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Alternative Investments: Summary of Resources

Author: Walter Whiteley, TSP Climate Justice Group

Disclaimer: This document does not provide investment advice, and should not be taken as investment advice. It is prudent that individuals and institutions obtain advice from a qualified investment advisor or an investment manager before you make any investment. We are presenting a range of links and resources to follow up with your investment advisor.

A. Overview

Reinvestment has several layers:

  • Investments that screen out fossil fuel companies (along with tobacco, weapons, gambling, … ).
  • Positive investments that develop alternative energy sources and related energy infrastructure, as well as in sustainable, resilient infrastructure, and upgrades that save energy.
  • Some of the alternatives below also focus in social capital: locally controlled, perhaps cooperative community development, as a positive way forward.

A quick summary of the steps to reinvest (for individuals and institutions)

  1. Do our best with what is available now. See for example:  https://riacanada.ca/trendsreport/
  2. Do your own investigation into holdings using mutual fund information available online
  3. Consider sending a letter to your current mutual fund. See this sample letter.
  4. Create a portfolio of individual stocks and bonds that reflect your values, on line or with the help of an advisor
  5. Use an advisor/ portfolio manager who will listen to what you want and create a low /no carbon portfolio for you.
  6. Use sector based ETFS or mutual funds to avoid the energy sector. (Global Funds make this easier.)
  7. Use the S&P/TSX Carbon Efficient and Fossil Free Indexes to find companies that can help us transition to a low carbon economy.
  8. See Renewable Energy Companies by Stock Exchange: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_renewable_energy_companies_by_stock_exchange and http://www.investorideas.com/Companies/RenewableEnergy/

B. General advice and information

    1. Top Level Divestment / Reinvest Lists, with regular updates – The “Dirty 200” list from the Carbon Underground, used by 350.org, and ranked by their proven Fossil Fuel Reserves.
      – The “Clean 200” list of companies that support the transition.
    2. Eco Funds Ratings – An analysis of which Canadian investment funds have the best combination of environmental excellence and financial performance.
    3. Impact of divestment / investment?   A recent report analyzing the financial impact of divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in the transition, from Genus Capital.
    4. Sustainable Economist
      Timothy Nash’s website has PowerPoint presentation on the topic Divest and Reinvest (from the Convergence workshops Fall 2014 in Montreal).
  • A number of links on how to find alternatives (US based):
  1. A Canadian site which has guidance for individuals to move into socially responsible investment:  http://www.ethiquette.ca/en/
    Also includes links on RRSP eligible investments.
  2. Extracting Fossil Fuels from your Portfolio: An Updated guide to Personal Divestment and Reinvestment by 350.org, Green Century Capital Management and Trillium Asset Management.
  3. Screening your current mutual funds (US-based As You Sow): http://fossilfreefunds.org/

C. Available to institutions (or Accredited Investors only)

Green ChipAlternative energy and reduction of energy use (Global, with some Canadian content)

Invests for some foundations, and Toronto Atmospheric Fund. They are willing to invest for institutions with modest amounts to invest.
TSP has hired Green Chip for our small Green Initiatives Fund.Contact John Cook (in Toronto) jcook@greenchipfinancial.com

D. Other Funds Open to Individuals and Institutions

  1. Genus Capital Management

    Genus has a full suite of 5 fully fossil-free investment pools, including bonds, and global equityHandles investments for some foundations and churches (including TSP), and offers fee reductions for combined institutions.  Contact TSP for information as a possible partner.

    Genus will also handle investments for Accredited Investors.

    Contact: JP Harrison JHarrison@genuscap.com (in Vancouver). Genus recently opened up access to small individual investments, including RRSPs  and TFSA’s as well as through investment managers.

  2. Inhance Investments

    Inhance Investments has a suite of SRI funds.The Global SRI fund is fossil free and has 7.9% in alternative energy.

    This is open to both individuals and institutions.

  3. AGF Global Sustainable Growth Equity Fund

    AGF Global Sustainable Growth Equity Fund is a new fund that is fossil free.Their page includes a number of other links to reports related to Fossil Fuel Divestment, and positive investments.

