October 12 – 16, 2015

Canada’s banks urged to put a carbon price on portfolios

A group that advocates for responsible investment is urging Canada’s big banks to be more transparent about their exposure to fossil fuel-related industries and how carbon pricing might affect their portfolios. SHARE, a non-profit that provides analysis and advice for responsible investing, says banks are particularly vulnerable to climate change related risks, as their portfolios span the entire Canadian economy.

Al Gore and sustainable capitalism

Al Gore has been a busy man since losing the 2000 election, but one of his most interesting projects has involved the creation and expansion of London-based investment firm Generation Investment Management. The company has flourished over the past decade by applying a financially-lucrative environmentally conscious model of sustainable investing, according to The Atlantic’s James Fallows. He dives deep into this project to help explore its revolutionary mission.

The best-performing CEOs in the world – ranked with ESG in mind

The Harvard Business Review has long conducted annual best-performing CEOs in the world rankings, but decided to institute a significant methodological shift this year. For the first time, a measurement of each company’s environmental, social, and governance performance was added to the list of considerations. This helped to propel Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Rebien Sorensen into the top spot for 2015.

Mobile connectivity and engagement are colliding with two other important shifts: the rise of millennials in the workforce and the growing importance of environmental initiatives. Nudge Rewards is a Toronto-based startup with an app that allows corporate customers to drive employee engagement via mobile channels. Companies can set up any kind of action and education campaign, but sustainability is a core focus for Nudge’s early clients.

Cities are finally treating water as a resource

Many cities across North American are beginning to embrace a worldwide trend in urban retrofitting – layering new infrastructure on top of old to help cities weather climate change. In many places, that includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, shifting to cleaner energy, making buildings more efficient and improving public transit. For cities facing increased threats from floods and droughts, it also means adapting to a changing world by finding new ways to manage water.

OECD’s new tax proposals won’t stop companies shifting profits to tax havens

The news has been full of stories about how companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Starbucks and others are able to shift their profits to low or no-tax jurisdictions by using novel, legally permitted corporate structures and complex internal transactions. The OECD recently announced with much fanfare a series of tax reforms to address this problem, but these are unlikely to have much of an impact.

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