The Daily Mail got Ethic’s SEC filings just so they could criticize the Sussexes

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle speak at the 2021 Global Citizen Live Festival

Remember when the Duchess of Sussex had avocado toast and the Daily Mail said she was personally “fuelling human rights abuses, drought and murder”? Good times. I wondered when the Daily Mail and other dusty British outlets would find a similar angle for the Sussexes’ investment and impact-partnership with Ethic, which they announced this week. The British media was all set to focus on “Lilibet’s christening” this week, so it took them several days to find an argument for why Harry and Meghan’s ethical investing is terrible. Are you ready to hear why? Prepare yourselves. You might need to sit down. Harry and Meghan’s ethical investing is bad because Ethic actually has a diverse portfolio of investments in social media companies, Amazon, Tesla, Nike, Cadbury’s and pharmaceutical companies! HOW DARE THEY.

The ‘hippy’ Wall Street investment firm backed by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle owns tens of millions of dollars of shares in Twitter, Facebook and YouTube’s owner Google despite the couple decrying the ‘hate’ they have encountered online and their personal crusade against fake news. Ethic, where Harry and Meghan are ‘impact partners’, has pumped clients’ money into the world’s largest social media platforms alongside oil companies and the biggest corporations in America as part of its business managing $1.3billion of investments for around 1,000 wealthy clients.

Ethic’s financial filings reveal a long list of investments in American corporate giants, similar to the holdings of a traditional investment portfolio. These reveal that the $1.3 billion fund has $6.9 million in Facebook shares, a $2 million investment in Twitter and $32 million stake in Alphabet, the parent company of Google and YouTube.

Ethic’s filings with the US Securities and Exchange commission shows that it manages stock worth up to $45 million in Apple and millions of dollars more in corporates including Microsoft, Amazon, Coca Cola, Visa, Nike, and Tesla. The fund hold shares in multiple oil and gas companies, several airlines and many of the world’s biggest automotive manufacturers including General Motors, Honda and Toyota – despite Harry and Meghan’s green campaigning.

There are also $4 million of shares in US food giant Mondelez, the owner of Cadbury’s, who were accused in 2018 of destroying tens of thousands of hectares of orangutan rain forest habitat because of their palm oil suppliers. The Sussexes have both campaigned on forest conservation and the protection of endangered species. They also have shares in the pharmaceutical giants producing the world’s Covid-19 vaccines, who Harry and Meghan believe should give up the patents on their jabs.

[From The Daily Mail]

The Daily Mail truly went through Ethic’s SEC filings line by line. That’s how obsessed the DM is with finding something to criticize when it comes to Harry and Meghan. And let’s be clear: if the Sussexes had invested their money in just a regular old hedge-fund, the criticism would have been “how dare they invest in yadda yadda yadda.” If they kept all of their money in a bank, they would be criticized for using a bank which did something terrible years ago too. The most egregious part, for me, was this: “There are also $4 million of shares in US food giant Mondelez, the owner of Cadbury’s, who were accused in 2018 of destroying tens of thousands of hectares of orangutan rain forest habitat…” Why isn’t the headline about that?? “Meghan Markle’s ‘ethical’ investing destroys rainforest, orangutan habitat.” You know they wanted that to be the headline. Why did they choose the social media angle? You can criticize social media companies and still invest in them.

The only mildly critical thing I’ll say about Ethic and the Sussexes is that yes, of course when you call yourself an “ethical investment” firm, people are going to hold you to a higher ethical standard. I have no doubt that Ethic is making smarter and less dangerous investments than its competitors, but I also have no doubt that Ethic could be making even smarter choices. And that’s as far as I’ll go – I’m not playing the Mail’s game and no one else should either.

Meghan Markle looks stylish in a red velvet suit as she arrives at a Harlem elementary school

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit a elementary school in Harlem during their official visit to NYC

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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73 Responses to “The Daily Mail got Ethic’s SEC filings just so they could criticize the Sussexes”

  1. ThatsNotOkay says:

    So what the DM is saying, is that Ethic has invested less than one percent of its portfolio in all these companies combined. Got it.

