March 2008

Data Shows Swiss Banks Engaging Heavily In Funding Sustainable Development. – [COMMENTARY] “OnValues, a Swiss sustainable research company…. found that Swiss fund managers had SFr30bn in sustainability assets at the end of 2007, up 67% from SFr17.9bn at the end of 2006. Including assets managed in Switzerland for overseas investors, the total reached SFr34bn…. high net worth and retail investors overtook institutional investors in terms of volumes invested to represent 53% of the Swiss sustainability market.” As lovers of orderliness and cleanliness, it is natural for the Swiss to back sustainable investing.
Swiss private banks behind boom in green funds, by David Bain, March 31, 2008,, USA.

Nielson Online Report Offers Some Insight Into Trends In Sustainability. – [COMMENTARY] Green investors can glean some idea of consumer trends, as they pertain to sustainability, in this Nielson Online report. It can help in researching green stocks that are good to invest in.
Online consumers’ call for greater transparency in strategies for environmental sustainability, March 31, 2008, news release, Neilson, USA.

Americans Want Green Products. – [COMMENTARY] Americans are likely to spend $104 billion this year on green products. This study by the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland′s Robert H. Smith School of Business and technology research firm Rockbridge Associates Inc. also found that 83% of adult Americans want to preserve and protect the environment and that there are too few products servicing this market. This is good news for green and ethical investors.
National Survey Finds Consumers are Likely to Spend $104 Billion on Green Technology Products per Year, press release, March 12, 2008, USA.

The FTSE CSAG Terror-Free Index Debuts March 31. – [COMMENTARY] “The new terror-free index, created in partnership with a Washington, DC-based outfit tracking terror financing, follows the change in US law that requires managed funds to dump investments in companies doing business in the four rogue nations.” Several new ’terror-free’ funds are likely to be launched on March 31 as well. Legislation such as we see in the US, only adds further impetus to socially conscious stock buying.
ON ’TERROR’ FIRMA, by Paul Tharp, March 27, 2008, The New York Post, USA.

New Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)/Financial Performance Hybrid Index To Be Launched By Credit Suisse. – [COMMENTARY] This new index sounds interestingly different. Most SRI indexes focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and the financial performance of the companies in such indexes is left-out and for others to determine and interpret. Ethical investors everywhere will want to watch this new Credit Suisse index to see how it functions and to see if other indexes follow its lead in including financial performance factors in their indexes.
Credit Suisse to launch hybrid SRI/financial performance index, by Cecilia Valente, March 28, 2008, Thomson Investment Management News, UK.

Report Compiled For Oxford University Shows, “UK and global equity ethical funds outperformed the market over one, three and seven years time periods matching the market over 10 years.” – [COMMENTARY] Those who believe that ethical funds underperform their conventional counterparts should make note of the findings of this report by Jewson Associates, compiled for Oxford University. Ethical stocks and bonds get another boost from this report.
Ethical funds on level footing with counterparts, by Stefanie Ives, March 27, 2008, FT Advisor, UK.

Marketing Executives Say Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Not High Priority Among Executives. – [COMMENTARY] It seems the advantage of using corporate social responsibility is still not apparent for most companies, according to this survey. “The Marketing Executives Networking Group… issued the results of a survey of its members showing that 62.5% of those who participated [in survey] work for companies that are not engaged in corporate social responsibility programs. The main reasons given for this surprising result were lack of interest or priority.” It is difficult to take such surveys at face value. For instance, I wonder how corporate social responsibility was defined in their questionnaire? However, it would support the findings that most corporations engaged in promoting their products as green, could be simply greenwashing. But a positive part to the survey says, “60% of respondents think that corporate social responsibility programs have or will have a positive impact on profitability and overall performance of the company.” As awareness grows of these benefits, corporations will get on board.
Just How Socially Responsible are Corporations Today? Press release, March 26, 2008, The Marketing Executive Networking Group, USA.

European Sustainable Investing Mutual Funds Captured 15.2% Of Net New European Equity Fund Investments In First Seven Months Of 2007 Compared To 2.6% In 2006. – [COMMENTARY] The research comes from Lipper FERI and encourages pension funds to get involved in the sustainable sector.
Pension funds milk green trends, by Ruth Liew, March 26, 2008, Financial Standard, Australia.

Swiss Ethical Investing Market Grows 67% In 2007. – [COMMENTARY] “The market for sustainable investments in Switzerland increased 67 pct in 2007 to reach 30 bln sfr in assets under management against 17.9 bln sfr the previous year, according to a survey of 19 investment managers by investment consultancy onValues… The growth came as the Swiss fund management industry as a whole saw volumes decrease by 1 pct.” The conservative Swiss are showing a significant movement towards investing in ethical stocks and bonds!
Swiss ethical investment market grows 67 pct in 2007 – study, (requires free registration), March 25, 2008, Thomson Investment Management News, UK.

