donderdag 18 december 2008

Come the crunch, are ethical funds really all that good for you?

The first National Ethical Investment Week. With a range of public events from Edinburgh to Plymouth, organisers are aiming to get ethical investment more in the mainstream.
If you buy fairtrade coffee and organic oranges, then it makes sense to invest ethically. Choosing a green and ethical investment is another way of acting responsibly, but many people are still unaware of this option. This is the reason this event will be organised...
Despite initial scepticism that principles couldn't generate a profit, the sector has proven them wrong by giving healty returns. Now, though, the ethical sector is facing one of its stiffest tests, with commentators questioning its ability to withstand the fallout from the credit crunch.
This week will certainly help ethical investors to see what they can do more for the cause

Gilles Bergez

Crunch-hit consumers restricted by price of green products.

British consumers are likely to cut spending on expensive fair trade and organic items in response to the credit crunch amid widespread dissatisfaction over the variety of green products offered by retailers.

Almost half of 4,000 consumers questioned said they were unwilling or unable to pay more for environmentally sustainable food and consumer goods, a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers found. A comparison of 75 food, clothing, household and personal care items at the top six grocers found shoppers on average paid 45% more for environmentally friendly and fair trade goods. The consumer would only pay 20% more in avarage.

This plus the lack of variety of the greener products, makes the people cut on these good first.

Gilles Bergez

Ten of the best ... ethical investment tips

You can make your money work for both you and the planet. But you shouldn't go green without some careful planning

1. Consider what you mean by ethical
What are YOU against, or what are u for
2. Do your research
3. Find an ethical IFA
If you don't feel comfortable choosing your investment funds, consider taking advice.
4. Consider your attitude to risk.
5. Use your tax breaks
6. Choose an ethical pension
Plenty of pension companies offer ethical funds,
7. Choose your manager carefully
8. Be prepared for smaller returns ...
9. ... But remember performance does matter
You are investing to make your future financially secure so you should strike a balance between principles and profit.
10. Be consistent

Gilles Bergez

What does the independent advisor say?

The L&P financial investments trustees help their clients from A to Z. They offer various investment services, such as developing and monitoring your investment. And of course they have there own opinion on ethical investment policy.

The L&P group makes clear that finding something ethical or unethical is very personal. Nevertheless they seem to have a strong opinion about how people invest. More precisely they think that putting your investment in a company that gives something back to our world is better than not investing in unethical companies.

As a solution L&P came up with the L&P Ethical Investment Initiative, were they offer a combination of three funds, with each a different cause.

Aurélie Demunter

Source :

Smile Bank’s Ethical Policy updated in 2008

UK’s Smile bank has a well worked out ethical policy for 2008. It’s manly based on what they won’t invest your money in. The bank addresses four main topics: human rights, international development, ecological impact and animal welfare.

There view on human rights is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They make it clear that they won’t support oppressive regimes or invest in anything to do with arms. Ecological impact is for them particularly about fuel. And finally their ideas on international development and animal welfare are quite fitting in a standard policy, against child labour, fur, animal testing, …

Aurélie Demunter


Ethical loans resist crisis

Despite the economic crisis these days, Triodos bank is still standing strong. Even better, the bank has something to celebrate: they lend over more then 200 million pounds for the first time. Triodos bank distinguishes itself from other banks, because it is borrowing money only to people with ethical standards. The bank owes its success to the vision it has on clients; a simple, straight bond with their borrowers leads to a never seen interest in their method. Examples of their borrowers are the Better Food Company and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage. The future looks good for Triodos bank, because their balance is very healthy and they don’t need to lend from other banks. (Bristol)

Gertie Bleyaert

dinsdag 16 december 2008

Ranking the banks

Netwerk Vlaanderen has come up with a ranking of Belgian banks. This ranking gives us a better insight at the risk of harmful investment with a bank. They ranked eight banks (AXA, ING, Dexia, Deuthche bank, Citibank, Fortis, Triodos bank and KBC) into six categories: very low, low, medium, high, very high and extremely high risk.

A bit disturbing is that none of those banks is classified as very low risk. Even more disturbing is that only one bank has a low risk of harmful investment and the rest is put into the three highest ranks.

The conclusion is that something has to change in the investment policy of our banks.



maandag 15 december 2008

YES WE CAN, can't we?

Does Mr Obama really have the guts to manage America… and the world? In his campaign he promised to institute a cap-and-trade scheme, to reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions and help America meet the Kyoto standards. Obama is a clear proponent of investing in energy efficient and clean technologies in order to lift the American economy. Climate scientists do not want to loose a lot of time and want to have measures or even half measures. Although, making polluters pay for their emissions will raise the cost of electricity and fuel, and creating green jobs could result in job losses. The question is, will Mr Obama’s climate care be his version of Mr Clinton’s healthcare program: an overambitious policy that spills his political capital? All Mr Obama’s ethical investments will be a big task! Buying ethical stocks is a risk because even if there is an agreement, it has to be ratified by 67 of the 100 senators. There is a long way to go Mr Obama! Good luck!

the Economist December 13TH-19TH 2008

Yen Bosmans

zondag 14 december 2008

Ethical investing isn't about losing money

Few succeed to combine ethical investment and profit, but one does the trick. In particular Bridges Ventures did. At the moment, the enterprise helped to establish three funds, which yield winnings and are ethical justified. Bridges Ventures invested in those three companies: The Gym, Hoxton hotel and The Office. Remarkable is that this enterprise state that making profit is even important as the ethical part. Although not many firms get ahead with fusing ethical investment and gaining money, Bridges Ventures stimulates others to follow. It might be that ethical and social investment will decrease caused by the economic crisis, but in the long term these investments will maintain growing. (Independent)

Gertie Bleyaert

zondag 7 december 2008

Ethical funds: Barclays

January 2008, Barclays decide to invest in ethical funds. The bank puts 5 million pounds in a fund specialised in social and ethical investments. An important difference with earlier transactions -related to the ethical environment- is the fact that they choose private enterprises rather than publicly known businesses. One of these earlier firms is “Bridges CDV Fund II”. But why do they opt for ethical funds? First of all, as these firms already make profits, Barclays risk is limited. A second advantage of ethical investment is that these funds grow much faster than the economy itself does. Finally, ethical investments still are a great potential for investors.(Independent)

Gertie Bleyaert

An ethical recession...

A lot of people are enjoying the thanksgiving atmosphere, but not everyone. On monday night the S&P500 -a very important American value weighted index- fell almost 9%. Fortunately, the following days there was a cumulative gain of 12%. Although, the National Bureau of Economic Research has noted the US has been in a recession since December 2007, this growth was the best weekly performance in 28 years. Because of the recession new car sales in Europe are falling dramatically. For example in Spain sales skydived by 40% last year. However, now European bicycle companies and public transport companies will get an enormous boost. If you want a good ethical investment, it’s advisable to buy stocks in these sectors. Choices in favour of public and pedal transport will keep everyone happy!

Australian ethical

Yen Bosmans

zondag 16 november 2008

Ethical Election

Everyone speaks about it! Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. Did the elections have an important influence on the evolution of ethical stocks? Barack Obama announced in his campaign he would invest a lot in the renewable sector to move the US closer to the international climate accords. Because of that, the international renewable energy stocks recovered significantly the last three trading days ( 2,3,4 Nov) and surged on the eve of the election. A few companies like Vestas and Gamesa (wind power) and Q sells (solar energy) already noticed that their stocks jumped. Will Obama be able to convince the Americans to invest in ethical stocks? And maybe a more important question, will he be able to make our world economy better? We can only pray…

Australian ethical

Yen Bosmans