August 2008

Eurosif Forecasts Near Doubling Of Wealthy Europeans Investment In Sustainable Investing By 2012. – [COMMENTARY] “Nearly three-quarters of respondents have seen an increase in interest in sustainable investing in the last 12 months, according to the Eurosif survey, which also forecasts more than €1,000bn (£805bn, $1,473bn) of rich people′s money will be in sustainable investments by 2012. This represents a near doubling of the absolute levels in 2007, and a proportionate increase from 8 per cent to 12 per cent of rich people′s wealth.” Together with the Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report published in June, it confirms the trend of the world’s wealthy into sustainable investing. We continue to see great and growing interest in green-ethical investing.
New era for sustainable investing, by Sophia Grene, August 31, 2008, Financial Times, UK.

Latest Covalence EthicalQuote Scores Show Reputations of Nissen, Toyota, Gaining; Chevron, Siemens, Shell, Decreasing. – [COMMENTARY] Covalence of Switzerland has a unique ratings system where it scores the reputations of major companies. It is always interesting to check with them from time to time to see the reputations of the companies you invest in, or are considering to invest in. Generally, stocks that are good to invest in often have rising reputations.
EthicalQuote main progress and degression over current month. Updated 27 August 2008, Covalence SA, Switzerland.

China Replaces The UK In The Top 5 Most Attractive Countries For Renewable Investment. – [COMMENTARY] “China’s heavy investment in renewables, most notably in its government’s pledge to produce 15% of its energy from non- carbon sources by 2020, has bumped up the country’s ranking to fourth.” –
For actual report, see Renewable energy country attractiveness indices, Ernst & Young, UK.

Report Says Norwegian Government To Ask Top Companies To Report & Standardize Reporting Of Issues Related To Environment, Labour & Human Rights. – [COMMENTARY] Norway may well become the first nation to do this. I continue to promote the whole idea of mandatory standardization, auditing, and reporting of environmental, social, and governance issues (ESG). Many, many things have to be worked-out before this can be accomplished. Most companies hate the idea of complying with such new regulations. However, I maintain that for investors to really understand the longer term risks associated with companies – such as from climate change or labour policies – these risks must become transparent to investors!
Norway′s biggest investors outline plans to go direct to companies for ESG data, by Hugh Wheelan, August 28, 2008, Responsible Investor, UK.

Xcel, Biggest US Builder Of Coal Powered Power Plants Ordered To Disclose To Investors Global Warming Risks. – [COMMENTARY] “The agreement Wednesday between [New York’s] attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, and the company, Xcel Energy of Minneapolis, is the first of its kind in the country. It could open a broad new front in efforts by environmental groups to pressure the energy industry into reducing emissions of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.”

There is a powerful reason why this is happening. Major greenhouse gas emitters could be liable to lawsuits by investors and others by not disclosing climate change risks posed by their activities. Furthermore, with potential costly restrictions on carbon production possible, investors must be warned about these risks too. Here we see an example of the importance and the advantages of using corporate social responsibility proactively.
Xcel to Disclose Global Warming Risks, by Nicholas Confessore, August 28, 2008, The New York Times, USA.

Investors Get Major Companies To Act On Climate Change. – [COMMENTARY] “[In 2008] A record 57 climate-related shareholder resolutions were filed with U.S. companies, of which nearly half were withdrawn after the companies agreed to positive climate-related commitments. Remaining resolutions that went to a vote received record high average voting support of 23.5 percent, including 39.6 percent support for a resolution filed with coal company CONSOL Energy, the highest vote ever on a global warming shareholder resolution.” The number of environmentally conscious major corporations grows rapidly. This is good for the world – and great for ethical investors. Well done Ceres and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) for promoting these proxy fights.
Investors Achieve Major Company Commitments on Climate Change, Ceres/ICCR press release, August 26, 2008, Accountability Central, USA.

Big Growth Possible For Green Funds In Australia. – [COMMENTARY] “Only 1 in 20 Australians have or are aware of having a direct exposure to ’green’ funds despite 77.8% of both investors and non-investors believing their own behaviour can make a difference to environmental issues.” Clearly, if the opinion polls are right, the market for green-ethical stocks and bonds in Australia has hardly been tapped.
Green or Greed, August 26, 2008,, Australia.

How Ethical Investors Can Help The Hungry. – [COMMENTARY] This is a good article on what ethical and socially responsible investors can and are doing to help solve the world’s food problems.
How can investors help the hungry? By G. Jeffrey MacDonald, August 25, 2008, The Christian Science Monitor, USA.

92% Of Large UK Companies Surveyed Have Environmental Policies In Place Compared To Only 58% Of Small Companies. – [COMMENTARY] “Envirowise and EEF talk to 562 companies for the report “Measuring performance – Environment survey 2008.” The manufacturing companies represent more than 122,000 employees.” The survey also says that these environmental policies are all approved at the board level. This is a terrific showing and demonstrates that UK companies understand the advantage of using corporate social responsibility.
U.K. Manufacturers Increase Green Focus, Gaps Exist Between Large And Small Companies: Survey, August 25, 2008,, USA.

