Ethical Funds Unveils 2009 Plan to Engage Major Corporations on Top Investor Concerns

    Oil Sands Tops Ethical Funds Focus List

    VANCOUVER, Oct. 22 /CNW/ - The Ethical Funds Company will engage more
than 40 Canadian and international corporations in the coming year to
encourage action to advance corporate sustainability, reduce portfolio risks
and increase share value.
    With the launch today of its 2009 Focus List, Ethical Funds outlines the
corporations and areas of focus for its Shareholder Action Program related to
key environmental, social and governance risks. Companies identified will be
asked to address one or more of the following issues:

    -   Fighting climate change
    -   Protecting biodiversity
    -   Safeguarding water
    -   Supporting human rights
    -   Eliminating sweatshop conditions
    -   Respecting indigenous rights and engaging communities
    -   Building corporate transparency
    -   Compensating executives based on their performance in addressing
        these issues

    "For 2009, investor risk in Canada's Oil Sands tops our list for
engagement," said Bob Walker, Vice President of Sustainability, The Ethical
Funds Company. "Oil and gas companies represent a significant portion of the
Toronto Stock Exchange and their approach to the mitigation of environmental
and social risk will impact our country's future - and potentially investors'
portfolios. Now is the time to be discussing these issues."
    The Ethical Funds Company's Shareholder Action Program is the largest of
its kind in Canada, and second in North America. This year's efforts will
build on a track record of successful corporate engagement that has included
encouraging Canada's five major banks to consider climate risk in corporate
lending; engaging Goldcorp on human rights issues at their mining sites; and
facilitating ongoing dialogue with information technology companies on
workplace conditions in the supply chain. The Shareholder Action Program is
poised to drive further positive change in the coming year.
    "We will highlight issues and disclose what we as investors will be doing
in the next year to engage some of the most influential companies on key
environmental, social and governance risks," said Walker.
    The Ethical Funds Company's sustainability researchers and analysts will
continue work with specific resource extraction companies and those involved
in retail of these products to ensure that biodiversity is safeguarded, human
rights are observed and the benefits of development activities flow to
impacted communities. Sweatshop conditions - including labour standards, child
labour and factory conditions - will also be a focus in the electronic and
apparel sectors. With all companies increased disclosure and the correlation
of executive compensation to performance on these issues will frame our
    The 2009 Focus List, including all companies for engagement along with
monthly updates on progress are available at:

    About The Ethical Funds Company

    Launched in 1992, The Ethical Funds Company is Canada's leading manager
of socially responsible mutual funds, delivering a successful track record of
combining financial performance with an objective of making good companies
better. Ethical Funds has Canada's largest team of sustainability analysts
focused on environmental, social and governance practices and evaluations. By
offering a full range of funds, Ethical Funds makes sustainable investing
accessible to all Canadians. Ethical Funds is a division of Northwest &
Ethical Investments LP.

For further information:

For further information: Alex Chapple, Public Relations, Hoggan &
Associates, Tel: (604) 742-4264

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