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Best business commentary
February 22, 2008
‘Ethical’ funds in name only
Many investment funds that “label themselves ‘ethical’,” says Thomas Kostigen in MarketWatch, are “fudging their portfolios.” According to a British study, some of those funds invest less than 1 percent of their deposits in firms that support green business, fair labor, “or other ‘good’ causes.” So “purity is a problem.” And there is no one to guarantee that these funds “will adhere to your own principles,” so it is crucial to “look under the hood” of any ethical fund you are considering. Ethics can’t be “purely in the eye of the beholder,” and these funds “must live up to a common standard.” Otherwise the label is meaningless.
Managing the ethanol flood
“An ethanol flood is nearing,” says Peter Rohde in Kiplinger.com, but what are we going to do with it all? Thanks to “a slew of new plants” coming online, the U.S. will produce about 13 billion gallons of the stuff next year, more than we can use. Only 6.5 million of the 240 million vehicles in the U.S. take the E85 (85 percent ethanol) blend, and many of the rest that could use E10 don’t have access to it. That means “prices will plunge further,” to below $2 a gallon, and “profits will disappear for makers.” Infrastructure will catch up eventually, but you can bet that “Uncle Sam will also feel pressure to boost market development” in the short term.
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