Tag: Additional Articles

B Lab Announces Best for the World 2021 B Corps

B Lab Announces the Best For The World 2021 B Corps

Recognizing the companies globally that are operating at the highest level of stakeholder-driven businesses

In July, B Lab announces the Certified B Corporations (B Corps) that have achieved the distinction of Best for the World™ 2021 companies. B Lab’s Best for the World recognizes the B Corps globally whose B Impact Assessment (BIA) scores rank in the top five percent of their company size track across one or more of the five impact areas evaluated on the BIA—community, customers, environment, governance, and workers.

The Best for the World recognition is administered by B Lab, the global nonprofit network that certifies and mobilizes B Corps, which are for-profit companies that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Today there are more than 4,000 B Corps across 77 countries and 153 industries, unified by one common goal: transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet.

B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. The B Corp Certification doesn’t just evaluate a product or service, it assesses the overall positive impact of the company that stands behind it. Using the B Impact Assessment, B Lab evaluates how a company’s operations and business model impact its workers, community, environment, and customers. To achieve the B Corp Certification, a company must achieve a score of at least 80 points on the assessment.

“Best for the World is a special program for the B Corp community, and we’re thrilled to resume it after pausing the program in 2020 due to COVID-19,” said Juan Pablo Larenas, Executive Director of B Lab Global. “This year’s Best for the World companies are operating at the very top of their class, excelling in creating positive impact for their stakeholders, including their workers, communities, customers and the environment. We’re proud of the community of stakeholder-driven businesses we’ve cultivated over the last 15 years; together we’re marching toward our collective vision of an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economic system for all people and the planet.”

Best for the World-B-corp 2021

Close to 800 B Corps from more than 50 countries were named to the Best for the World 2021 lists, including 4G Capital, KeepCup, Natura, The Big Issue Group, TOMS, Too Good To Go, and Patagonia.

The Best for the World 2021 list is determined based on the verified B Impact Assessments of B Corps. Find the full list of 2021 recognized B Corps in the 5 different categories here.

 

About B Lab:  

B Lab is the nonprofit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. Our international network of organizations leads economic systems change to support our collective vision of an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy. We began in 2006 with the idea that a different kind of economy was not only possible, it was necessary–and that business could lead the way towards a new, stakeholder-driven model. We became known for certifying B Corporations, which are companies that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. But we do much more than that. We’re building the B Corp movement to change our economic system–and to do so, we must change the rules of the game. B Lab creates standards, policies, tools, and programs that shift the behavior, culture, and structure of capitalism. We mobilize the B Corp community towards collective action to address society’s most critical challenges. By harnessing the power of business, B Lab positively impacts 150 industries in 74 countries, helping them balance profit with purpose. Together, we are shifting our economic system from profiting only the few to benefiting all, from concentrating wealth and power to ensuring equity, from extraction to regeneration, and from prioritizing individualism to embracing interdependence. For more information, visit https://bcorporation.net/

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Food & Farming, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

Impax Asset Mgmt Engagement Report 2021

Impax Asset Management Engagement Report 2021

We are pleased to present our newest engagement report, which showcases the results of our global engagement activities in 2020.

In 2020, we executed 300 engagement meetings:

Impax 2021 Engagement Report - 73 focused on climate change

Our newest report showcases key milestones achieved through company engagements, including that of a Chinese water infrastructure and technology provider that is more aware of its physical climate risks due to our analysis of its exposures and ongoing dialogue, and that of an energy efficiency provider that is better poised to reap the many business benefits of a more diverse workplace by welcoming two female directors to its board of directors at our encouragement.

Impax buys company securities that we believe are well-positioned to add value over the long term, as we make the needed transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon economy. We expect the companies in which we invest to adapt intelligently to changing conditions, but no company is perfect, and sometimes we believe companies can do more to avoid the risks and embrace the opportunities associated with the transition to a more sustainable future.

Imapx 2021 Engagement Report-40 percent positive outcomes

Engagement helps us better understand the companies in which we invest, and it allows the companies to understand our decisions better; buy and sell decisions convey little information by themselves. Engagement also helps us determine how companies understand their own risk and opportunity landscapes and helps us improve our pricing of risks — particularly emerging ones such as physical climate risks and water availability. Finally, because companies that focus on environmental, social and governance factors often tend to outperform those that are less sustainably focused, successful engagements can at times make companies even better investments.1

This engagement report also includes commentary on how the global pandemic and social unrest changed engagement in 2020; details on the shareholder resolutions we filed — 67% of which we withdrew after successful dialogue with the companies in question; and our proxy voting record. We are one of the few firms that reads every word of the many proxies we review each year — they average 85 pages — and we vote on 100% of them.

In ShareAction’s “Voting Matters 2020” report,* Impax’s voting record ranked first out of 60 of the world’s largest asset managers on 102 shareholder resolutions on climate change, climate-related lobbying and social issues.

In Morningstar’s 2020 proxy voting report,** Impax’s support for key ESG resolutions exceeded the conventional funds’ average and sustainable funds’ average by wide margins.

