Tag: Energy & Climate

Wildlife Works Launches Everland To Accelerate High Impact Forest Conservation Projects That Fight Climate Change

Wildlife Works announced in July the launch of Everland LLC, a specialized marketing company representing an established group of high-impact forest conservation projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America that have successfully stopped deforestation by applying REDD+, a performance-based mechanism, to conserve highly threatened forests.

REDD+ is an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, a UN-envisioned Climate Change mitigation strategy designed to protect forests that would otherwise be destroyed and thereby avoid the release of CO2 emissions that harm the environment.

The destruction of forests is the second largest source of CO2 emissions accounting for over 7B tonnes of CO2 released each year, more than the entire global transportation sector.

Everland anticipates that its collective portfolio of forest conservation projects will significantly contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals through the protection of 3.5M hectares of the most important and vulnerable forests in the world.

The company will market REDD+ projects that reduce 25M tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, create more than 2,000 jobs and bring millions of dollars and significant benefits to over a million local community members. In addition, the projects protect habitat for many endangered species including elephants, lions, cheetahs, tigers, gorillas, orangutan and bonobos.

REDD+ is the fastest, most cost effective initiative that can be done right now to combat climate change,” said Mike Korchinsky, founder and president of Wildlife Works. “Through Everland we will establish a formidable marketing team located in key markets across the globe to provide Wildlife Works and other REDD+ project developers like us with access to a wide range of market channels and sales contracts,” said Korchinsky.

Revenues from sales make it possible for REDD+ projects to finance conservation work on-the-ground where local landowners and communities are adequately rewarded for avoiding deforestation now and for the long-term.

Gerald Prolman who led Wildlife Works business development team for the past nine years has been named president of Everland. The company is headquartered in New York City. Pamela Brazier, Wildlife Works head of business development for Europe, based in London, has been named Everland s Vice President of Business Development for Europe.

We are ready to get to work to bring greatly needed capital to real climate heroes who have gone to extreme measures to protect forests,” said Gerald Prolman, President of Everland.

Everland will make it easy for businesses to support REDD+ projects by providing them with project due diligence, impact reporting, engaging content and digital tools to efficiently integrate sustainability into their business models.

Through successful sales we have the potential to create local sustainable economies that will serve forest communities well beyond carbon markets,” said Prolman.

For more information contact:

PR@everlandmarketing.com and visit- http://www.everlandmarketing.com

 

About Everland

Everland is a specialized marketing company representing forest conservation projects across the globe that protect wildlife and enhance the well-being of local forest communities.

Everland provides REDD+ project developers with access to a wide range of market channels and generates sales contracts. This makes it possible to finance the conservation work they do where local landowners and communities are adequately rewarded for avoiding deforestation now and for the long-term. Everland helps businesses achieve and convey their sustainability (emission reduction) and CSR commitments as well as gain value from their purchase of REDD+ Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) by providing project due diligence, verified impacts, assured delivery, marketing support and digital tools to efficiently integrate sustainability into their business models.

About Wildlife Works

Wildlife Works, established in 1997, is a for-profit private company based in Mill Valley, California committed to bringing marketplace initiatives into the fight to protect the planet s threatened forests and the magnificent species that call them home.

The company is a recognized leader in the REDD+ sector and is the first company in the world to achieve verification of a REDD+ project under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB).

Wildlife Works developed and manages REDD+ projects in Kenya and The Democratic Republic of the Congo that protect 1.24M acres of forest, reducing over five million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Wildlife Works protects threatened forests, the wildlife that live in them and provides communities with a sustainable and transformative development path.

About REDD+

REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a climate change mitigation strategy envisioned by the United Nations. REDD+ places a value on a standing forest as a key element in a plan to avoid continued deforestation.

By making forests more valuable standing than cut down, REDD+ provides forest communities and countries with a model for economic development where both people and the planet can benefit.

The value is represented by Verified Emission Reduction (VER) units. VERs are also known as offsets or carbon credits. Each VER equals one tonne of carbon dioxide that was prevented from being released into the atmosphere as a result of a REDD+ project s conservation plan.

REDD+ developers quantify the amount of greenhouse gas emissions reduced through their activities. Under rigorous environmental and social standards their work is independently verified by international auditors. Upon a successful verification the project is issued VERs.

VERs are purchased by progressive corporations who voluntarily elect to reduce their unavoidable emissions. Proceeds from VER sales are reinvested in green economic development for the forest communities.

REDD+ projects deliver unprecedented environmental and social benefits to seriously impoverished forest communities that are in desperate need of change.

The destruction of forests is the second largest source of CO2 emissions accounting for over 7B tonnes of CO2 released each year, more than the entire global transportation sector.

The Paris Climate Agreement signed by 196 countries in December 2015 aims to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Paris Agreement recognized REDD+ emission reductions to be on par with any other compliance grade carbon credit as of 2020.

According to UNEP; there is currently a 14B tonne emissions gap to meet the Paris Agreement goals; minimally, 2B tonnes of annual emission reductions must come from land use (REDD+).

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Sustainable Business

UPS Commits to more Alternative Vehicles, Fuel and Renewable Power by 2025

Sets Science-Based Target and Publishes Annual Corporate Sustainability Report

UPS announced in late June 2017 aggressive new sustainability goals to add more alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles to its fleet while increasing its reliance on renewable energy sources. The goals, available in the company’s 2016 Corporate Sustainability Report, support UPS’s commitment to reduce its absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from global ground operations 12 percent by 2025, a goal developed using a methodology approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. Find the report – https://sustainability.ups.com/sustainability-reporting/

Because of our size and scale, we know our commitments can shape markets, advance technologies and be a catalyst for infrastructure investments,” said David Abney, UPS Chairman and CEO. “We rely on the ingenuity of our employees, suppliers and technology partners to help us reach goals that will transform the shipping industry and spur innovation.”

UPS has a goal that 25 percent of the electricity it consumes will come from renewable energy sources by 2025, a dramatic increase from the 0.2 percent in 2016. In addition, by 2020 UPS plans that one in four new vehicles purchased annually will be an alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle, up from 16 percent in 2016. The company also set a new goal that by 2025, 40 percent of all ground fuel will be from sources other than conventional gasoline and diesel, an increase from 19.6 percent in 2016.

UPS operates more than 8,300 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles worldwide. The company’s fleet includes electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), propane and lightweight fuel-saving composite body vehicles. In addition to its use of alternative vehicles, UPS uses millions of gallons of lower-carbon footprint renewable diesel and renewable natural gas (RNG) in its fleet each year.

These initiatives reinforce the company’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact despite growth in e-commerce deliveries, which are driving up energy used to operate facilities and power its vehicle fleet.

The UPS vision entails a future smart logistics network of advanced technology vehicles and facilities powered by more diverse and sustainable energy sources, including on-site solar, off-site wind, renewable natural gas, renewable hydrogen, and renewable diesel delivered via advanced energy system infrastructure. UPS already deploys many of these technologies in its ground fleet and facilities, and plans to significantly increase their use in its worldwide fleet.

Since 2009, UPS has invested more than $750 million in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations globally. The company used more than 97 million gallons of alternative and lower-carbon fuels in its ground fleet in 2016 and recently made an $18 million investment in on-site solar energy systems across eight facilities. UPS uses its Rolling Laboratory [1] approach to determine which alternative fuels and technologies work best in each situation. From old-fashioned pedal power and electrically-assisted bicycles, to electric, hybrid electric, natural gas, renewable natural gas, propane and renewable diesel, UPS puts sustainability innovation into action, all over the world.

