A number of mutual funds and pension plans are investing in China’s thriving coal industry, the Associated Press reports. But unsafe worker conditions and pollution could create a backlash by socially responsible and sustainability investors.

One Chinese financial firm owns 80% of the largest coal company in China, China Shenhua Energy, but U.S. companies own the remaining 20%, including Fidelity, OppenheimerFunds and Merrill Lynch. Between July and September, the stock soared 65%, whereas one of the leading coal companies in the U.S., Peabody Energy, fell 3%.

For now, however, most environmental groups have only focused on U.S. firms’ investments domestically, but that will likely soon change, said Matt Leonard, a campaigner with the Rainforest Action Network.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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