Tobacco. Assault weapons. Oil — and any other product or company that contributes to climate change.
That’s the list of industries so-called ethical investors typically avoid, preferring to put their money into stocks of companies that do no harm.
But a couple of new names have joined the toxic list, according to Toronto-based ethical investment advisor Tim Nash.
“The top two companies that tend to get flagged these days as ethically questionable are Facebook and Amazon,” said Nash.
Reports of Amazon’s poor labour practices have made headlines while Jeff Bezos’s billions have grown, and Facebook. “has stoked the division around very contentious issues, whether it’s Black Lives Matter or climate change,” he said.
Add the recent antitrust report by American lawmakers that said big tech companies including Apple and Google abuse their “monopoly” power, and some investors are turning up their noses.
According to TD Securities, 2020 will be a record year for exchange-traded funds that track companies focused on ethical factors such as the environment, social impact and corporate governance. More money was invested in them in the first quarter than in all of 2019.
Nash’s clients are keen to invest in the stock market, he said, but are choosy.
“They still want profits. They still want to be able to save and earn money for their retirement. However, they want to avoid the worst offenders.”
Nowadays, those “worst offenders” include Big Tech.
In Killaloe, Ont., Duncan Noble and his wife, Mary Crnkovich, are approaching retirement age. Despite how well tech stocks are performing, they aim to keep them out of their investment portfolio.
“Facebook was in the news a lot in terms of influencing the 2016 election in the U.S.A., and I started reading more about how Big Tech can be a negative influence on our society,” said Noble. “It happens at the personal level also, in terms of people getting addicted to social media and becoming radicalized through various processes that technology enables.”
Noble said he and his wife also avoid the oil and gas sector. They don’t believe they’re losing money by avoiding specific industries.
“Our investments have done really well this year,” he said.
But others argue that it’s possible to find an ethical concern with almost any company, and that it’s foolish to not take advantage of the best performing sector in the stock market.
Not ‘dastardly’ billionaires
Financial advisor Barry Schwartz of Baskin Wealth Management says the technology category has been a superstar.
“It hasn’t been a winner for this year; it’s been a winner for the last 10 years,” he said. “The 10-year compounded return on the NASDAQ as of Sept. 30 has been 18 per cent, including dividends.”
Schwartz adds that rate of return has “smashed” every other class of asset.
He also points out that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook is donating billions of dollars to worthy causes, while Amazon’s Bezos is funding journalism along with space exploration.
“These guys are not hoarding their money,” he said “They’re not these dastardly billionaires you see on TV that are out to crush society.”
Another point in their favour, said Schwartz, is that both Facebook and Amazon have been creating jobs and adding wealth in a number of ways, both for workers and for investors.
“That improves the economy and adds value,” he said.
That argument doesn’t hold water for Samantha Early, a labour organizer in Toronto, who is one of Nash’s newest clients.
At age 27, she says her investments aren’t aimed at retirement, but at giving her a financial cushion in the years ahead.
“I think for folks of my generation, the expectation is that we will spend our working lives in a very precarious situation, that jobs will turn over, that we could see long periods of joblessness and have to switch careers,” she said.
Despite that insecurity, she says her moral compass is just as important as her finances.
“I have already taken losses to switch up my mutual funds and withdraw all of my investments, to switch over to this new system I’m working on with Tim,” she said. “And that’s just something that I’m willing to do, to make sure my money is invested ethically, so I can feel like my money is not dirty.”
Excellent, ethical returns
Money decisions are by their nature very personal, but Nash is eager to point out that it’s possible to earn excellent returns with mutual funds custom-designed to appeal to ethical investors.
“What’s been really interesting during COVID is these sustainability funds have outperformed over the last year, quite significantly,” he said. “So even some of these funds that have excluded companies like Amazon and Facebook are clearly finding other companies that are just as profitable.”
Nash consults a variety of indicators, including the Morgan Stanley Capital Index, and a firm called Sustainalytics in order to find ethically acceptable options for his clients.
It may strike some as odd that companies involved in such seemingly innocuous activities such as online shopping and social media can be seen as morally offensive as cigarettes, assault rifles and pipelines. But for a growing number of investors, societal harm can take many forms, and they want to be careful not to contribute to it.
Source: – CBC.ca
Feds should invest to meet climate goals, catalyze recovery: RBC – Investment Executive
“Making these investments now could help underpin a low-carbon transition, drawing in business investment, and complementing the government’s efforts to support jobs and economic recovery,” it said.
The government has planned emissions reductions toward the ultimate goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Yet, for major polluters, such as the energy sector and heavy industry (such as concrete and steel), carbon capture is technically feasible but “often seen to be cost prohibitive,” RBC noted.
Carbon capture projects “are capital intensive and high-risk during the extended construction phase,” it said, adding that this discourages private investment.
This is where government should be stepping into the breach with public funding for research, RBC suggested. Ultimately, driving down costs and developing effective technology will help the projects become more viable for private investment.
“As it lays out long-term climate plans, the federal government has an opportunity to write a new chapter in Canadian climate policy: one that acknowledges the importance of the energy sector, encourages abatement across industries, leverages investment from the private sector, and spurs innovation in sectors that contribute the most to our climate challenge,” the report said.
At the same time, government investment can help combat the long-lasting effects of the Covid-19 crisis, the report said.
“While crisis support for the economy has rightly been the government’s focus, investment in new technologies and industries can limit lasting scars from this recession,” it said.
Council varies its investment policy – Houston Today
The District of Houston has bolstered its policy of placing public monies in local financial institutions by allowing the amount to be invested to exceed othwerwise specified limits.
It means that $7.5 million in investments coming due Dec. 31 can be placed with either the Bulkley Valley Credit Union or the Royal Bank or with both and not placed elsewhere.
In a detailed presentation made to council Nov. 17, District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck, also the District’s financial officer, noted the District’s existing policy sets dollar amount limits based on a percentage of the District’s total investment account and on a percentage of the assets of the Bulkley Valley Credit Union.
The same policy also sets limits on what can be invested with the Royal Bank, the only other financial institution in the community, based on the percentage of securities within the District’s total investment portfolio.
“If there are any overages, then upon maturity the investments woud need to be made elsewhere,” he said.
The District’s investment mix includes term deposits now at the credit union which are guaranteed and senior government and corporate bonds.
In approving of the move to exceed the investment limits in the policy, council directed that the policy be brought back for a further review at a future date.
“Investments under the temporary policy variance will be made by reviewing the rates being offered, the security of the investments available, and the expected return on investment,” said Pinchbeck.
The money the District invests are not required for its current operating or capital spending obligations.
The District’s long-standing policy of placing investments with financial institutions that have a presence in the community reflects its commitment to recognize and support local businesses.
The Investment Trend That Could Send Tesla To $2 Trillion – Baystreet.ca
Hedge fund bulls say Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is on its way to a $2-trillion market cap after gaining 400% this year … It’s already worth 5X the combined value of giants Ford and GM, and it’s an industry disrupter that’s making millionaires out of anyone who ties-in with them.
And the auto industry disruption tie-ins are many, varied… and potentially lucrative.
From new EV startups and batteries or fuel cells …
To ride-sharing with an ESG twist and car subscription companies that are challenging our ideas of ownership.
The ideas are racking up, and the growth runway potentials are phenomenal.
EV startup NIO (NYSE:NIO) has gained over 1500% this year.
EV charging stock Blink (NYSE:BLNK) has gained 1400% YTD.
Now, mergers and consolidations are the name of this game as all the tie-ins fight for market share.
EV startup Fisker (NYSE:FSR) opted to go public, and acquired Spartan Energy (SPAQ).
Food delivery—another mobility tie-in—is in a state of all-out war for market share.
Giant Uber is acquiring rival Postmates for $2.65 billion.
Just Eat Takeaway is acquiring Grubhub for nearly $7 billion …
And the innovative outlier hoping to steal the show is Canadian Facedrive (TSX.V:FD; OTCMKTS:FDVRF), the only ride-hailing and food delivery platform that has an ESG angle with carbon-offset operations.
The Biggest Change Yet Is Coming To Transportation
As a part of the clean energy transition, the world is racing to roll out the next era of transportation: electric vehicles.
But there’s yet another disruption happening in the industry….
Not only will conventional gas-powered vehicles in time be on the chopping block…the entire concept of owning a car may be on the verge of extinction sooner than you think.
And Facedrive is among the first movers in this surprising new market.
It scooped up Steer, a subscription-based electric vehicle provider in September in a deal that included a $2-million strategic investment by energy giant Exelon’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Exelorate Enterprises, LLC.
When you combine the $5 trillion global transportation industry with an energy industry whose renewables sector is quickly growing, you’ll see a trend that is in its infancy…
But make no mistake about it – it will be a trend that upends the entire automotive sector.
This is where Facedrive’s acquisition of Steer really comes into its own.
Steer is a new all-inclusive, monthly, risk-free car subscription service that is 100% electric, plug-in and hybrid.
And it is predicting that transportation is ready for another round of evolution…
The success of subscription based ‘leasing’ models is already well documented, and this simple concept could be at the core of the next major disruption in the auto industry.
We’ve already seen it with electric bikes and scooters…
But this step could change everything.
Imagine being able to have a clean, convenient, quality-controlled electric vehicle personally delivered to you whenever you needed it….
Without the hassle of maintenance or insurance.
And it’s affordable.
Better yet, you aren’t investing in something that immediately loses its value as soon as you drive it off the lot.
It’s one answer to the last remaining hurdle of full-on adoption of EVs.
And unlike leasing a car—there’s no mileage limit.
And the growth runways are phenomenal when you consider that 70% of Steer members have never even driven an EV before. That means that these are new converts.
Anyone who couldn’t afford to ride an EV before, can now, with Steer. But it’s a diverse collection that allows users to drive pretty much any EV, hassle-free, including an Audi e-Tron or a Hyundai Kona, both new all-electric SUVs with ranges of over 250 miles.
Food: The $26B Shared Mobility Vertical
It saw where things would go wrong for Uber, which completely ignored sustainability.
It saw what would happen when studies showed that ride-hailing results in nearly 70% more pollution than whatever transportation it displaced.
Then Facedrive launched an ESG coup: The were the first to offer customers an EV option, and then to plant trees to offset their carbon footprint.
Then they applied that same “people and planet first” business model to a second vertical: Food delivery—the carbon-offset version.
Facedrive’s acquisition of Foodora from Deliver Hero positioned it near the top of Canada’s food delivery hierarchy overnight.
And Foodora’s former owner Delivery Hero is the rare food delivery company not carrying around negative reputational baggage for bullying customers and restaurants at a time when they are struggling to make ends meet. They are international giants with services in 40 countries and a portfolio of over 500,000 restaurants.
And Facedrive’s new acquisition has hit the ground running …
The new Facedrive Foods app was launched a few weeks ago, and already it’s processing 3,000 orders daily, with close to 4,000 restaurant partners and over 220,000 active users.
Next, comes international expansion ….
This Is Where Big Names Are Gathering
Exelon’s (NASDAQ:EXC) market cap is ~$41 billion … and it’s not the only huge market-cap company whose radar is pinging Facedrive: There’s also a tie-in to eCommerce King Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) ….
Both global e-commerce giant Amazon and Canadian Tier-1 telecoms giant Telus jumped in on Facedrive’s corporate partnership program. And that news flew right under the radar because it wasn’t officially announced and was revealed only when Facedrive released its Q1 earnings report.
That means both giants will be Corporate partners of Facedrive meaning that their employees will receive preferred rates on Facedrive products and services.
And they have …
In October, Air Canada became the next big name to jump on the Facedrive bandwagon.
With the global tourism industry facing $1 trillion in losses and on track to shed 100 million jobs before the year is out, Air Canada has signed a deal with Facedrive Inc. (TSX.V:FD; OTCMKTS:FDVRF) to launch a pilot project for its employees using TraceSCAN, Facedrive’s proprietary COVID contact-tracing technology and wearables.
So, watch the news flow on that one, too as talks progress with more big airlines …
The name of this game is ultimate impact.
Facedrive is chasing Big Money earmarked for ESG-focused plays …
At a time when the world has just hit the trillion-dollar mark in ESG fund investments.
Big capital has tons of money to put into low-risk impact investing …
But they can’t find enough places to park it.
That’s where Facedrive ticks so many boxes. Whether it’s pushing disruptors of the transportation industry from three different corners, with Facedrive ride-hailing, food delivery and transformational Steer …
Or whether it’s helping giant airlines keep track of virus contacts.
Either way, Facedrive (TSX.V:FD; OTCMKTS:FDVRF) has been ahead of the curve from day one. At this point, there’s no stopping the march of EVs, and this is the company that brings it all together in a comprehensive ESG ecosystem.
And with so many verticals, the news flow is hard to keep up with.
The Electric Vehicle Revolution Is Kicking Into High Gear
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is now the most valuable car maker “of all time”. Tesla is worth almost $495 billion, while the top three American automakers–GM, Ford and Chrysler–are worth around $129 billion combined. This year alone, Tesla has risen by 460%, and is showing no signs of slowing. Especially now that the company is set to be included in the S&P 500.
There’s a reason Tesla has performed so well this year. Investors love Elon Musk’s vision. As one of the world’s most innovative car manufacturers, it has single-handedly made electric vehicles cool. Its slick design is beloved across the world. In fact, it’s almost impossible to NOT see a Tesla in cities like Hong Kong or San Francisco.
And Tesla isn’t solely an electric vehicle company, either. It’s also building its own energy business which includes revolutionary solar panels and top-tier battery technology. Clearly, its efforts are paying off, as it is without-a-doubt one of the most popular stocks on Wall Street.
Tesla’s success has also fueled a boom in other EV-related companies. Blink (NASDAQ:BLNK), for example, an electric vehicle charging company, has risen by over 1400% since the beginning of the year, and the sky is the limit for this up-and-comer. A wave of new deals, including a collaboration with EnerSys and another with Envoy Technologies to deploy electric vehicles and charging stations adds further support.
Michael D. Farkas, Founder, CEO and Executive Chairman of Blink noted, “This is an exciting collaboration with EnerSys because it combines the industry-leading technologies of our two companies to provide user-friendly, high powered, next-generation charging alternatives. We are continuously innovating our product offerings to provide more efficient and convenient charging options to the growing community of EV drivers.”
In addition to the company’s string of high-profile deals, Blink is also consistently posting promising revenues. In fact, earlier this month, the company noted that third-quarter revenue had increased by as much as 18% from the year before despite disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canadian Companies Are Fueling A Sustainabilty Boom
Westport Fuel Systems (TSX:WPRT ) is a clean energy technology company that builds products to help the transportation industry reduce their carbon footprint. In particular, it provides systems for less impactful fuels, such as natural gas. In North America alone, there are over 225,000 natural gas vehicles. But that shies in comparison to the global 22.5 million natural gas vehicles globally, which means the company still has a ton of room to grow!
Boralex Inc. (TSX:BLX) is an upcoming renewable firm based in Kingsey Falls, Canada. The company’s primary energies are produced through wind, hydroelectric, thermal and solar sources and help power the homes of many people globally. Not only has it has had a great influence in the adoption of renewable electricity domestically, it’s even branching out into the United States, France and the United Kingdom. In fact, just recently, Boralex took control of a massive 209MW solar farm in California.
GreenPower Motor (TSX.V:GPV) is a thriving electric bus manufacturer based out of Vancouver. At the moment, its focus is primarily on the North American market, but its ambitions are much larger. Founded over 10 years ago, GreenPower has been on the frontlines of the electric transportation movement, with a focus on building affordable battery-electric busses and trucks.
Year-to-date, GreenPower Motor has seen its share price soar from $2.03 to $36.88. That means investors have seen 1700% gains this year alone. And with this red-hot sector only going up, GreenPower will likely continue to impress.
NFI Group (TSX:NFI) is another one of Canada’s home-grown electric vehicle pioneers producing transit busses and motorcycles. The company had a tough go at it towards the beginning of the year, but has since cut its debt and begun to address its cash flow struggles in a meaningful way. Though it remains down from January highs, NFI still offers investors a promising opportunity to capitalize on the electric vehicle boom.
In the previous months, NFI has seen an uptick in insider stock purchases which is often a sign that the board and management strongly believe in the future of the company. In addition to its increasingly positive financial reports, it is also one of the few in the business that actually pay dividends out to its investors.
Canada’s Silicon Valley is all in on the sustainability race, too. Shopify Inc (TSX:SHOP) Canada’s own e-commerce giant helps users build their own online stores. It has huge clients – everyone from Tesla to Budweiser are on board. And the company is beloved by millennial investors. In addition to its revolutionary approach on e-commerce, Shopify is playing an increasingly active role in creating a greener tomorrow. It has committed to spending at least $5 million annually to help combat climate change. It’s even making cuts throughout its own operations, decommissioning its data centers and sourcing renewable power for its buildings. Thanks the these efforts, Shopify has posted a return of 137% this year alone, and is showing no signs of slowing.
By. Terry Goddard
**IMPORTANT! BY READING OUR CONTENT YOU EXPLICITLY AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
Forward-Looking Statements /
This publication contains forward-looking information which is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements in this publication include that the demand for ride sharing services will grow; that Steer can help completely change the way people view car ownership, that Steer can disrupt industry segments; that Tracescan could help the tourism industry deal with COVID and will sign new agreements for use of its alert wearables; that new tech deals will be signed by Facedrive; that Facedrive will be able to expand to the US and globally; that Facedrive will be able to fund its capital requirements in the near term and long term; and that Facedrive will be able to carry out its business plans. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. Risks that could change or prevent these statements from coming to fruition include that riders are not as attracted to EV rides as expected; that competitors may offer better or cheaper alternatives to the Facedrive businesses; TraceScan may not work as expected in commercial settings and customers may not acquire or use it; changing governmental laws and policies; the company’s ability to obtain and retain necessary licensing in each geographical area in which it operates; the success of the company’s expansion activities and whether markets justify additional expansion; the ability of the company to attract drivers who have electric vehicles and hybrid cars; the ability of Facedrive to attract providers of good and services for merchandise partnerships on terms acceptable to both parties, and on profitable terms for Facedrive; and that the products co-branded by Facedrive may not be as merchantable as expected. The forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.
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