    • Abby says:

      Exactly.

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      I expect nothing less of the Fai but I am very happy for all the free PR and marketing they are giving the Sussexes. Now everyone knows the name of the firm and the Sussexes once again show themeselves to be smart and strategic. The Fail will wade through the excrement of Archie’s Chick Inn given half the chance, if they think they can get a story out of it.

    • Emma says:

      Additionally, ethical investing (ESG) is a fairly nascent field. Not a lot of index funds out there that focus on animal welfare or climate change issues or LGBTQ+ rights (at least, that I have found). In general an individual consumer doesn’t have much power, but together (as Ethic is trying to bring about) we do! I obviously need a diversified portfolio, although I hesitate to invest in companies that don’t fit my values. But there is a genuine argument to be made that, by buying shares and voting, investors could make a push as shareholders to influence those companies to change for the better. The daily mail, as ever, only presents the most superficial, nastiest reading possible.

    • Ellen says:

      Sorry, I have to correct the math here… one percent of $1.3 billion is $13 million. The DM lists $90 million in investments plus an unspecified “millions more” invested in other corporate giants which is closer to 10% of the fund ($90 million / $1.3 billion = 7%).

    • Strawberry says:

      Well, not less than 1%. If you just add up just the numbers given in the article, you get 10%.

  2. Becks1 says:

    My god. These people are so obsessed with Harry and Meghan.

    Do an expose on how the royal family invests their money, if you’re so concerned.

    • Brit says:

      The longer Harry and Meghan thrive and stay out of the UK for long periods of time, the more desperate they become. I really do believe they are traumatized because nothing is breaking the Sussexes and they have nothing to hang over them. They tried everything. The Markles, threats, emotional blackmail and harassment. They’re stumped. Nobody cares about the DM.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      With Katie Price down for the count, The Daily Fail has no choice but to run stories on the Sussexes because no other person or couple generates 5K comments in less than three hours. When the Sussexes no longer generate comments which generates clicks, The Daily Fail will quit running stories on them.

      • Brit says:

        I don’t think it’s just about clicks. They’re angry with the Sussexes. Angry about them winning lawsuits, thriving in America and cutting them off and barely responding to their foolishness. They have no access, exclusives and no pictures that they can sell. They’re forced to get second hand news from America. They had all that and blew it.

      • Becks1 says:

        If it was just about clicks, they wouldn’t be paying bots to leave comments.

        And even if it were – its kind of a cycle – they write these articles whipping people into a frenzy (DM readers at least) over non-issues related to the Sussexes and because they’ve been doing it for so long at this point, a story about William and Kate meeting with schoolchildren is boring, DM readers don’t want that, they want to hear about how the Sussexes are EVIL and destroying the world.

        The DM absolutely has a choice here and to the extent that the DM just wants more clicks – well they made their bed. It’s not H&Ms fault the Cambridges are so boring.

        I bet a story about William and Kate’s separate lives would get a lot of clicks though.

      • BABSORIG says:

        I’ll shout this for the 100000th time, this is NOT about clicks. 90% on commenters on the DM are bots and/or their own staff.

      • Lp says:

        Yup it’s a combo of how dare the Sussexes not communicate with us, how dare they not play the game and also clicks means ad revenue. That’s why they were mad at piers Morgan’s articles about Meghan not being visible enough on google because it was cutting into their ad revenue on the site

      • MMadison says:

        It’s pure and simple ……HATE.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Gotta admit, I had to google what happened to Katie Price.

      • Lorelei says:

        @Becks this is one of the most astute things I’ve ever read about this ongoing sh!tshow:

        “its kind of a cycle – they write these articles whipping people into a frenzy (DM readers at least) over non-issues related to the Sussexes and because they’ve been doing it for so long at this point, a story about William and Kate meeting with schoolchildren is boring, DM readers don’t want that, they want to hear about how the Sussexes are EVIL and destroying the world.”