The public policy realm of engagement kept us busy during 2020. This report details our efforts to influence outcomes that support solutions to environmental and social challenges, including:

  • our push for ambitious national action on climate change solutions in the UK and Europe,
  • our support for initiatives to “green” the financial system by introducing effective regulatory frameworks for sustainable finance,
  • our request for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require companies to disclose the precise locations of their significant assets so that investors, analysts and financial markets can better assess the physical risks they face connected with climate change,
  • our participation in the European Union’s effort to develop a regulatory framework for sustainable finance, and
  • our letter to the SEC opposing a proposed rule to significantly curtail shareholder resolutions.

Impact Asset Mgmt 2021 Engagement Report CoverBringing about change often seems to take a long, slow arc to completion, but with ice sheets collapsing, resources diminishing and inequality widening, there is new urgency to deliver the major changes needed to transition to a more sustainable economy and a growing recognition of the crucial role the financial sector can play in accelerating that transition. We are committed to helping shape this important work.

 

Article by Lisa Beauvilain and Julie Gorte, Ph.D.

Lisa Beauvilain, Head of Sustainability & ESG, Executive Director

Lisa is responsible for the development and oversight of Impax’s Sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) analysis, including overseeing stewardship work in the Listed Equity team. She is the Chair of Impax’s ESG, Sustainability Lens and Environmental Committees and also Co-Heads Impax’s impact investment work

Julie Gorte, Ph.D., Senior Vice President for Sustainable Investing

Julie Gorte is Senior Vice President for Sustainable Investing at Impax Asset Management LLC, the North American division of Impax Asset Management Group and investment adviser to Pax World Funds.

Footnotes:
[1] Julie Gorte, “The Financial Impact of Diversity,” Impax Asset Management, July 16, 2020.
* Jeanne Martin, Lauren Peacock, Martin Buttle, Rachel Hargreaves and Xavier Lerin, “Voting Matters 2020,” ShareAction, December 2020.
** Jackie Cook, Jon Hale, “Sustainable Fund Proxy Votes Show a Range of Support for ESG Measures,” Morningstar Research, December 2020. (Conventional funds defined by Morningstar as funds offered by the 20 largest U.S stock fund managers. Sustainable funds include open-ended and exchange-traded funds available in the U.S. that are tagged as “sustainable investments” by Morningstar.)

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

GSIA Releases Global Sustainable Investment Review 2020

GSIA Releases Global Sustainable Investment Review 2020

Key Findings

  • At the start of 2020, global sustainable investment assets under management (AUM) reached US$ 35.3 trillion, a 15 percent increase since the 2018 report (based on assets reported by the United States, EU, Australia/New Zealand, Canada and Japan).
  • Global sustainable investment AUM are 35.9 percent of total assets under management, up from 33.4 percent in 2018.
  • Sustainable investment AUM is largest in the United States with $17.1 trillion, followed by Europe ($12.0 trillion), Japan ($2.9 trillion), Canada ($2.4 trillion) and Australia/New Zealand ($906 billion).
  • Sustainable investment assets continued to grow in most regions, with Canada experiencing the largest increase in absolute terms over the past two years (48 percent growth), followed by the United States (42 percent growth), Japan (34 percent growth) and Australia/New Zealand (25 percent growth) from 2018 to 2020.
  • The most common sustainable investment strategy is ESG integration, followed by negative screening, corporate engagement and shareholder action, norms-based screening and sustainability-themed investment.

In mid-July 2021, the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA), of which US SIF is a founding member, released its biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review 2020, revealing an industry that has grown to US $35.3 trillion, up 15 percent since 2018. It now comprises 36 percent of all professionally managed assets globally.

The Global Sustainable Investment Review, now in its fifth edition, has become the most comprehensive report on the size, growth and dynamics of the global sustainable investment industry.

The 2020 report reveals how the growth of sustainable investment and trends varies by region. It also reveals that there is an increasing focus on moving the industry toward standards of best practice.

The United States and Europe represent more than 80 percent of global sustainable investment assets. The United States has the largest share of sustainable investment assets with $17.1 trillion, followed by Europe ($12.0 trillion), Japan ($2.9 trillion), Canada ($2.4 trillion) and Australia/New Zealand ($906 billion).

Canada experienced the largest increase in absolute terms over the past two years (48 percent growth), followed by the United States (42 percent growth), Japan (34 percent growth) and the Australia/New Zealand (25 percent growth). Europe reported a 13 percent decline in sustainable investment assets between 2018 to 2020 due to changes in the methodology from which European data is drawn for this year’s report. This change reflects a transition associated with the implementation of revised definitions of sustainable investment that the European Union has embedded into legislation as part of the European Sustainable Finance Action Plan.

ESG integration is now the most prevalent sustainable investment approach globally, affecting $25.2 trillion in assets, followed by negative/exclusionary screening, applied to $15.0 trillion in assets and corporate engagement/shareholder action with $10.1 trillion. In 2018 negative/exclusionary screening was reported as the most popular sustainable investment strategy. This shift towards ESG integration was particularly pronounced in Japan where ESG integration became the most common sustainable investment strategy, taking over from corporate engagement and shareholder action.

This year’s report also includes additional market insights from the United Kingdom, China and other areas of Asia, as well as Latin America and Africa.

“The Global Sustainable Investment Review 2020 reveals the continued interest in and growth of sustainable investment across multiple markets from 2018-2020,” said Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF and the US SIF Foundation. “In 2021, the Biden Administration’s policy priorities and investor desire to address economic and racial inequality as well as climate change, among other critical issues, have fostered additional interest in sustainable investment in the United States.”

