Thursday, January 17, 2008

Faith-Based Indexes on Dow: For Hinduism and Buddhism

The Prime Newswire reports that Dow Jones Indexes and Dharma Investments, a leading private investment firm pioneering the development of faith-based investment have launched the Dow Jones Dharma Indexes. The new indexes measure the performance of companies selected according to the value systems and principles of Dharmic religions, especially Hinduism and Buddhism.

The report adds:

“To be included in the Dow Jones Dharma Indexes, stocks must pass a set of industry, environmental, corporate governance and qualitative screens for Dharmic compliance.

Industry screens include unacceptable sectors and business practices. Environmental screens take account of a company's impact or policies with respect to emissions, climate change and carbon footprint analysis, oil and chemical spills and waste management and recycling. Corporate Governance screens comprise the handling of labor relations/disputes/discrimination allegations, human rights violations, working conditions/wages.

Excluded from the index are companies from sectors that are deemed unacceptable due to the nature of their business activities and operations. Excluded are also companies that have exposure to unacceptable business practices. Some examples of unacceptable sectors are aerospace and defense, brewers, casinos and gaming, pharmaceuticals, tobacco. Some examples for unacceptable business practices are alcohol, adult entertainment, animal testing and genetic modification of agricultural products.”

That does take the concepts of corporate governance, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and socially responsible investing (SRI) to a new level.

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