        👏👏👏

        My question is, how sustainable is this, long-term? Even if I thought Meghan was the Devil incarnate, I think I’d be tired of this constant Sussex-bashing every single damn day for years on end. Especially since so much of it is repetitive.

      • Mrs.Krabapple says:

        I kinda think the Sussex hate stories are sustainable? Because the people in the UK who hate them are also (even if they don’t want to admit it) FASCINATED by them. More so than the rest of the boring royal family, such that any detail about the Sussexes, no matter how small, will get their attention. It is not a healthy obsession, but it is still an obsession.

      • Becks1 says:

        I think MrsK is right, this is pretty sustainable, because Harry and Meghan are INTERESTING. Even the people who hate them have to admit they’re interesting or else they wouldn’t be so obsessed with them. They are surprising (we don’t know what they’re going to do next) and engaging and fun to watch. If those things weren’t true, the haters would have turned away a long time ago. Would you rather read an article going over every item in Meghan’s office, or Kate’s? Would you rather have Meghan’s wardrobe, or Kate’s? etc. And I think that spills over from the Sussex fans to the Cambridge fans, but they won’t admit it. Like MrsK said, they’re fascinated by the Sussexes, and unfortunately it sustains the hate.

    • Emma says:

      Right? Seriously!

      • Chaz says:

        The obsession also involves the interest in the Sussex’s children.
        No one is begging and pleading to see other royal children. All the manufactured outrage with Harry and Meghan’ s children is real interest that isn’t being satisfied. The haters are thirsty bitches!

  3. OriginalLala says:

    It’s not great that they are called “Ethic” while investing in companies that have huge ethical issues surrounding their business practices – the bigger issue is that, while we can try to invest ethically, capitalism is the root cause of so much inequality in the world, everything is a band-aid solution until we deal with capitalism.

    • NCWoman says:

      Capitalism isn’t the problem. Any economic system–capitalism, socialism, communism–fails when it has a stranglehold. This has been proven throughout history. The issue is that we need Controlled capitalism, capitalism with a distinct set of enforced rules. Unfettered capitalism destroys, but so does unfettered socialism. And some might say that if you want to promote change online, you and your friends could ethically invest in social media companies until you have a change-making voting block.

      • OriginalLala says:

        Capitalism *is* the problem right now because it’s unfettered with staggering inequality, it is destroying our planet, killing people, and rewards the worst qualities.

      • GraceB says:

        I completely agree @OriginalLala. Capitalism, just like any other system needs to be kept in check, but by it’s very nature, it’s almost impossible to do so. It’s ultimately driven by individualism, which promotes greed and, as you said, the worst qualities.

        I guessed it wouldn’t be long before the DM started digging up dirt on this company, now that it was linked to the Sussex’s, and it will be interesting to see how this plays out because ultimately people with money are generally concerned about making more of it.

        When there is so much corruption, how can you play by an ethical set of rules and still win? I’d like to believe it’s possible, but I’m not sure and you can bet if there is any level of shadiness with this company, now or in the future, the DM will put everything into uncovering it.

    • WithTheAmerican says:

      This. Also, If H and M pushing ethical investing gets others in the top 1% to shift to more ethical investing, that will have an impact because companies will have to change their practices to get investment money.

      So, actually, good on H and M.

      For real equity we have to dismantle capitalism and that’s not happening any time soon. If the Brits feel so strongly about it maybe they can start with their monarchy, which is built on even worse and more damaging premises than toxic capitalism.

    • Nina says:

      We don’t need to invest sliced bread here. We just need to copy or improve on what Scandinavian or Benelux countries are doing. Or even Germany. Those are very strong and successful economies but with wide range of benefits to support people and communities. It’s not unheard of

      • Emma says:

        100%. There is no reason, for example, we couldn’t have months of parental leave or state-provided daycare or universal healthcare… most developed nations today do! We are actually an anomaly among wealthy nations in our lack of basic benefits.