“The Global Sustainable Investment Review 2020 demonstrates that sustainable investment is a major force shaping global capital markets, and, in turn is influencing companies and others seeking to raise capital in those global markets” said Simon O’Connor, Chair of the GSIA.

The US SIF Foundation and the GSIA are grateful for sponsorship from RBC Asset Management and Robeco for this edition of the Global Sustainable Investment Review. The US SIF Foundation also appreciates the sponsors of the Report on US Sustainable and Impact Investing Trends 2020, which provided the underlying US data for the GSIA report.

 

About the Global Sustainable Investment Review 2020
The Global Sustainable Investment Review 2020 is the fifth edition of this biennial report mapping the size, growth and dynamics of the global sustainable investment industry. This edition collates results from US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF), Japan Sustainable Investment Forum (JSIF), the Responsible Investment Association Canada (RIA Canada) and the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) and in the case of Europe (including the UK), from secondary industry data. All 2020 assets are reported as of 31 December 2019, except for Japan which reports as of 31 March 2020. The report also includes additional market insights from the United Kingdom, China as well as other parts of Asia, and across Latin America and Africa, to form a global picture of the sustainable investment industry.

About the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA)
The GSIA is a group of the world’s largest regional and national sustainable investment organizations that collaborate to deepen and expand the practice of sustainable investment. The GSIA is comprised of the sustainable investment membership organizations in the United States, Canada, Australasia, Japan, EU and the UK with a combined membership of many hundreds of investment organizations managing trillions of dollars of assets. The organizations in the GSIA have the deepest reach into the world’s largest sustainable investment markets, from retail to institutional investors.

About US SIF and the US SIF Foundation
US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the leading voice advancing sustainable and impact investing across all asset classes. Its mission is to rapidly shift investment practices toward sustainability, focusing on long-term investment and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts. US SIF members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, asset owners, research firms, financial planners and advisors, community investing organizations and non-profit associations.

 

US SIF is supported in its work by the US SIF Foundation, a 501(C)(3) organization that undertakes educational and research activities to advance the mission of US SIF.

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Food & Farming, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

Koehler Group Invests in Euro Circular Bioeconomy Fund

Koehler Group Invests in the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund

  • The European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF) has announced its third closing with significant financial commitments in order to reach its overall target of EUR 250 million
  • Koehler will be contributing EUR 5 million, with a focus on advancing new technologies and business models in view of expanding the circular economy and bioeconomy
  • The ECBF already counts companies such as Nestlé and Neste among its investors, as well as numerous private investors and family businesses

The Koehler group is investing in the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF) with the aim of actively fostering the development of sustainable innovations and technologies. The ECBF is the first growth investment fund to be dedicated exclusively to projects in the field of the bioeconomy in Europe, including the accompanying circular economy. With a targeted fund size of EUR 250 million, the ECBF is set to become an important international financial instrument and to contribute to making Europe climate-neutral by 2050. Koehler is investing a total of EUR 5 million.

Spotlight on Innovations and Business Models that Promote the Circular Economy

Koehler Paper entered the flexible packaging paper market in 2019 with a EUR 300 million investment in a new manufacturing line for this type of paper, making this the largest investment in the history of the over 210-year-old company. The intention is for flexible packaging paper with functions specific to particular applications to replace plastic packaging in future. As Dr. Stefan Karrer, Chief Operating Officer at Koehler, says: “Koehler is specifically developing new products that meet the sustainability objectives of both its customers and of society as a whole, thereby establishing a leading role in the bioeconomy.” In doing so, the company is also tapping into new markets, for example thanks to its plans to start manufacturing bio-based materials for the rubber industry.

The circular economy conserves natural resources, and is one of the prerequisites for reaching the EU’s climate objectives in order to become climate-neutral by 2050. The Koehler Group is currently working on a range of innovations with a focus on circular economy concepts. “When developing innovations, we not only make use of internal expertise, but also rely on collaborations and start-ups. Our involvement in the ECBF will hopefully help to ensure that targeted funding is provided for promising technological developments,” Dr. Karrer continues. This not only pertains to technologies for Koehler Paper, but also to a range of other activities and business models within the Koehler Group.

Participation in the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF): A Sustainable Investment

Participating in the ECBF represents a responsible and sustainable investment into a fund that, unlike many others, is focused on the long term. It works on the basis of a 10-year horizon, and concentrates on companies with growth potential in the bioeconomy, including the bio-based materials and industrial biotechnology sectors, in order to promote the circular economy through new technologies and innovations. How-ever, its contribution is not only a financial one: Its investors share their expertise at regular workshops on various market segments in order to identify promising target markets and investment opportunities for the ECBF. Koehler sees this as an opportunity to create synergies for the flexible packaging paper business area, for example in order to foster the development of bio-based barrier functions. However, the development of new business models based on the circular economy is also of paramount importance.

First Investments in Companies Already Made

Alongside Koehler, BÜFA and another private investor participated in the third closing of the ECBF. Michael Brandkamp, General Partner at ECBF Management GmbH is delighted by Koehler’s involvement: “What unites all of the investors in this fund is the desire to stimulate growth in innovative, bio-based companies and to promote solutions to pressing needs in the quest for sustainability. Thanks to its expertise in developing flexible packaging paper, Koehler is an asset to our fund and thus to the further development of the circular economy.” Together with the European Investment Bank (EIB) the ECBF, which has its headquarters in Luxembourg, has already made its first investments in companies. During the final phase of expansion, up to 25 companies with a high potential for innovation, and that are in an advanced stage of development, are set to receive funding.