In addition to its environmental efforts, UPS outlined in its Sustainability Report workforce and community goals, including its commitment to achieve 20 million volunteer hours by the end of 2020 and its pledge to donate $127 million in total charitable contributions in 2020, including humanitarian relief and community safety programs, through The UPS Foundation. The programs provide support to communities around the world, including UPS’s work with partners to deliver life-saving blood, medicines and vaccines to remote communities and its support of relief organizations.

To obtain more information on UPS’s sustainability initiatives, please visit- www.ups.com/sustainability

 

About UPS

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight; facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. UPS is committed to operating more sustainably – for customers, the environment and the communities we serve around the world. Learn more about our efforts at www.ups.com/sustainability . Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. The company can be found on the web at www.ups.com or www.pressroom.ups.com and its corporate blog can be found at www.longitudes.ups.com . To get UPS news direct, follow @UPS_News on Twitter.

Contact: Kristen Petrella, UPS sustainability PR manager
Phone: 404-828-4182
Email: kpetrella@ups.com

Article Note
[1] https://www.pressroom.ups.com/pressroom/ContentDetailsViewer.page?ConceptType=FactSheets&id=1467289512779-870

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Sustainable Business

Our Vision for Moving Humanity Forward

By Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, General Motors Co.

General Motors

We can’t completely predict what our world will look like 25 years from now, but we constantly study trends so that we can anticipate the rapid changes taking place in our industry. Twenty-five years from now, it is estimated that:

•  The global population will exceed 9 billion, according to the United Nations
•  There will be more than 40 cities with populations exceeding 10 million
•  Wind and solar energy will account for nearly half of installed capacity and 34 percent of electricity generation worldwide by 2040. This compares with just 12 percent and 5 percent today.

Add shifting consumer attitudes about vehicle ownership to these insights and it is why I believe the auto industry is changing more today than it has in the past 50 years.

For all of the freedom that vehicles have provided in the past 100 years, we recognize their effects on safety, emissions and congestion in our cities. Through innovative technology, we have an historic opportunity to make personal mobility safer, simpler and more sustainable for customers around the world.

To achieve this vision, we are developing advanced driver assist technologies that form the building blocks of a safer, more connected transportation future. We also use less energy and water, generate less waste and emit less carbon to manufacture a vehicle than ever before. Our solar, wind and landfill gas use makes us one of the world’s largest industrial consumers of renewable energy. And we are making steady progress toward the day when we can deploy autonomous vehicles into urban ridesharing fleets.

Here is what our current and future customers can expect to see as we travel the next 25 years together:

More Zero-Emissions Vehicles

We believe the future of personal mobility involves the convergence of electric, connected, shared and autonomous vehicles, and we are investing in innovations that rewrite the rules of vehicle use and ownership.

Chevy BoltEV-028

New battery technologies helped us launch the Chevrolet Bolt EV, our platform for future autonomous vehicle development. The Bolt EV gets an EPA-estimated 238 miles per charge at a price of $37,495 before federal and state tax credits. It went on sale last year in selected markets and nationwide on August 1st. Bolt EVs on the road have already traveled 28 million miles.

Other clean-energy technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells hold great potential for land, sea and air applications. In an industry-first partnership, we’ve teamed up with Honda to mass-produce an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system beginning around 2020.

Mobility for Everyone

Self-driving vehicles of the future begin with driver-assist features available today. Earlier this year, we were the first to introduce advanced Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communications. V2V on the Cadillac CTS uses dedicated wireless communications to share information such as vehicle speed and direction. We are about to make Super Cruise, the industry’s first true hands-free driving technology for the highway, available on the 2018 Cadillac CT6.

Cadillac CT6

Autonomous vehicle technology will fundamentally change transportation, and because more than 90 percent of crashes are due to human error, it will save lives. Self-driving vehicles also will make transportation more accessible to the elderly and people with disabilities.

We are currently testing a fleet of self-driving Bolt EVs in very challenging driving environments in San Francisco, as well as in Scottsdale, Arizona and near our Detroit headquarters. We intend to deploy our first commercially ready AVs in ridesharing fleets in major cities, where they will have the greatest impact.

Our car-sharing startup, Maven, operates a fleet of about 10,000 GM vehicles in 17 U.S. cities. Customers simply use a mobile app to locate and reserve a vehicle. We are learning more about the growing sharing economy, expanding the services we offer, and innovating at the speed of today’s leading technology companies.

Driving a Circular, Clean-Energy Economy

Our goal is to produce zero waste everywhere we operate. As of December 2016, GM’s landfill-free list consisted of 152 global facilities that recycle, reuse or convert to energy all waste from daily operations. This drives our top and bottom lines by delivering efficiencies, generating revenue and saving money.

These actions are moving us to a more circular economy with broader social and economic benefits. An example is our water bottle recycling effort in Michigan. Six GM facilities are working with the city of Flint – where lead-contaminated municipal water drove citizens to use bottled drinking water – to turn millions of used bottles into insulating fleece used in coats for the homeless, air-filtration components for our facilities, and a noise-reducing V-6 engine cover for the 2017 Chevrolet Equinox crossover.

We believe that climate change is both a social imperative and economic opportunity, so we have developed a plan to accelerate our use of clean power. Earlier this year we announced our intent to power all of our global operations’ electricity with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. It benefits our customers and communities with cleaner air, and strengthens our business through lower and more stable energy costs.

CDP has named GM to its Global Climate A List for disclosure and performance on climate change impacts, and just named GM to its Supplier Climate A List for our work to drive down emissions across our supply chain. We are also the only automaker on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America.

Talent that Transforms an Industry

I believe we have a responsibility to engage the next generation of engineers and let them know how a career in the auto industry can help change the world. We also are working to close the gender gap in engineering, because we can’t reinvent transportation for all if only half of the population participates.

Let me share just two GM initiatives in which I have taken a personal interest.

Our partnerships with STEM advocates like Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code help girls to consider fields – such as computer science – where women are underrepresented. GM’s top female leaders spend time with the students, teaching them about the possibilities and rewards of STEM education. Programs designed specifically to spark and maintain girls’ interest from middle school into the workforce could triple the number of women in computing in the next 10 years.

Take 2 is our internship and professional re-entry program for primarily women with technical backgrounds. As part of this program, people who may have taken a leave in the past receive training, professional development and the opportunity to network with other technical leaders.

We are building a pipeline of talent to drive our future. Today, 35 percent of our salaried employees have worked at the company less than four years. Many of our new hires come from the same sources that feed the global tech economy. Applications from Silicon Valley more than doubled in 2016. Around the world, GM job applications were up more than 24 percent last year.

Sustainable Communities

It used to be that attracting the best talent was only about the job. Today, as we compete for top talent, we know we must appeal to their hearts as well as their heads. For many in the next-gen workforce, how we act is as important as what we pay.

GM supports and promotes the UN Global Compact’s 10 principles in the areas of human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption, and seeks opportunities to collaborate on the organization’s Sustainable Development Goals. During the next 25 years, business will be an even greater force and resource in helping solve some of the systemic issues our world faces.

To that end, we have also transformed our approach to philanthropy to target areas where we can have a direct impact. Around the world, we focus on STEM education, advancing vehicle and road safety, and promoting economic empowerment in the communities where we live and work.

Outreach and engagement are making a difference. For example, GM Student Corps, an innovative and life-changing summer internship program in Southeast Michigan, matches GM retiree and college student mentors with more than 100 area high school students as they organize service projects in their own schools and neighborhoods.

Separately, more than 12,000 GM employees volunteered nearly 110,000 hours in 2016 with 148 different nonprofit organizations.

Sustainability is Our North Star

We are creating a General Motors that customers and investors value, people aspire to work for and communities are proud to embrace. Sustainability is – and will always be – core to our business (www.gmsustainability.com).

