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Corporate pay pals

International certification shines a light on excessive executive compensation and recognizes companies that embrace fair pay

On a sunny Thursday afternoon in September, Bellwoods Brewery is not yet full of customers, but it is buzzing with activity. Every employee in sight is moving, tending to tasks in the restaurant, retail and brew spaces.

Given the casual dress code, the big black dog resting in front of the bar and the beautiful interior of glass, wood and steel, the brewery appears a nice place to work. So do the other boutique businesses on this trendy stretch of Toronto's Ossington Avenue. What makes the brewery different is the formal commitment made to its workforce as one of the original signees of Wagemark - a recently launched international standard for workplace wage ratios.

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Navigating uncharted waters

The newly formed Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council works to map out a future for green procurement.

In the world of sustainable purchasing, the players are at sea. Buyers, sellers and standard setters are like ships in uncharted waters.

Enter the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC), launched this past summer. The non-profit’s mission is to provide a space for measuring, guiding and recognizing leadership in sustainable purchasing. One of its greatest strengths, the broad stakeholder representation, also provides one of its greatest challenges: How to prioritize so many different interests? It’s a challenge the council’s interim executive director and members say they’re eager to face.

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Norway’s dirty secret

Yes, this Scandinavian country's sovereign fund is the envy of the world, but on closer inspection is it truly sustainable?

In the summer issue of Corporate Knights, contributor Eric Reguly showed us how Norway outclassed Alberta in a comparison of how the two jurisdictions have managed their enormous fossil fuel fortunes.

The Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund has grown by less than $5 billion since the late 1980s, equivalent to an increase of about 25 per cent. Norway’s “oil fund,” as it’s best known there, is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, passing 4,000 billion Norwegian krones earlier this year (over $680 billion) and amounting to a 25 per cent increase since only 2010.

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The savings jackpot

Financial institutions are creating prize-linked savings accounts to fix the low rate of personal savings in North America.

Sabrina Lee-Brewster has a particular talent for a particularly challenging task: getting residents from Detroit, the third most unbanked major city in the United States, to sign up for savings accounts.

Although her charm goes a long way, Lee-Brewster also has a compelling pitch. Open an account, she tells them, and have a chance to win a big cash prize. The concept is called prize-linked savings, and it’s capturing the attention of more financial institutions.

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