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Responsible investing columnist

Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown: Kimberly-Clark vs. Cascades

If you don't want to blow your nose (or your investments) on the Boreal forest, what are your options?

They say there are only two sure things in life: death and taxes. But if there’s another thing we all share in common, it’s our reliance on, well, disposable paper products. This week we look at two companies in this sector: Kimberly-Clark (KMB.NYSE) and Cascades (CAS.TO).

Kimberly-Clark is an American consumer products company that makes personal care products like diapers, tissues, and yes, toilet paper. Some of its brands include Huggies, Kleenex, Kotex and Cottonelle. I was quite skeptical of Kimberly-Clark going into my research. The forestry sector, in general, has a chequered past with impacts on biodiversity loss, climate change, and indigenous rights.  As far back as 2005, Greenpeace vocally accused Kleenex of blowing our noses on the Boreal forest.

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Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown on ditching Exxon for greener oil

As Exxon shareholders turning up heat over climate risks, one oil company is proving itself as renewables powerhouse

As a sustainable investment advisor, I’ve had the uncomfortable job of sitting with climate activist clients as we open up their portfolio to find Exxon shares front and centre. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) is one of the biggest companies in the world and so it tends to have a prominent place in the top ten holdings of most standard funds.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow for the climate conscious, since Exxon has one of the largest carbon footprints on the planet.

Environmental advocates have had good reason to scorn Exxon at least as far back as 1989, when the Exxon Valdez spilled roughly 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. More recently, a 2015 investigative report from Inside Climate News revealed that Exxon scientists knew about the climate impacts of fossil fuel use back in the 1980s and undertook a massive lobbying and advertising campaign to sow seeds of doubt and uncertainty around the science of climate change.

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Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown takes on Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway

Investing legend's tepid approach to climate risks may leave you high and dry. So which insurance company wins our showdown?

Berkshire Hathaway is the fifth largest publicly traded company on the planet. But while many Canadians have never heard of the conglomerate, there’s a good chance you know the name of its chair and CEO, Warren Buffett. Buffett is certainly an investing legend. Some would consider him an investing god. Every year, thousands of people flock to Omaha, Nebraska for the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting, as they did earlier this month. So, is the Oracle of Omaha betting on a sustainable future?

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Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown: Uber vs. Lyft

With driver strikes and bumpy IPOs, is one app more ethical than another and is either stock a sustainable investment?

Not owning a car is one of the best financial decisions I’ve ever made. Car payments, insurance, parking, repairs, etc. would add about a thousand dollars to my monthly budget. I’m fortunate to live in a big city, so it’s way easier for me to bike, take transit, and use ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft  to get around town (especially in nasty weather). But not everyone sees ride-hailing in a rosy light.  Ahead of Uber and Lyft’s IPO launches, drivers in the U.S. and the U.K. have been holding strikes to draw attention to their declining wages. Is one app more ethical than another and is either stock a sustainable investment?

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Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown: Johnson & Johnson vs. Unilever

With thousands of J&J cancer lawsuits pending, you might want to freshen up your portfolio with a cleaner company

For decades, when people thought of Johnson & Johnson, benign images of baby shampoo and baby powder came to mind. Now, the century-old brand is soiled with lawsuits.

Last month, a California jury awarded a $29 million settlement to a woman who charged that her ovarian cancer was caused by the frequent use of J&J baby powder in the 1960s and ‘70s. Back in December, the company lost its bid to reverse a jury verdict that awarded a whopping US$4.69 billion to 22 women for similar reasons.

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Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown: Mondelez (Cadbury) vs. Lindt

This Earth Day/Easter Monday, we're unwrapping the planetary impacts of chocolate stocks

Besides tree planting and contemplating how our governments aren’t doing enough to tackle climate change, Earth Day is the perfect time to consider how your investments are affecting the planet. And my Easter chocolate hangover seems like a solid opportunity to take a bite out of a couple of the biggest chocolate stocks.

I don’t think there’s a more iconic Easter treat than Cadbury Creme and Mini Eggs. Just seeing the packaging gives me a sugar high. Cadbury is a British confectioner that was bought by American food conglomerate Mondelez International (MDLZ) in 2010.

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Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown: Canopy vs The Green Organic Dutchman

In honour of the first legal 4/20 celebration in Canada, we're exploring which pot stocks will create the cleanest hit

We all know that investors shouldn’t buy high, but where does that leave investors in cannabis? In honour of the first legal 4/20 celebration in Canada, we’re exploring which pot stocks will create the cleanest hit for sustainable investors.

Before we get started, I need to communicate that cannabis stocks are much riskier investments than the typical big companies we look at in this column. A high Beta suggests heavy volatility, so only invest if you’re ready to put on a safety belt and go along for an intense ride.

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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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