Ultimately, we want a world of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion: a world we are proud to leave to our children and grandchildren. By living our values and continuing to invest in innovation, I am confident we will get there.

 

Article by Mary Barra, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors Company. She was elected Chairman of the GM Board of Directors on January 4, 2016, and has served as CEO of GM since January 15, 2014.

Under Barra’s leadership, GM is focused on strengthening its core business of building great cars, trucks and crossovers, while also working to lead the transformation of personal mobility through advanced technologies like connectivity, electrification, autonomous driving and car sharing. Barra has also established a strategic direction based on putting the customer at the center of everything the company does.

Prior to becoming CEO, Barra served as Executive Vice President, Global Product Development, Purchasing & Supply Chain since August 2013, and as Senior Vice President, Global Product Development since February 2011.  In these roles, Barra and her teams were responsible for the design, engineering and quality of GM vehicle launches worldwide.

Previously, she served as Vice President, Global Human Resources; Vice President, Global Manufacturing Engineering; Plant Manager, Detroit Hamtrack Assembly; and in several other executive engineering and staff positions.

Barra began her career with GM in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (Kettering University) co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1985, followed by a Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) in 1990.

Along with leading GM, Barra is a member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees and the Stanford GSB Advisory Council. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Detroit Economic Club; the Board of Trustees for Detroit Country Day School; and as a member of The Business Council and Business Roundtable. Barra is also co-chair of the Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Automation in Transportation.

More details on Barra’s career and related activities can be found via Facebook – www.facebook.com/mtbarra
Twitter – twitter.com/mtbarra

Energy & Climate, Featured Articles, Sustainable Business

BSR at 25: Redefining Sustainable Business to Meet the Moment (Parts 1 & 2)

By Aron Cramer, President and CEO, BSR

>> Back to July 2017

Part 1

This year marks BSR’s 25th anniversary. While such milestones often prompt a look back (and we are doing a bit of that), this juncture in history is a time to stay firmly focused on the future.

We are living in a time of extraordinary change. Virtually every dimension of business is changing. As I have been reflecting on what these changes mean for the future of all companies, I have zeroed in on three big changes that are flowing together: One of the changes is positive, one is neither inherently good nor bad, and one is problematic.

The first change is that we now have a clear roadmap for sustainable business. The arrival of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement have defined a powerful global agenda for the next decade and beyond. Combined with other significant efforts like the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Women’s Empowerment Principles, we have universally agreed reference points on the core elements of the sustainability agenda. The question today is not where to go, but how to get there.

Second, every business is experiencing disruptions that are presenting existential questions about the future: What business are we in? Who are our customers and competitors? How do we deliver value? How do we secure the natural resources we need? How do we communicate effectively in an era of hyper-transparency? These questions about the future arise even as competitive pressures in the present are unrelenting.

Third, we are experiencing a time of great political uncertainty. The twin shocks of the Brexit and Trump votes in the U.K. and United States last year are still playing out. Whatever happens, there are some clear lessons for business. First, public policy frameworks supportive of sustainability cannot be assumed, especially when governments have a hard time demonstrating the value of open societies and the global economy amid public anxiety over change. The political earthquakes of 2016 also remind us that the sustainability agenda should focus more on basic economic fairness and demonstrate how attention to climate can deliver innovation, competitiveness, and prosperity that reaches throughout society.

As we look ahead from our 25th year, it is good to see clarity about sustainability objectives, even if the business and political environments are far less certain. I am optimistic: We have a golden opportunity to reorient business around the sustainability agenda—an opportunity to use new technologies, new business models, and new ways of delivering value to achieve the vision of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. Business can use its voice to demonstrate values-based leadership at a time when many of our elected officials have turned away from open societies, collaboration, and a principles-based approach to governing.

At a time of massive change, the question all of us face is simple: Will we meet this moment?

Part 2

Redefining Sustainable Business to Meet the Moment

In 2017, the year of BSR’s 25th anniversary, I have been reflecting on the confluence of three crucial trends that are redefining business: clarity about the goals for sustainable business, widespread disruption in business, and political volatility[1]. In this context, sustainability provides a North Star that can be essential in creating resilient, innovative, forward-looking businesses.

To make this happen, it is time to redefine sustainable business with a new agenda, a new approach, and a new voice.

A New Agenda

Calling for a new agenda may seem odd when the world has embraced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the path forward. In fact, there is no inconsistency, because to meet the objectives of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, we must apply them in a new set of circumstances. In other words, the sustainability agenda has to change because the economic, business, and political situation is changing.

What does this mean in practice?

First, basic economic fairness should get more attention on the sustainability agenda. Our era’s widespread political volatility and lack of trust in business is the direct result of feelings of economic vulnerability among wide swaths of the population in the mature economies of the United States, Europe, and Japan. Business needs to provide an answer, which can come from more attention to quality jobs in an era of automation, and taking on chronic concerns about executive pay. Without that, support for business and global trade will wither even further.

Second, it is also time to address head on new questions raised by new technologies. Our lives today are shaped by algorithms and more and more information stored in the cloud, which means that every company—not just the tech sector—should have policies on privacy and the fair application of big data.

Finally, action on climate needs to focus not only on staying well below 2°C of warming, but also in addressing the social and economic climate impacts we are experiencing today. Meeting the climate challenge means reductions in emissions, yes. But it also means fully embracing resilience strategies; understanding the intersection of climate and women’s empowerment[2]; and unleashing new products, business models, and technologies that not only shift the world toward a low-carbon economy, but also create new jobs, new businesses, and lasting solutions to poverty reduction.

There are more ways the sustainability agenda can and should change, but these three areas deserve attention as we look ahead. If we don’t get jobs, the social impact of technology, and climate resilience right, the rest won’t matter.

A New Approach

Let’s face it, some elements of the sustainability playbook have grown stale. It’s time for companies to take a fresh look at how they report, engage with stakeholders, and manage supply chains. It has been inspiring to see many such efforts emerge, and at BSR we are excited about driving new thinking and new ways of working on those and other topics.

Chief Sustainability Officers have a golden opportunity to reimagine how to approach sustainability management. Many people like to say that the CSO’s goal should be to work herself out of a job. I disagree. Companies will continue to need a leader who understands the evolving intersection of business and society. And given the massive changes in culture, technology, and economics—coupled with the disruptions affecting every business—the CSO role is invaluable.

In 2025, the CSO will need to be an innovator, a futurist, a connector, and a revenue generator. Yes, the CSO will continue to look after stakeholder relations, rankings, and sustainability reports, but let’s recommit to the notion that those responsibilities are the means to an end, not the end in itself.

Achieving the ambitions expressed in the 2025 sustainability goals adopted by many companies requires strong leadership from within and beyond the sustainability function. The next 10 years, then, will need to see a strengthening of both the inside and the outside game of the sustainability function. We are already seeing signs that this is happening.

A New Voice

Our turbulent times also show how important it is for companies to act on the foundation of their values and principles. At a time when so many are advocating for walls between peoples, and questioning global trade and the free movement of people, it is essential that companies use their voice to reinforce the importance of the principles underlying their commitment to sustainability.

Companies that are taking decisive action on climate do so because they believe in climate science. Businesses that are applying the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights do so because they believe that all people, regardless of gender, race, nationality, or other characteristics deserve equal treatment and equal opportunity. Companies that are committing to the SDGs do so because they believe that poverty is both an economic and a moral challenge for us all. These principles—which are fundamental to social cohesion and stability—create a rules-based environment, which is central to business. They also enable global trade to function smoothly.

In the past year, we have also seen multiple examples of companies using their voice to support for immigrants and refugees, basic science, and, in some cases, transparency. This is promising. There is a lot of evidence that employees want to see the leaders of their companies express their values on these issues. And in a world in which the core values of open societies and fair, respectful treatment of people is under attack in locations across the globe, it is increasingly important.