    • Millenial says:

      I actually agree. It’s not a great look to brag about ethical investing and actually be invested in Alphabet (Google) and Amazon. I think I assumed that the fund would be investing in solar energy, organic farming, ethically made clothing, etc…

      • Snuffles says:

        How do you know it isn’t? They listed a small percentage of its investments and purposely left out the rest.

      • L4frimaire says:

        Google just formed a partnership with Travalyst, which is Harry’s initiative, so they are obviously fine with Google. Don’t assume that what they are comfortable with is going to match you exactly. Also, once you invest in a corporation, you get to have a say in their practices. I think this is a good start for them, they probably look t a lo5 of funds before landing on this, not everything or everyone they work with is going to be as perfect as some people expect them to be.

    • Sarah says:

      OriginalLala, I agree. I’ve been reading the book Winners Take All (highly recommend) and thinking about it every time I read about H&M. I admire them and believe they truly want to make a difference, and all their ventures seem great to me—caveat being, great within the current system of extreme capitalism, so not great in that they are in many ways perpetuating the way the wealthy, not the People, determine how our world changes. Non-rhetorical question, how could they actually use their wealth and power to help dismantle the system?

    • yokoohno says:

      Thank you OriginalLala, I totally agree, capitalism is the real problem here. At the very least I would much prefer a social democracy compared to the constitutional monarchy we have now (Can). Late stage capitalism is death for this planet.

      Ps I really loved that red pantsuit outfit on Meghan. I know a lot of people here didn’t, but I love it on her and would totally wear it myself. Yes I hate capitalism and love clothes, what you gonna do

  4. Brit says:

    It’s funny and predictable at this point. The Daily Mail and others wanted them to fail so badly and they want to intimidate or harass people into not working with them. All of these are multi billion dollar companies and its going to take more than tabloid hacks to destroy them. They tried it with Clever blends, Netflix, Spotify, Oprah, fashion designers etc. They have no power or influence over the Sussexes and it’s not stopping anyone from working with them. It’s beyond desperate at this point.

  5. Noki says:

    Who has worked in a newspaper here ? Who is the the idiot in charge that signs off on these stories? I feel sorry for some of these journalists,wasting their talensts and they must feel stupid being told ‘give me 500 words on Meghan and avocados’.

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      I don’t feel sorry for the journos. They created very toxic Facebook and whatsapp groups for the purpose of bashing and smearing Meghan in particular. Their paymasters did not tell them to do that. They deserve to be starved of anything Sussex related.

      • Lorelei says:

        @ElizabethRegina, seriously? How do we know the groups were created by them? (I am not doubting you at all, I totally believe you, just curious!) It’s exactly the kind of petty BS these people have been resorting to.

        How sad to think that at one point, so many of these people probably dreamed of growing up to become journalists, inspired by Woodward and Bernstein, and now they’re doing…this. Spending 99% of their time trashing a young family a continent away. Their parents must be so proud.

    • Nina says:

      Ex journalist here. The editors are usually pushing the narrative and a journalist has to find stories that go with that narrative. Some of those journalists are miserable and suffering, like I was and that’s why I quit the industry. Some of journalists are just as toxic as editors and are thriving in this system. Those are the ones getting promotions, pay raises and screen time. It’s a very toxic system

      • WithTheAmerican says:

        Yep here in America journalists have to toe the corporate line and both sides everything to death and then drive around to find a trump loser to interview while ignoring BLM and more because nothing sells like white people crying.

  6. Cessily says:

    By now I think it is safe to say that companies weigh the tabloid trash influence vs the Sussex’s influence and the Sussex’s win. I like that this company gives you the information and options to invest with a more ethical and look at a company beyond just profit, but profit at what cost to the world, or others.
    Eventually these targeted hit piece articles are going to go to far and they are going to be on the receiving end of a multi million dollar defamation suit. They are not just targeting The D&DoS but everyone that comes into their circle whether professionally or personally and I do not see going unchecked.

