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Publisher's Note
Toby is the CEO and co-founder of Corporate Knights Inc. and publisher of Corporate Knights Magazine. He spearheaded the first global ranking of the world’s 100 most sustainable corporations in 2005, and in 2007 coined the term “clean capitalism.”

Street smarts

More municipalities want to switch over to LED streetlights but many remain in the dark on how to pay for it.

After several hours of driving on a dark rural highway, the first distant glimpse of a roadside streetlight can be a sight for sore eyes. It’s also a reminder to urban and suburban dwellers that we too often take these beacons of safety for granted.

Looking out the window of an airplane, streetlights automatically reveal the design and character of a city. They are a kind of municipal fingerprint, and no two are alike.

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Energy reporting helps cities

Toronto joins several U.S. cities in the push for commercial building benchmarking for energy use.

Buildings are a main source of energy use and greenhouse gases. In Toronto, for example, 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are associated with existing buildings, while energy costs represent one of the largest controllable cost centres for commercial buildings. Yet, the lack of standardized information on the energy performance significantly constrains the scale of cost-effective energy efficiency investments - a global opportunity estimated by McKinsey to be in the order of $250 billion annually.

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Rewarding sustainable wealth

The Council for Clean Capitalism enters 2014 with focus and strong momentum.

The father of capitalism, Adam Smith, wrote: “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

The Council for Clean Capitalism is an experiment to show it is possible for leaders of major businesses to join together as a force for good. Our goal is a wealthier society that accounts for all of our sources of wealth (human, financial, natural, social, and produced).

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Power lines and pipelines

Green power is from Mars and oil is from Venus - but not in North America.

If a Martian were to look down on our great continent today, he (as Men are from Mars) would see a land rich in oil and gas bounty and even richer in fast-flowing water. He would see that the north part (Canada) has most of the clean and fossil energy potential while the south part (the U.S.) consumes 90 per cent of the energy, reflecting an economy and population that is 10 times bigger. If he examined trade patterns, he would see that Canada provides the U.S. with 28 per cent of its oil needs, but only 1 per cent of its electricity needs. If he looked at our national accounts, he might be surprised to see us running provincial and federal deficits in the midst of harvesting the fruits of an asset that took a billion years to forge.

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Risky resources

OPINION: Ratings agencies need to incorporate natural resource-related risks.

At the beginning of the Clinton administration in the early 1990s, political advisor James Carville famously remarked: “I used to think if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or a .400 baseball hitter. But now I want to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everyone.”

The bond markets have grown into a $100 trillion oxygen chamber for finance ministries and businesses. Standing at the gates are Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings – the most powerful oligopoly in the world. The Big 3 have a 95 per cent market share of the global credit ratings market, which gives them the power to deem who breathes in the capital markets and who suffocates.

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