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.”

Compelling companies to disclose their carbon emissions

Voluntary mechanisms have served their purpose. It's time for regulators to step in.

Now is the time to close the corporate disclosure gap for the most salient sustainability factors, starting by requiring all major companies to report their greenhouse gas emissions.

Current business-as-usual projections put us on track for a world of deep climate disruption with grave economic implications for long-term investors. There is nothing inevitable about this future, especially if we can harness the $225 trillion firepower of capital markets to finance new energy, industrial and transport systems to de-link carbon from prosperity. But capital markets are largely missing in action not only because of mispriced externalities but also because regulators have left investors in the dark with respect to information about corporate carbon emissions.

Continue Reading...

Why Campbell’s carbon tax gamble proved a good bet

An Q&A with former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell, the recipient of CK's 2015 Award of Distinction.

Gordon Campbell has packed a lot of public service into his professional life. Thirty-fifth Mayor of Vancouver for seven years. Thirty-fourth Premier of British Columbia for 10 years. At 67, he has never lost a personal election – even the one that happened right after he slapped the biggest tax on carbon the western hemisphere has so far seen.

Today, B.C.’s carbon tax has become a case study to the world for how to unlock the power of markets to deliver outcomes that are better for the environment and the economy. For his courage and clarity on this file, Gordon Campbell is the recipient of the 2015 CK Award of Distinction.

Continue Reading...

Divestment moves investors off climate sidelines

It's time to exercise forceful stewardship of portfolios.

Shortly before Nelson Mandela passed away I had a chance to ask F.W. de Klerk what impact the anti-apartheid divestment campaign had on his decision to end apartheid. He said it had no impact at all, and then went on for 15 minutes explaining all the ways it had no impact, which made me wonder.

In the past year a new kind of divestment campaign has caught fire, faster than any other divestment campaign in history, according to a recent Oxford Study. Investors representing over $1.5 trillion in assets under management, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Norway’s giant oil fund and the Church of England (whose Archbishop is a former oil executive) have all joined the chorus singing sayonara to fossil fuel investments.

Continue Reading...

Dinner in Davos serves up 7 kernels of carbon-pricing wisdom

Heavy hitters of finance share what finance ministers need to hear as governments weigh pros, cons of carbon pricing.

It seems like everybody is talking about carbon pricing these days, but few have approached the issue from the perspective of finance ministers, which is where the rubber hits the road.

Two weeks ago, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and a group of financial mandarins came up with a carbon-pricing cheat sheet for finance ministers at a Chatham rule dinner discussion hosted by Corporate Knights.

The dinner generated seven kernels of wisdom:

Continue Reading...

Bank of Canada mum on unburnable carbon thesis

Opinion: There's growing risk of the oil sands becoming stranded assets. Do federal finance officials have a Plan B?

In 2012, the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook report legitimized the notion of unburnable carbon in one sentence: “No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2°C goal, unless carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is widely deployed.”

On Jan. 19 that year, a group of investors wrote a letter to the governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, requesting that its Financial Policy Committee look into the systemic economic risks of certain carbon-based assets being stranded. Less than two weeks later, King replied with his own letter assuring that the bank would further evaluate the risk of stranded assets. He also outlined the three key conditions by which the unburnable carbon thesis could plausibly have adverse effects on the economy:

Continue Reading...