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Ethical Investment In Action – 2014 Issues

Institutional money managers whose mandate includes socially responsible investment considerations are targeting the following issues in 2014.

  • How to reconcile the risk of investing in fossil fuel companies if fully exploiting those companies’ reserves results in worst case global warming.
  • How to best mitigate or eliminate the environmental risks posed by the Northern Gateway and Keystone pipelines.
  • How to deal with companies that are complicit in the violation of human rights in the countries in which they operate. Continue…

Crossroads – Peak oil or awash in it?

It is no longer news to suggest that the world stands at an energy crossroads. But the signs at this intersection can point in all manner of directions, reminding me of the scene of the Scarecrow standing by the yellow brick road and pointing the way to Oz.

How does one make sense of these disparate reports?

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers expects oil production in Canada will more than double by 2030 Continue…

Oil and Water

I was standing on a beach in Bermuda in the summer of 1976, taking a break from my on-the-job training with one of Canada’s maritime patrol air squadrons. The scene along the bay and out to the Atlantic was idyllic, the pink sand glistening at my feet.

I stood rooted in one spot for about five minutes, enjoying the feeling of the place, watching my feet sink deeper under the sand as the waves washed in and out. When I finally roused myself to move I felt something sticky, and looked down to see the soles of my feet and toes covered in a substantial layer of tar.

It took ages to get that tar off my feet, and I’ve often wondered, with Bermuda lying hundreds of miles offshore, where that oily mess might have come from. Continue…

Community Investment Possibilities

I’ve been doing a little ‘back of the napkin’ calculation I’d like to share with you. My sources at the annual Bilderberg meeting, where such matters are regularly discussed, have told me I’m pretty close to the mark. The implications are sobering. Hopefully the work being done to address the issue will leave you feeling encouraged, maybe even inspired.

So here’s the math. Continue…

SRI Stock Options (Part 5)

I recently watched the 2003 documentary “The Corporation” again, a film that inevitably gets me thinking about switching careers. But for now I will continue to believe that it’s better to incite change from my position inside the investment industry rather than just throwing my hands up in resignation. I see just enough progress on the part of some corporations to maintain faith in the value of what I do for a living. When building a socially responsible investment portfolio, I choose from a list of about 40 companies that don’t cause meto lose sleep at night thinking about dead birds, or slave labour, or nuclear meltdowns. I’ve followed the three companies highlighted below for years now. Continue…

SRI Stock Options (Part 4)

I’m not very comfortable with the word “ethical”, particularly when used beside the word “corporation”. A corporation is a thing, in this case a legal structure, so how can it be classified as ethical or not?

So an oil company, at its essence simply an owner or tenant on land where oil is found, is not inherently unethical. It’s the way they get that oil from the ground to your fuel tank that can be put on an ethical scale. What efforts does the corporation make to remediate environmental disruption? How are employees and communities at the epicentre of these activities being treated? Is the result of these operations a net benefit to broader society?

When someone asks me “What makes this an ethical portfolio?”, Continue…

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