  4. Fiera Capital
    Fiera Capital has a new Value ESG Fossil Fuel Free (FFF) fund.
  5. CIBC Blue Heron funds
    CIBC Blue Heron funds have a strong set of screens, including being fossil free.  Minimum amount is $100,000 and they may be open to individuals.
  6. NEI Environmental Leaders Fund (recently available)
    NEI used to be Ethical Funds!
    Managed by Impax Asset Management, available to individuals with a minimum investment (perhaps $100,000) and to institutions.

E. Community Bonds

“How a community bond turns social capital into financial capital” by Elisa Birnbaum in the Financial Post, Dec 22, 2014.

The story demonstrates the power of everyday citizens who are supporting social enterprises when traditional methods fall short.

Related links here:

  1. Impact Investing with Community Bonds
  2. Centre for Social Innovation 3% to 4.5%
  3. SolarShare 5 years at 5%
  4. ZooShare 7% for 7 Years
  5. Northern Solar Bonds
    – Starting at 5% for 20 year bonds climbing to 12.75%
    – 4.5% for 5 year bonds
  6. CoPower Green Bonds 5 years at 5%
    Can include RRSPs, TFSAs etc.
  7. Oikocredit: Mennonite Savings and Credit Union provides GICs linked to Oikocredit.
    – The estimated return is 1.3%, and the principle is guaranteed under the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario.
  8. Green Bonds (watch for Green Washing – what standards are there?)
  9. World Bank Green Bonds (How green?)
    Not clear who can invest, and at what rate(s).
  10. Ontario Global Green Bonds 75% return

F. Publicly Traded Alternative Energy Companies in Canada

There are some companies in Canada identified as working in the alternative energy sector over a period of years.  This list is not comprehensive, or based on their current investment returns.
  1. TransAlta Renewables (projects in Canada, one in the US)
  2. Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners (projects globally)
  3. Algonquin Power (projects in Canada and the US)
  4. Northland Power (projects in Canada and Europe)

There are many more such companies in the US and Europe.For example, see articles like 5 Different Ways to Invest in Renewable Energy and The business guide to green power: 12 ways to invest in renewable energy.

Other Links to Publically Traded Funds and Alternative Energy Companies
AltEnergy Stocks (CleanTech stocks)
Corporate Knights Responsible Investing – Canadian investor profiles

G. Investment Managers and Advisors

A full list of members of the Responsible Investment Organization: http://riacanada.ca

A few advisors who have extended experience with Socially Responsible Investments.  All are working with some individuals and congregations engaged in divesting:

 

Toronto
Sucheta Rajagopal, Investment Advisor/Portfolio Manager
Email: SRajagopal@mackieresearch.com  Tel: 416-860-6833
https://secure.mackieresearch.com/

 

Alan Harmon, Wealth Advisor (Works for several churches)
Email: alan.harman@scotiamcleod.com Tel: (416) 862-5836
http://www.advisors.scotiamcleod.com/aharman

 

Ottawa

Tricia K. Spooner, Investment Advisor
Email: tricia.spooner@cibc.com Tel: (613) 239-2851
http://www.cibcwg.com/web/tricia-spooner/about-cibc-wood-gundy1

 

John Hastings, , RBC Dominion Securities Inc. https://profile.rbcwealthmanagement.com/john.hastings
Phone: 613-566-2003

 

Walter Traversy, CIBC Wood Gundy
http://www.cibcwg.com/web/walter-traversy/home
Phone: 613-271-1511

 

Fossil Free Indexes:

http://fossilfreeindexes.com/
http://web.tmxmoney.com/tmx_indices.php?section=tsx&index=^TXCT

H. Mission-Based Investing

Why should only the income returned from investments be used for our mission? Why not use all of our investment decisions to support the mission?

Social Economy Center Presentation by Bill Young on Mission Related Investing
OIKO Credit bonds (above) and Canadian Alternative Investment Cooperative (CAIC) are examples mission based investing used by some religious groups, including the national United Church of Canada.

I. Easy-as-Pie Reinvestment Option: from the Sustainable Economist

http://www.sustainableeconomist.com/easy_as_pie_portfolio

  1. Global Equity 60% Inhance Global Equity SRI Class F-Series (CCM5013)  Could choose Fossil-Free (see above)
  2. Government Bonds 30% iShares 1-10 Year Laddered Government Bond Index ETF (CLG)
  3. Impact Bonds 10% Oikocredit Global Impact GIC (see above)