Getting ethical about investing

Money managers meeting in Australia to discuss ethical investments argue that choosing companies on a best-of-sector basis fails the test. But is it realistic to establish an industry standard for picking stocks?

Buying stock in a company like Shell or BP because it conducts research into renewable resources does not make it a responsible investment, according to some of the fund managers attending a conference on sustainable and ethical investing in Australia last weekend. A record number of delegates turned up for the annual gathering which attracts money managers who buy stocks based on how much a company pays its staff, or whether it imports components from a third world country with a history of child labour, or whether it makes dangerous products. It is an investment alternative that is gaining popularity as money once invested in the dotcom industry starts looking for a new place...

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