CSR Minute

Impact Investing Gets Boost from BlackRock Fund - The Minute

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The concept of impact investing has just received a big boost. BlackRock, the leading global money manager, has launched the BlackRock Impact U.S. Equity Fund. While the amount of the fund, $20 million, is a fraction of the $4.7 trillion that the firm manages, its symbolism is much larger, reports The Economist. It’s a strong vote of confidence in the idea of putting money into companies that are advancing social good while making a profit.

Canada’s New Government Offers a Re-set for Sustainable Development - The Minute

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Canada’s economy, more than most in the developed world, depends on its abundant natural resources. Water for hydropower, timber for paper and wood products, minerals for the mining and manufacturing industries, oil and gas for the energy sector, and fertile ground for its agriculture are the country’s principal economic building blocks.

Financial Sector Gets Green Light to Include ESG Factors in Investment Decisions - The Minute

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There’s more evidence that the mainstream financial sector is increasingly moving toward the integration of ESG issues into investment decisions.

Energy Update: Renewable Sources on the Rise

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The latest scorecard for U.S. energy sources shows that the country has made “substantial progress in reducing fossil fuel use and in moving to adopt more renewable energy sources.” That’s the summary of advocacy group the Natural Resources Defense Council in its recent report, “A Tectonic Shift in America’s Energy Landscape.”

India’s Mandated CSR Law: Early Results Are In - The Minute

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In 2013, India became the first country to mandate spending on CSR. The Companies Act requires qualifying companies to spend two percent of their average net profit for the past three years on development projects. Over 16,000 companies fall under the law’s standards, of a net worth of $76 million or a turnover of $150 million annually. Initial results are in, and it’s a mixed picture. Companies report CSR spending of almost $14 billion, but early analysis also shows most companies fell short of the two percent target.

New Building and Construction Materials: Back to the Future - The Minute

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Europe’s construction industry is looking at new building and construction materials, with the aim to cut carbon emissions and reduce energy consumption. The European ISOBIO project is researching sustainable materials to define the most effective materials, focus production on high-quality and credible insulation, and reduce overall costs.

New Technology Will Lead in Future Energy Efficiency Savings - The Minute

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Reduction in use has been the key driver in energy efficiency efforts, but that’s about to change. Energy savings from energy efficiency will increasingly be led by new technologies and practices, system optimization, and behavioral approaches. That’s the finding of a new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. The report, “New Horizons for Energy Efficiency: Major Opportunities to Reach Higher Electricity Savings by 2030,” analyzes 18 measures that could, collectively, save 22 percent of total projected energy use in 2030.

Building the Bottom Line Business Case for Sustainability in Healthcare - The Minute

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Healthcare organizations have been on the sustainability track for some time now. With its many large facilities, its purchases of vast numbers of goods and services, from equipment to energy, and its huge workforce, the healthcare sector has looked at sustainability as just common business sense. But with the revolutionary changes in business models caused by the Affordable Care Act, there’s an increasing need to quantify those sustainability practices in financial terms. Today, defining sustainability in healthcare is a bottom line necessity in reducing costs and improving ROI.

End of the Line for Corporate Business as Usual? - The Minute

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Has corporate business as usual reached its peak? That’s the implication of a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute, as reported in The Economist. On the one hand, the report finds that corporate profits have more than tripled from 1980, rising from 7.6 percent of global GDP to 10 percent, of which Western companies captured more than two-thirds. On the other hand, the report notes, there’s increased competition—there are more than twice as many multinationals operating today as in 1990.

CSR Strategies Affect the Value and Practice of Peer Firms - The Minute

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Peer behavior plays an important role in shaping companies’ CSR performance. That’s the finding of a new study that looks at how businesses react to their peers’ adoption of CSR practices. The study, Peer Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility by researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Singapore Management University, notes that companies do not operate in isolation. The authors examine how the competitive advantage gained by CSR strategies affect the practice and value of peer firms.

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