    • Brit says:

      Exactly. The DM and BM are now putting money in Harry and Meghan’s pockets by constantly making a fit over everything they do. They are helping to give them opportunities by these companies and foundations. Meanwhile, they’re stuck over there with boring, bland royals and are practically begging the Sussexes to come back because they’re so desperate.

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      Ethical investing and purpose driven investing are now being taught in business schools. I’d say overall, the trashy tabloid noise over everything the Sussexes do is now seen as free PR and marketing.

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      I agree. I also have a feeling that with the Sussexes interest in the spread of misinformation and of lies along with the power base and connections they are building, a class action may emerge sometime in the future. The tabloids keep shooting themeselves in the foot by laying a trail of evidence sky high.

  7. MsIam says:

    Why doesn’t the Daily Fail report on what’s going on in the Isle of Jersey if they are so concerned about ethics? And didn’t they lose a court case recently involving unethical behavior regarding someone’s private letter? Hmm?

  8. Paloma says:

    Well car companies are “bad” in a way I guess but most people choose to use a car and they’re also you know, creating hybrid and electric cars so they are going the right way. Social media, is bad but i don’t blame its investors. Coca-Cola is the bad one here as they are already committed to sponsoring Beijing’s Olympics despite the genocide on tibetans and Muslims in china’s 2 largest provinces, and everything else China is doing to the world.

  9. Nic919 says:

    They have a tax payer funded family making investments in the dodgiest schemes ever including off shore tax havens and dealing with dictators and they continually fail to report on that.

  10. Amy Bee says:

    The Daily Mail is owned by a tax dodging aristocrat whose father was a Nazi sympathizer. So yeah we’re not playing this game. Who knows maybe Harry and Meghan will convince Ethic to divest some of those shares. It’s also important to note that Harry and Meghan never said that social media was bad but that they could do a better job at regulating hate speech and misinformation. They never said that they were boycotting social media because if that was the case they would not let the organizations that they work with post online about them. They just said for now they are not going to use it themselves.

  11. Over it says:

    All I got from this meltdown, is that the British media is starving, while Harry and Meghan are thriving

  12. Chelsea says:

    If I’m understanding Ethic’s business model right it is not that they won’t let their clients invest in thess type of corporations but that they will peovide their clients with metrics on sustainability to weigh when choosing where they invest. Its a FINTECH firm; the product is the technology and advisors that help their clients make financial decisions.

    Now if someone had information about them giving one of the mentioned companies an A rating or something that’d be more of a story but I’m not sure this one is. This just seems like the Fail woefully(and probably purposefully) misunderstanding what this business actually does.

    • Sofia says:

      Thanks for this. I’m not very educated with hedge funds (I know I should be) so I’m still trying to wrap my head around it in general but this comment helps out a bit especially explaining the fintech stuff.

    • L4frimaire says:

      Very few of us are educated in this, which is why the stock market can grow while the middle class is shrinking. We invest in funds and have very little idea which companies are behind it. If nothing else it’s starting a conversation and those of us who thought these type of things are too fancy, to quote Meghan, will pay more attention to it now.

  13. STRIPE says:

    Let’s be reality based here: a lot those companies are not at all on brand with ethical investing, period.

    *However,* maybe they are investing in them to keep the portfolio stable/growing so they can safely invest in more mission focused companies (that may not workout) without losing all of their clients’ money.

    Balancing risky and conservative choices is a sound investment strategy.

