Posted March 29, 2016
Putting multinational tax avoidance on the agenda
An obscure group of tax experts from such countries as Azerbaijan, New Zealand, Norway and Zambia, among others, seems an unlikely focal point for a high-stakes tug-of-war in the world of global finance.
Yet the 25-member United Nations committee on international cooperation in tax matters finds itself at ground zero in an escalating battle over how and where multinational corporations pay – or, more to the point, do not pay – their fair share of taxes.
The Group of 77 developing countries, led by India and China, wants to turn the committee into a more muscular inter-governmental agency that would have a voice in setting tax rules for many of the world’s biggest companies. Activists disrupted a meeting in Addis Ababa last summer by unfurling a banner that read: “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”Continue Reading...
Top company profile: Tim Hortons
Posted June 3, 2015
A cultural icon, Tim Hortons has steadily improved its sustainability performance over the past five years. Will it stick?
Tim Hortons has again proven the old adage that the race goes not to the swiftest, but to the most sure-footed.
The coffee chain tops Corporate Knights’ 2015 ranking of Canada’s 50 Best Corporate Citizens. It owes its No. 1 spot less to a stand-out performance in any of the 12 categories used to compile the overall ranking, than to solid marks virtually across the board, from waste recycling to use of water and energy.
“They are a good all-rounder,” says Michael Yow, research director at Corporate Knights Capital, the magazine’s sister company. “They don’t excel, but they do well on almost all indicators.” Tim Hortons ranked fourth last year.Continue Reading...
Going big with green bonds
Posted January 13, 2015
Explosive growth of climate or “green” bonds is creating demand for better standards and transparency.
Two of the most seasoned borrowers on North America’s capital markets, the Province of Ontario and Export Development Canada, took the unusual step recently of seeking advice from a group of climate-change researchers in faraway Norway.
Ontario and EDC turned to the University of Oslo’s Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research to help smooth their first forays into the fast-growing market for “green bonds,” fixed-income investments used to finance projects that help combat or adapt to climate change. The Norwegian group, known as CICERO, has emerged as the most influential arbiter of which borrowings qualify as “green.”Continue Reading...
A matter of time
Posted March 5, 2014
Are fossil fuel companies factoring the future price on GHG emissions into everything they dig, pump and produce?
Mutual fund managers at Vancity Investment Management had an unusual question recently for four Canadian banks and insurance companies in which their funds own shares. They asked the boards of those companies to explain how they were going to address stranded assets in the fossil fuel industry. A hypothetical example: a bank-financed railway line built to service an oil sands mine. What if the project closes down because it is no longer economic, they asked? What good is the infrastructure then?Continue Reading...
A path for Patagonia
Posted September 12, 2013
Patagonia stands out for its consistent commitment to keeping high environmental and social standards.
Few companies would consider contributing thousands of dollars to a group of environmental activists for a campaign against other businesses. Yet that is precisely what Patagonia, the outdoor gear retailer, has done to support the Adirondack Mountain Club’s battle against the oil and gas industry.
The Conservation Alliance, a foundation set up by Patagonia and other like-minded retailers, has donated a total of $125,000 to the mountain club since 2007, including a $50,000 grant this year. Most of the money will fund a campaign against plans to extract natural gas under two lakes near Rochester, New York, using the controversial technology known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”Continue Reading...