Press Release by the Coalition against BAYER-dangers
August 1, 2001
CRITICAL SHAREHOLDERS EXPOSE "ETHICAL" INDEX FTSE4Good
The Association of Critical Shareholders in Germany calls the alleged "ethical" index FTSE4Good "extremely deceptive packaging". The criteria used in the index rely mainly on voluntary commitments and voluntary reports by companies instead of using data which was independently verified. The FTSE launches FTSE4Good, a family of ethical indices to „encourage socially responsible behaviour by stock market quoted companies“ on July 31.
"Companies which cause environmental risks like Bayer and BASF have been included in the index" says Henry Mathews from the German Critical Shareholders indignantly. Automobile companies like BMW and Volkswagen are "in principle not environmentally sound and should not be included in an ethical index". The same is true of the German airline Lufthansa.
The Coalition against BAYER-dangers (CBG) which has been monitoring Bayer for more than 20 years was not contacted by FTSE in advance. A request by CBG was answered: „These criteria do not cover every conceivable issue and clearly there may be issues surrounding a company that are outside the ftse4good criteria. If that is so, then that would not exclude them.“ FTSE is owned in equal parts by the London Stock Exchange and the Financial Times.
The Critical Shareholders stress that it is high time to put a stop to the misuse of terms like "ethical", "responsibility" and "sustainability". "Clearly", says Mathews, "standards for ethical investment must be developed requiring greater transparency, external verification and appropriate measures of performance."
The launch of the FTSE4Good index emphasizes this need - especially since the included Volkswagen AG is a good customer in the house of "imug" - a German institute which was involved in the rating of the German companies.