Tuesday, February 05, 2008

NEWS/Commercial PR - All that glitters?

I've often maintained that where there is green there can be gold.

Nothing wrong with that at all. Where it is not so great is when those who are trying to do their ethical best for the planet and our kids' futures end up thinking they are doing stuff, often for considerable investments of time and money, that may not be as green as they seem.

Hence I reproduce an editted down, but as provided PR, with all due caveats as always, which nonetheless should give you pause for thought.

And as they have been nice enough to share information, I am happy to add the links, but do of course advise that you go into any dealings with anyone with eyes wide open.

Ethical does not mean Environmental, New Report Finds

A study of ethical and SRI funds' Top 10 holdings available in the UK - which purport to be socially responsible and ethical - has shown that very few actually invest in companies which are directly tackling climate change.

The report, 'A Guide to Climate Change Investment' available via the authors' website, by independent financial adviser Holden & Partners, examined the Top 10 holdings of all SRI, ethical and environmental funds available to UK private investors.

It found that most SRI and Ethical funds' top ten holdings are surprisingly mainstream, with names like Vodafone and Royal Bank of Scotland occurring time and again. However, many also have holdings in large mining corporations as well as BP, Shell, Total and other oil majors.

As a result, investors in SRI and ethical funds, who were hoping to support the low-carbon economy, may find that they are buying into multinationals more associated with being part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Of the SRI funds that gave full information about their holdings, Henderson's Industries of the Future scored most highly with 51.1% of its fund in environmental solutions providers. In contrast, environmental stocks make up less than one per cent of L&G Ethical Funds portfolio.

The new generation of environmental and climate change funds is far more focused on companies developing global solutions to environmental problems. However, some of these also throw up some curious holdings, including Porsche, Renault, Nestlé and Danone.

The report highlights that there are a number of 'pure-play' environmental investment vehicles available with 100% exposure to environmental solutions providers. These include listed funds investing in worldwide listed stocks.

About the Guide to Climate Change Investment

The Green Guide shows investors how to participate in and benefit from investment flows into environmental markets. There is a huge range of funds available but not all of them are tackling climate change in their investment approach. The Guide helps shed light on this dynamic and complex sector.

The information was gathered directly from investment managers. It was as complete as possible at time of going to publication. Where no data was supplied, this was after several attempts at contacting the fund managers to ask for the data.

Mark Hoskin, partner at Holden & Partners is quoted as saying: "The world is changing very fast. As an investor in twenty years will you look back and wonder why you did not read the signals. The global market for environmental goods and services is incredibly exciting and we believe there is a good chance that within the Climate Change Funds you may find the Microsoft of the future."

Now, wouldn't it be nice if Junkk.com were one?

What a difference a year makes!

Back in January 2007, Peter posted an interesting piece on an interview with three big cheeses at Davos. Having heard the piece, and commented accordingly, about the facile answers given, I remembered a quote from Shell's big cheese, Jeroen van der Veer, who, responding to a pertinent question from John Humphrys about the possibility of peak oil, said, “In 20 years time we’ll use more oil and gas than we do today”.

Well, according to this report from ThisIsScotland, van der Veer appears to have changed his mind somewhat.

"In an e-letter to staff that must surely be splattered right across the Big Oil community by now, and be doing the rounds of NOCs (national oil corporations), Shell's CEO basically says that conventional oil output will peak in seven years - oh, and gas shortages are on the way, too."

Now that's what I call an about face! And if the CEO of Shell is now admitting that the planet is going to have an energy problem (due to the lack of petroleum resources and natural gas) sooner rather than later, then it looks as if the human race's need to get into renewable technologies is going to be even more urgent than any of us ever realised.