PRNews Announces Its 2008 CSR Awards. – [COMMENTARY] These awards relate to effective communication campaigns concerning aspects of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Companies winning awards include Hard Rock, Staples, Pacific Gas, Shell Oil and Nike. Though these awards are for PR activities, they do shed light on corporate CSR activities of specific companies, and for that reason could be of interest to ethical investors.
PR Award Competition for CSR, March 19, 2008, PRNews, USA.

Briton’s Demanding Ethical Banking. – [COMMENTARY] “Around 16% of people said they looked at a company’s environmental and ethical credentials when deciding who to bank with, while 31% said they would consider these issues when they next took out a mortgage or opened an account, according to market analyst Mintel.” Do you invest in banks? You just might like to check if they are a signatory to the Equator Principles. These are a set of ethical and environmental guidelines for banking and investment firms. Morally conscious banking is finally here.
Customers demand ethical banking, March 19, 2008, The Press Association, UK.

Ireland’s Government Pension Fund To Exclude Munitions Investments. – [COMMENTARY] “Ireland’s National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) plans to withdraw 27 million euros ($43 million) of investment from six firms involved in the production of cluster munitions, Irish media reported on Wednesday.” This is more good news that government administered funds are moving in the ethical investing direction. Defence related companies have been generally doing well in these Bush years — and investors have been buying their stocks. It is just possible that investor appetite for these stocks could wane in the years ahead!
Ireland’s pension fund to exclude munitions-report, March 19, 2008, by Andras Gergely; editing by Erica Billingham, Reuters, Ireland.

UBS Launches Index That Tracks Low-Carbon Companies. – [COMMENTARY] It is wonderful to see all the big investment firms getting on the low-carbon bandwagon. This one is interesting as it tracks companies with a low carbon footprint in the DJ STOXX 600 index.
UBS launches low-carbon tracker index, March 13, 2008, Environmental Finance, UK.

FTSE4Good Adds & Deletes Companies To Its Indexes. – [COMMENTARY] Ethical investors might like to look at these changes for what FTSE4Good considers are socially responsible stocks that are good to invest in.

Ethical Funds Company Rates Canada’s Big Banks On Climate Change Performance. – [COMMENTARY] This report says that Canada’s Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and Royal Bank (RBC) lead in climate change. This is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in investing in socially conscious banks.
Canada′s big five banks rated on their climate change performance, press release, March 12, 2008, Ethical Funds, Canada. Click here for full report.

The Finance Network for Sustainable Energy (FiNeSse) Launched In London. – [COMMENTARY] London is fast becoming the global leader in green finance. This network invites all green investors to participate. It has been launched jointly by the Renewable Energy Association and UK Social Investment Forum (UKSIF).
UKSIF and REA launch FiNeSse, February 29, 2008, UK.

Environmentalists Defeating Big Oil’s Quest For Huge New Oil & Gas Project In Russia. – [COMMENTARY] “In a major victory for the environment in Russia′s far east, the Shell-dominated Sakhalin Energy Investment Company, Ltd. (Sakhalin Energy) has withdrawn its applications to the US Export Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) and the UK Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) for hundreds of millions of dollars in public financing for the Sakhalin II project… still considering financing for the controversial project [are] the Royal Bank of Scotland, and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.” Most major banks are signatories to The Equator Principles which may forbid them to finance projects of this nature due to the potential of massive environmental degradation such projects might cause. This is a test case for international banks! It will be interesting to watch if any of them do get involved in financing this project.
WWF-Russia to push banks on financing responsibilities, March 13, 2008, WWF, Switzerland.

First US Organic Beauty Standard Launched, OASIS, Backed By 30 Companies. – [COMMENTARY] “The beauty of OASIS is that as an industry consensus standard its members range from large, global brands such as Estee Lauder Companies and L′Oreal to third party and private label manufactures to smaller, specialist brands such as Perfect Organics and Juice Beauty… The organic beauty and personal care industry has been growing rapidly, at 15% for the past 15 years. At the end of 2007, US sales of organic personal care products approached $9 billion representing approximately 15% of the personal care market.” Ethical investors looking for beauty and personal care stocks that are good to invest in might want to look at the companies behind OASIS.
Launch of OASIS The FIRST U.S. ORGANIC standard for the BEAUTY AND personal care industry, press release, March 5, 2008, Natural Newswire, USA.