 

About the Koehler Group

The Koehler Group was founded in 1807 and has been family-run from that moment to the present day. The group’s core business activity lies in the development and production of high-quality specialty paper. This includes—among others—thermal paper, playing cardboard, drinks coasters, fine paper, carbonless paper, recycled paper, decor paper, wood pulp board, sublimation paper, and also innovative specialty paper for the packaging industry since 2019. In Germany, the Koehler Group employs 2,500 people across five production sites, with three additional sites in the USA. The group has international operations, with exports of over 70% in 2020 and annual revenue of 770 million euros.

As an energy-intensive company, Koehler invests in renewable energy projects such as wind energy, hydropower, photovoltaics, and biomass. The Koehler Group has set a goal of producing more energy from renewable sources by 2030 than is required for its paper production operations.

About the ECBF

The European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF) invests in ambitious and visionary entrepreneurs and en-courages private and public investors to assist in the development of late-stage bioeconomy companies. The objective of the fund is to close the funding gap in the European bioeconomy, in particular in order to bring Europe’s first-class expertise in the field of circular technologies to the market. The ECBF is based in Luxembourg, is managed by Hauck & Aufhäuser Funds Services S.A. as Alternative Investment Fund Man-ager (AIFM) and is advised by an experienced investment team at ECBF Management GmbH. As a growth-stage venture capital fund, ECBF is able to offer both project financing and typical venture capital invest-ments.

The objective of the ECBF is to invest in the most promising investment targets in the European bioeconomy and to encourage private and public investors to participate in financing rounds.

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

12 Young Circular Economy Innovators-by Deonna Anderson-Climate Capital and Media

12 Young Circular Economy Innovators

By Deonna Anderson, GreenBiz / CIimate & Capital Media

Meet Circularity 21 Emerging Leaders, a group of 12 students and early-career professionals looking to drive the transition to a circular economy.

CCM Featured news for GreenMoney readersThe following article originally appeared on GreenBiz.com as part of Climate & Capital Media’s partnership with GreenBiz Group, a media and events company that accelerates the just transition to a clean economy.

 

When it comes to advancing a circular economy, innovators are working around the world with these three principles in mind — design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use and regenerate natural systems.

During GreenBiz Group’s Circularity 21 online event in June, multiple examples of this were discussed on the main stage. There were the giants Amazon and Apple. And there were the startups that competed during the Accelerate competition. But behind the scenes, there are even more people doing this important work, including the Circularity 21 Emerging Leaders, a group of 12 students and early-career professionals looking to drive the transition to a circular economy.

One of those emerging leaders is Arnaldo Perez-Negron, founder of Zerodelivs, a zero-waste delivery service startup that is looking for investment to scale. (And he happened to connect with a VC in his city during a networking break at the virtual event.)

“It’s very exciting stuff. It’s hard. It’s very difficult. It’s a lot more complicated than I ever imagined … but it’s a problem that I want to solve, and that’s why I’m tackling it,” Perez-Negron said during one of the post-event discussions.

After each day of Circularity 21 in June, the event’s cohort of emerging leaders gathered to discuss their takeaways and learnings from the day’s keynotes and breakout sessions.

In addition to discussing general perceptions, during the last day’s discussion, we zoomed out a bit, and I asked them what makes them excited about the circular economy as a whole and how they see their own work contributing to its acceleration.

Read excerpts from our post-event conversations with the 12 innovators — along with written responses for emerging leaders who weren’t able to attend the discussion. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

 

The Circularity 21 Emerging Innovators List

(in alphabetical order)

Arnaldo Perez-Negron – Sustainability and resiliency specialist, Pinellas County in Florida; CEO/founder, Zerodelivs

Cyrina Thomas – Change agent fellow, Black Girl Ventures; chief plastic officer, Precious Plastic Cincy

Drishti Masand – Analyst Lux Research; contributor, accelerating materials innovations team

George Amoh – Founder, Huri Movement

Jennifer Coronel – Incoming graduate student, Northwestern University; research assistant, Kellogg School of Management

Faith Edem – Policy analyst, Environment and Climate Change Canada

Calista Huynh – Graduate, Parsons School of Design, The New School; assistant account executive, Edelman

Michael Rojas – MBA in sustainability; intern, circular value chain management and commercial operations, Signify

Olanike Gbadamosi – Masters student, regenerative sustainability, University of Saskatchewan

Shaymae Senhaji – Recent BS in earth, society and environmental sustainability; consultant, circular economy projects, Plant Chicago

Sophia Wu – Recent UCLA graduate; intern, partnership and sustainability, Patch

Teja Chatty – Ph.D. student, innovation fellow, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College; internet, sustainability, Stanley Black & Decker

 

Article by Deonna Anderson is an award-winning journalist and senior editor at GreenBiz. Previously, she was the Surdna reporting fellow at YES! Magazine. She’s an alumna of UC Davis and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY

Reprinted with permission from Climate & Capital Media, a strategic partner with GreenMoney Journal

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Sustainable Business

3BL Media Announces 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2021

3BL Media Announces 100 Best Corporate Citizens

Owens Corning, General Mills and HP top annual U.S. ranking measuring environmental, social and governance (ESG) transparency and performance

3BL Media recently announced its annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking, recognizing leading environmental, social and governance (ESG) transparency and performance amongst the 1,000 largest U.S. public companies.