Business has unique assets to bring to crucial public debates. Business also continues to face a trust deficit that can be addressed through statesmanship at a time when that is often in short supply in the public sector. Furthermore, business has a keen appreciation that big global goals are achieved through partnership, and during polarizing times, reinforcing the importance of collaboration is something that can resonate far beyond company walls.

Building a Better Future

The very concept of sustainability is based on a foundational belief that we are here to build a better future. In our era of immense change, that belief provides a sense of direction that will serve us well. And by embracing a new agenda, a new approach, and a new voice, sustainability will not only deliver a brighter future, it will give business a path forward in our fast-changing present.

We will discuss the concept of redefining sustainability more at the BSR Conference 2017— for registration information and join our mailing list to be the first to receive Conference news and updates visit- http://bsr17.org

 

Article by Aron Cramer, President and CEO, BSR (www.bsr.org). Aron is recognized globally as a preeminent authority on sustainable business. In addition to leading BSR, which has grown substantially throughout his tenure as President and CEO, Aron advises senior executives at BSR’s more than 250 member companies and other global businesses on the full spectrum of social and environmental issues.

Aron joined BSR in 1995 as the founding director of its Business and Human Rights Program, and later opened BSR’s Paris office in 2002, where he worked until becoming President and CEO in 2004. Aron serves on advisory boards to CEOs at Barrick Gold, Marks & Spencer, SAP, and Unilever North America, and he facilitates the AXA CEO advisory panel. He is also a director of the Natural Capital Coalition and We Mean Business as well as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Consumption.

Aron speaks frequently at leading business forums, and is widely quoted in top-tier media such as the Financial Times, Le Figaro (France), The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He is co-author of the book Sustainable Excellence: The Future of Business in a Fast-Changing World, which spotlights innovative sustainability strategies that drive business success.

Prior to joining BSR, Aron practiced law in San Francisco, and worked as a journalist at ABC News in New York. He holds a B.A. from Tufts University and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Article Notes:
[1] https://www.bsr.org/en/our-insights/blog-view/bsr-at-25-meeting-the-moment
[2] https://www.bsr.org/en/our-insights/blog-view/women-climate-change-disproportionately-affected-powerful-agents-of-change

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Sustainable Business

Better Life Breakthroughs: Innovation in Investment – SRI and fintech

By From The Economist Intelligence Unit,

>> Back to July 2017

This report explores the ways in which SRI and fintech are transforming investment for the better.

In a global investment landscape that at times appears rife with uncertainty and beset by bubbles and busts, two main areas stand out both as pockets of opportunity and as major forces for change: sustainable, responsible and impact (SRI) investing – that is, investment that considers environmental, social and governance criteria as well as returns – and financial technology, or fintech, which is revolutionizing how financial services are delivered. Both of these sectors have attracted massive investor interest in recent times and are poised to transform the way people invest and transact in the years ahead. More importantly, both are creating possibilities, particularly for individual investors, which were all but unimaginable even a decade ago.

>> Download the Report (in English)

About the Report

Innovation in Investment, written by The EIU and sponsored by Standard Chartered Private Bank, is the first report in a series called “Better Life Breakthroughs”. The aim of the series is to analyze innovations that have the capacity to extend and enrich life, create new experiences and potentially improve society in general. For those with the means to incorporate cutting-edge technology into their lives – thereby experiencing the future before it becomes mainstream – the impact may prove more revolutionary than anyone can imagine. From advances in computing, financial technology, medicine and healthcare through to commercial space travel and artificial intelligence, these developments will likely be driven in their early stages by globally and intellectually curious consumers.

In this first report, we examine how innovation and advances in technology are opening up new avenues of investment opportunities for high net worth investors, and how they may develop in future. The report draws on detailed desk research and in-depth interviews with the following senior executives and specialists (listed alphabetically by last name):

• Amit Bhatia, CEO, Impact Investors Council
• Philippe El-Asmar, CEO and co-founder, Amareos
• Zennon Kapron, founder, Kapronasia
• Rehan Noor Pathan, head of Middle East and Malaysia, Arabesque
• Jake Reynolds, executive director, sustainable economy, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
• Art Tabuenca, founder and partner, EarthFolio
• Anson Zeall, CEO, CoinPip, and chair of the Association of Cryptocurrency Enterprises and Startups Singapore (ACCESS)

We would like to thank all interviewees for their time and insight. None of the experts interviewed for this report received financial compensation for participating in the interview program. Gareth Nicholson was the editor of this report. The EIU bears sole responsibility for the content of this report. The findings do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsor.

Executive Summary

In a global investment landscape that at times appears rife with uncertainty and beset by bubbles and busts, two main areas stand out both as pockets of opportunity and as major forces for change: sustainable, responsible and impact (SRI) investing – that is, investment that considers environmental, social and governance criteria as well as returns – and financial technology, or fintech, which is revolutionizing how financial services are delivered. Both of these sectors have attracted massive investor interest in recent times and are poised to transform the way people invest and transact in the years ahead. More importantly, both are creating possibilities, particularly for individual investors, which were all but unimaginable even a decade ago.

Based on extensive research and interviews with industry participants and experts, this paper explores the ways in which SRI and fintech are transforming investment for the better. Among its main conclusions are:

• SRI is on the cusp of a revolution. Previously the domain of large institutional investors, SRI is poised for a period of growth among a wider base of investors, beginning with high net worth individuals (HNWIs), as a more idealistic, socially engaged generation comes to the fore and takes advantage of a growing range of SRI products and options.

• Sustainability will become more standardized. Investor demand and the emergence of codes like the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment will drive the creation of more objective frameworks and measurements for key sustainability indicators, taking some of the “guesswork” out of sustainable investing.

• Emerging markets will catch up with – and at times surpass – developed markets, both as destinations and sources for SRI investment, and in the development and adoption of fintech solutions for a wider base of investors.

• “Green” will go mainstream. With more jurisdictions mandating sustainability reporting and more investors embedding sustainability principles in their mission statements, data on sustainability approaches and performance will be as important (and scrutinized) as financials in presentations by companies and funds.

• Technology will “democratize” investment. The gaps between large institutional investors and HNW investors in terms of access to information and investment opportunities will narrow as solutions emerge that harness and analyse data on behalf of the individual user. Automated and mobile platforms, meanwhile, will provide individual investors with a wider range of asset management solutions at lower overall cost.

• Expect an SRI-fintech feedback loop. By automating elements of SRI asset management, fintech will make it easier for investors to achieve their impact goals and has significant potential to contribute to the sector’s growth. The refinement of SRI-related fintech solutions, meanwhile, is likely to result in advances that can be applied in other areas.

>> Download the Report (in English)

 

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Sustainable Business

Responsible Investing – Principles, Pillars and Progress

By John Streur, president and CEO, Calvert Research and Management

>> Back to July 2017

The responsible investing movement that we have started and shaped has reached the end of the beginning, with a broad and strong foundation that will evolve to provide the superstructure of our society’s continuing struggle to address and solve its greatest challenges. Our efforts are working, and we are being joined in our mission by more investors worldwide every day.

The United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment – of which Calvert was a founder – now counts 1,700 large investors and more than $70 trillion in assets. This movement, unique because it was begun by investors, not Wall Street, is born from innovators, enthusiastic about the ability to create positive change and unwilling to wait for government officials or corporate leaders to set the pace.

The future of the movement will be guided by all of us who want a healthy environment, a just and inclusive society, and hundreds of other common-sense improvements to make the world a better place while producing competitive investment results. It is a privilege for me as CEO of Calvert Research and Management to write about the future of a movement that rightly belongs to you, the people.

