03.Deep green funds
A few funds continue to call their products (or themselves) ‘ethical’, screening out companies and industries that they think fail to meet their ethical criteria, and using positive screening methods to find companies that they assess as making a positive impact on society, the environment or both. Australian Ethical
opposes investment in uranium and excludes companies involved in areas like alcohol, tobacco and the logging of old-growth forests. It uses positive screening to find companies that it thinks make a positive impact. Christian Super
offers a choice of five ‘ethical’ funds. It aims to invest “in accordance with Biblical principles”, screening out companies involved in gambling, tobacco, pornography, abortion drugs, embryonic stem cell research, child labour, fast food, alcohol and weapons.
In some cases, the rules can be relaxed, allowing investment in companies involved in industries such as alcohol, as long as alcohol contributes less than 5% of their revenue. BHP Billiton
and Rio Tinto
are included, but uranium miners with poor corporate and social responsibility (CSR) performance are ruled out. Hunter Hall's
negative screen restricts investment in companies deriving revenues from armaments, tobacco, gambling, factory farming, destruction of the environment and uranium mining. Its ethical policy doesn’t take labour standards into account, however; nor does it restrict investment in alcohol companies, companies using animal by-products, or other types of mining.
“We are of the view that mining does not necessarily cause permanent damage to the environment, provided that due attention is paid to site remediation, control of contamination, worker safety and the welfare of any nearby population,” a company spokesperson says. Note
: Hunter Hall launched a deep-green fund in late 2007. The Global Deep Green Fund uses positive screening.