Spring Update from Stephen Whipp

I trust that each of you have had a waterfully wonderful winter and that the teasing sunshine of spring is brightening everyone’s days- inspiring garden plans or maybe a walk down one of the many trails that we are blessed with in the region.

We here have been very busy not only in trying to stay ahead of the paperwork but in getting out talking to groups of people about ethical investing, matching their values to their wallet. It has been gratifying to see the number of people who have a desire to make their money do better while still growing their retirement nest egg.

I have enjoyed presenting our SRI 101 seminar and more so the thoughtful questions posed by some of you who attended. While we had the pleasure of hosting some events in Victoria and the Westshore this year, I was also asked to be part of a annual seminar at Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) Institute for Practical Philosophy on Social Justice and to speak at the Community Investment Forum. What a thrill to hear the other speakers and to meet community members committed to enhancing quality of life for all.

Although some of you have heard me speak about the behaviour of Canadian Miners in other countries I was stunned by the video footage and presentations from people who have spent time in countries like Guatemala. In my opinion there is no excuse for the human rights and environmental abuses. We heard from a former volunteer paramedic who said he was warned not to raise the Canadian flag. Robert Pepper Smith, who teaches in the Philosophy Department at VIU says, “there’s strong local opposition to Canadian mining. I was told that it was not safe for a Canadian to be out in the rural areas”.

He added that there was even suspicion that the aid organization he was supporting might be a front for Canadian mining interests.
If you are interested in learning more here are two web sites that I found informative: www.miningwatch.ca and www.rightsaction.org.

During a day a lot of information passes through my email inbox and I am never tired of learning ideas and opinions. While there is still a number of people who deny that human-caused climate change is real, there is no denying that industry is responding to the scientific community’s findings. For example, many are trying to prepare corporations to quantify their carbon and green house gas (GHG) emissions for reporting and mitigation. I noticed recently that University of Toronto is hosting a course that will help with just that. The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Quantifier certification is the first certification in North America to assess professionals in the field of GHG inventory development and quantification and is designed for international applicability. As the job landscape in Canada evolves to accommodate experts in efficient resource use, I would not be surprised if there is a great demand for professionals who have this among other qualifications in area of emerging green technologies.

Finally, I’ll note that the markets continue to be unpredictable. As of this writing (March 26, 2012) the TSX 60 Index was in positive territory by 3.36 per cent for the past three months and the Meritas Jantzi Social index which mirrors the TSX 60 Index minus particular companies because of Environmental, Social and Governance risk is ahead by 6.47 per cent for the same three month period. Hmmmmm!

That’s my two cents for now. I hope you enjoy this month’s issue of our newsletter and thanks to Tara who each month laboriously works on it as well as trying to coax me into offering a few words. –Best, Steve.

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Leede Jones Gable Inc. is a
Member of IIROC and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund
Stephen Whipp is a member of the Responsible Investment Association