The Role of Responsible Investing

Responsible investing (RI) is the underlying force shifting corporate strategy and behavior throughout the world by emphasizing environmental sustainability, equality and inclusiveness. Today, the markets are connecting stock and bond prices to corporate performance on these matters, and consumers are increasingly making their purchasing decisions with these factors in mind.

Modern concerns, like climate change, equality, diversity, and health and well-being, will continue to be major issues RI addresses in the coming decades. In addition, society will have to wrestle with changing demographics, an aging society, and changes in the meaning of work, thanks to increased automation that will allow robots to replicate and replace jobs currently being done by humans. Fortunately, the platform we are building today portends the adoption occurring in the markets and in business that will allow us to navigate these waters and storms.

RI offers the opportunity for many different types of investors to make a contribution toward positive change, from those seeking to screen out and avoid companies related to a single issue all the way to those who embrace an effort to adopt a comprehensive approach to assure positive impact is maximized. This is a major draw because no matter how much we desire strong investment performance, making the world a better place is also just the right thing to do.

In short, RI is the best way to influence the markets by bringing these forces together. What do we all have in common, and what does the future hold for our work?

Principles and Pillars

All of us are working toward the achievement of a set of global norms, either held individually or promulgated worldwide, to help our investments promote a more sustainable world and to serve as a powerful check and balance upon any misguided government official or corporation. We look to inclusive organizations, like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other multilaterals to help set the standards.

In pursuit of that achievement, in 2015, Calvert produced the Calvert Principles for Responsible Investing to guide our work. Later that same year, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were ratified and Pope Frances introduced the Vatican’s latest encyclical. If you are focused on one or a limited set of issues, check out these principles and you will see that you fit into the overall effort.

Four major pillars of RI help us implement this framework in a way that considers both traditional portfolio evaluation standards and its environmental and societal impacts:

•  Performance – Our first responsibility is to seek strong portfolio returns.

•  Research – We evaluate all material ESG factors that influence a company’s business results — moving beyond negative, values-based screens.

•  Engagement – As shareholders, we actively engage company management to help drive performance.

•  Impact – We believe the impact of your investments should be material and measurable.

These pillars are the essential processes we all must use to meet our responsibilities as investors, as key participants in our global, democratic capitalist system.

Contemporary Results, Optimistic Future

The operation of the Responsible Investing system was on display earlier this year and gives insight into what the future holds.

In May, shareholders of Exxon Mobil voted by a 62% majority against the management of the company to support a climate change proposal that asks for Exxon to provide robust disclosure of the risks it faces related to climate change. Occidental Petroleum’s shareholders approved a similar proposal earlier that month. On June 1, United States President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord and by the following day dozens of CEOs of U.S.-based companies from General Electric to Apple Computer had stated their intentions to maintain their commitments to reducing their carbon footprints and meeting the commitments implied by the Paris Accord.

This was another illustration that the role of the corporation in society is extremely powerful and important in shaping our societal and environmental future, essentially the quality of life for ourselves and future generations. The movement that you helped start now matters to the majority of investors and is robust enough to act as a check and balance on the most powerful institutions in the world. Actions taken by investors and corporations in these days of uncertain government support for ESG issues that we hold dear are positive signs that we will continue to be able to drive positive change in the future.

As responsible investors, we must continue to monitor corporate behavior and inspire progress. Even in a political climate that isn’t always supportive of ESG goals, we have shown the ability to take the baton and lead, and will continue to do so over the next 25 years.

A More Robust Information System

A key piece of this effort is the information system being built to support the four pillars, which, again, is being built by you, the people, and not the United States government or Wall Street. The system has two big pieces: the structural information about corporations’ policies, procedures and ESG performance goals, and the emerging and powerful set of information about what is happening throughout the world day-to-day in terms of corporate behavior. The first part of the system is what companies are saying about themselves, the second part of the system is new and emerging – it is what you and hundreds of millions of others are observing and reporting about corporate behavior.

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) is a nonprofit started by an individual with tremendous vision and drive. This is the place to look to understand the current and future state of corporate sustainability disclosure, the information we are all asking companies to provide so we can further our in-depth research. Ultimately, all companies will provide relevant information. The Exxon Mobil vote should be the notification to every company that the majority of investors will take action if management does not move expeditiously to provide the disclosure. Calvert is pleased to have been a founding member of the SASB Investor Advisory Group, along with a dozen other large investors representing over $20 trillion in invested assets.

Data science is the place to look to understand the second, emerging part of the system, the continuous stream of information now coming into advanced models designed to provide insight into how companies are actually performing day to day. This involves taking in information from a vast number of sources, being able to assess the credibility and bias of the sources, create a score for the relevance and meaning of the information being created, and attach that to specific companies and the securities they have issued. It is very interesting and exciting work because we are ultimately bringing on a very important set of information: The first set discussed is what the companies are saying about themselves; this newer second set is what everyone else is saying about the companies.

Expanding the Universe

The principles and pillars, combined with new information systems, are allowing us to apply RI to some traditional asset classes previously not heavily covered, like municipal bonds (critical for the redesign of our cities and infrastructure for a sustainable future), fixed-income securities broadly, small companies, private companies and emerging markets. This, in turn, is facilitating the development of new types of securities, like green bonds. And, of course, many investment firms never before involved in RI have thrown their hats in the ring with new products.

We can see that the future entails markets working to understand the evolution of global norms and to determine how any company is performing relative to those norms in order to determine how much any company or its securities are worth. Responsible investors have performed a vital role in helping markets to price ESG performance into valuations, and to engage with companies to create better disclosure and corporate performance. This is a dynamic system of principles, the four pillars and progress. While the specific issues that are being focused on (climate change, greater equality, etc.) change based on what is needed, it is a durable and adoptable system of improvement.

The future involves much greater transparency, useful information from the “global crowd” and faster progress – which is exactly what we need. We are often asked if all investing will become RI. The answer seems to be that all investors will be impacted by RI and many will play some role, but it seems far off until all investors actively embrace RI. However, you are standing at the vanguard of a dynamic movement that will be far larger and more robust 25 years from now, and of a society that will benefit immensely from the actions that you are taking to promote positive change.

 

Article by John Streur, President and Chief Executive Officer of Calvert Research and Management (www.calvert.com), an investment management firm that specializes in responsible and sustainable investing across global capital markets. Calvert serves all types of investors through its family of mutual funds and separate accounts. Mr. Streur is also President and a Trustee/Director of the Calvert Funds and a Director of Calvert Foundation and member of its Risk Oversight Committee.

Since joining Calvert as CEO in 2015, Mr. Streur has restructured Calvert with focus on investment research and emphasis on environmental, social and governance factors integrated with investment decisions. He has guided the creation of the Calvert Principles for Responsible Investing and the Calvert Research System, as well as the development of the Calvert Responsible Investment Index Funds.

Mr. Streur began to focus his energy exclusively on responsible and sustainable investing in 2012, as President, Director and Principal of Portfolio 21, a boutique investment management firm specializing in global environmental investing. Previously, he spent 20 years at Managers Investment Group LLC (and its predecessor), a firm he co-founded and where he served as President, CEO and Chair of the Investment Committee. He was also President and Trustee of the firm’s fund family, Managers Funds and Managers AMG Funds. Managers Investment Group LLC grew to over $30 billion in assets under management and offered investment strategies across global equity, debt and derivative markets. Mr. Streur has managed socially responsible investments at the request of institutional clients, including public funds, religious institutions, and college and university endowments since 1991.

