Archive for October, 2010

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Don’t Worry About The Bedbugs — Eliminate the Financial Parasites

Friday, October 29th, 2010

By John Harrington for the Huffington Post

Growing up in rural East Texas, I thought I knew what poverty looked like — I certainly didn’t know what it cost. You don’t unless you are locked in with few ways out and preyed upon by check cashers, payday lenders, pawnshops and rent-to-own bandits.

One doesn’t need to read Gary Rivlin’s Broke USA: From Pawnshops To Poverty, Inc. — How The Working Poor Became Big Business to be educated about how expensive being poor in America can be — just walk into the Fruitvale or West Oakland neighborhoods of Oakland, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Or, you can walk down Mission Street in the Mission District or on Market Street in San Francisco and see lots of people lined up in front of payday lenders and check cashers on almost every corner. They are also in almost every American city and accounted for over $113 billion in business nationally in 2007, including check cashing, payday loans, money orders, and money wiring.

Continue reading ”Don’t Worry About The Bedbugs — Eliminate the Financial Parasites.”

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Category Social Entrepreneurs | Tags:

A new energy wave

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

The image of wind and solar farms are the universal icons of renewable power. While wind and solar have seen tremendous gains in efficiency they are both still reliant on an input source that can sometimes be unpredictable. Another technological is nearing a “turning point” according to a report written by IHS Emerging Energy Research. Tidal energy is a renewable resource that captures energy from waves and currents in the ocean. The Green blog from the New York Times added:

Tides are particularly attractive sources of power because they are predictable, unlike sunshine and wind. Not surprisingly, countries with rough seas like Britain and Portugal are leading the way in exploring ocean power.

The potential of tidal energy is enormous:

The European Energy Association estimates that, globally, the oceans could yield more than 100.000 terawatt hours a year if the technology to harness that power can be perfected. That is more than five times the electricity the world uses in a year.

While the promise of tidal energy as a renewable energy source is undeniable it will be a few years before the technology is commercially viable.

Read Tidal Power: The Next Wave?

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Category Green Energy | Tags:

European SRI Assets continue to grow despite economic slowdown

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Despite the economic slowdown over the past couple of years, a new Eurosif European study on Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) shows that that the SRI market in Europe has continued to expand and now totals approximately €5 trillion Euros in assets under management. This represents an 87% increase from €2.7 trillion Euros in 2008.

The study states that “A vast majority of SRI investors predict that demand from institutional investors will be the main driver for SRI growth in the next three years. Other important drivers include demand from retail investors, media coverage, legislation and international initiatives, such as the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment.”

Surprisingly, the survey reveals that the global financial crisis had a more positive than negative impact on the SRI industry, with respondents saying the crisis made them more aware of the need to integrate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks. “From a demand perspective, the increase for more transparent products has correlated well with the SRI philosophy. Environmental and social crises have also acted as a wake-up call for many investors.”

For more information go to: Eurosif European SRI Study 2010

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Category Socially Responsible Investing | Tags:

Can Sustainable Investing Beat the Markets?

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

By Marc Gunther
Published October 21, 2010

Do companies committed to sustainability represent good investment opportunities? Cary Krosinsky, head of corporate services at Trucost UK, thinks so. As he states in an interview with GreenBiz.com

We found that for the 1, 3 and 5 years leading up to the end of 2007, when looking at SRI funds with this positive, opportunity-focused sustainable investing methodology, that they consistently outperformed their mainstream index equivalents. When updating this study for a UN Principles of Responsible Investment academic paper in 2009, this still held true, both before, through and after the recent financial crisis of 2008 into 2009.

Carl is the author and co-editor, with Nick Robins of HSBC, of Sustainable Investing: The Art of Long Term Performance (Earthscan Publications, 2008), and has taught classes on investing and sustainability at Columbia University.

Red the entire interview at: GreenBiz.com

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Category Socially Responsible Investing, Sustainable Investing | Tags:

Wind turbines hit a speed bump

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

The Economist recently wrote about the struggles the wind turbine market is experiencing this year after a banner year in 2009. A slowdown in the US, difficult credit markets and European nations reaching their renewable energy targets have all been contributing factors to this decline.  

Inaction by the American government to curb greenhouse gas emissions could also affect industry growth. 

In America, meanwhile, a proposed cap-and-trade bill got nowhere this year. New wind installations are likely to remain lower than last year’s for the next five to ten years, predict analysts at HSBC and Bernstein Research. 

Over the long-term the future of wind power appears to lie with the larger firms. 

Amid the gloom, however, is some respite for the biggest manufacturers. During the boom of the past five years there was a proliferation of small manufacturers and a fragmentation of the market. The market share of Vestas, for instance, slipped from 28% in 2005 to 15% last year. In these leaner times, buyers in Europe and America are placing orders mainly with the biggest firms, since they seem less likely to go bust. 

Identifying which wind firms are likely to succeed in the coming decade will be a challenge for green investors. As conventional energy supplies become more limited, however, investing in industry leaders could prove profitable. 

Read Economist Article: Wild is the wind: Wind power is in the doldrums

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Category Green Energy | Tags:

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