Monday, April 18, 2011

SRI Monitor Weekly News Update

a weekly medley of news and views you might have missed but should be aware of....

Federal Election: Where do the parties stand on Human Rights? more

California state senate committee passes conflict minerals billread more

Impact of Japanese Natural Disaster on Dexia Asset Management Portfolios and Thoughts on the Sustainability of Nuclear the report

the Top Ten Green Giants for 2011read more

Pro sports going greener, and why it mattersread more

and for your viewing pleasure: World Energy ConsumptionThe magic washing machine TED Talk

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Universities urged to adopt SRI practices

A new coalition group is calling on Canadian universities to introduce responsible investment practices. The newly formed Coalition of Universities for Responsible Investment (CURI) says the universities need to address risks affecting over $41 billion in pension funds and endowment investments.

"We are lagging far behind our American counterparts when it comes to incorporating environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) risks into investment strategies," said Omar Dominguez, CURI chair and co-founder. "If ignored, these risks do more than harm a university's reputation. They endanger the growth of their endowments and pension funds.”

Dominguez says the financial crisis was a wake-up call for many university investment managers. The total value of U.S. universities' endowments fell by nearly a quarter between July 1 and November 30, 2008 – a decline of about $94.5 billion in assets. "It is now widely understood how, in the months leading to the crisis of 2008, poor corporate governance practices such as the securitization of toxic sub-prime mortgages exposed the entire financial system to excessive risk. Conventional investing strategies were not able to identify and mitigate those risks," said Dominguez.

In response, more than 40 American universities have since established responsible investment advisory groups. Only the University of Toronto has followed suit among Canadian universities, the coalition noted in a press release.

“Responsible investing provides a bridge between ethical concerns and financial performance,” the release states. “For years, university communities have used activism and antagonistic campaigns to influence their schools' investment practices. But by inviting their stakeholders along with RI professionals to the board room, universities can avoid the rancour of divestment campaigns and protect the long-term performance of their investments. RI also furthers universities' educational mandates by nurturing a constructive dialogue about complex investment issues.”

CURI will hold its first national symposium on June 21 in Victoria, in partnership with the Social Investment Organization and its national conference.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

SRI Monitor Weekly News Update

a weekly medley of news stories you might have missed but need to read...

House passes bill to stop EPA climate more

Branson's Carbon War Room takes aim at more

Shareholders vote no to more women on bank more

Short more

Impact Investing 2.0 – Matthew more

CSR and Sustainable Retail...go to video

compiled by Nick Searle

Friday, April 8, 2011

Meritas brings on Clearbridge Advisors!

OceanRock Investments Inc., manager of the Meritas U.S. Equity Fund announced that it has concluded an agreement with Legg Mason Canada Inc. for the provision of portfolio investment advisory services for the Fund by Legg Mason and its U.S. affiliate, ClearBridge Advisors, LLC. Legg Mason will be the portfolio sub-adviser of the fund, replacing the current sub-adviser, Davis Selected Advisers, L.P., effective on or about June 1, 2011.

This is exciting news for socially responsible investors in Canada. The ESG Investment Program at Clearbridge Advisors applies ESG integration, active company engagement and shareholder advocacy to ClearBridge Advisor’s pure-style investment strategies.

ClearBridge Advisors ranks companies as Laggard, Beginner, Intermediate and Best in Class. “Ideally, portfolios would be made up entirely of best in class companies but that’s not possible in today’s world” said Andrew Goldsmith, Institutional Sales Manager at ClearBridge Advisors. So laggards are excluded from the portfolios and engagement is used to encourage the beginners and intermediates to do better.

In addition to managing money, ClearBridge Advisors also stresses the importance of company and thought- leader engagement. Not only are they signatories to the UN PRI, but Mary Jane McQuillan, Portfolio Manager and Head of Environmental, Social and Governance Investment at ClearBridge, is also a member of the UNEP FI Asset Management Working Group that produced some notable publications on responsible investing.

Congratulations Meritas, on giving Canadian retail advisors and investors access to an outstanding SRI manager.

Monday, April 4, 2011

SRI Monitor Weekly News Update

A weekly medley of news stories you might have missed, but need to read...

Global News

President Barack Obama on Wednesday proposed to cut U.S. oil imports by a third over 10 more

Global clean energy finance and investment saw a 30% leap in 2010, reaching a record $243-billion on the back of strong growth in ... read more

Spanish energy sector regulator CNE suspended subsidies for 350 solar plants with irregularities in their registration as electricity more

Company News

Zipcar priced its IPO at between $14 and $16 per share for a planned run on the Nasdaq under the symbol ZIP. The company’s 8.3 million shares more

General Electric announced Tuesday that it’s buying a 90-percent stake in Converteam, a French supplier of electrification and automation equipment, for about $3.2 more

compiled by Nick Searle