Mr. Streur is a founding member of the Investor Advisory Group for the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (SASB), a group of leading asset owners and asset managers committed to improving the quality and comparability of sustainability related disclosure by corporations for use by investors. He is currently a Director on the Board of the Environmental Media Association, whose mission is to motivate the entertainment industry to educate the public about environmental issues and sustainability through all forms of media. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin; Bachelor of Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. 

The views expressed are those of John Streur and are current only through the date stated. These views are subject to change at any time based upon market or other conditions, and Calvert disclaims any responsibility to update such views. These views may not be relied upon as investment advice and, because investment decisions for Calvert are based on many factors, may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Calvert Research and Management is registered as an investment adviser with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission.

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

The Future of SRI

By Matthew Patsky, Chief Executive Officer, Trillium Asset Management

>> Back to July 2017

Eight years ago I received the call asking me to consider joining Trillium Asset Management as CEO. Since that time, we have seen more interest than ever in the field of sustainable investing from a wide variety of institutions, mainstream money managers, and families often driven by women and millennials, bringing assets over to impact. But we are also keenly aware that since the election, the new Administration is actively working to dismantle many of the key policy initiatives we have advocated over the last 35 years. So we are at an interesting crossroad. Looking out over the horizon, I see six emerging trends that I believe shed light on the future of sustainable investing.

•  CEO Accountability
•  Companies taking a stand on policy
•  Higher expectations for money managers
•  Higher votes for ESG proposals
•  Greater attacks on shareholder rights
•  Need for measuring impact of advocacy and policy

CEO Accountability

Historically many corporate CEOs led by decree with a certain imperiousness that shaped the thinking of the board and shareholders. As shareholders are increasingly influenced by a broader set of factors than a simple quarterly earnings announcement — understanding the long-term impact of key ESG issues, we expect the balance of power to shift. We believe shareholders will be leading the way, that the board will be more attentive to shareholder demands, and that ultimately CEOs will understand that they work on behalf of shareholders and other constituents who care about long-term sustainability. The successful CEO of the future will not be exclusively focused on short-term quarterly earnings but will have predominate interest in building long-term sustainable business models.

Companies Taking a Stand on Policy

For years Trillium has asked companies to be more transparent on involvement in industry associations, such as the Business Roundtable. These organizations have often advocated public positions that are in opposition to many of the core values espoused by these corporate members on climate change, gender diversity, and executive compensation. Some of these companies have responded by resigning from groups such as ALEC, or at the very least were transparent about their involvement. Now, in the face of the ever-growing threat from certain Trump-era policies, we find that these companies are taking a more active stand on policy issues; as in support of the Paris Climate Agreement. In fact over 1,500 business and investors signed a recent letter from CERES in support of reducing carbon emissions and adopting sound climate policies. Going forward there will be more pressure on companies to advocate for more progressive policies in support of the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues that matter. Silence will be viewed as complicity rather than neutrality.

Higher Expectations for Investment Firms Waving the Sustainability Flag

We have seen large money managers like State Street, Blackrock, and Pimco jump into the field of sustainable investing. Joining the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) is an easy first step. Gaining access to sustainability research for portfolio managers and analysts is another common early step. Reexamining proxy voting policies is often next. The 2016 US SIF Trends Report now shows that 1 out of 5 dollars invested in the U.S. follows some kind of ESG consideration[1]. However, US SIF also found that many of the larger managers do not communicate clear ESG criteria or use the criteria across all pools of assets at the firm[2]. Just this year we have seen Blackrock pledge to start supporting more ESG related shareholder proposals (in part in response to a shareholder proposal filed by Trillium). Managers who market themselves in this space will have an increasing expectation that they are going beyond proxy voting, and engaging more fully in shareholder advocacy and public policy initiatives.

Higher Votes for Shareholder Proposals

Just last month, 62 percent of Exxon shareholders supported a shareholder resolution filed by the New York State Common Retirement Fund and the Church of England calling on the company to explain how its business will be impacted by global efforts to mitigate climate change. Resolutions at Occidental Petroleum and PPL Corporation related to climate change also received majority votes this year, as did a proposal at Pioneer Natural Resources on creating an annual sustainability report. Trillium’s resolution during May of last year at J.B. Hunt received a 54.7 percent vote. Often, these strong results translate into significant changes. The fact that such large numbers of mainstream investors are supporting ESG shareholder proposals demonstrates that we are at a tipping point.

Greater Attacks on Shareholder Rights

As we see more success from efforts to engage companies through shareholder engagement, and stronger voting results, we expect to see more attacks on our rights as shareholders. Recently, we saw the Financial CHOICE Act pass in the U.S. House of Representatives, which among other things would require that shareholders own one percent of a company before they could file a shareholder proposal. We will work hard in coalition with other investors, such as US SIF, to fight this. But we believe that we need to clearly communicate the importance of this right to policymakers; to raise material ESG issues with companies and other investors. In fact, a shareholder proposal this year at Exxon asking for the company to restrict “precatory” proposals in the future only received a 1.6 percent vote of support. Clearly this right is something that shareholders value and should be protected.

Need for Measuring Impact of Advocacy and Policy

While impact measurements for private investments have improved, we have not yet seen a similar evolution for public equity investments. The range of policy work and shareholder engagement done by firms in this space is truly impressive and groundbreaking. It is difficult to communicate clearly to investors that they should expect both a “social return on investment” alongside a “financial return on investment.” We need to create a common framework to understand, prioritize, and measure the change we want to make. Individual resolutions at companies will continue to be important. But we expect that creating policy incentives that drive improvement in key ESG issues across industries will be more important. We are involved in some nascent efforts in this direction and hope they will bear fruit.

Conclusion

Today, we see more companies and investors integrating ESG issues into either their operations and/or investment approach. In the next 35 years, we believe the field of sustainable investing will move further into the mainstream market with the majority of investment dollars focused on generating long-term value. As we move towards this, we must harness the energy from reinvigorated investors, companies, and local policy makers who are standing up for the ideals we espouse but we must also help engage those who are entering our ranks and looking to take a stand. As we look to the future, we should recognize the current time as a critical turning point where a new consensus is forming that will transform the way investors and companies lead on the critical issues facing our planet. At Trillium, we look forward to being in the vanguard of this movement. We and our critical allies in the field have an extremely important role to play in demonstrating how a robust approach to advocacy and policy must be utilized in order to ensure a sustainable future.

 

Article by Matthew Patsky, CFA, Chief Executive Officer, Trillium Asset Management (www.trilliuminvest.com). He leads Trillium’s Sustainable Opportunities strategy and has over three decades of experience in investment research. In 1994, he became the first sell side analyst in the U.S. to publish on the topic of socially responsible investment.

Article Notes:

[1] http://www.ussif.org/blog_home.asp?Display=75

[2] http://www.ussif.org/files/Publications/UnlockingESGIntegration.pdf

DISCLOSURE: The views expressed are subject to change based on market or other conditions and are not a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. These views are not investment advice nor a recommendation to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned. It should not be assumed that investments in such securities have been or will be profitable. The author selected the specific securities to illustrate views expressed and they do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold or recommended.

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

Ethisphere Announces 124 Companies to Make the 2017 World’s Most Ethical Companies List

For the eleventh year, honorees sharpen their focus on long term-ism as a sustainable business advantage and harness integrity to impact change.

The Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, announced recently 124 companies spanning five continents, 19 countries and 52 industry sectors as the 2017 World’s Most Ethical Companies® honorees.

Since 2007, Ethisphere has honored those companies who recognize their role in society to influence and drive positive change in the business community and societies around the world. These companies also consider the impact of their actions on their employees, investors, customers and other key stakeholders and leverage values and a culture of integrity as the underpinnings to the decisions they make each day.

