Responsible investing columnist

Impact bonds offer a safe haven for investors

Green bonds remain largely unaffected by financial markets all while investing in community

It would be normal to feel a little shaky about the markets right now. There’s lots of volatility and concern about panic behaviour as COVID-19 spreads. Investors are looking to buy bonds in a flight to safety, but interest rates are on their way down so traditional bonds will offer very low financial returns.

Now is a really good time to look at impact investments as a way to further diversify your portfolio.

An impact bond is a loan to an organization – often a non-profit - that offers investors a financial return in addition to making a direct positive social or environmental impact. Each bond has a different minimum investment, interest rate, and maturity date. Different impact bonds will generate different types of impact.

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Are BMO’s new ETFs a game-changer for responsible investors?

It’s RRSP season, and Canadians are figuring out how to invest their savings by the March 2 deadline.

For most, the default setting is to walk into their bank, buy mutual funds, and walk out as quickly as possible. The problem is that people rarely have any idea how much they’re paying in fees and they have no clue what companies are inside those funds.

That’s why the new trend is to purchase exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that have much lower fees and are much more transparent than mutual funds, making it easier for Canadians to invest with their values.

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Which of these mining companies will survive the transition away from coal?

With coal mining on the ropes, we pit Glencore against BHP Group to see who's leading in the shift to greener energy

Coal mines are in trouble. Investors continue to flee the sector, while once-giant companies like Murray Energy are declaring bankruptcy. With the coal mining sector on the ropes, now is a great time to pit two of the largest companies — Glencore and BHP Group — against each other to see who is leading the transition away from coal.

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Which smartphone is more ethical, Apple or Samsung?

If you're debating which company is greener, you'll want to read this Sustainable Stock Showdown first

After living for two years with a cracked screen, it’s finally time for me to buy a new phone. Apple launched its new iPhone 11 last month right before Samsung’s new Galaxy Fold model hit the market. While making my decision, I figured this was a great opportunity to pit the two against each other in our Sustainable Stock Showdown.

Apple has been leading the charge on American tech companies pursuing the ambitious goal of sourcing 100% of their energy from renewable sources. It hit this target in 2018 at its global facilities and is working towards 100% renewable energy sourcing throughout its entire supply chain by 2020. Apple is now the leading purchaser of solar energy in the U.S, and according to its annual Green Bond Report, the company issued two green bonds in 2016/2017 that raised a total of $2.5 billion to pay for that renewable energy.

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Is Volkswagen’s stock charging up or still sputtering toxic fumes?

Our Sustainable Stock Showdown pits hybrid giant Toyota against recovering Dieselgate carmaker as it doubles down on electric

It’s been ten years since Volkswagen won the won Green Car of the Year award at the LA Auto Show. The Volkswagen Jetta TDI and the Audi A3 TDI won because of their innovative clean diesel engines. Then a massive scandal revealed that the clean diesel engines weren’t actually that clean: Volkswagen had been cheating on emissions tests. VW was stripped of its awards. Consumers and investors were furious, and the stock plummeted by more than 40%. Now four years later, Volkswagen has just released a mass-market electric car that’s much cheaper than a Tesla Model 3. But does Volkswagen’s stock have any gas left in the tank?

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Is it time for Canadian pension, Walmart to unload gun makers?

In wake of gun violence, our Sustainable Stock Showdown columnist Tim Nash suggests disarming your investments

My heart sank when I saw the news of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Even more depressing was the knowledge that these mass shootings have been an almost daily occurrence in the U.S. this year. Public response has become almost predictable. First come the obligatory “thoughts and prayers,” followed by an outcry for tougher restrictions on gun purchases. However, the potential for strict regulations usually causes the shares of gun manufacturers to jump as investors expect a rush of sales before any new laws come into place. But something different happened this time. After the initial stock pop, gun maker share prices fell somewhat dramatically in the following days. Is this a turning point for the divestment of gun companies?

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Sustainable Stock Showdown: Amazon vs. eBay

Amazon may be primed for growth but amidst worker protests, climate concerns and military links, is eBay a better bet?

Even with all the buzz around Amazon Prime Day’s discount blitz earlier this month, I didn’t join the legions shopping online. It was hard to click “proceed to checkout” while workers and employees protested in Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. A petition with 270,000 signatures was delivered to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos calling for better worker rights and for the company to cut ties with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the federal agency responsible for rounding up and deporting undocumented immigrants. Although these protests didn’t amount to much action, they certainly shone a light on Amazon’s many problems.

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Tim Nash’s Sustainable Stock Showdown: Can plastic pledges save troubled cruise lines?

Carnival and Royal Caribbean try to lure conscious travellers and investors aboard

Being stuck in a hot city all summer can make you daydream about vacationing on water. But  can the world’s largest cruise companies lure conscious travellers and investors aboard with new plastic-free pledges?

Last week, Carnival Corporation, the industry’s biggest company with over 100 ships and 10 leading cruise brands, announced plans to significantly reduce its use of single-use plastics by the end of 2021. It’s welcome news. But it’s also just a month after Carnival agreed to pay $20 million in penalties for dumping plastic waste (and attempting to cover it up) into the ocean near the Bahamas.

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Tim Nash’s Sustainable Stock Showdown: Why profits aren’t flowing through Keystone XL

As eco orgs launch another lawsuit against TC Energy's troubled pipeline, investors should consider a greener energy firm

Have I got an investment for you. Donald Trump loves this company. It’s been almost ten years and it still hasn’t been able to get its biggest project – an umbilical cord for the oil sands – built and rating agencies are taking a hammer to their credit rating.

Few Canadian companies have ever captured the imagination of a U.S. president quite like TC Energy (formerly known as TransCanada Corp). Trump has tweeted about the company’s Keystone XL an astonishing 44 times. Despite the White House’s enthusiasm for the 1,897 km pipeline that would deliver oil sands down to the Gulf of Mexico, investors are still waiting for the ribbon to be cut. Keystone XL has been mired in a years-long legal battle with landowners and environmental organizations and, last month, environmental groups filed a fresh lawsuit to further block/delay the project.

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Fund face-off: Are your investments LGBTQ-friendly?

There are a lot of socially responsible ETFs on the market now, including two with opposing takes on LGBTQ+ issues

Pride Month may be coming to a close, but investors can keep the spirit alive year-round by considering the impact of their investments on LGBTQ+ issues. Consumers vote with their dollars, and so can investors.

Instead of looking at individual company stocks this week, we’re comparing two exchange-traded funds (ETFs). ETFs are like mutual funds in that they are a bundle of companies wrapped up in a fund. However, they trade directly on the stock exchange, instead of through a sales network, which makes them less expensive than mutual funds. There are a lot of socially responsible ETFs on the market right now, including two with opposing takes on LGBTQ+ issues.

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