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Sustainico
Jeremy is the editor-in-chief at Corporate Knights Magazine. He previously served as a consultant at the Social Investment Organization. In 2013, he was named a Mining Country fellow by the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources.

Editor’s Note: Getting the “Davos Man” onboard for the fight against climate change

We're going to need all the help we can get.

Corporate Knights releases the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World list in Davos for a reason. We want to make sure the world’s business elite are on hand to witness which of the largest companies around the globe are becoming more resource-efficient and socially responsible, and making meaningful improvements to their governance structures.

It’s both an acknowledgement that some firms have been taking bold and encouraging steps in the right direction, as well as an opportunity to point out that no company is doing enough.

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Heroes & zeros: Novo Nordisk and Silver Wheaton

Novo Nordisk brings diabetes treatment to poor, while Silver Wheaton avoids its taxes.

Hero: Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharmaceutical company largely dedicated to diabetes treatment, launched a six-month diabetes awareness campaign in July in conjunction with the Kenyan Ministry of Health and the Kenya Diabetes Management and Information Center. The campaign aims to increase rates of early diagnosis among the population through public screening and education campaigns housed in faith-based organizations and various public healthcare facilities. “We know that the rate of undiagnosed diabetes is negatively impacting the health and economic wellbeing of thousands of people in Kenya,” says Ben Konate, general manager, Novo Nordisk Middle Africa. “Breaking this pattern of lack of awareness is our promise to people living with diabetes.” The program is also being supported by the Danish Embassy, Philips Pharmaceutical and a number of smaller Kenyan NGOs.

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The pro-GMO argument for putting a label on it

Is big Ag shooting itself in the foot with its anti-labeling campaigning?

The battle over mandatory GM (genetically modified) food labeling in the United States has heated up in recent years, with perceived inaction in Congress leading to movements at the state level to pass their own labeling laws. Ballot initiatives in Oregon, California, Washington and Colorado have all rejected mandatory GMO efforts, albeit by slim margins. Industry-led opposition has spent vast sums of money fighting these initiatives, including $46 million on the 2012 California referendum alone. Despite these setbacks, campaigners are preparing for another big push in several Western states in 2016.

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The other reason for building greener workplaces

By Jeremy Runnalls
Evidence is mounting that green buildings have a positive effect on health outcomes for tenants, but more research is needed.

More buildings than ever now carry the label green or sustainable. According to McGraw Hill Construction, 41 per cent of all non-residential building starts in 2012 were green, compared to 2 per cent in 2005. More than 3.6 billion square feet of building space have now been certified by LEED, the leading green building certification regime.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines the act of sustainable building as “the practice of creating and using healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance and demolition.” Yet the weight placed on protecting occupant health is often overlooked when discussing the merits of green building construction.

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EarthSpark International completes 1st Haitian “prepay” microgrid

The EKo Pwòp microgrid will provide clean, reliable power to 430 homes and businesses in Southern Haiti.

Hopes were high in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 Haitian earthquake that the billions of dollars in aid money that arrived would be able to address the country’s massive infrastructure deficit. Yet five years on, efforts to rebuild the country remain a work in progress, starting with its electricity grid. An AP article summarized the problems succinctly with its headline “Haiti seeks to rebuild, or just build, power grid.”

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