“Over the last eleven years we have seen an impressive shift in societal expectations, aggressive emergence of new laws and regulation and geopolitical swings that can further disrupt the balance. We have also seen how companies honored as the World’s Most Ethical respond to these challenges. They invest in their local communities around the world, embrace strategies of gender diversity and focus on long term-ism as a sustainable business advantage. In short, these companies are transformative, not just out of need, but because they recognize that integrity is the key to their advancement,” explained Ethisphere CEO, Timothy Erblich. “Congratulations to all of the 2017 honorees.”

Ethisphere’s notion that the financial value and ethics are inexorably tied together has been explained through an analysis of how the stock price of publicly-traded 2017 honorees compare to the S&P 500 over the last two years. The analysis demonstrates a 6.4% premium Ethisphere refers to as an ‘ethics premium.’

Among the 2017 list of companies are 13 eleven-time honorees and 8 first-time honorees. 2017 also marks the first-time appearance of a Mexico-based company.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 11 consecutive years,” said Kao Corporation President and CEO, Michitaka Sawada. “For 130 years, we have upheld the value of Integrity passed down from Kao’s founder. As a core value, we positioned integrity as the foundation of the Kao Group Mid-term Plan 2020 (K20), which started from this year. This Integrity continues to be embraced as K20 guides the group’s daily business activities.”

“We’ve always been committed to demonstrating the highest level of integrity, ethical business practices and social responsibility in everything we do,” said Petco CEO, Brad Weston. “It’s an honor to continue receiving this distinguished recognition and a direct reflection of our commitment to doing the right thing for people and pets.”

“Companies are the bricks of modern society. In order to make positive change happen throughout the world, ethics must be a core of private enterprise,” said illycaffe S.p.A. Chairman, Andrea Illy. “The Ethisphere Institute’s work is inspiring and helping companies prioritize meaningful investments that push them to be the best.”

“Singtel is honoured to again be recognised as a World’s Most Ethical Company for our longstanding commitment to transparency and the highest level of corporate governance. I’m especially proud of our more than 25,000 employees who bring our core values to life every day. We believe our long-term success depends not just on our financial performance, but how we maintain the highest standards of corporate governance and create positive change in society,” expressed Singtel Group CEO, Ms. Chua Sock Koong.

Methodology

The World’s Most Ethical Company assessment is based upon the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotient® (EQ) framework which offers a quantitative way to assess a company’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way. The information collected provides a comprehensive sampling of definitive criteria of core competencies, rather than all aspects of corporate governance, risk, sustainability, compliance and ethics.

The methodology is weighted into five key categories: ethics and compliance program (35%), corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%), culture of ethics (20%), governance (15%) and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%).

Honorees

The full list of the 2017 World’s Most Ethical Companies can be found at worldsmostethicalcompanies.ethisphere.com/honorees

Best practices and insights from the 2017 honorees will be released in a series of infographics and research throughout the year. Download them at – worldsmostethicalcompanies.ethisphere.com

Organizations interested in how they compare to the World’s Most Ethical Companies are invited to participate in the Ethics Quotient.

 

About the Ethisphere Institute

The Ethisphere® Institute is the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices that fuel corporate character, marketplace trust and business success. Ethisphere has deep expertise in measuring and defining core ethics standards using data-driven insights that help companies enhance corporate character. Ethisphere honors superior achievement through its World’s Most Ethical Companies recognition program, provides a community of industry experts with the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) and showcases trends and best practices in ethics with the publication of Ethisphere Magazine. More information about Ethisphere can be found at: ethisphere.com

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Sustainable Business

The Nature Conservancy Wins WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Innovation Award for Mapping Ocean Wealth

>> Back to July 2017

“Mapping Ocean Wealth” (MOW), an initiative run by The Nature Conservancy, has won one of the highest accolades the tourism industry has to offer, the Tourism for Tomorrow Innovation Award. The Award was presented at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 17th Global Summit, in Bangkok in April 2017.

WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Innovation Award is given to those who have shown great initiative and developed a new and creative solution in creating a more sustainable future for the sector.

Mapping Ocean Wealth is a pioneering global study which shows the economic importance of coral reefs as an ecosystem not only for tourism, but for the protection of communities, fish production and carbon storage.

Awards Lead Judge, Graham Miller, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Surrey, said: “Because of MOW’s work, the Travel & Tourism sector has a heightened awareness of what it is doing right when it comes to the ‘blue economy’. This internationally collaborative project uses the latest data mapping techniques to quantify, for the first time, the total and local value of the world’s coral reefs, generating 72 million trips and contributing $36 billion dollars to the world’s economy. MOW has been instrumental in clarifying both the impact of sustainable tourism on economies and the importance of marine environments play in generating that tourism in the first place.”

“I’m continually impressed and encouraged by the new developments emerging and being created to improve the sustainability of our sector. This powerful tool is being used by governments and industry around the world to understand the importance of investing in the protection of coral reefs. It’s an impressive initiative which combines quality science, technological expertise and a desire to bring positive change”, said Fiona Jeffery OBE, Chair of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and Founder of Just a Drop.

Robert D. Brumbaugh, Director of Ocean Planning & Protection, Global Oceans Team for The Nature Conservancy, said: “We are honoured and humbled to receive this award in recognition of our work to reveal the value of nature for people, and Travel & Tourism businesses. Our hope now is that the Travel & Tourism sector will join us in putting these results to work to protect livelihoods, reefs and nature.”

The other Finalists in this category were NATIVE Hotels and Accessible Tourism (Spain), which has developed an online platform offering total accessibility, allowing travelers with any kind of disability to use a computer and help them research and book their holidays, and Soel Yachts (Netherlands), with its pioneering approach to green sailing, providing you with a smooth solar sailing experience running completely on solar power when cruising at six knots and able to plugged into the resorts power network providing clean energy in resort.

For more information on the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and all the Winners, please visit wttc.org/tourism-for-tomorrow-awards/

 

About WTTC

The World Travel & Tourism Council (www.wttc.org) is the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism. It promotes sustainable growth for the sector, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity.

Travel & Tourism is a key driver for investment and economic growth globally. The sector contributes US$7.6 trillion or 10.2% of global GDP, once all direct, indirect and induced impacts are taken into account, according to WTTC’s annual produced flagship Economic Impact Report. The sector also accounts for 292 million jobs or one in ten of all jobs on the planet.

For over 25 years, WTTC has been the voice of this industry globally. Members are the Chairs, Presidents and Chief Executives of the world’s leading, private sector Travel & Tourism businesses, who bring specialist knowledge to guide government policy and decision-making, and raise awareness of the importance of the sector.

WTTC’s annual Global Summit brings together over 900 delegates to discuss the opportunities, challenges and issues facing the sector, while its Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognize the industry’s power to be a positive force in sustainability.

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Sustainable Business

A Guide to Sustainable Farmland Investing – Healing People and the Planet

By David Miller, co-founder and CEO, Iroquois Valley Farms

>> Back to June 2017

We at Iroquois Valley Farms are pleased to announce a new corporate entity as we begin our 11th season of operations. In 2007 when we started the company, our idea was simple – growing healthy foods on organic soils would be good business. We are now setting the table for the next decade. Incorporating everything we have learned, we recently reorganized into a new public benefit corporation, Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT, PBC to further scale our commitment to connect investors and family farmers in the field of sustainable agriculture. Currently, we are raising funds for new farm leases and mortgages that are national in geographic focus. We already have investments in 13 states (including contracted investments) and a pipeline to significantly expand the company.

