From the Editor

Monday, November 23, 2015

The fast-changing world of responsible investment has a new player: the ETHO ETF Fund. Just launched on the New York Stock Exchange, it claims to be the world’s “first broad-based, diversified, and fossil-free exchange traded fund without exposure to the energy sector,” reports Business Green. The Fund is made up of equities from the Etho Climate Leadership Index that lists 400 "climate-efficient" companies across various sectors.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The European Commission has announced 195 energy infrastructure projects to make up the EU’s Energy Union, an effort to knit together the many separate national energy entities throughout the EU. The Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) will create an integrated energy market with diverse energy sources. The PCIs will also boost the levels of renewables on the grid, bringing down carbon emissions. €5.35 billion has been allocated to fund the proposed trans-European energy infrastructure.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Institutional investors are showing more interest in ESG data. While ESG has been on a steady climb up their priority list for several years, the idea has picked up speed recently, driven by several new developments, reports Pensions & Investments.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The first, tentative steps toward defining the use of the term “natural” on food labeling have been taken by the Food and Drug Administration.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

As a sustainability subject, building energy management systems (BEMs) may not be as sexy as hybrid cars, renewable energy sources, or LED light bulbs, but you can’t tell that to VCs.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The World Federation of Exchanges has released guidelines for ESG-related metrics that companies should release to investors. Companies listed on the Federation’s 64 global exchanges are urged to report on 30+ metrics to help investors in their decision making.

Monday, November 2, 2015

For those in the C-suite who think of transparency as a squishy, "feel good" concept, now there's a hard number that can be put to the cost of a lack of transparency at the bottom line: $60 billion. That's the drop in market value of Valeant, the pharmaceutical company, since August, when its accounting reporting began to be questioned.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

As more investors demand more sustainability information from companies, more businesses are disclosing sustainability data. In 2014, 75 percent of S&P 500 companies produced a CSR or sustainability report, compared to 20 percent in 2011. In response to this trend, nearly 75 percent of portfolio managers and analysts now include ESG factors in their investment decisions.

Monday, October 26, 2015

CR Magazine has published its fifth annual list of the Top 10 Best Corporate Citizens. You might ask, what’s with all the lists (and rankings, ratings, and awards), each with their own methodology, context, and agenda? A quick response is that they grab readers’ attention in this ADD age.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

I’ve been working my way through Green Giants, E. Freya Williams' fact-packed book of 288 pages about how nine large corporations are finding profits in sustainability. Williams chose subjects that each had $1 billion or more in annual U.S. revenues of products and/or services that included sustainability in their basic strategy. The nine are GE, Nike, Chipotle, Whole Foods, Tesla, IKEA, Unilever, Natura Brasil, and Toyota.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Two German car manufacturers are making major progress in the use of renewable energy. BMW is powering its plant in South Africa with biogas, a fuel created from dung and organic waste. According to Bloomberg, the facility will provide 25 to 30 percent of the electricity for the plant.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

At a time of many questions about youth failure to complete education and consequent youth unemployment, an equally obvious solution may have been overlooked: mentoring. Some 16 million American youth reach the age of 19 without ever having had a mentor of any kind, according to a study that EY co-authored with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. By taking a more proactive role in mentoring youth, businesses can support education while also creating a sustainable workforce for the future.

Monday, October 12, 2015

In the run-up to December’s climate change conference in Paris, CEOs and chairmen of 11 companies that generate one-third of the world’s electricity have signed a letter requesting “secure, stable, clear, consistent, and long-term policies” to support low-carbon energies.

Friday, October 9, 2015

$4.7 trillion: that’s the total of assets in the U.S. invested using ESG standards, an amount that grew eight times between 2012 and 2014. With this exponential growth has come a question about transparency. Financial Advisor reports on a recent study by US SIF, a nonprofit organization that represents U.S.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

In all the increasing talk about income inequality and what to do about it, a very basic solution to poverty with on-the-ground evidence to back up its premise has emerged: give cash to the poor.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The debate in the investment sector between maximizing returns versus consideration of ethics has taken an historic turn—as in eliminating “versus” and inserting “and,” according to Global Capital. That’s the summary of a report by the UN's Principles for Responsible Investment, based on 50 interviews with investors, lawyers, and regulators.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Coca-Cola and Pepsico are taking action to address climate change. Both companies have committed to reducing their dependence on high-carbon fuels, to increasing fuel efficiency in their vehicle fleets, and to becoming more transparent in reporting on progress. Their commitments join those from nineteen major companies to reduce or eliminate high-carbon fuels from their supply chains and/or environmental footprints.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

New research shows that Millennials are big supporters of CSR, more so than the overall U.S. population. That’s the conclusion of the  2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study. The numbers are emphatic. For example, more than nine in ten Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average).

Monday, September 21, 2015

Large companies have made more progress in reporting on environmental issues than on social responsibility. That’s the key finding of a three-year study by the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen, supported by the Economic and Social Research Council. The study reviewed 150 reports from large companies in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and other countries.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Two “expert” voices have just spoken up favorably about the future of solar power. Both statements come from very unexpected places. Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said, “I have no hesitation to predict in years to come solar will be the dominant backbone of our energy system, certainly of the electricity system.” Van Beurden went on to suggest that solar power is approaching a “crossover point” where it makes sense to invest in solar over coal, oil, and gas.