American Website For ’Biblically Responsible Investing’ Launched. – [COMMENTARY] “Biblically Responsible Investing is the act of building an investment portfolio consisting only of companies that do not participate in or promote lifestyles that are offensive to Christian values.” Also, the site mentions a biblically responsible stock index it calls Integrity I-DEX.
Moral Money, USA.

Major Western Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Groups Team-Up With UN To Attract SRI Funds To Africa. – [COMMENTARY] “The European Social Investment Forum – EUROSIF, Social Investment Forum – SIF, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility – ICCR have joined Africa investor, the UN Office for Partnerships and New Partnership For Africa’s Development – NEPAD are co-conveners of the roundtable to launch the first Pan African investable SRI Index initiative… NEPAD Business Group has commissioned Africa Investor, a leading Africa research and index provider, to launch an initiative to attract… SRI flow to Africa” This is a great step forward for Africa where SRI screening for ethical stocks and bonds is rare, except for South Africa which has the JSE SRI Index.
NEPAD appoints Africa Investor to spearhead SRI flow to Africa, by Judith Akolo, August 22, 2008, Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation, Kenya.

Business For Social Responsibility (BSR) Publishes New Report On The Mainstreaming Of Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) Issues By Financial Institutions. – [COMMENTARY] “This report looks beyond socially responsible investors and explores how mainstream financial institutions can advance the use of ESG criteria to maximize financial performance.” The report cites the following points to making ESG issues being considered commonplace among financial institutions: more ESG data linking it to financial returns; the need to regulate the reporting of ESG information; convincing shareholders to think long-term where ESG factors become increasingly critical; larger numbers of investment professionals knowledgeable about ESG criteria; and dealing with cynicism about ESG criteria. This report is useful reading for all investment professionals and ethical investors alike.
Environmental, Social and Governance: Moving to Mainstream Investing? August 20, 2008, Business for Social Responsibility, USA.

Human Rights Watch Critical Of Olympic Corporate Sponsors. – [COMMENTARY] “The major corporate sponsors of the Beijing Olympics have failed to uphold their own principles of corporate social responsibility, Human Rights Watch said today… The 12 TOP (“The Olympic Partner”) sponsors of the Beijing Games are Atos Origin, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Manulife, Johnson & Johnson, Kodak, Lenovo, McDonald’s, Omega (Swatch Group), Panasonic, Samsung, and Visa. Over the last 12 months, Human Rights Watch repeatedly contacted all TOP sponsors and met with five of these companies, off the record. The other seven failed to respond to repeated requests to meet with Human Rights Watch.”

Many of these Olympics sponsors have hitherto been among the best socially responsible stocks to invest in. It will be interesting to see if socially responsible investing research organizations change any of their ratings of these companies as a result of the Human Rights Watch accusations.
TOP Sponsors Should Back Introduction of a Permanent Olympic Rights Monitor, edited by Kandy Ringer, August 18, 2008,, USA.

US Could Halve Gasoline Consumption By 2035. – [COMMENTARY] This is the conclusion from a new Massachusetts Institute of Technology report. I believe the US and the world will engage in massive energy conservation efforts. Together with the growth of alternative energy solutions, our energy crisis will get resolved. There will be many green stocks that are good to invest in. Be sure you get an advisor who knows this area and keeps-up with developments.
U.S. Could Halve Fuel Consumption by 2035: Report, August 14, 2008,, USA.

Islamic Banking In UK Predicted To Double In Size By 2013. – [COMMENTARY] “Islamic banking in London, unencumbered by the woes of subprime mortgages and the credit crunch, is undergoing an unparalleled boom. With the Sharia-compliant market growing by up to 15 per cent a year and estimated to be worth a trillion dollars (Dh3.67tn) by 2010, the number of Islamic investment banks in the UK is predicted to double within five years, said Samer Merhi, the executive director of the Gatehouse Bank, an Islamic finance house based in the UK.” London looks like it could become the leading international centre for Islamic finance – which does not allow for investment in products such as alcohol and forbids the charging of interest. Generally though, it has many similarities to ethical investing.
UK Islamic banks to double in five years, by David Sapsted, The National, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Environmental Markets Rankings Survey. – [COMMENTARY] “Respondents were asked to vote for their preferred companies covering a range of categories including: emissions; renewables; renewables supply & investment; biofuels; clean technology; carbon sequestration; energy efficiency; and finance… Emissions trading was identified as the green market that will provide the best return on investment over the next ten years, with energy efficiency coming second, wind power third and clean tech and solar power both fourth.” Energy Risk, a UK specialist in tracking and reporting on energy markets, completed and published this survey. It provides an overview on ’insider’ thinking as to what firms perform the best in various energy markets.
Environmental markets rankings survey, summer 2008, BizResearch, August 15, 2008, UK.