Benjamin Belcher IVFarms - GreenMoney Journal

Iroquois Valley Farms will be entering Virginia – their pending purchase of Creambrook Farm for the Beichler family will be an investment in a pasture-based, organic dairy. An investment in Iroquois Valley Farms directly supports regenerative farming families like the Beichlers. (Ben Beichler pictured)

 

There are two private offerings currently available to accredited investors: our REIT equity shares and our short-term fixed income option “Soil Restoration Notes”. We expect a non-accredited offering prior to yearend. This is still a new asset class for most investment portfolios. It is important therefore to get started on the right foot. We realized early on that we needed to educate our investors and advisors on the basic economics of our business. As such in 2011 when we started to scale the company, we created a “Guide to Sustainable Farmland Investing”. This guide still has broad relevance even in today’s impact investing markets. Here’s an updated version of that guide:

1. A Real Asset. Farmland is a non-depreciable real asset with an income upside. Most investors are likely under-allocated to this combination food/farming/health sector or not invested at all. We focus on the highest and best use, organic and specialty food production.

2. Don’t Buy Blind. We offer an existing portfolio of farmland with experienced farm families – not a promise to purchase into a blind pool. Our farmland investments (over 40 in total) are already under lease or mortgage agreements on economic terms and accruing revenue. Benefit from our successful ten-year history of operations.

3. Natural Appreciation. Where can one invest in an asset that naturally increases in productivity and value over time? Organic farmers say that it takes 10 years or more to return the soil to its natural fertile state. Properly managed organic farms become more productive every year. Our original investors (ten year history) have seen double-digit annual growth in share price.

4. Growth and Income. In addition to the natural appreciation of the real asset, investors also receive upside income exposure to the tenant’s farming business. Our most common lease structure limits the downside rental rate while allocating a portion of farm revenue in good years to the company. Our mortgage business provides important income and enhances credit quality. Our farmland investment portfolio (about 70% owned and leased acres is coupled with 30% mortgage assets) could be characterized as both growth and income.

5. Stock for the Next Generation. We are a next generation investment with over 70 percent of our leased land under contract to Millennials. We are also providing mortgage financing to young farmers. We started our Young Farmer Land Access Program in 2012 to focus on the next generation of farmers. To date, we have funded $18 million under this program.

Young Farmer Land Access - GreenMoney Journal

6. Carbon Benefits for the Climate. Our focus on living, organic soils, and diverse crop rotations using hayfields, cover crops, woodlands and pastures, help to sequester more carbon back in the soil where it came from. While not paid directly for this yet, carbon farming is an increasingly important public benefit provided gratis by our farmers.

7. Diversify Your Egg Basket. Everyone knows this agricultural adage. On a regular basis we are buying farms in multiple counties and states, with diverse business plans, different farm families, varied markets and distinct soil types. We average into the highs and lows by ongoing purchases and mortgage appraisals. How risky is your investment basket?

8. Farmland is Illiquid? Sustainable farming is a long-term investment by the farmer and investor. However, by building a private company (now a REIT) with broadly held equity ownership, we are building liquidity year by year through an expanded investor base. With over 300 equity holders and note issuances, we are currently planning for a non-accredited offering later this year that will impact thousands of new clients. Shareholders accrue redemption rights after a seven-year vesting. We envision a public offering in a few years.

9. Generational Stability. Our most common tenant legacy is four generations — that is almost 100 years of family homesteading in one county. They usually have parents and grandparents still farming. We are sustaining family farmers with generations of experience and securing the healthy soils that will feed our children.

Farmer Generation Legacy - GreenMoney Journal

10. Grass Roots Capital. The Jobs Act of 2012 increased the mandatory conversion to a public company from 500 investors to 2,000. We are a young company with a growing investor base, now in 35 states and DC. We are geared to have thousands of investors and engage the public to enter an asset class historically closed to them. We consider it a socially just endeavor.

11. 10-Year History of Balancing Risks and Rewards. Our farm tenants minimize operating losses with crop diversity, crop insurance and long-term lease tenures. The company offsets land price volatility with functional and geographic diversity, ongoing acquisitions and growing productivity. Leverage is managed to maintain a positive cash flow. Our 10-year track record is available for public view (see our Key Financial and Operating Statistics Report).

12. Support Healthy Food Production.
Was Rachel Carson wrong? Are pesticides OK for your children and grandchildren? The health costs of a broken food system are just starting to be tallied.

“What we do to the land,
we do to ourselves.”
– Wendell Berry

13. Changing Farmer Demographics. According to the National Young Farmers Coalition, 80 percent of farmer-owned land and 90 percent of farmer-leased land is held by farmers who are 55 years or older. We are impacting a new generation of young farmers that are growing more local and organic foods. This trend has strong legs.

14. The Advantage of the Middle. We built this company by focusing on the mid-size family farmer. We can expand to smaller or larger farms if we wish, but the mid-size farmer is our bread and butter client. The mid-size farmer has scale to support a family, but is small enough to do so with sustainable farming operations.

15. Use an IRA. About 25 percent of our investment capital is self-directed IRA or qualified retirement funds. The company was started with IRA rollover funds and this continues to be a good long-term investor fit.

16. No Sales or Management Fees. We operate as a company, not a fund. There is no 3rd party management company charging special fees. Our corporate staff is compensated by salary, bonus and/or incentive stock options. There are no front-end fees, back end carried interests or profit shares to partners. We have not paid brokers or bankers to sell our equity or notes. Financial advisors can assess client fees knowing that there is no double tier fee structure.

17. Buy and Hold. Here’s an asset that one can hold indefinitely. Lower your portfolio management stress! Farmland isn’t going anywhere and our farmers, mostly young, want it for the rest of their life. Replacing the vast monoculture provides an almost endless upside for new business.

18. Path Less Traveled. Less than one-percent of farmland in the U.S. is certified organic. Many farmers would increase acres under organic management if those farmers had secure long-term land access options. Iroquois Valley Farms provides both leases and mortgages to organic farmers. It is not too late to invest in the changeover to a more healthy agriculture.

19. Public Benefit Corp. Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT, the parent company, is a PBC. The stated benefit is enabling healthy food production, soil restoration and water quality improvement through the establishment of secure and sustainable farmland access tenures. In other words, we impact the public health.

20. Low Minimum. We make it easy to get started and limit initial exposures. Our average farm purchase exceeds $700,000. But our minimum equity investment is 50 shares (currently valued at $30,750). Our minimum fixed income investment is $25,000.

 

For more information on how to invest, please contact David Miller, Co-Founder and CEO, dmiller@iroquoisvalleyfarms.com or Kevin Egolf, Chief Financial Officer, kegolf@iroquoisvalleyfarms.com

Article by David E. Miller, Co-Founder and CEO, Iroquois Valley Farms

Rooted by heritage in Iroquois County, Illinois, Mr. Miller returned to his native farming community in 2005 after a 30-year career in banking and real estate financial management. Purchasing a small 10-acre family farmstead, he re-connected with local relatives farming organically. In 2007, he started Iroquois Valley Farms LLC by connecting a small group of family and friends to a 142-acre farm.

http://iroquoisvalleyfarms.com

Prior to seeding sustainable farmland ventures, Mr. Miller held executive positions at Bank of America, Santa Fe Southern Pacific and First Chicago Corporation. His extensive experience in structuring alternative real estate investments led to the formation of Iroquois Valley Farms, the first private company in the United States to integrate farmland and organic food production, utilizing mostly mid-size family farmers.

An MBA graduate of Columbia University’s School of Business and 1975 graduate of Loyola University of Chicago, Mr. Miller views education as the primary key to changing the nature and health of our current food production system. In this regard, Mr. Miller is a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Environmental Studies at Loyola and was recently honored by the University (Damen Award) for distinguished services in the field of environmental sustainability. He resides nearby in Winnetka, Illinois along with his wife and three children.

Energy & Climate, Featured Articles, Food & Farming, Sustainable Business

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