Responsible investing columnist

Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown on weeding out Monsanto

With Monsanto's recent cancer trials giving Bayer shareholders a headache, we've got a prescription for a healthier portfolio

Few companies in the world draw as much ire from environmentalists as Monsanto. But few people know that it was acquired by German aspirin-maker (and chemical giant) Bayer last year. Bayer quietly dropped the brand name, so I’ve seen many clients who own shares of Bayer not knowing that they also own Monsanto. (Many didn’t realize that Bayer was a major chemical pesticide manufacturer and genetically-modified seed maker well before it bought Monsanto). Although Bayer dropped the contentious Monsanto name, it retained Monsanto’s lawsuits – including an $80 million court case it lost on March 27.

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Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown: Facebook vs. Autodesk

What’s a good alternative for investors who want to log out of Facebook permanently?

Is anyone else checking their Facebook feed less and less? I’m not quite ready to #deletefacebook, but I have lots of clients who already have. They hate Facebook with a passion, citing multiple lawsuits and egregious ethical behaviour.

The social media giant isn’t actually so bad on environmental measures. In fact, it hit its target of getting 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2018 and plans to be 100% renewable by 2020.

Facebook's real sustainability risks lie on the governance side of things. For starters, Mark Zuckerberg is both CEO and chair of the board, two roles normally separated so that the board could fire the CEO if things go awry. That can’t happen at Facebook since Zuckerberg can simply fire any board members who mobilize against him. Like other big tech companies, Facebook has used the sneaky trick of issuing non-voting shares on the market, depriving investors of any say. If Zuckerberg wants to ‘Move Fast and Break Things’, there’s no way for anyone to stop him.

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Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown: Boeing vs. Siemens

If you're looking to ground Boeing from your portfolio, give this train-making conglomerate a try

The whole world has been talking about Boeing ever since a second 737 Max 8 plane crashed in Ethiopia on March 10th leading to the tragic death of all 157 passengers and crew. The first crash killed 189 people in Indonesia last October. Since both crashes occurred in a suspiciously similar manner, governments around the world responded by grounding Boeing’s Max 8 planes until they figure out what went wrong. Not surprisingly, the stock quickly fell by 15%, and investors are obviously a little jittery about the company facing a criminal probe.

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Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown: St. Paddy’s Day edition

Getting to the bottom of which alcohol company is more sustainable: Constellation Brands or Diageo

Whether I have one drink or ten this weekend for St Patrick’s Day, I always end up wondering which companies I should be supporting. This week’s sustainable stock showdown pits two of my favourite beers against each other. Corona, owned by New York-based Constellation Brands, versus Guinness, owned by the U.K.’s Diageo.

So how does owner Constellation Brands stack up on sustainability? Sadly, not very well. They only got one star for sustainability, largely due a lack of disclosure. Reading their Corporate Social Responsibility report, they seem more focused on philanthropy and employee volunteerism rather than deeper sustainability. Sure, they have some great initiatives (a number of their wineries are certified sustainable and their Nava Brewery in Mexico  is extremely water and energy efficient), but it leaves me wondering why they haven’t adopted these practices across all of their operations.

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Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown: Kraft Heinz Co vs McCormick & Company

With Kraft Heinz Co crashing, we know just the right sustainability superstar to spice up your portfolio

It’s a rough time for The Kraft Heinz Company and its investors. Just two weeks ago on February 21st, Kraft Heinz announced a triple-whammy of bad news that sent the stock tumbling.

First, the KD maker disclosed it was being subpoenaed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an investigation into Kraft Heinz’s accounting practices. Second, the company announced a $15 billion write-down of the goodwill value of its Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands. When a smaller company is bought up by a larger company, the larger company often overpays thanks to the brand strength or ‘goodwill’ of the smaller company. Well, it turns out that the Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands are too bland for today’s health-conscious consumers who are moving away from processed foods like Jell-O, Velveeta, and Oscar Mayer wieners. (No wonder Kraft sits at the very bottom of the global Access to Nutrition Index).

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