When Facebook went shopping for renewable energy for its new Fort Worth, Texas data center, the company found a gap between idea and reality. With plenty of cash flow and a commitment to operate the 200 MW facility entirely on wind power, it took more than a year for the social media colossus to buy wind power sourcing, reports Wired. And that was in Texas, where it is easier to buy renewable energy directly, due to a deregulated market which bypasses state-owned utilities.
From the Editor
Lost in the recent uproar about Germany vs. Greece in their financial fight has been Germany’s progress in shifting to renewable energy.
Only five states make healthcare prices available to consumers in a transparent way (New Hampshire, Colorado, Maine, Vermont, and Virginia). That’s the finding in a report from the Health Care Incentives Improvements Institute and Catalyst for Payment Reform. Consumers have long been in the dark about the costs of healthcare, and that lack of clarity seems to be ongoing.
The terms “corporation” and “crowdsourcing” have appeared in the same sentence about as often as “corporation” and “entrepreneur”—which is to say, almost never. That’s about to change, according to The Drum. With its Foundry IDEAS initiative, Unilever hopes to connect its business to entrepreneurial strategies. The company invites its community to respond to “grand challenges” such as sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition that are posted to the website.
The Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is law nationwide has raised questions about health insurance practices by big business, reports Modern Healthcare. Under the Affordable Care Act, providers are required to offer married gay and lesbian couples the same health plans as those offered to married heterosexual couples.
“The battle for hearts and wallets, like the planet, is heating up,” concludes The Economist, in an article about the growing divestment campaign against energy companies that depend on fossil fuels. So far, 220 cities and institutions—including Stanford University’s $21 billion endowment—have divested holdings.
ESG-driven tools and products for investment continue to be developed by financial institutions to help investors, asset managers, and analysts more accurately define a company’s valuation. The most recent offering comes from Calvert Investments, which has launched a new initiative that it describes as “the next step” in the evolution of responsible investing.
The reasons for companies to be more sustainable are many: risk avoidance, consumer/society demand, cost savings from reductions in use of resources, lower costs of renewable energy, and a more motivated workforce. The final rationale is an enhanced bottom line with increased profits earned from sustainable strategies and practices. But the overarching principle could be summed up simply as good governance. Certainly, investors who are flocking to sustainable investments think so.
USA Today, the most widely circulated newspaper in the U.S., has discovered socially responsible investing. An “AdviceIQ” column gives an overview of the field for its large audience (average daily paid circulation: 1.8 million copies) in “Investing To Do Good.” Author Kimberly J.
In the U.S., we tend to think of Canadian companies as more like American firms than not, especially since so many are multinationals, and since so much Canadian business is closely integrated with U.S. markets.
The just-concluded G-7 meeting had many Big Issues on its agenda—Ukraine, sanctions against Russia, the overall stagnant European economy. Also on the list was an item about an unprecedented topic: supply chain standards. Globalization has brought heightened scrutiny to workers’ rights and environmental conditions in developing countries where goods for the world’s richer economies are produced. So far, business has taken the lead in addressing these issues.
Energy from wind is now the cheapest form of new electricity generation, thanks to a drop in costs of more than 50% over the past five years. Investment advisory The Motley Fool picks four companies as investment winners as wind energy continues to grow. GE sold 2,879 wind turbines in 2014, making it one of the largest manufacturers. Siemens continues to pioneer the manufacture of equipment for offshore wind farms. Vestas Wind Systems projects €7.5 billion in revenue this year.
Companies that view their employees as “human capital,” creators of bottom line value rather than as an expense to be managed as cheaply as possible, outperform the competition. That’s the finding of a study by Alex Edmans, a professor of finance at London Business School and Wharton. His paper, Does the Stock Market Fully Value Intangibles?
The EPA has issued a new rule that clarifies its authority under the Clean Water Act. This follows its proposed “Clean Power Plan regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal powered utility plants.
What are the most energy efficient cities in the country? If you guessed eco-pioneering San Francisco, Austin, or Portland, OR, you’re wrong. The list issued by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, as reported by Energy Manager Today, features three of the oldest US cities as the leaders: Boston, New York City, and Washington DC. The reason?
Here’s a meaningful statistical snapshot from a recent Forbes blog that indicates some measurable progress: today, 72 percent of companies in the S&P 500 Index publish sustainability reports; in 2011, that figure was 20 percent. This rapid rise in reporting is causing change where it really counts, in the measurement of supply chain practices.
John Elkington has a new gig. The man called “the dean of the corporate responsibility movement” for the last 30 years, and who coined the term “the triple bottom line” in 1994, has moved on to Volans, a future-focused business working at the intersection of the sustainability, entrepreneurship, and innovation movements.
The World Travel and Tourism Council is urging its member companies to adopt the reporting of ESG issues so that the sector can measure its impacts and its economic contributions.
A majority of the country’s leading healthcare executives supports the shift to a value-based reimbursement system, according to Modern Healthcare’s first CEO Power Panel survey. Of 55 CEO’s polled, 78% said the new business model of pay-for-results should take the place of the traditional fee-for-service method.
The latest example of the mainstream investment world discovering impact investing can be found in a recent Forbes blog. Kevin Mahn writes, “a growing number of investors are considering sustainable, impact, environmental and social responsible factors in the asset allocation decision making process.” Mahn reports those “growing numbers” in dollars as $6.57 trillion in the U.S.