Archive for November, 2010

Green Business Could Become Economic Engine if Congress Sees the Light

Monday, November 29th, 2010

The nonprofit Next 10 and Collaborative Economics report that green manufacturing jobs in California grew 19% between 1995 and 2008, while during this same period overall manufacturing jobs fell by 9%. In the first half of 2010, California green business attracted almost $3 billion in venture capital, making it the top state for green technology patents. In fact, between 2007-2009 over 450 patents for solar, wind and advanced battery technologies were registered in the state, far outpacing any previous two year period.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration released a report “Measuring the Green Economy” – a first step toward measuring the size and composition of the emerging green economy and the number of green jobs it’s created. The report found that green products and services contributed 1-2% of US GDP in 2007, with revenues between $370 and $516 billion. In 2009, there were 1.8 – 2.4 million green jobs, mostly in green services, not manufacturing. Energy efficiency, resource conservation and pollution control accounted for 80-90% of employment and revenue.

(more…)

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Category Green Energy, Social Entrepreneurs | Tags:

Socially Responsible Investing Links for Wednesday

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

SRI Links for Wednesday, November 24:

Sustainable Investment in Australia and New Zealand Outperformed Market in 2010 (Social Funds)

US Aims to Streamline Offshore Wind: (Green Blog and Huffington Post)

Microfinance under scrutiny: (Economist)

In China, Environmentalism Means Two Different Things: (The Atlantic)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Category Uncategorized | Tags:

Major Survey finds the vast majority of Brits think banks should lend “ethically”

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Brits are now putting more pressure on Banks to use social criteria when making loans to companies.

A new study by the non-profit research organization EIRIS found that nearly two-thirds of the UK public thinks banks should follow ethical lending policies when making loans to corporations. Respondents called for the implementation of polices that prevent banks from investing in companies that have poor environmental records, are associated with human rights abuses, and are involved in controversial areas such as arms manufacturing.

The study also found that the vast majority of British citizens think the new regulations aimed at controlling excessive risk taking by banks are not strong enough. A total of 66% of those surveyed thought that the major banks and financial institutions in the UK have have not learned the lessons needed to avoid a financial crises in the future and are quickly reverting back to “business as usual.”

In a related finding, the Green, Social and Ethical Funds in Europe 2010 Review revealed that SRI funds grew by 29% over the year from 683 to 879, with the biggest growths recorded in France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium.

Read Two-thirds of Brits think banks should lend ‘ethically’, survey finds

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Category Corporate Responsibility | Tags:

Socially Responsible Investing Links for Monday

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

SRI Links for Monday, November 22:

The Philadelphia Eagles are installing wind turbines and solar panels in their stadium. (NY Times)

Canadian’s willing to take a pay cut to work for socially responsible company. (Canada One)

Overview of the SRI industry. (The Dividend Guy)

2010 May Set Emissions Record. (Green Blog)

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Category Socially Responsible Investing | Tags:

Consumers: Corporate Responsibility Matters

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Mark Dolliver reports for Adweek

The tough economy has not persuaded consumers to regard corporate social responsibility as a luxury companies can now forgo. Rather, a Harris Poll released this week finds an uptick since pre-recession days in the number of respondents saying a company’s “reputation for social responsibility” affects their inclination to do business with it.

In the current poll (fielded in September), 18 percent said a company’s reputation in that area “has a strong effect” on their decisions “about what to buy and who to do business with,” up a shade from 16 percent saying the same in May 2007. Another 35 percent said it “sometimes affects my decisions,” up a percentage point from the earlier poll.

Read Consumers: Corporate Responsibility Matters

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Category Corporate Responsibility | Tags:

Ecumenical Council in London calls for Churches to take lead in investing for a better future

Friday, November 19th, 2010

The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR), a church-based investor coalition working for economic justice, human rights and environmental sustainability, called for churches to align their investments with their mission and values, at a meeting in London yesterday.

Entitled ‘Positive Impact Investment: Too Good to Be True?, financial experts at the meeting debated whether sustainable approaches to capital allocation are the shape of investment to come or likely to remain a niche sector. They concluded that the strength of the capitalist system to mobilize capital creates a huge opportunity  for positive impact investing to create a better world, and that these opportunities will only continue to grow.

As an ECCR spokesperson put it:

In the wake of the financial crisis, the speakers agreed that there is more need than ever for churches and responsible investors to appreciate the risks we run if we do not take into account the social and environmental consequences of investment decisions. BP’s loss of value following the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster was a classic case in point. Companies and fund managers who ignore social issues such as child labor equally run major risks.