Owens Corning tops the ranking for the third consecutive year and is the first company ever to do so. Owens Corning is followed by General Mills, HP, Cisco, and Intel.

Since 2009, only 19 companies have made the ranking each year: 3M, Abbott, Accenture, Baxter, Bristol Myers-Squibb, Cisco, Colgate-Palmolive, Eaton, General Mills, Hess, IBM, Johnson Controls, Intel, Microsoft, Nike, PepsiCo, Gap, Weyerhaeuser, and Xerox.

Twenty-four companies are new to the 100 Best in 2021, 14 of which are appearing for the first time. The companies making their first appearance are: AptarGroup, The AES Corporation, ON Semiconductor, Crown Holdings, Prologis, Walmart, Marathon Petroleum, Host Hotels & Resorts, Walgreens Boots Alliance, LyondellBasell Industries, Boston Scientific Corporation, Regeneron, Essential Utilities and Kilroy Realty Corporation.

View the 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2021 ranking here.

“The next decade is pivotal if we are to achieve global climate and societal goals and rebuild an inclusive and resilient economy,” said Dave Armon, CEO of 3BL Media, which owns the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking. “Achieving these transformational outcomes depends on corporate leadership and transparency on ESG topics. Through 100 Best Corporate Citizens, 3BL Media has set a standard for transparency that advances corporate accountability.”

The 100 Best Corporate Citizens methodology is set by 3BL Media and based on 146 ESG transparency and performance factors across eight pillars: Climate Change; Employee Relations; Environment; ESG Performance; Finance; Governance; Human Rights; Stakeholders and Society. There are also several factors within the 2021 methodology that account for the response to the various social issues emerging during the pandemic.

Additionally, thanks to a partnership with InfluenceMap, an organization that maintains the world’s leading database of corporate lobbying on climate policy, the 2021 ranking ensures that ranked companies’ political actions are aligned with the Paris Agreement.

“In response to the many crises of 2020, the demands for corporate transparency, accountability and leadership have never been louder. Stakeholders at all levels are interested in how companies are engaging on issues from COVID-19 and climate change to systemic racism and voting rights,” Armon continued. “That is why we’ve moved to measure performance on these emergent issues and increase our scrutiny of political actions, to ensure that corporate citizenship is defined by both internal action and external lobbying efforts.”

To compile the ranking, data and information is obtained from public sources only, rather than questionnaires or company submissions. Research is conducted by ISS ESG, the responsible investment research arm of Institutional Shareholder Services. There is no fee or costs for companies to be assessed or to verify research by ISS ESG.

  

About the 100 Best Corporate Citizens

The 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking was first published in 1999 in Business Ethics Magazine and then by Corporate Responsibility Magazine from 2007 to 2019. 3BL Media has owned 100 Best Corporate Citizens since 2017 and continues the legacy of ranking the Russell 1000 Index against a set of ESG transparency and performance factors using only public data and information. Learn more here.

About 3BL Media
3BL Media delivers purpose-driven communications for the world’s leading companies. Our unrivaled distribution, editorial and leadership platforms inspire and support global sustainable business. Learn more
here.

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Food & Farming, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

Beyond Investing

Beyond Investing Expands Range of Animal-Friendly Investment Products

Launch of Europe Vegan Climate Index, Vegan World Index Certificate and US, UK and global vegan venture capital funds

In June 2021, Beyond Investing announced it is launching five new investment products in partnership with its affiliate Beyond Impact. The products are spread across both public and private markets, provide more options to investors, and further Beyond Investing’s mission of a world free of animal exploitation.

Beyond Investing is the world’s first and only vegan investment platform and the creator of the US Vegan Climate Index, launched in 2018 and tracked by the US Vegan Climate ETF (ticker: VEGN) since September 2019. Assets tracking the Index (which includes the recently launched US Vegan Climate Index Certificate) have grown to over $55 million. Beyond Impact has operated an impact venture capital vehicle investing in plant-based and alternative protein companies since 2017.

The five new investment products are:

  • Europe Vegan Climate Index
  • Vegan World Index Certificate
  • Beyond Impact vegan venture capital funds
    – Vegan Diversity Fund
    – Vegan Diversity S/EIS Fund
    – Beyond Impact Fund II

Europe Vegan Climate Index

The platform extends its range of large cap ESG stock indexes with the Europe Vegan Climate Index. This pan-European index applies the same policies as the US Vegan Climate Index.

Criteria for exclusion include:

  • Animal testing
  • Animal-derived products
  • Animals in sport and entertainment
  • Fossil fuel production
  • Energy production from fossil fuel
  • Other environmental concerns
  • Military and defense
  • Financing of excluded activities

These exclusions remove approximately 54% of the market capitalization of the Solactive GBS Developed Markets Europe Large & Mid Cap EUR Index.

The new index will be calculated real-time by Solactive and published on Bloomberg under the ticker “VEGANE” from 3rd June 2021.

