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.”

The people’s pension power

Canada's top corporate citizens should make it easy for their employees to invest their pensions with purpose.

Unless you are swinging and missing at home plate, good things often come in threes.

So when I had three random interactions all pointing in the same direction, I decided to take a closer look. It led me down a path to a $2 trillion pot of gold.

The first interaction was with former Corporate Knights and current Sustainalytics research sage Doug Morrow. Over some pizza pies, Doug could barely contain his enthusiasm for a simple but powerful idea he had come upon while working on a paper (“ESG risk in default funds”) for the U.K.-based Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA): Why not make the pension plan default option – used by nine out of every 10 members – one that invests in companies with advanced social and environmental practices? In the paper he reasons that low-cost sustainability index tracker funds can provide a hedge against a host of intensifying risks including climate change. As Luke Hildyard from the PLSA puts it: “We no longer understand [sustainable investing] as a niche product designed to enshroud investors in a warm glow of righteousness, but as a critical component of the wisest investment strategies.”

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Sizing up the market

By Sean Kidney and Toby A.A. Heaps
How to make $50 billion-plus in Canadian green bonds a reality

Under the auspices of the Council for Clean Capitalism, Corporate Knights recently released a first-of-its-kind quantification of the annual capacity for green bond issues in Canada. Working from a detailed assessment of relevant capital requirements and issuer debt-raising capabilities, the assessment yielded a figure of $56.3 billion in potential new green bonds in fiscal 2017/18 alone.

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Money matters

Investors collectively hold the key to a more sustainable future

“Given the professional culture of the financial community, it is not surprising that large numbers of individuals in that world believe themselves to be among the chosen few who can do what they believe others cannot.”

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011)


My first job out of college was with a junior mining firm that had the prescience to buy the website just before the boom. This turned out to be the company’s most valuable asset, and soon justified a makeover from mining to new media.

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Introducing our 2017 Eco-Fund Ratings

Which Canadian funds have the best combination of environmental excellence and financial performance?

Money can’t buy me love, or the song goes. But could it buy a better world?

What would happen if the 500 million people with over $100 trillion in financial assets invested in a future aligned with their values? It would go a long way to solving most of the world’s material problems like hunger, disease, climate change and the rest of the Sustainable Development Goals, which the UN has estimated to require $5 trillion to $7 trillion annually. It may also make it feasible for political and business leaders to seize a just and sustainable future, emboldened by so many people voting their values with their dollars.

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May 8, 2050

From father to son

May 8, 2050

Dear Zia,

You were born in a year when the western status quo was smashed. The fantastical became the everyday. Britain walked out on Europe. The United States – with some assistance from Russian hackers – elected a reality TV show star cum dealmaker as host of the 45th presidency and master of nuclear codes, to the victory tune “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Mercifully, Leonard Cohen was spared part of this dubious dance and went softly into the night the evening before.

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