The council acknowledged that while ethical and socially responsible investing has increased fourfold in the last decade, it still represents a small percent of  the investment market. But just as the churches have led the way with Fair Trade, meeting members believe they can also play a key role in catalyzing change by  investing sustainably.

For more information read Christians can lead in investing for a better future

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Category Faith Based Organizations, Sustainable Investing | Tags:

Socially Responsible Investing Surges Following Financial Crisis

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Socially Responsible Investing has moved from a fringe movement in the 1980’s to the mainstream. Thanks to the financial crisis and heighten concerns over environmental  sustainability, SRI is now the fastest growing investment strategy in the U.S. and Europe.

For many investors the past few years have hammered home the importance of corporate integrity and environmental responsibility. Corporate scandals have lead to the collapse of Wall Street darlings like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, while the biggest oil spill in U.S. history has wiped out billions of dollars in investor value at BP.

Before the crisis began, studies showed a majority of investors already believed companies that operate with higher levels of social responsibility carry less risk (55%) and deliver better returns (52%). The vast number of investors (71%) also contended that knowing a company is rated higher in terms of their social performance would make them more likely to invest in such companies. Yet few managers were willing to incorporate social risks as part of their investment strategy.

Behavior in the investment field is often hard to change, even when there is recognition that treating all stakeholders well is a competitive advantage, not a weakness. The tide, however, is turning. Today, more and more individual and institutional investors are demanding their management professionals implement more sustainable and socially responsible investing strategies. Otherwise they are taking their money somewhere else.

For more insights read Big Money Backs Social Responsibility’s Rise

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Category Socially Responsible Investing, Sustainable Investing | Tags:

Japanese Oil Company Invests in Solar

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Oil companies have discussed moving into clean energy for several years. Some have made a real commitment to this by investing in alternative energy technologies while others have spent more on marketing themselves as “green”. The Wall Street Journal wrote about a Japanese oil company who has invested in solar cells as a way to shift their business model from refining oil. Showa Shell Sekiyu is the parent company of Solar Frontier.

“We know that the oil industry is not disappearing today or tomorrow. But if we don’t take this chance on solar now, we feel like we won’t get another chance,” says Shigeaki Kameda, Solar Frontier’s chief executive.

Solar Frontier is focused on CIS cells opposed to silicon based cells.

Solar Frontier specializes in thin-film CIS cells, which are made from copper, indium and selenium. They cost less to make—and buy—than thicker silicon-based crystalline cells, which are more efficient at converting light into electricity.

But the thin-film sector is expected to grow faster as its energy efficiency improves and mass production pushes costs lower still.

Read the full article here: Japanese Oil Company Looks to the Rising Sun

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Category Green Energy | Tags:

Investment Firm Files Resolution at Major Banks Calling for Adoption Of Principles on Global Illicit Financial Flows & Transparency

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Clark Gascoigne writes for the Financial Task Force

Global Financial Integrity Applauds Shareholder Initiative

WASHINGTON, DC–Global Financial Integrity (GFI) applauds Harrington Investments, Inc.’s decision to file shareholder resolutions with Citigroup, Bank of American and JPMorgan Chase, calling for the adoption of a policy position addressing the systemic use of the U.S. financial system to both shelter illicit funds and transfer them internationally.

The shareholder resolution follows a difficult year in which we saw Wachovia Bank sanctioned for laundering millions of dollars for South American drug cartels, HSBC agreeing to sanctions from the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency for failure to maintain adequate anti-money laundering programs, and the release of a scathing report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on the use of the U.S. financial system by corrupt leaders and known criminals. Even the Vatican Bank came under investigation for money laundering this year.

Continue reading about Global Illicit Financial Flows

Download the text of the shareholder resolution

Read the Harrington Investments Press Release

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Category Shareholder Advocacy | Tags:

Harrington and Everest Divest From Wind Turbine Manufacturer Gamesa

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Napa, CA – Harrington Investments, Inc. (HII), a socially responsible investment (SRI) advisory firm announced today that it and its subadvisor, Zurich-based Everest Asset Management, have divested of over 17,000 shares of Spain-based Gamesa Corporation. 

“In accordance with our long term investment management style, we would prefer to remain invested in an alternative energy company such as Gamesa,” said John Harrington, President and CEO of Harrington Investments.  “However, we have a fiduciary duty to our clients to screen companies that not only show a strong commitment to their communities, but also invest in companies that respond to shareholder concerns, both of which Gamesa failed to do.” (more…)

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Category Shareholder Advocacy | Tags: