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October 16, 2014

Entrance to the Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) building in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Source: Wikipedia.

Women on board

The Ontario Securities Commission, as well as six provincial and two territorial securities regulators, announced on Wednesday that it would implement new rules would intended to encourage companies to diversify their boards. Of the 3,770 board seats in Canada’s 500 largest publicly traded firms, women hold only 15.6 per cent. The numbers are even more bleak for Aboriginal people who represent 1.3 per cent, visible minorities who hold 3.4 per cent and people with disabilities who hold only 2.1 per cent of boardroom seats.

Run of the town

In the Colombian city of Bucaramanga, where domestic violence rates are higher than the national average, men are being told to stay home and take care of the children so that women can enjoy a night out to themselves. Not only will businesses and Catholic churches host events, but the city mayor and provincial governor will temporarily hand over power to female government officials for the night. “The women-only night and voluntary curfew for men aims to be a symbolic event and a moment of reflection for the authorities, state institutions and society about the high levels of domestic violence and the role of men in society,” Yamid Saldana, one of the project organizers told Thomson Reuters Foundation. Men who want to leave their homes will have to carry a “safe-conduct pass,” which they can download online and states the reason why they do not want to participate.

De-nationalizing oil

As Colombian women party, the Venezuelan government is scrambling to save its state-owned oil monopoly, Petróleos de Venezuela (Pdvsa), as oil prices continue to plummet. The New York Times reported earlier this week that the company is trying to increase foreign investment through financing agreements with “numerous” foreign oil companies, including Chevron, an American oil company. The cash-strapped company has been considered a symbol of national sovereignty since former president, Hugo Chavez, used the company to support the populist policies that brought him to power.

Is Burma the new Cambodia?

Guy Nicholson took an in-depth look at Burma for the Fall 2014 issue of Corporate Knights and found that while the country seemed to be on a path toward democracy, it may be taking a detour back toward cronyism, corruption and exploitation. Nicholson calls on Canadian investors and political leaders to stop the country from following Cambodia’s path and to maintain its impressive new freedoms.

Hawaii electric

The Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) wants to derive 92 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, making the island almost completely energy independent. Clean Technica noted that solar, wind, hydro and geothermal already make up 40 per cent of the island’s energy mix, so a yearly increase of three per cent per for 16 years does not seem improbable. HELCO estimates that switching from oil, which is expensive to import, to renewable energy could save Hawaiians 27 per cent on their energy bills.

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