From the Editor

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The latest chapter in the unfolding Unilever saga has been published. An update in the Financial Times outlines CEO Paul Polman’s tale of pushback against a hostile takeover attempt by Kraft Heinz. It describes a classic struggle of long-term sustainability strategy vs. short-term focus on share price. Kraft Heinz, managed by 3G, a private equity firm, is known for severe cost cutting to produce immediate high returns.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Regular readers of Justmeans will recall several articles about how socially responsible investing is moving from its marginal niche into the wider universe of the investment sector. Increasingly, institutional investors, asset managers, and analysts are incorporating ESG factors into their decision-making. The US Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment estimates that now more than a fifth ($8.7trn) of the funds under professional management in America is screened on SRI criteria.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The tidal wave of predictions about next year’s trends has started landing in inboxes. One of the first to arrive so far is a list of top ten projections for healthcare in 2018 by Venrock Partners Bob Kocher and Bryan Roberts. The same authors’ predictions for 2017 were on the money eight out of ten of times—a success ratio of 80%. So what’s on the VC’s radar for next year? AI makes a large impact, the ACA is repaired (“finally”), Medicare Advantage plans gain in popularity, and big pharma gets bigger.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Institutional investors are pioneering another pathway in the still evolving field of socially responsible investing. “The recent launch of indices and funds offering smart beta incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations indicates there is investor appetite out there. .

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

In the Quietly Making Progressive News department . . . our eminently sensible neighbors to the north are engaging in innovative research into sustainable agriculture.

Monday, November 13, 2017

A $400 million “gender equality bond” issued by Australia’s QBE Insurance Group turned out to be beyond popular: applications of more than $8.25 billion were received for the offering. Adding to its “wow factor,” the QBE bond is the first-ever such bond to be issued in a G3 currency—US dollars, euro, and yen.

Friday, November 10, 2017

There’s general agreement that more progress needs to be made more quickly on addressing climate change. It’s a refrain often heard at COP23, now underway in Bonn, Germany. Where will the impetus come from? A just-released survey by GlobeScan and SustainAbility finds that solutions will be driven by the private sector and other non-national state actors.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sustainability is one big, baggy term for all sorts of practices and strategies. Generally, it stands for progressive efforts that include environmental, financial, and resource management as well as overall business model planning, to name just a few. When you drill down on to sustainability in a particular industry or sector, you get a much more specific definition.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

“We are still in,” the association that promotes action to address climate change within the Paris accord, gets a major shout out from an op-ed in the Washington Post by Christiana Figueres, the former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Monday, October 30, 2017

CDP has named 160 corporations to its annual A List as “the world’s businesses leading on environmental performance.” CDP’s list is attracting more buy-in: the number of companies reporting to its investor program has risen 33% since 2013. This surge is attributed to increased transparency and measurement of environmental action on the part of companies. In a measure of how the A List has grown in importance, reporting companies now represent 56% of global market capitalization.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Affordable Care Act continues to be a political—and now, practical—nightmare, thanks to blaring attacks and equally vocal support by different factions. Meanwhile, the health industry is quietly going about the business of continuing to innovate with new healthcare models. The latest good news comes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which reports nearly $50 million in savings from what is described as an “experiment” to keep nursing home residents out of inpatient care.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Are companies with more senior women more successful? Yes, argues Results at the Top: Using Gender Intelligence to Create Breakthrough Growth by Richard Nesbitt and Barbara Annis. Recent research confirms a pillar of the book’s claim—that businessmen with daughters are on point with this message.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The WSJ has published a downbeat assessment of CSR. The article cited a study showing that CEOs exiting Fortune 500 companies were 84% more likely to be fired if they invested strongly in good corporate citizenry yet recorded below par financial results than CEOs at poor performing companies that spent less on “do-good” initiatives.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A recent study finds that the cost of new ideas is rising, that more and more resources are required to produce breakthroughs, This data has led some to conclude that an era of economic revolution is over. Not so, says The Economist, citing the latest annual update from the World Economic Forum. Its ranking of global economic competitiveness records an upward tick for the US, from third to second place (behind only Switzerland).

Friday, October 13, 2017

I have just concluded panel moderating duties at the first Commit!Forum conference operated as a business unit of 3BL Media. At the MGM National Harbor resort in Washington D.C., I was privileged to interview some exemplary CEOs and later, to attend an awards ceremony that recognized their extraordinary leadership.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Until now, India was the prime example of a country where large companies are legally subject to mandated CSR. Now Belgium has stepped up with a new bill that requires large companies to disclose non-financial information. And, according to Lexology, if these companies are found to have not adopted any policies re. those matters, they will have to explain the reasons why.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

While the stalemate over the repeal or reform of the Affordable Care Act continues, with no end in sight, you might think that innovation in the healthcare field is also stalled. You’d be wrong if you did. Advances in information technology, increasing demands for patient choice, and the need to control costs are pushing innovative business models for healthcare, without Congressional action.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Readers of this space and the news on this website have seen editorial comments or articles titled something like “Large Companies See Payoffs in Sustainability.” This idea got a seal of mainstream media approval recently when the PBS “NewsHour” ran a story under that headline, as part of its series “Perils

Friday, September 29, 2017

Readers of this space and the news on this website have seen editorial comments or articles titled something like “Large Companies See Payoffs in Sustainability.” This idea got a seal of mainstream media approval recently when the PBS “NewsHour” ran a story under that headline, as part of its series “Perils

Monday, September 25, 2017

While President Trump stirs up a neo-Know Nothing ruckus about the rights of NFL players to protest on the field, business has been quietly doing just about the opposite. CEO in Action for Diversity and Inclusion™ is an initiative by over 150 CEOs to introduce programs about those subjects within the workplace.

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