Communities, Corporations, and the Difference Between Consent and Consult

A World Resources Institute report promotes free, prior, informed consent from communities affected by major projects; an International Finance Corporation report advocates consultation.

A mere two letters separate consent and consult, but that slight spelling shift makes a profound difference in meaning—denoting the dividing line between, for example, lovemaking and date rape.  This distinction extends to the case of negotiations between communities and corporations over major projects such as mines and pipelines, where two models of stakeholder engagement have evolved: free, prior, informed consent (FPIC) and free, prior, informed consultation. Two recent reports play out this split...

Green Is Gold, According to Goldman Sachs Study

Recent report finds corporations that lead in corporate responsibility also lead in the market.

A new study, released by investment bank Goldman Sachs at the U.N. Global Compact Summit July 5-6, found that companies that are considered leaders in environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies are also leading the pack in stock performance—by an average of 25 percent.

Choices Expand for "Green" Investors

GreenInvestment indexes with a socially responsible tone abound, but it appears there is always room for more.

In February, JPMorgan and Innovest Strategic Value Advisors announced the first bond index “designed to address the risks of global warming.” The new JPMorgan Environmental Index-Carbon Beta is intended to take into account risks and opportunities bond issuers face as they address climate change.


Rates of Return

How best to accomplish a foundation’s mission? Passive investment vs. shareholder activism

Bill and Melinda Gates may not be that unusual after all—at least when it comes to the investment policies of their eponymous foundation. The Gates Foundation is the largest in the world, with an endowment larger than the gross domestic products of 70 percent of the world’s nations.

Amidst general praise for its work on social issues, the foundation found itself in the spotlight in January following the publication of a two-part Los Angeles Times investigation, which claimed that hundreds of Gates Foundation investments have been in companies that “contribute to the problems of health, housing and social welfare that the foundation tries to solve.”


Gates Foundation Nixes SRI

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says that its investment practices have little or no impact on social issues.

The principles of socially responsible investing (SRI) and shareholder activism don’t work for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – the largest in the world – according to Patty Stonesifer, the foundation’s CEO.

Vote Blue, Invest Blue?

DonkeyJust days before the November elections, advertisements began popping up on the liberal political website Daily Kos promoting the Blue Fund, described as the “The First No-Load, No Republican Mutual Fund.”

The Fund, actually a pair of funds, takes social investing to a new level, adding what it calls “political factors” to the more commonly used social issues.

Forgiveness for Some “Sin” Stocks

Pax World loosens standards; Domini switches strategy.

Two leading socially-responsible funds are moving to arrange more investing flexibility, in part to compete more effectively against growing numbers of exchange-traded funds with a social and sustainability focus