Vegan World Index Certificate

In a collaboration with UK FCA-regulated specialist ESG manager Impact-Cubed it has created the Vegan World Index of global small to mid-cap growth companies producing plant-based and cruelty-free products. This will be available for investment through the launch of the Vegan World Index Certificate, which will be quoted on the Leonteq structured products platform from 15 June 2021.

The Vegan World Index applies the same exclusions as its Vegan Climate indexes, but instead of including all eligible companies in its universe, it proactively targets companies with products relevant to the trend away from the use of animals. Constituents will include not only headlining vegan companies such as Beyond Meat and the recently listed Oatly, but also more under-the-radar companies in Asia and the emerging markets in consumer products, food, agriculture, materials and ingredients sectors, which are part of the plant-based supply chain.

Beyond Impact Vegan Venture Capital Funds

Beyond Impact, with its specialism in animal-free impact investing, is launching three venture capital funds to provide seed and growth funding to entrepreneurs whose products and services obviate the use of animals. Beyond Impact has been an active investor in this space since 2017, its portfolio including some of the earliest rounds of cellular agriculture companies, like Mosa Meat and Blue Nalu, alternative protein, such as Geltor and Clara Foods, and plant-based brands, such has Meatless Farm and Mighty Pea, along with other companies who, since their initial investment, have gone on to raise 100s of millions of dollars.

Its Vegan Diversity Fund will launch on the Angelist platform on July 1st 2021 with the goal of seeding primarily US companies with diverse founding teams, to ensure a continuing stream of entrepreneurs entering the plant-based space, with innovative products that expand the range of vegan options available. A similar Vegan Diversity Fund is in the process of being launched in collaboration with Sapphire Capital Partners LLP, to provide seed and early-stage financing to diverse teams of UK founders, whilst taking advantage of the SEIS and EIS tax advantages available to qualifying UK-based investors.

Beyond Impact already boasts significantly better metrics for gender and racial diversity within its first vehicle than the venture capital industry as a whole, with close to half its current portfolio companies co-founded or led by a woman, and almost 40% co-founded or led by members of other minority groups.

Finally, Beyond Impact is launching a global flagship institutional fund, Beyond Impact Fund II, to continue its trailblazing strategy of investing in companies that accelerate our transition towards a kinder, cleaner, healthier world. This fund will participate in larger seed raises from start-ups with disruptive technology as well as providing follow-on funding to existing portfolio and other later stage companies to fuel their growth.

Claire Smith, CEO of Beyond Investing and CIO of Beyond Impact, brings 35 years of senior level finance and investment experience at UBS and alternatives advisory firm Albourne Partners, and, in this expansion of her venture capital activities, she is joined by four other professionals with expertise in food and agtech investing, food company operations, industrial processing and impact venture funds.

Smith founded Beyond Investing in 2017 with Larry Abele of Impact-Cubed and Lee Coates of Ethical Investors, to provide animal-friendly investment solutions for vegans and environmentalists within public listed markets. Beyond Impact directly invests in companies that provide superior, scalable and sustainable solutions to the social, environmental, and moral concerns associated with animal exploitation, providing market access and targeting substantial value to investors.

Comments Smith, “Unlike others, our expertise and investment experience extends across both public and private markets, particularly important since companies are moving rapidly through investment rounds and may have the opportunity to IPO. Through identifying exceptional entrepreneurs whose companies have the potential to grow quickly, we aim to have large-scale positive impact and produce superior returns to our investors. The more listed companies there are, the more complete our solution becomes in our public market portfolios, and we expect the universe of companies for the Vegan World Index to grow strongly in coming months and years.”

Beyond Investing and Beyond Impact claim to contribute to the achievement of 12 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, across themes of hunger, sustainability, climate, biodiversity, health, water, work, clean energy and gender equality. Metrics produced by Impact-Cubed demonstrate a 76% lower carbon footprint, 97% lower waste generation and 90% less water consumption by companies in its US Vegan Climate Index, versus the market benchmark S&P 500 Index.

 

About Beyond Investing

Beyond Investing is a vegan investment platform comprising Beyond Investing, a US-based registered investment adviser, Beyond Advisors, a Jersey-based research firm, and Beyond Impact Advisors a Swiss-based investment advisor. It is owned by three experienced investment professionals who follow a vegan lifestyle: CEO Claire Smith who has 35 years’ experience working in the finance industry at UBS and as a partner at Albourne in fund research; Lee Coates, OBE, of UK financial advisor Ethical Investors and founder of Cruelty Free Super in Australia; and Larry Abele, founder of Impact-Cubed, an FCA-regulated asset manager recognized for its leadership in ESG research and investing. Visit www.beyondinvesting.co for more information.

For more information on the US Vegan Climate ETF and important disclosures, please visit www.veganetf.com

For more information on the US Vegan Climate Index Certificate, please visit https://dynamiccapitalgroup.com/en/products/

For more information on the Vegan World Index Certificate, please visit https://structuredproducts-ch.leonteq.com/

For information on the Beyond Impact US Vegan Diversity Fund, please visit https://angel.co/v/back/beyond-impact-vegan-diversity-fund

The fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses must be considered carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other important information about the investment company, and it may be obtained by calling 1-800-617-0004 or visiting www.veganetf.com . Read it carefully before investing.

