energy Agency (IEA) Says Grain Ethanol Better Than Gasoline For Environment.[COMMENTARY]“… greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from corn ethanol are now some 39 percent less than gasoline… ’A lot of the stories circulating (about corn ethanol) in the past year were relying on sources that were very old and were inaccurate,” said Robin Speer, vice president public affairs, Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA)… the data people were using was from the late 80s and 90s. Farming practices today are extremely different than how it was back then,’ he told the Cleantech Group today… The IEA, a 36-year old intergovernmental organization… advises its 28 member countries on energy policy, commissioned the study.” It looks like the ’corn wars’ are going to a new level.
Grain ethanol strikes back, by Lizette Wilson Chapman, April 1, 2009, CleanTech Group, USA.

Trucost Discloses Carbon Footprints For US Mutual Funds. [COMMENTARY] “For the first time ever, investors and fund managers are now able to compare the carbon footprints of leading U.S. mutual funds, thanks to a report released today by Trucost, the world’s foremost environmental data & research company. The report shows that the carbon intensity of mutual funds varies widely, with the highest-carbon fund found to be 38 times more carbon intensive than the fund with the smallest carbon footprint.” Useful to look at for American ethical investors.
“Carbon footprints” of top U.S. mutual funds revealed in groundbreaking Trucost report, press release, April 8, 2009, Trucost, USA.

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