Great Report On China’s Prospective Sustainability & Corporate Governance Situation Post Olympics. – [COMMENTARY] Any ethical investor with holdings in China, or considering to invest there, will want to read this report. F&C who wrote the report, are a top-ranked UK ethical investing firm. The advantages of using corporate social responsibility are just beginning to be recognized by Chinese companies.
Preparing for the post-Olympics hangover – governance and sustainability in China, July, 2008, F&C Investments, UK.

83% In UK Survey Say They Would Give Less To Charities If They Do Not Invest Ethically. – [COMMENTARY] “Almost all (91%) of those surveyed agreed that charities should be investing their money in an ethically or socially responsible way. This highlights a mis-match between public expectations and the number of charities actually investing ethically – a 2006 study by ACCA found that just 55% of large UK charities had an ethical investment policy.” This also illustrates the wrong-headed approach taken by Bill Gates and his foundation. Mr. Gates claims that it is right for his foundation not to worry about where it makes its investments as long as they maximize returns! Clearly, at least in the UK, and I suspect almost everywhere else, that approach is not a popular one. Ethical investing is a must for charities, or they undermine their legitimacy!
Charities not investing ethically risk losing support of the public, survey finds, August 11, 2008, Charity SRI, EIRIS, UK.

WWF Wins Challenge Against Shell Over Tar Sands. – [COMMENTARY] “… the World Wildlife Fund won a challenge before the U.K. advertising watchdog against Royal Dutch Shell PLC over its claims that oil sands projects in Canada are environmentally sustainable.” This should serve as a warning to all companies that they need to be truly green if they want to promote themselves and their activities as green.
WWF wins challenge against Shell’s oil sands ad, by Claudia Cattaneo, August 13, 2008, Financial Post, Canada.

Another US Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Study Confirms That SRI Delivers As Good Or Better Returns Than ’Conventional’ Investing. – [COMMENTARY] The study compares the performance of many US SRI funds from their inception up until June, 2006, with various other funds. You can download it from the following link, though you must first click ’choose download location.’
Socially Responsible Investments, by Meir Statman, Glenn Klimek Professor of Finance, Santa Clara University, California, USA.

Global Clean Energy Venture Capital & Private Equity 2nd Quarter Investment Hit $5.8 billion, Up From $2.6 Billion In Previous Quarter. – [COMMENTARY] “The increase was driven by a massive $2.5 billion inflow of funds in the form of private equity expansion capital, and also by a strong showing from private equity buy-outs. The message was that investors are keen to put to work the money they raised last year, while other investors are looking for exits.” Data comes from New Energy Finance of London, UK.
Clean energy investors shrug off economic difficulties, August 7, 2008, Environmental Finance, UK.

How Banking Is Becoming Green. – [COMMENTARY] This is a good overview of why the banking industry is becoming green. The article is useful reading for green or ethical investors with holdings in the financial sector.
How Banking Became Green, by Victoria Pennington, August 11, 2008,, USA.

New Index Measures Performance Of Green Initial Public Offerings (IPOs). – [COMMENTARY] “The Renaissance Green IPO Index captures the performance of newly public companies whose products and services offer solutions to environmental problems.” ’Dotcom’ IPOs were the craze at the height of the tech stock bubble about eight years ago. There has not been a lot in the way of IPOs since then. However, with the worldwide interest in solving our environmental problems, new green IPOs are likely to gain momentum. This unique index attempts to track their performance.
The Renaissance Green IPO Index, Renaissance Capital, USA.

First US SRI Corporate Bond Index Launched. Created By KLD Research, Analytics, Inc, Ryan ALM, Inc. & Mergent, Inc.  – [COMMENTARY] “These investable indexes are the first to apply environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance factors to a U.S. fixed income asset class.” Finally, we see an ESG US corporate bond index! This is good news for ethical investors. Hopefully, such indexes will soon be created elsewhere too.
KLD, Ryan ALM and Mergent Launch Family of U.S. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Corporate Bond Indexes, August 7, 2008, MarketWatch, USA.

US Cleantech Venture Capital Investment Hits Record $961.7 million In 2nd Quarter. – [COMMENTARY] This figure is up 41% from the same period a year ago and comes from an Ernst & Young report using data from Dow Jones VentureOne. Cleantech has become the new dotcom. I do believe though that it promises to be more durable than the dotcom mania. But it will certainly have its ups and downs.
US Cleantech Investment Climbs 41% in 2nd Quarter of 2008 to Nearly $1 Billion, The Highest Quarter on Record, August 4, 20008, press release of Ernst & Young published on Yahoo Finance, USA.

Want To Invest In Green Fast Food? – [COMMENTARY] This is a good review article on the beginnings of a green US fast food industry.
Green Fast Food: Really Here or a Green Dream? By Anne Moore Odell, August 4, 2008, originally from, published on, USA.

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