By now, I think all of us would have heard about the case surrounding MH370 missing airline en-route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. 239 passengers were on board and if the news turned to be negative, this could be the most fatal airline incident since 2001. The first thing when I heard about the news is my heart and prayer goes to the passenger and their families, hoping that they are all well and safe.
Incidentally, Malaysian Airline (MAS) stocks have been hitting their all time low and it looks like the price is going to dip further when market opens tomorrow morning. The question is if you are an investor whether it is ethical to take opportunity of the stock (either buying or selling) in the midst of such a tragedy.
Ethical investing has always been a subjective topic. Many socially responsible investors want to invest in companies that lives their principles in life. However, it is not that simple to segregate companies that do so. For e.g, companies like Philip Morris (PM) and McDonald (McD) can be “harmful” in the eyes of some people in the way they provide their business/service to others. While the former is related to tobacco business, the latter is involved in providing meals that might contribute to the overall obesity of the Americans and the world today. So back to the earlier question, how ethical is it to take money off the table from companies in the midst of such tragedy that have gone through a rough patch just like the MH370 case we have encountered?
Well, the answer depends on the way you view the investment. Companies like PM, McD or MAS may have different ethical implications associated with their current situation. But companies like them can be well regulated and compliance to their business. For e.g, McDonald has launched several initiatives that helped to control the obesity of the Americans today by providing lighter calories meals to the poor and children in general. In the case of MAS, they have extended their assistance by providing families with priority travel to Kuala Lumpur the very next day of the incident. Many companies have even go to the extent of providing help and donations that matches the amount the public can give.
In conclusion, the number of ethical issues a company must contend is too broad to begin with. If we want to be very picky, we can find any ethical reasons in any companies we invest in. The purpose and objective of investing the ethical way depends on one’s needs and views of the situation. To the broad public in general, I urge everyone to pray hard for the passengers and families involved in the MH370 incident. May they be safe and well by the very next news we hear from them.
How do you view ethical investing play out in our society?