May 2009 Newsletter

May 2009 Newsletter

News & Commentaries by Ron Robins


World’s Largest Stock Exchange Group To Provide ESG Information On Its Listed Companies. [COMMENTARY]“NYSE Euronext’s equities markets, consisting of the New York Stock Exchange, Euronext, NYSE Arco, and NYSE Amex, include more than 8,000 listed issues worldwide, representing almost 40% of the world’s cash equities trading volume. Under the agreement, NYSE Euronext becomes the first major stock exchange in the world to provide ASSET4’s assetmasterExecutive product to a number of its listed companies. The product is designed to allow corporate executives to manage their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies with increased accuracy.”

This is a tremendous step forward for the recognition of ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues in relation to securities analysis. Also, it encourages companies to realize the advantages of using corporate social responsibility to the fullest possible extent.
World’s Largest Stock Exchange Will Provide ESG Information to Its Listed Companies, by Robert Kropp, May 27, 2009,, USA.

S&P Launches New Canadian Shariah Compliant Index. [COMMENTARY] “The S&P/TSX
60 Shariah Index recategorizes equities on the S&P/TSX 60 and excludes all those that do not comply with Islamic law, which is based on the Qur’an holy book. These include companies involved with alcohol, entertainment, pork-related products, tobacco and financial services. As well, companies with certain ratios of cash, leverage, and
involvement in non-compliant business activities do not qualify. Banks are excluded
because investors are not allowed to profit from interest, which is considered an unequal distribution of risk.”
This index will prove to be another boost for ethical stocks and bonds!
New Shariah Index follows letter of law, by Eric Lam, May 27, 2009, Financial Post, Canada.

Employees Help Choose UK’s Greenest Companies. [COMMENTARY] A fascinating ranking by The Sunday Times of London of what are considered to be the greenest UK companies. Ethical investors again might find some investment leads here.
The Sunday Times Green List 2009, May 24, 2009, The Sunday Times, UK. For company rankings,click here.

Coca-Cola, Toyota, France Telecom Among Top-Scoring CSR Reporters. [COMMENTARY]“The center at Claremont McKenna College announced on Tuesday the release of five reports detailing the sustainability reporting efforts of five sectors: consumer food, food production and beverages; forest and paper products; industrial and farm equipment; motor vehicles and parts; and telecommunications. The center also issued two reports on the energy and utility sectors.” Consumer oriented companies especially, see the advantages of using corporate social responsibility.
Coca-Cola, Toyota, France Telecom Among Top-Scoring CSR Reporters, May 19, 2009, GreenBiz, USA.

UK’s Co-operative Investments Says 18% More British Investors To Make Ethical Investments In 2009.[COMMENTARY] “New research from The Co-operative Investments reveals that 18 per cent more people intend to invest ethically this year,.. Zack Hocking, head of investments at The Co-operative Investments said: ’The financial crisis appears to have encouraged investors to think not only about how much money they make, but importantly, how it is made…’ According to latest IMA figures, retail inflows into ethical funds have now exceeded outflows for each of the fourteen months since February
This is further evidence that ethical stocks and bonds continue to be favoured in the UK.
Ethical investors to rise by 18% in 2009, May 20, 2009, Easier Finance, UK.

Survey: Indian, Brazilian, & Chinese Consumers Are The ’Greenest.’ [COMMENTARY]“For a second year in a row, consumers in India, Brazil and China scored the highest — and those in the U.S., the lowest — for green behavior among the countries included the Greendex survey conducted by the National Geographic Society and international polling firm GlobeScan. The second annual Greendex survey canvassed 17,000 adults online in 17 countries this year to gauge consumer attitudes and their behavior.” The results of this survey seem to infer that the lower ones income the greener one is? Perhaps it is also that poorer people are more frugal and concerned about wasting resources. This is a fascinating survey that may have some nuggets of insight for green and ethical investors.
Consumers in India, Brazil and China are the ’Greenest’: Greendex Survey, May 13, 2009, GreenBiz, USA. For actual survey,click here.

A Review Of Ten New US Green & Socially Responsible Funds. [COMMENTARY] “Here,
are ten Green mutual funds, each offering new prospects to participate in social and environmental responsibility while profiting from our expanding need to conserve and sustain global resources. They include: Appleseed, Integrity Growth & Income, Wells Fargo Advantage Social Sustainability, Dreyfus Global Sustainability, Calvert Large Cap Value, Calvert Global Water, Pax World Global Green, Pax World International, Pax World Small Cap and Firsthand Alternative Energy. Each fund offers a unique blend of financial pathways to sustainable prosperity. All data is as of 12/31/08.”
Article is one of several great reads from the new edition of GreenMoney Journal.
Ten New Green Mutual Funds (Expanded Version), by Ted Ketchum, May 2009,
GreenMoney Journal,

During Slowdown, Companies With A Sustainability Focus Outperform In Financial Markets. [COMMENTARY]“As companies cut costs to get through the current global economic slowdown, there is often a temptation to abandon recent forays into sustainability. Yet a new A.T. Kearney analysis finds that companies committed to corporate sustainability practices during this slowdown are achieving above-average performance in the financial markets during this slowdown. So before tossing out those sustainability practices and initiatives, it might be wise to first determine the real value of the efforts—especially the possible rewards for staying the course.” Thank you Michael Jantzi ofJantzi Research, Canada, for letting us know of this interesting study.
“Green” Winners, A. T. Kearney, USA.

UK Ethical Investment Funds Growing For 14 Consecutive Months. [COMMENTARY]“Figures released by UKSIF, the sustainable investment and finance association, show that its members′ ethical investment funds have been growing for 14 consecutive months since February 2008. Penny Shepherd, the association′s chief executive, believes that their investors are less inclined to take panic measures. ’Green and ethical investors stick for
the long term,’ she said.”
Here we have continuing encouragement concerning ethical stocks and bonds.
Ethical banking and investment booming in Britain, by Parminder Bahra, May 9, 2009, The Times, UK.

Fee-Only Advisors Gaining Ground In US. [COMMENTARY] “In a new report published on Tuesday, researchers at Strategic Insight say they’ve found the growing trend of investors shifting away from commission-based advisers gaining momentum during the ongoing market downturn. While the report deals strictly with traditional mutual funds, both no-load as well as load, it does add another notch to the belt of fee-based advisers. (It has been fee-based advisers who’ve been leading the charge into exchange-traded funds, especially among individual investors.)” This is a most interesting trend. I’ve always been concerned about the potential conflict of interest for advisors who both advise and receive commissions for the products they sell to clients. I know the majority of advisors in this position do not believe it an issue. But the possibility of not doing what is best for the client and trying to maximise commissions can conflict.
Investors Moving To Fee-Only Advisers During Crisis, by Murray Coleman, May 5, 2009,, USA.

New Editorial

Voluntary Simplicity? An Ethical Investing Perspective, by Ron Robins, May 13, 2009.

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