September 2009 Newsletter

September 2009 Newsletter

News & Commentaries by Ron Robins


(UPDATE 1) Environmental Ranking Of America’s 500 Largest Corporations–Newsweek. [COMMENTARY] The top three are HP, Dell, and Johnson & Johnson. This is a good analysis of America’s most environmentally conscious major corporations, and useful reading for ethical investors. Partners in the research were KLD Research & Analytics, Inc., Trucost,, and ASAP Media.
2009 Green Rankings –, September 21, 2009, USA. For a good insight into how the date was determined and compiled, seeJoel Makower’s commentary at GreenBiz.

China Surpassing US In Green Energy. [COMMENTARY]“Even as China overtakes the U.S. in the dubious category of ’world′s leading greenhouse gas producer,’ it is also well ahead
of the U.S. in developing the technologies and policies to solve the problem—and selling those solutions to us at massive profits which could have been ours. On a recent trip, I saw entire Chinese towns powered by farm waste and enough windmills for jousts with ten thousand Don Quixotes.”
Considering the foregoing and other similar reports, ethical investors might want to consult with appropriate advisors about the opportunities for green energy/tech investment in China.
China is leaving the U.S. in the dust as it surges ahead on clean energy, by Terry Tamminen, September 17, 2009, GRIST, USA.

IPE Says 70% Of Fund Trustees Surveyed Cite ESG Issues As Important. [COMMENTARY]“Around 70% of the 42 respondents … with a total of …197.6bn invested
assets … said it was trustees′ fiduciary duty to include ESG in their decision-making process and during manager selection processes. Only a quarter disagreed with this.”
It is difficult for me to imagine how ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues would not be considered important in fund and fiduciary management!
ESG equals fiduciary duty, says IPE survey, by Nina R…hrbein, September 18, 2009, IPE, Europe.
(Subscription required, which is free.)

Business Week Publishes Names Of Top Global Brands. [COMMENTARY]“Companies as
diverse as McDonald’s, Ford, and American Express are revamping their marketing to win back that most valuable of corporate assets.”
All investors will be interested in this analysis with the data provided by Interbrand.
Best Global Brands 2009, September 28, 2009, Business Week, USA.

Exchanges Push Sustainability. [COMMENTARY]“The report, which was produced by sustainable investment consultancy Delsus Limited, found exchanges were increasingly active in three main areas promoting sustainability: provision of information tools for sustainable investors such as indices; fostering specialised listing and trading platforms for sustainable investment niches and in less advanced markets, increasing awareness of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues among listed companies. Dan Siddy, founder and director of Delsus and author of the report, said: ’Over the last five years or so, social and environmental risks and opportunities have emerged to become commonplace long-term investment themes in the world′s capital markets.’”

This report provides exceedingly good news for ethical investors, and will only enhance the prospects for investing in ethical stocks and bonds.
Exchanges Push the Sustainability Agenda, by Dan Siddy, September 17, 2009, Responsible Investor, UK.

US Consumers May Buy 600,000 Plug-In Electric Hybrid Autos By 2015, Says Study. [COMMENTARY]“A new study by Pike Research indicates that demand for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) will skyrocket after the first generations are introduced in 2010, to 600,000 vehicles by 2015.” I am still unsure as to the overall net benefit, both environmentally and for society as a whole, of PHEVs. Though gas/petrol consumption will be reduced, the demands on inefficient electrical grids and generation will be substantially increased. If anyone knows of any good studies on this subject or on potential investment prospects, please let me know.
Consumers Demand Electric Vehicles, September 10, 2009, Sustainable Life Media, USA.

Buffett & 27 Other Business Leaders Call For End To Short-Termism Business Focus.
[COMMENTARY]“We believe that short-term objectives have eroded faith in corporations continuing to be the foundation of the American free enterprise system, which has been,
in turn, the foundation of our economy. Restoring that faith critically requires restoring a long-term focus for boards, managers, and most particularly, shareholders—if not voluntarily, then by appropriate regulation.”

Such changes, if implemented, would denote a much higher consciousness taking shape among these stakeholders and society at large. However, judging by the present inaction of the US Congress and regulatory authorities in bringing the culprits of this financial mess to justice, it could be awhile yet before anything changes. Who is being prosecuted for the ’liar loans,’ for the fraud perpetrated in the sale of various derivative instruments, and for the ratings agencies who may have been possibly ’bribed’ by their MBS issuing customers to provide them with higher than warranted ratings for their securities?
Buffett and Bogle join call for long-term, responsible investment, by Hugh Wheelan, September 15, 2009, Responsible Investor, UK.

Toyota & Peugeot Top Bank Sarasin’s 2009 List Of Sustainable Automakers. GM Comes Last. [COMMENTARY]When rating the sustainability performance of car manufacturers, Bank Sarasin concentrates on three key aspects: the CO2 emissions of the current vehicle fleet, the capacity to develop low-emission, leading-edge technologies and
… given the increasing outsourcing of key components and the looming battle for leadership in new technologies … the sustainability of supplier relationships.”
If you are looking for automobile manufacturers’ stocks that are good to invest in, you might want to review this report by one of Switzerland’s top banks.
Bank Sarasin′s Sustainability ratings 2009 for car manufacturers: Toyota and Peugeot lead the field, September 16, 2009, Bank Sarasin, Switzerland.

UK Social Investment Forum To Hold 2nd National Ethical Investment Week November 8-14. [COMMENTARY]“Aviva Investors has today joined CCLA, The Co-operative Financial Services and Henderson New Star as a sponsor of the second National Ethical Investment Week (NEIW), to be held 8-14 November. NEIW is a cooperative campaign that brings together financial advisers, charities and trusts, financial organisations, faith groups, NGOS and community groups to ensure that everyone knows that they have green and ethical options for their investments.” The UKSIF’s second National Ethical Investment Week continues to gain big sponsors demonstrating the growing interest in ethical stocks and bonds in the UK.
National Ethical Investment Week adds Aviva to list of sponsors, September 14, 2009, FT Advisor, UK.

Israeli Companies Worried About Boycott Of Their Products. [COMMENTARY]“A survey reveals that 21% of Israeli exporters have had to cut their prices as a result of the boycott, after a significant loss of market share, especially in Jordan, the UK and Scandinavia. [Data from Ma an News Agency, 31 March, 2009]… This month the UN will publish the findings of its inquiry into Israel′s possible war crimes in Gaza in 2008-9. These are unlikely to lead to legal proceedings, so there are calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions to force Israel to comply with international law.” Whether you are for or against Israel on this, as an investor, you might want to pay attention to this issue.
Economic retaliation against Tel Aviv, by Willy Jackson, September 2009, Le Monde diplomatique, France.

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