Archive for January, 2011


Private Social Investment in France: Meeting Two Goals

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Socially Responsible Investing in France has taken off much like in the rest of the world.  Several students from the Wharton Business School authored an article that discusses the two styles of private socially responsible investing that have gained notoriety in France.

We typically focus on publicly traded companies and there were some facts in this article of note.

“At the end of 2009, social investing in France reached €4 trillion (US$5.7 trillion) after nearly doubling between 2005 and 2008. The dominant investment vehicles in this field are socially responsible index funds.”

“According to Novethic, an affiliate of government pension fund manager Caisse des Dépôts, social investing in France is still in its fledgling stage, but it has been encouraged by French legislation that promotes social investing, such as a regulation requiring pension funds to invest at least 10% of their assets in socially conscious projects.”

Read the full article: Private Social Investment in France: Meeting Two Goals

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Category Socially Responsible Investing, Sustainable Investing | Tags:

Impact Investing — Using Green Thinking to Make Green Dollars

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

April Rudin writes for the Huffington Post:

Impact, socially responsible or sustainable investing has slowly crept onto the investment scene as an alternative asset class. But it has gained attention, in part, to mitigate the bad karma created by Madoff and others, non-transparency of investments, the recession, low interest rates, a depressed economy, and high unemployment. Socially responsible investing is the feel-good asset class. It’s the intersection of banking, philanthropy and Wall Street. Investors are shunning ‘get rich’ firms who are ruining our planet. Upcoming Gen-X and Gen-Y investors and their dollars want to make a difference. It will therefore be a growing social community of like-minded investors.

Simultaneously, increasing numbers of high net-worth individuals, wealth managers, institutional and other investors want to “doing good while doing well.” These individuals are of the baby-boomer generation. Some have been late adopters and doubted the “depth” of this movement but clearly there is groundswell among those who want to generate return either partially or even wholly through funds or direct investments. This has led to the creation of boutique Wall St. firms which zero in on this specialization and larger financial institutions have creating small teams to focus on locating, understanding and vetting investment opportunities. As it is early, there is still conversation over whether or not impact investing is indeed an asset class or an underlying strategy which will be eventually used in all products.

Read the complete article: Impact Investing — Using Green Thinking to Make Green Dollars

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The Rise of the Entrepreneur Activist

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Paul Lamb writes for the Huffington Post:

Long gone are the days of street protests and hunger strikes. These days the socially concerned 30 and under crowd are mostly on laptops joining Facebook Causes pages, Tweeting their moral outrage, and texting $5 donations to disaster relief efforts in between TV shows. Slactivism rules… or so we are told.

Such portrayals ignore what many Gen Y and Zers (youth under 18 years of age) are doing in the real world to address poverty, injustice, global warming and other pressing issues of our day.

One increasingly popular hands-on approach is social enterprise.

Social enterprise — the merging of profit making businesses with social causes — presents a very different approach to social change. In the past most changemakers and activists viewed business as the enemy. Today an increasing number view it as a tool to achieve better results and a more practical way to sustain good works over time.

Read Lamb’s article:The Rise of the Entrepreneur Activist

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Category Social Entrepreneurs | Tags:

China takes the lead in wind

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Initial reports are showing that in 2010 China lead the world with installed wind capacity. The US company, American Superconducter, estimated that there was 16,000 megawatts of new capacity added last year in China. The US ranked second with about 5,000 megawatts of capacity coming online.

This is the second year in a row where China has lead the world in new wind installations. In 2009 there were 13,000 megawatts of new installation in China and 10,000 megawatts in the US. China has 40,000 megawatts of capacity and this should eclipse total capacity in the US. Germany, Spain and India round out the top 5.

Read more: China’s Galloping Wind Market

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Category Green Energy | Tags:

Climate change campaign back on track

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Things appear to be moving forward again but 2011 will be no time for complacency, writes journalist Emma Howard Boyd for The Guardian.

2010 was a challenging year for the battle against climate change, both at a policy level after the Copenhagen talks broke down and from a credibility perspective following the “climategate” scandal at East Anglia University.

However, the recent summit at Cancún has helped put negotiations towards collective action back on track. Most importantly, it has rebuilt trust and co-operation among delegates, who have been able to agree two key policies: a monitoring and reporting framework, and a climate fund managed by the World Bank to allocate up to $100bn (£65bn) a year by 2020 in climate aid to the poorest countries.

Read the Guardian Article: Climate change campaign back on track

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Conservative party secretary promises Britain will speed up switch to green energy

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Chris Huhne, the UK energy and climate change secretary, has  promised that over the next decade Britain would increase the amount of energy it gets from renewable sources more quickly than any other state in the European Union.

Huhne, a member of the conservative party, was recently quoted in The Guardian as saying

[The UK is] exceeded in our paucity of delivery only by Malta and Luxembourg. This is the legacy we have inherited. The essential legacy is pretty damn poor. We have got massive catch up. We will be the fastest improving country on renewables in the EU between now and 2020. I’m absolutely determined about that and it will happen.

A recent report carried out by Bloomberg Energy Finance for Pew Charitable Trusts corroborates Huhne’s assertion. The report forecasts that, based on current policies, $114bn (£73bn) will be invested in renewable energy in Britain between 2010 and 2020. This ranks as the fourth highest amount in the world. Germany will spend more, but its rate of investment will fall, according to the report.

Huhne’s comments are seen as reassuring environmentalists that David Cameron’s post-election pledge to be the “greenest government ever” remains a priority.

Read more on the developing British Green Economy

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Sustainable business success through corporate social innovation

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

In an article for, Tania Ellis writes:

Today’s business world is a world of disorder. Global mega crises ranging from security threats, global warming and the depletion of natural resources to food shortage and the growing gap between the rich and the poor, as well as higher personal levels of stress are changing companies’ freedom to operate, their reputations and brand value, the cost of capital and perceived investor risk.

According to Ellis, this reality is leading to the following investment trends throughout the world:

  1. Socially responsible investing (SRI) is increasing the attention on corporate social and environmental practices by identifying companies that benefit society.
  2. Large pension funds around the world are already using screening agencies to assess how companies tackle so-called ESG (environmental, social, governance) issues.
  3. Since the 2008 financial crises the number of large investment managers and private equity firms signing on to the UN-backed initiative Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) has more than doubled. These signatories manage a total of $18 trillion in assets.
  4. As a result of the growth of SRI, companies are increasing reconfiguring their way of doing business by seeking profits through responsible and sustainable actions.


To learn more, read the article: Sustainable business success through corporate social innovation