This list is only partial and these investments are not representative of the entire portfolio. Most early-stage investments fail. A complete list of past investments is available upon request.

Beyond Investing LLC is the adviser to the US Vegan Climate ETF. VEGN is distributed by Quasar Distributors, LLC.

Additional Articles, Food & Farming, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

Spider-inspired Silk company (Spintex) awarded $100k Ray of Hope Prize--Biomimicry Institute

Spider-Inspired Silk Company, Spintex, Awarded $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize

By mimicking how a spider spins silk at room temperature, Spintex creates high performance, sustainable textiles that are 1,000 times more efficient than an equivalent synthetic fiber.

The Biomimicry Institute is proud to announce the 2021 Ray of Hope Prize® award recipient is Spintex Engineering. Spintex is a University of Oxford spinout company that manufactures biodegradable textile fibers for use in fashion and high-performance material applications. As the 2021 Ray of Hope Prize recipient, Spintex has been awarded $100,000 in support of their groundbreaking work.

The Prize, created in honor of the late sustainable business pioneer Ray C. Anderson, is awarded each year to the world’s top nature-inspired startup after 10 finalist teams conclude a 10-week accelerator program. This year, Spintex and nine other participating companies were selected from a pool of 301 applicants from 49 countries. All participants in the program learned about sustainable business practices, met with industry and startup mentors, and refined their scientific communication skills.

While the program uniquely includes participants across industries, all are unified in their mission of creating products that mitigate, or even eliminate, the need for extractive practices, such as mining, and revitalize damaged ecosystems. By learning from nature, companies like Spintex are creating new products, materials, and processes that solve fundamental sustainability challenges.

Over the course of hundreds of millions of years, spiders have evolved the ability to create one of the world’s strongest and most adaptable materials—spider silk! The secret to a spider’s ability to create silk lies within their spinnerets, specialized organs that turn the liquid silk gel held in the spider’s abdomen into a solid thread. After years of research into this unique mechanism, Spintex has managed to mimic the spider’s amazing ability. The company has created a process to spin textile fibers from a liquid gel, at room temperature, with water and biodegradable textile fibers as the only outputs.

The textile industry is searching for sustainable technologies and solutions that will reduce waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution, and enable a circular economy. Spintex is uniquely positioned as a platform technology, to replace not only silk used in fashion, but also oil-derived synthetic fibers. They estimate that their process is 1,000 times more efficient than an equivalent synthetic fiber. As they scale, their goal is to expand upon their textile capabilities, creating high-performance textiles with properties, such as stretch and embedded color, all while creating biodegradable and non-bioaccumulating textiles.

“Going through the Ray of Hope program has been a fantastic experience. It’s been wonderful to see such a wide variety of great startups focused on using Nature’s lessons to build the future. All of us at Spintex are deeply honored to be selected as the winners of the 2021 prize and are so grateful for the opportunity given to us,” said Alex Greenhalgh, CEO and co-founder of Spintex.

The $25,000 runner-up is Aquammodate, a Swedish company that is creating water filtration systems, inspired by diatoms and aquaporin proteins. Their energy-efficient and selective technology produces high purity grade water in a single filter pass, desalination at any scale, and removes industrial pollutants and contaminants such as arsenic, microplastics, and pharmaceutical residues.

“A sustainable and closed-loop system exists in nature, and the Prize amplifies solutions that bring human designs into closer harmony with natural solutions,” said Jared Yarnall-Schane, Entrepreneurship Director at the Biomimicry Institute. This year’s cohort offers real examples of this nature-inspired approach, while also collectively taking on global sustainability challenges that represent billions of dollars of business opportunity.”

The 2021 Ray of Hope Prize was made possible by our generous partners, the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. For more information about the Ray of Hope Prize or how to support this initiative, visit  https://biomimicry.org/rayofhopeprize  or email rayofhopeprize@biomimicry.org

 

About the Biomimicry Institute

The Biomimicry Institute is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in 2006 that empowers people to seek nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet. To advance the solution process, the Institute offers AskNature.org, a free online tool that contains strategies found in nature and examples of ways they are used in design. It also hosts a Biomimicry Global Design Challenge and Youth Design Challenge to support project-based education; a Biomimicry Launchpad startup accelerator program; a Ray of Hope Prize® for developing companies to bring designs to market; and a Biomimicry Global Network that connects innovators across the world.

Additional Articles, Sustainable Business

Green Finance goes Mainstream-Lining up Trillions behind Global Energy Transition

Green Finance Goes Mainstream, Lining Up Trillions Behind Global Energy Transition

A wind turbine operated by Dominion Energy off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va. Photo by Julia Rendleman for The Wall Street Journal.

After years of intermittent excitement and fizzled expectations, environmental-oriented investing is no longer just a niche interest

Some of the world’s biggest companies and deepest-pocketed investors are lining up trillions of dollars to finance a shift away from fossil fuels. Assets in investment funds focused partly on the environment reached almost $2 trillion globally in the first quarter, more than tripling in three years. Investors are putting $3 billion a day into these funds. More than $5 billion worth of bonds and loans designed to fund green initiatives are now issued every day. The two biggest U.S. banks pledged $4 trillion in climate-oriented financing over the next decade.

