April 2020 Newsletter
News & Commentaries by Ron Robins
Latest Podcast: Sustainable Investments Making Our World Better. More… “BlackRock launches sustainable investing fund supporting UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Areas it invests in include sustainable food, clean energy, affordable housing, and public health. Tom Lydon promotes the Global X Conscious Companies ETF, reflecting the Concinnity Conscious Companies Index emphasizing ESG and focuses on customers, suppliers, stock and debt holders, local communities, and employees. More…”
By Ron Robins
SEC Rule Changes Will Hobble ESG Investors. “The proposed SEC rule changes would raise proposal resubmission thresholds from 3%, 6%, and 10% for those voted on once, twice, or three or more times respectively to 5%, 15%, and 25%… back-testing by the Sustainable Investments Institute contends that under the new rules, 30% of the 614 proposals that went to vote between 2010 and 2019 would not have been eligible for resubmission.”
[COMMENTARY] Clearly, this is another way that the SEC-Trump administration, wants to damp down rising shareholder advocacy on sustainability and ESG issues.
SEC Rule Changes Will Hobble ESG Investors, by Mark Tulay, April 24, 2020, Barron’s, USA.
Commentary: Active beats passive in promoting sustainable development. “Genuinely active investment managers, with high active share and more concentrated portfolios, should be better placed to assess these gray areas and therefore make more considered and conscious judgments.”
[COMMENTARY] This analyst makes a case for active management for ESG funds.
Commentary: Active beats passive in promoting sustainable development, by Lorna Logan, April 23, 2020, Pensions&Investments, UK.
Green 50: Top business moves that helped the planet. “There is a lot to reflect on from the last 50 years. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s worth remembering we have a pretty good track record of fixing planetary-scale problems when we set our minds to it.”
[COMMENTARY] Corporate Knights have provided a wonderful offset to our present fears by compiling this list. It serves to remind us of the positive developments that businesses can make to society. Well done Corporate Knights!
Green 50: Top business moves that helped the planet, by Adria Vasil Laura V…yrynen & Toby Heaps, April 20, 2020, Corporate Knights, Canada.
How Are “Green Bonds” Coping With COVID-19 Turmoil? “The current volatile environment does not seem to be impacting the trend towards sustainable finance — allocations to green bonds are not being affected at all… NN IP expects the sovereign green bond segment to also benefit from the unprecedented fiscal and monetary policy response.”
[COMMENTARY] Enormous amounts of bonds will be issued by governments coping with the COVID-19 crises. And green bonds will likely comprise a major segment of that issuance!
How Are “Green Bonds” Coping With COVID-19 Turmoil? By editorial staff, April 15, 2020, Wealth Briefing, UK.
Future Returns: Covid-19 Bonds Emerge as a Financing Tool. “‘There’s been a flurry of activity in the number of social bond issues in response to the pandemic,’ says Kevin Ranney, director of sustainable financial solutions at Sustainalytics, an ESG rating and analytics firm. ‘I expect that we’re going to see a surge, based on what our team is observing and hearing in conversations with underwriters and prospective issuers. In general, the market is really looking for innovation in this area.'”
[COMMENTARY] COVID-19 is giving a tremendous boost to the green bond market and it’s likely to greatly expand interest in them.
Future Returns: Covid-19 Bonds Emerge as a Financing Tool, by Karen Hube, April 14, 2020, PENTA, USA.
Don’t Be Fooled by Most ESG Rankings. Focus on Materiality Instead. “The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about how big technology stocks dominate ESG funds. Tech companies are not usually associated with the big ESG issues like climate change, renewable energy, or diversity. So, are investors being fooled?”
[COMMENTARY] The writer makes a good case for materiality. This article is well worth reading.
Don’t Be Fooled by Most ESG Rankings. Focus on Materiality Instead, by Emily Steinbarth, Advisor Perspectives, April 8, 2020, USA.
LSE sustainable business head: ESG is the highest priority for large investors. “David Harris, group head of sustainable business of the London Stock Exchange, spoke to Finextra TV about how he works to integrate sustainable finance across the capabilities of the group…”
[COMMENTARY] It’s good to hear in these uncertain times that stock exchanges like the London Stock Exchange believe so confidently that ESG has the ‘highest priority for large investors.’
LSE sustainable business head: ESG is the highest priority for large investors, by Finextra TV, April 6, 2020, UK.
The Ethical Investor…s Handbook: How to Grow Your Money Without Wrecking the Earth, by Morten Strange, Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) Pte Ltd., 2019.
…Strange is articulate, has a great sense of understanding of the subject and a good turn of phrase, combined with the financial rigour, to tackle one of the key challenges facing investors who are not convinced by climate change … I would thoroughly recommend this book!…… Lawrence Gosling Editor-in-chief, WhatInvestment (UK).