Responsible Investment Adds “Social Bonds” to Ethical Finance Products Glossary

Add this term to your socially responsible investing vocabulary: “social bonds.” These are financial products aimed at addressing social issues such as access to education, crime, homelessness, and helping underserved communities and disadvantaged children. This market is small—just $3.5 billion of social bonds were issued in Q2 of this year—but the market is booming, according to the Financial Times. Data provider Dealogic reports that this was more than double the previous record, and the best quarter on record. FT states that the trend is “part of a wider shift by bond investors to follow in the footsteps of longstanding efforts to push for ethical investing.” For issuers, the ROI is clear: reaching new investors. Watch for standards to be settled (how to measure effectiveness?), then for this market to really take off.

John Howell, Editorial Director

ReportAlert: American Cleaning institute releases 4th Sustainability Report

News & Blogs

At the gates of the Amazon in Northern Brazil, the World Social Forum (WSF) celebrates its last day today, the 'Day of Alliances'. Inspired by the opportunity to make a difference and believing (or wanting to believe) that) 'Another World Is Possible', tens of thousands of people from around the world have converged to discuss what they want to see happen in the future.

The other day Jamie at Green Resolutions asked me how I had come across Malagasy chocolate, and expressed her frustration that sometimes it's hard to wade through all the products in the market and find the right products, and make the right choices.

I can well empathize.

Deb recently put up a great post about networking to your next great job; as a MA student looking at a troubling economic environment when I graduate, I appreciated her great suggestions. I'm going to add a few of my own suggestions that people in one of the most competitive fields around have been telling me.

1. Attitude is Everything

At the year-end prospects for renewable energy looked very, very bleak. Article headlines read "Green Bubble Goes 'Pop"" (WSJ), "Gathering Clouds" (The Economist), and "Financial Crisis; The End of Green?" (RES). A reading of the Wilderhill New Energy Global Innovation Index that tracks the performance of large energy stocks worldwide shows almost a 70 per cent drop between the start of 2008 and November. Below you can see for yourself the dismal daily PBW and cash flow trends in the last few months.

Three recent Royal College of Art students have brought to market an extraordinarily fun and fashionable product called Watson. Watson, seen below, monitors your household energy usage in real time and reminds you how you're doing with a real cost figure, and more subtle shades of green red and blue light.


As a professor of social entrepreneurship, I've long been on the lookout for books that could provide students with a concise but substantive introduction to the subject. Unfortunately, too much of what is available has a bit more cheerleading than is appropriate for an academic course--while helping social entrepreneurs feel good about themselves can be a valid goal, it's of limited utility to students who are looking for reliable guidance.

While social enterprise is typically described as a revolutionary youth movement, some of the most interesting social business strategy is emerging from so-called traditional charities.