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Sustainico
Jeremy is the managing editor 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.

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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The Best 50 rolls up the rim

Tim Hortons is the top-ranked company on the 2015 Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada.

A former regional manager at a Canadian extractives firm was recently reflecting on how, a decade ago, his industry viewed Corporate Knights. “The general impression then from within the company was that Corporate Knights was a constructive and reasonable voice – albeit a little idealistic – with unreasonable expectations about what a corporation can and should do in terms of social responsibility,” he explained in an email exchange.

The jury’s still out as to whether or not our magazine’s vision is too utopian, but recent evidence suggests that both corporate and political culture is moving closer to our worldview. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, a past enthusiast of banking deregulation, gave a speech in April extolling the virtues of inclusive capitalism in a speech titled “The fierce urgency of fixing economic inequality worldwide.”

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Canada’s greenest mayor

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has spent the past seven years transforming his city into a sustainability powerhouse.

October 2008 was a dark time for the environmental movement in British Columbia and throughout Canada. The economic downturn had focused the electorate’s attention away from climate change onto pocketbook issues, turning Stéphane Dion’s Green Shift plan into an albatross around the neck of the federal Liberal Party and contributing to the re-election of the Conservatives.

In B.C., Premier Gordon Campbell’s province-wide carbon tax, introduced earlier that year, was polling poorly going into a Spring 2009 election against an NDP party that had vowed to “axe the tax.” Presented with these developments, the Globe and Mail’s Gary Mason opined that “it may be some time before we again see a political leader in Canada brave enough to build a campaign platform around saving the environment.”

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