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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.”

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.

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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:

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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:

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Council for Clean Capitalism: 2014 in review

Through its work in Ontario, the Council for Clean Capitalism is laying the groundwork for the rest of Canada.

The Council for Clean Capitalism’s work with Ontario’s political leadership and borrowing unit was catalytic in launching a pro­vincial green bond program in 2014.

Ontario entered this market with a $500-million green bond issue in October that raised funds to finance transit infra­structure. This first provincial green bond issue in Canada was oversubscribed by nearly 500 per cent and socially respon­sible investors received preferential access to participate.

Bay Street investors were quick to pro­mote their green credentials – many for the first time. Going forward the province plans to issue $1 billion of green bonds annually with the main constraint being the set-up of an efficient process to select eligible projects for the use of proceeds.

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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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