  14. aquarius64 says:

    The BM is mad because it has no power to ruin the Sussexes and the whole world sees it. Harry and Meghan are practically Teflon at this point. The media hacks are showing themselves as the journalism school rejects they are.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ aquarius64m that is spot on!! Harry and Meghan are Teflon! The Fail can run as many hate driven articles as they want, they will never again have access to Harry and Meghan. On top of losing their prime lamb for slaughter, they have to create and maintain the hate campaign, no matter how lunacy is involved. All while Harry and Meghan are living their lives together in a peaceful, fulfilling and loving environment. They are perfectly happy sitting under the trees of their home as they play with their beautiful children!! 😊

  15. Deeanna says:

    Oh forgodsake! It’s “hippie”, not “hippy”. Dunces.

  16. elizabeth says:

    There’s a great article at Vox about ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) investing and how it’s basically the Wild West. https://www.vox.com/the-goods/22714761/esg-investing-divestment-fossil-fuels-climate-401k

    • that booboocita says:

      Fascinating and useful read, @Elizabeth. Thanks!

      I have to believe that H & M have financial advisors — good ones. People who know their way around a balance sheet, a prospectus, and other financial documents. I’m positive that those advisors vetted Ethic up, down, and sideways. Does that mean that Ethic is 100% ethical, on all matters (whatever that looks like)? Probably not. Is it one of the best or most committed of available ESG funds, at least as far as H & M can tell? I’d be willing to guess yes.

      H & M have to know by now that their every move will be picked apart by the British tabloids. And as we’ve all seen, they’re deeply committed to service and ethical practice, and everything they do appears to be intentional. They wouldn’t have hooked up with Ethic if they hadn’t done their homework, so to speak.

  17. Jodi says:

    Im sorry but until the Fail decides to spend as much time being outraged by the Queen’s favorite son who is linked to human trafficking, i don’t want to hear it. it’s nothing more than a hate campaign and continued harrassment

  18. MerryGirl says:

    Waiting for the Fail to go through the Queen’s and Charles’ investments (both on and offshore) with a fine tooth comb.

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      Right. I would be interested to see what, if any, media/newspaper investments they have.

      Does anyone know if this buyout has happened yet? It is pretty scary the percentage of a few people that control the UK(especially) media.

      https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/12/media/daily-mail-private-rothermere-deal/index.html

      Maybe the Daily Fallacy could look into ethical journalism.

      • ElleE says:

        “the aristocratic Rothermere family “ owns the DM? Do we have any idea why this family
        hates Harry & Meghan so much?

        (Did the DM consider the possibility that Ethic just wants to end rainforests and tie investment in Cadbury was no accident? I try not to judge -ha!)

  19. Eurydice says:

    Part of ethical investing is being able to pressure corporations into making more ethical choices – it’s hard to do that if you’re not a shareholder. The way we used to do it as managers of one huge and publicity shy client – no loans (meaning bonds) to countries with human rights violations, no stocks of defense companies that sell to problem governments (a difficult thing to figure out), no stocks of companies that clearly make a destructive product (like cigarettes), and the rest was voting as shareholders to steer companies to more ethical paths.

  20. MsIam says:

    Even the Fail admitted investors can opt out if they disagree with investing in a particular industry or company. And “green campaigning” isn’t about eliminating industries but require them to be more environmentally responsible.

  21. Lizzie says:

    Mondelez buys Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPCO) now, but I cannot speak to several years ago.

  22. Aurelia says:

    Since when is big pharma and Amazon ethical ? I have no respect for Proctor & Gamble either. Maybe they can invest in Monsanto next.

  23. Likeyoucare says:

    I hope DM told lots of lies about ETHIC company.
    And then the company can sue them the hell out.

  24. blunt talker says:

    The poster above stated it best-let the British tabloids keep spewing lies and smears-the big companies like Ethics can come calling in court-Keep on talking tabbies.

  25. phlyfiremama says:

    But let me guess, no information was requested about Charles’ shady “charity”, huh??!! No one looking for THAT information and THOSE documents?? Hmmm.

  26. Sophie says:

    If only DF were THAT thorough when scrutinising the government! That’s all I have to say on the matter

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