“We’ve reached the tipping point and beyond,” said James Chapman, chief financial officer at Dominion Energy Inc., one of the country’s biggest utilities. Dominion, which has begun issuing green bonds, is planning to spend $26 billion or more on clean energy such as wind and solar in the next five years.

After years of intermittent excitement followed by fizzled expectations, green finance is now looking less like the niche interest of socially conscious investors and more like a sustainable gold rush. Driven by surging valuations for electric-vehicle companies such as Tesla Inc. and startup battery producers, banks and investors are betting the transition from fossil fuels is here to stay, and that they can make money by getting behind it, further entrenching the shift.

Behind the geyser of capital is a confluence of forces. Big money managers see opportunities for substantial profits, and they also worry about financial risks associated with climate change. Many of their clients—giant pension funds and fast-trading young investors alike—want to put their wallets behind projects that aim to curb environmental damage.

Read the full article by Scott Patterson and Amrith Ramkumar of the Wall Street Journal.

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

Architect William McDonough-Climate Change is a Design Project needing lots of attention-GreenMoney

Architect William McDonough – Climate Change is a Design Project Needing Lots of Attention

William McDonough + Partners’ Apex Plaza will be the tallest timber building on America’s eastern seaboard. Image courtesy of William McDonough + Partners

dezeen logoRemoving excess carbon from the atmosphere is a daunting but “very exciting” design challenge, according to sustainable-design guru William McDonough.

Describing climate change as a “design failure,” the American architect and designer said that solving it will involve “hundreds of technologies and systems.”

“It’s a design project needing lots of attention,” McDonough told Dezeen via a video call from his home in Virginia. “It’s very exciting to look at how many ways we can do this, but it’s daunting”.

The root of the problem is what McDonough describes as “fugitive carbon”. This is anthropogenic carbon in the atmosphere that “meets the description of a toxin: it’s the wrong material, wrong place, wrong dose, wrong duration.”

Cradle to Cradle-Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael BraungartThe educator and writer, whose seminal 2002 book Cradle to Cradle is regarded as the precursor to the circular design movement, turned his attention to carbon in 2016 when he wrote a ground-breaking article for the science journal Nature.

“Climate change is the result of breakdowns in the carbon cycle caused by us,” he wrote in the article, which was echoed in a speech given around the same time at the COP22 climate-change conference in Marrakech. “It is a design failure.”

Carbon is “an innocent element in all this”

He further set out his thinking in a blog post that called for “a new language for carbon“. This categorized carbon into three categories.

“Living carbon” moves through all living things in an endless cycle that makes life possible.

“Durable carbon” describes the earth’s carbon stores, including fossil reserves, limestone and long-lasting materials such as timber and recyclable polymers.

“Fugitive carbon” is carbon that mankind has taken from the first two categories and put into the atmosphere. The twin design challenges are to stop creating more of it while bringing the rest of it back to earth.

“The point I wanted to make there was that we had started referring to carbon as the enemy,” he explained. “It’s an innocent element in all this. I thought we needed a new language.”

“We are probably going to have to electrify everything”

Creating this new taxonomy allowed McDonough to start seeing atmospheric carbon as a design problem that could be solved.

“I see encouraging living carbon as positive behavior; doing carbon-neutral things as neutral behavior; and releasing carbon where it doesn’t as negative behavior,” he explained. “I tried to get the language straight enough so I can design with it.”

One part of the solution is to simply “stop burning… let’s not use the word fossil fuels,” he said. “Because it means we intend to burn it.”

Switching from fossil energy will involve “massive efficiency and massive adoption of renewables. We are probably going to have to electrify everything.”

Hydrogen could be used for heavier uses such as long-distance trucking and heavy industry, he said. Carbon-free ammonia, which has a higher energy density than hydrogen and is less volatile, could power shipping.

Humanity will need to adopt principles of circularity

To stop climate change, humanity will have to adapt the principles of circularity in order to capture fugitive carbon. McDonough describes the goal as the “circular carbon economy”.

This will involve “moving toward recyclates,” McDonough said, referring to materials that are capable of being recycled many times. “There’s going to be a big move to do chemical recycling of plastics to get them back to oil basically and start over. Plastics are an immensely useful thing, but not if they go fugitive.”

Biomaterials such as agricultural byproducts, bacteria and mycelium have huge potential too since they store large amounts of carbon.

The ultimate biomaterial is, of course, wood.

“I think it’s fundamental and it’s hugely important,” he said. “It’s critical because we need living wood in order to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. We need nature-based solutions to carbon in the atmosphere. And trees play a huge role in that.”

Mass-timber buildings are “coming very fast”

The use of timber as a construction material is “coming very fast,” he said, with cross-laminated timber, in particular, allowing architects to build high-performance mass-timber buildings, including tall structures.

William McDonough + Partners’ Apex Plaza headquarters for Apex Clean Energy, under construction in Charlottesville, will be the tallest timber building on America’s eastern seaboard when it completes later this year.

The eight-story CLT structure will have “a total potential carbon benefit of approximately 3,000 metric tons compared to traditional approaches,” according to William McDonough + Partners’ website.

Wood “holds up very well in fire too,” he explains. “Some people are surprised by that but wood will char before steel fails. High temperatures can take steel down long before a wood structure.”

 

Read the full interview with William McDonough by Marcus Fairs of Dezeen, the design and architecture publication based in London and New York.

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Sustainable Business

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