In 2017, the G&A Institute team is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the founding of our corporate sustainability consulting, counseling, advice and research firm. Many of us at G&A worked together in a prominent issues and crisis management consulting practice serving the Fortune 100 companies and many prominent multi-national businesses. Our former firm was acquired and the business was being wound down. And so, literally, in a garage with office space, G&A was launched.
The media establishment in Washington, DC is closely watching the signals as well as specific action taken by the Trump Administration and the 115th Congress that could or does affect the future of key government agencies whose mission and work directly/indirectly affects the mission and work of corporate sustainability and sustainable investing professionals.
Especially In focus: the US Environmental Protection Agency; the Department of Energy; the Department of the Interior; the Securities & Exchange Commission; the Department of Defense...and others.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman's rebuff of an unsolicited offer was an act in favor of business for good, but can corporate commitments to sustainability withstand shareholder demands?
Sustainability icon and Unilever CEO Paul Polman made his feelings crystal clear on the unsolicited merger offer last week by Kraft Heinz, backed by the Brazilian cost-cutters at 3G Capital and their partner Warren Buffett: the proposed deal, Unilever said, “had no merit, either financial or strategic.” Ouch.
Some of the most popular -- and valuable -- brands in the world are housed under the big umbrella of Unilever (and consider that the Anglo-Dutch parent company name itself is a valuable brand). Think Unilever brands: Dove (soap); Hellmanns (mayo); Lipton(tea); Breyer's (ice cream); and Ben & Jerry's (one of the great pioneers in CSR and purveyors of iconic ice creams).
The Barron's weekly newspaper is the "hot read" for Wall Streeters - both institutional and retail investors alike eagerly absorb the news and opinions of the editors, writers, and columnists. "Did you see Barron's....?" is a familiar question in the investment community.
It's an age-old topic of discussion: Where in American business do the issues of morality, ethical behaviors, and "fair and equitable" fit in? Andrew Winston, author of the best-selling "Green to Gold," explores the topic ("morality") in an essay on Sustainable Brands' "New Metrics" web platform.
State Street Corp is one of the world's leading asset managers, with US$2.47 trillion in AUM. State Street Global Advisors CEO Ron O'Hanley in late-January sent a message to the boards of directors of public companies whose stock is in State Street portfolios: SSGA is increasing focus on climate change, safety, workplace diversity and various other ESG issues. Especially climate change. Tell us more about what you are doing.
Welcome to 2017 -- Quo Vadis for Corporate Sustainability and Sustainable Investment for This New Year?
At the outset of the Year 2016 we were seeing so many (mostly) positive trends converging in a critical mass that spelled out "s-u-c-c-e-s-s-f-u-l" year ahead for sustainability professionals, whether they toiled in the corporate sector, in the capital markets, in NGO offices, in the public sector, and so on. In January 2016 we began to explore these trends one-by-one and in the collective, to develop commentary around the respective themes and developments.