China To Launch Its First Socially Responsible Mutual Fund. – [COMMENTARY] China, perhaps more than almost any other country, needs this development to help its industries become more environmentally and socially responsible. This is a great step forward for Chinese investors.
China plans 1st “socially responsible” mutual fund, reporting by Charlie Zhu; Editing by Edmund Klamann, March 11, 2008, Reuters, China.

US Southern Baptists Engage Climate Change. – [COMMENTARY] Southern Baptists represent the second largest US church. Forty-four of its leaders are calling for urgent action on climate change. Their declaration will serve to promote socially conscious stock buying among congregation members, as well influence millions more in other faiths to do the same.
Southern Baptists Back a Shift on Climate Change, by Neela Banerjee, March 10, 2008, The New York Times, USA.

Calvert Funds Offers Unique Tool For Screening US Mutual Funds On 13 Socially Responsible Criteria. – [COMMENTARY] To my knowledge this is a first in the US. Finally, socially responsible and ethical investors are able to easily screen US mutual funds on issues that are important to them. However, users will observe that this site is also to promote Calvert’s own socially responsible funds. Calvert is one of the oldest socially responsible investing US fund groups.
Know what you own, Calvert Funds, USA.

Condé Nast Portfolio’s Top Ten Polluters. – [COMMENTARY] Condé Nast Portfolio have an interesting look at what they consider to be America’s top ten polluters. If you are looking to invest in environmentally conscious major corporations, you might want to begin by excluding some companies. Here is a good place to start.
10 Worst Corporate Polluters, by Harry Hurt III, March 2008, Conde Nast Portfolio, USA.

Aberdeen Report: 47% Of 4,645 Participating Companies Already Have Green Initiatives In Place. – [COMMENTARY] “Of these firms, 74% cite Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as the main driver for their green initiative and 52% of the surveyed audience identified competitive advantage as the second top pressure for having a green initiative.” By focusing on green issues, companies everywhere are trying to portray themselves as among the best corporations to invest in.
Green Is the New Gold, March 6, 2008, CNN Money, USA.

US Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Assets Grow By 18% To $2.71 trillion In 2007, From $2.29 trillion In 2005. – [COMMENTARY] The Social Investment Forum, a leading SRI organization, released its latest report on the growth of US SRI assets. “Spurred by such factors as rising institutional investor interest, growing demand for climate-related renewable energy alternatives, concerns about the Sudan humanitarian crisis, and the emergence of new products, socially responsible investing (SRI) in the United States is now growing at a much faster pace than the broader universe of all investment assets under professional management…” Investing in ethical stocks and bonds has certainly come-of-age! This is a great report to read.
Socially Responsible Investing Assets In U.S Surged 18 Percent From 2005 To 2007, Outpacing Broader Managed Assets, March 5, 2008, press release, Social Investment Forum, USA.

CSR Report Shows Canadian Companies Investing More In Socially Responsible Policies, But Need To Improve Outcomes. – [COMMENTARY] The report by the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario, and Jantzi Research, is breaking new ground in corporate social responsibility research in Canada. The advantage of using corporate social responsibility for companies is seen growing in Canada, as it is around the world.
Ivey/Jantzi report shows Canadian companies need to step up on CSR, March 4, 2008, press release, Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario and Jantzi Research. To view actual study, see Corporate Social Responsibility in Canada: The 2008 Ivey-Jantzi Research Report – March 2008, Canada. Announces Winners Of Its 2007 Corporate Sustainability Reports. – [COMMENTARY] Winners for the best sustainability reports include Vodafone (Best Report), BP, Novo Nordisk, Bayer, BMW, Coca-Cola Enterprises, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. You might like to review at the list of award winners here if you are looking for ethical stocks and bonds.
Reporting Awards, March 3, 2008,, Germany.

UK Ethical Investments Total £9 Billion At End Of 2007, Up From £1.5 billion in 1997. – [COMMENTARY] This is tremendous growth. Socially conscious stock buying is probably growing faster in the UK than in any country.
Ethical investment hits record high of £9 billion, February 29, 2008, EIRIS, UK.

Canadian Chartered Financial Analysts (CFAs) Say 42% Of Canadian Investors Are Paying More attention To Green Or Ethical Investing Products. – [COMMENTARY] The question was among several in a first-ever poll of Canadian CFAs about investor attitudes. Despite investor sentiment being considerably bearish, the answer to this question on green and ethical investing was decidedly upbeat.
Poll by Canadian Chartered Financial Analysts reveals current investor attitudes towards their RRSP holdings, press release, March 3, 2008, Toronto CFA Society, Canada.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *