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August 12, 2010

Ethical fund sales continue to rise

by David Masters
Ethical fund sales continue to rise
Sales of ethical funds are at the highest level since the start of the credit crunch, according to new figures published this week. Statistics from the Investment Management Association (IMA) show total ethical investments of £98 million for the second quarter of 2010, an increased of £106 million compared to the -£8 million recorded for the second quarter of 2009. Ethical finance body ...




August 6, 2010

Kiwi parliament votes down ethical investment bill

by David Masters
Kiwi parliament votes down ethical investment bill
New Zealand's government has been criticised for voting down a bill that would have seen state money invested ethically. New Zealand MP's voted 63 votes to 58 against the Ethical Investment Bill, which would have required Crown Financial Institutes to invest their money ethically. Robert Howell, chief executive of New Zealand's Council for Socially Responsible Investment, said the vote against the bill ...




August 5, 2010

Social enterprise creates jobs for autistic people

by David Masters
Social enterprise creates jobs for autistic people
A new social enterprise to help people with autism find jobs has launched in Scotland. Specialisterne Scotland is set to recruit a dozen trainees with autism over the next six months. Those chosen for the programme will undertake four months training before being given jobs as software testers for major Scottish companies. These are jobs with a high degree of predictability and minimal ...




August 4, 2010

Green entrepreneur to buy Forest Green FC

by David Masters
Green entrepreneur to buy Forest Green FC
Eco-tycoon Dale Vince is poised to take over cash-strapped football club Forest Green, according to media speculation. Vince, 48, built his £85 million empire on wind power, making him Britain's wealthiest green entrepreneur. He is understood to have met up with Forest Green's executives, including chairman David Drew, operations director Colin Peake and manager Dave Hockaday to discuss a potential takeover. The football ...




July 30, 2010

Government cuts £11m social enterprise funding

by David Masters
Government pulls £11m from social enterprise
Despite the government's rhetoric on big society, it has announced £11 million of spending cuts to the department responsible for social enterprise. The Office for Civil Society has had its 2010/11 budget cut to £136.9 million, down from £147.9 million. Nick Hurd, minister for civil society, said: "Every area of government is looking at reducing costs and streamlining its work. The Office for ...




July 27, 2010

Anti-poverty banker to star in The Simpsons

by David Masters
Anti-poverty banker to star in the Simpsons
The Bangladeshi anti-poverty banker Muhammad Yunus is to feature in an episode of hit TV cartoon The Simpsons. Yunus, whose pioneering work on micro-finance earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, will appear in the TV show as a cartoon version of himself. The episode will focus on his micro-credit work in Bangladesh, which has helped to lift millions of people ...




July 26, 2010

Is Islamic finance the solution to India’s poverty?

by David Masters
Is Islamic finance the solution to India's poverty?
A former Supreme Court judge has launched a campaign to introduce Islamic banking and finance to India. Justice Krishna Iyer said Islamic finance has the potential to offer sustainable growth while reducing inequality. "Islamic finance has proven successful in poverty alleviation and promoting sustainable growth in many countries," he said. "It is very relevant in our country where 20 million people are ...




Social enterprises avoid capital injections

by David Masters
Social enterprises avoid capital injections
A £3m fund designed to help social enterprises expand has closed after making only one investment in two years. Triodos, the bank operating the fund, said most social enterprises are not yet ready for large capital injections. "The recession is having an impact," said Charles Middleton, Triodos UK managing direction. "But our experience was mainly not finding the number of social enterprises that were ready ...




July 22, 2010

BlueOrchard plans to expand microfinance

by David Masters
BlueOrchard plans to expand microfinance
BlueOrchard, the world's biggest private sector investor in microfinance loans, has raised $195 million for a fund to help microfinance institutions (MFIs) expand and modernise. The private equity fund will buy minority stakes in MFIs to pay for their expansion and modernisation. BlueOrchard claims many MFIs need capital injections to improve their corporate governance and risk management systems. With a targeted return of 20% per ...




Big money investors want to go green

by David Masters
Big money investors want to go green
Over 90% of institutional investors want green investments in their portfolio, according to a new study. Research commissioned by the New Energy World Network (NEWN) found more than nine in ten private equity, pension, insurance and venture capital funds would like to have some exposure to renewable energy, clean technology, and sustainability-related investments. Two thirds (69%) said they have already made green ...




July 20, 2010

SKS Microfinance announces IPO

by David Masters
SKS Microfinance announces IPO
India's first microfinance institution (MFI) to issue public shares has announced its initial public offering (IPO) will open on 28 July. SKS Microfinance will announce the issue price on 26 July and is considering offering a discount to retail investors. The company plans raise Rs. 1,500cr ($320 million) from the IPO with the shares sold making up 21.6% of the company's capital. Critics have slammed ...




Triodos and Charity Bank on track for record lending

by David Masters
Triodos and Charity Bank on track for record lending
Mid-year figures from Charity Bank and Triodos Bank show both lenders are on track for a record year of lending. During the first six months of this year, Charity bank agreed £20.9 million of new loans. This is compared to a total of £22.9 million for the whole of 2009. Figures from Triodos show new lending for the first ...




July 9, 2010

Online donations boost Gift Aid, claims Virgin Money

by David Masters
Charities should encourage their supporters to donate online, Virgin Money Giving claimed this week, as online donations have the greatest Gift Aid take up. The government adds 28% to donations made with Gift Aid, so a donation of £1 becomes £1.28. Research in 2009 found donors who give online are more likely to fill in the details needed for charities to claim Gift Aid. Grant Bather, spokesperson for Virgin Money Giving, said the ...




July 8, 2010

Shareholder eco-activism takes root in Australia

by David Masters
Shareholder eco-activism takes root in Australia
Australian Ethical Investments has announced plans to invest in ethically dubious energy firms with the aim of changing their business practices through shareholder activism. The Climate Advocacy Fund (CAF), launched today, will invest in big polluters with the aim of using shareholder influence to encourage firms to green themselves up. Companies will urged to rethink how they manage climate change risk and reduce ...




July 6, 2010

Co-operative and Ecclesiastical sponsor ethical investment week

by David Masters
Co-operative and Ecclesiastical sponsor ethical investment week
The Co-operative Financial Services and Ecclesiastical Investment Management were named yesterday as sponsors of the third annual National Ethical Investment Week (NEIW). NEIW 2010, on 7-13 November, is a series of events and other activities across the UK to raise awareness of green and ethical investment options. UKSIF, the sustainable investment association behind NEIW, said the problems BP is facing at the ...




June 23, 2010

Big Society ISA could boost social enterprise

by David Masters
Big Society ISA could boost social enterprise
Savers could use their ISA funds to invest in social enterprise under the government's plans for a Big Society Bank. Money invested in the Big Society ISAs would be used to build new schools, to rehabilitate criminals, and for other socially useful projects. The ISAs would provide a way for social enterprises to raise capital. Lord Wei, the thinker behind the ISAs and ...




Banks get off lightly in emergency budget

by David Masters
Banks get off lightly in emergency budget
George Osborne's emergency budget "takes from the poor to give to the rich" according to campaigners for a fairer tax system. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has failed to hold banks responsible for the financial carnage they caused in the credit crunch and the subsequent recession, the Robin Hood Tax campaign said. ''The Chancellor called today’s budget "unavoidable" – but it’s the ...




June 22, 2010

Ethical funds to shun BP

by David Masters
Ethical funds to shun BP
The small number of ethical funds with investments in BP are considering pulling out of the beleaguered oil supplier - two months after the biggest oil spill in history began on BP's watch. BP is a 'light green' company, meaning ethical investors buy shares in the firm to encourage it, as shareholders, to behave in an ethical way. This is compared to 'dark green' ...




June 17, 2010

Co-operative pays record £50m dividend

by David Masters
Co-operative pays record £50m dividend
The Co-operative Group has announced a record dividend payment of £50 million after posting its highest ever profit in 2009. The five million members of the Co-operative Group will share in the £50.4 million payout, with an average payment of £9.88 per member. This is a 30% increase on last year's dividend payment of £38.8 million. The group racked up profits of £402 million in ...




June 16, 2010

China ranked bottom for ethical investment

by David Masters
China ranked bottom for ethical investment
Ethical investors looking to put money into emerging market economies should avoid China, Egypt and Vietnam, the Ethical Investment Research Service (Eiris) has claimed. Research by the group found these three countries to be the worst performers in terms of Environmental, Social, and Governance indicators. The three best-performing emerging market countries were South Korea, Brazil, and Mexico. Both Brazil and Mexico scored higher on ...