Sustainvest’s Annual Naughty and Nice List

As we all start to scuffle around town, buying BPA-free plastic presents and organic GMO-free liquor infused egg nog, Sustainvest thinks it’s an ideal time to list our top 4 naughty and top 4 nice corporate/investment entities (or people) of 2015. This should help bring up some lively family discussions around the holiday dinner table.
NAUGHTY
1. Morgan Stanley’s CEO James Gorman got the biggest pay hike of any Wall Street CEO last year boosting his pay by a third to a total $22.5 million. This is up from 2013’s $18 million. Considering that Morgan Stanley’s stock price is down about 18% in 2015 (as of 12/15/15), it may be time to reconsider Mr. Gorman’s salary and doing business with such a firm until these big banks come back to reality.
2. The drug is called Daraprim. The man responsible for increasing the price from $13.50 to $750 overnight was Martin Shkreli, founder and chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals. The CEO brought the annual cost of treatment for some patients to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The company is now facing an antitrust probe by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. That one stings doesn’t it Martin.
3. Dow Chemical and Dupont, giants of chemical and agricultural products, are finalizing a $130-billion merger that would be the 18th largest deal ever. The union would make DowDupont tops in the agrochemical market. The seed market is already dominated by Monsanto. With these 2 firms you are certainly creating a duopoly in the market, making it even tougher for the organic farmers to compete. Keep in mind, Dow was responsible for producing napalm and its subsidiary, Union Carbide, was responsible for the deaths of thousands in India in 1984 following a massive leak of a chemical used to make pesticide. Get ready for more GMO food on your plate! Yum Yum…
4. And last but certainly not least, we couldn’t forget Walmart. The CEO of Walmart, Doug McMillon earns more in 1 hour than some of his employees earn in a year. Mr.McMillons’ $19 million salary works out to about $365,000 per week . Not a bad day’s work. The stock is down about 30% for 2015 (as of 12/15/15). Doug, rightfully so, they may ask for some of that back.
NICE
1. Let’s give it up to those electric car drivers. Whether we know it or not, this is a game changer as we get gas guzzlers off the road and we rely on our homes (and offices) to power our vehicles through solar power. The Volt and Leaf were launched December 2010. The Volt sold over 100,000 after four years, 11 months, and the Leaf crossed 100,000 in January 2014 requiring just over three years, and leads the world now with around 200,000 as of this month.  Tesla recently sold its 100,000th Model S just three years and six months after the vehicle’s June 2012 launch.
2. Leonardo DiCaprio and over 2,000 individuals and 400 institutions have now committed to pulling their money from fossil fuel companies, together representing over $2.6 trillion of investments. A new analysis shows the value of the funds committed to selling off their investments in coal, oil and gas companies has rocketed 50-fold in the past year. Sustainvest clients should feel proud that they are part of this movement as good ol’ Leo is!
3. Many Walmart customers know Cynthia Murray. She’s worked for 15 years in the fitting room at a Maryland store helping shoppers decide what fits and what doesn’t. She recently stood before Walmart’s CEO and board in the big University of Arkansas arena in Arkansas to push forth her resolution which would require Walmart to disclose, for each pay grade and salary range: the proportion of men and women in each grade and range, the average hours worked by men and women and the average hourly wage rates. Murray is allowed to give a speech on such a big stage because she owns just over $2,000 worth of Walmart stock.
4. This year’s drought in California was quite the phenomena. What was amazing is the fact that the state and its Northern CA residents stepped up to meet the new water restriction rules. Almost 40 percent of urban water suppliers cut their water use dramatically, by 30 percent or more. The laggards that fell short were mainly in southern California with LA county actually increasing its water usage by about 8%. Those darn Hollywood folk, do they need to water their lawns so much!?
Happy Holidays from Sustainvest!!!

About Dale Wannen