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.”

Beyond pipelines

How to get all of Canada paddling in the same direction

At a summit back in 2014, then-Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer extolled the environmental virtues of pipelines, leaving a lot of people scratching their heads. Sure, it’s safer and more efficient to move oil by pipe than rail, as the Lac-Mégantic tragedy showed. But his suggestion that more pipeline capacity would not influence oil sands expansion and its attendant environmental impacts was disingenuous. Or at least it was back then in a world with $100 oil.

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Knights of the (clean capitalism) realm

It's not enough to be focused on CSR

A number of years ago at a dinner hosted by Corporate Knights, Lord Nicholas Stern asked what a “corporate knight” was and if he could become one.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him no, but according to Arthurian legend, his role counselling governments on the costly risks of delaying action on climate change would be more akin to Merlin, King Arthur's adviser, prophet and magician. But his question of what and who is a corporate knight has lingered, and is in need of some clarification.

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2018 Better World Fund Ranking

Which funds are best at creating a more just and environmentally friendly world?

While the sea ice is melting in the Arctic at the fastest pace in 1,500 years and the California forests are burning at a rate greater than at any time in recorded history, the silver lining peeking through is that the world’s most important investors are no longer missing in action on the climate challenge of our generation.

The World Bank has promised to stop virtually all lending for oil and gas projects in the developing world after 2019, sending a powerful message to global producers that financial institutions are reassessing the risks of fossil fuel development.

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Bank statement

A Q&A with deputy governor of Bank of Canada Timothy Lane about Canada's path towards a low-carbon future.

This past March, the Bank of Canada had its coming out party on the topic of climate change in the form of a speech at the Finance and Sustainability Initiative in Montreal by deputy governor Timothy Lane. In his talk, titled “Thermometer Rising – Climate Change and Canada’s Economic Future,” Lane offered glimpses into how the bank is grappling with the economic implications of climate change, which he cited as “one of the biggest challenges facing Canada and the world in the 21st century” that will have “material and pervasive effects” on the financial system.

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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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