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The greening of pot: Can power-hungry cannabis sector turn over a new leaf?

Grow-ops have long been environmental outlaws, but sungrown and organic firms trying to prove going green is good investment

If you pass the goats grazing on the hillside, you’ve missed it. Up a long country driveway at a ranch-style farm house in Ancaster, Ontario, there’s no sign telling visitors they’ve arrived at Canada’s largest licensed producer of organic cannabis. Just a badminton net. “We’re trying to give it a Google-type feel,” says VP of government affairs and social responsibility Ian Wilms on a tour of the grounds. “Employees keep asking if we’re going to start goat yoga soon.”

Wilms, a former IBM exec and chair of the Calgary Police Commission, and one of his partners had launched an LED lighting business when they decided to scope out the lighting booths at a cannabis convention. That’s when they got the bright idea to get into the cannabis business free of chemical pesticides and powered by LEDs instead of the searing high-pressure sodium lights singled out for ravenously consuming anywhere from 1 to 3% of the American grid (data is sketchy in Canada).

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A&W bets big on going Beyond Meat

How serving up a plant burger that people crave (instead of settle for) is reviving A&W's fortunes

For those of us who’ve suffered through veggie burgers reminiscent of chewy, salted hockey pucks, it’s a great time to be alive. Fast-food chains and food companies, both big and small, are tripping over each other to deliver the world’s newest and tastiest plant burgers to a growing market of vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians and the plain plant-curious.

Canadians, however, were mostly relegated to reading about the latest plant burgers – until A&W got in on the action. Yes, the chain best known for its baby boomer-pleasing root beer decided to get a piece of the much-hyped pea-based Beyond Meat burger before any other national burger franchise in the country.

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Plant burgers bring home the bacon

Why Canada's king of pork and poultry became prince of plant protein in America

It’s just after noon inside the belly of Maple Leaf Foods’ glassy headquarters in the hinterlands of a Toronto suburb. Beyond rooms featuring simulated home and restaurant kitchens and a faux marketplace deli counter, the titan of Canadian pork and poultry sits in a large dining room gesturing for me to try his newest burger. This is no rebrand of meat on a bun. At an intimate lunch with his people and mine, CEO Michael McCain is unveiling a vegan patty cooked up to take a bite out of the skyrocketing plant-based protein market.

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Family feud: Shell breaks rank with other oil producers over low-carbon future

Shell puts nine oil associations on notice – including Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers – over climate differences

The world’s major oil companies are so tightly aligned that they were once known as the Seven Sisters. But as the climate crisis grows, the family bond is fading.

In April, Royal Dutch Shell announced that it had recently reviewed its role in 19 industry associations in Europe, North America and Australia and that it would pull out of one of them and serve notice to nine more.

Relative to major oil peers, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant has been among the leaders on climate change, endorsing the Paris Agreement as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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Bill McKibben on investing in “nothing that burns”

We chat with the renowned climate activist about how he invests his own money and the global push to dump fossil fuels

It's been a busy spring for the divestment movement and everyone working to get big money out of fossil fuels. This week, New York State held public hearings debating the issue of divesting the New York State Common Retirement Fund from oil, coal and gas. Last week, Denver announced that its US$5.3 billion portfolio had liquidated its holdings in Exxon and Chevron - just one month after Denver's mayor announced the city was going fossil-free. And the UK's parliament recently took a tentative first step towards shifting its pension away from fossil fuels before officially declaring a "climate emergency."

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It’s time Canadian grocers – and governments – get tough on plastics

Metro's OKed reusable containers and Montreal might ban Styrofoam-backed meat, but we need nationwide action

If you need more signs that the movement against plastic is gaining traction, look no further than last month's World Petrochemical Conference. Some of the planet’s largest plastic chemical manufacturers gather in Texas every year to discuss advances in technology and industry trends. Last year’s WPC theme was about “cresting the wave” and prospering in boom time. This year, speaker after speaker discussed how looming political and environmental risks are threatening the sustainability of plastic’s “golden age.”

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Tim Nash’s sustainable stock showdown: Canopy vs The Green Organic Dutchman

In honour of the first legal 4/20 celebration in Canada, we're exploring which pot stocks will create the cleanest hit

We all know that investors shouldn’t buy high, but where does that leave investors in cannabis? In honour of the first legal 4/20 celebration in Canada, we’re exploring which pot stocks will create the cleanest hit for sustainable investors.

Before we get started, I need to communicate that cannabis stocks are much riskier investments than the typical big companies we look at in this column. A high Beta suggests heavy volatility, so only invest if you’re ready to put on a safety belt and go along for an intense ride.

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Why not even one company is on track to meet 2020 deforestation pledges

Hundreds of companies vowed to axe deforestation from their supply chains, but a new report says they're failing forests

A lot of leafy promises were made this past decade. Declarations were signed. Celebratory headlines were written. The world’s chainsaws, you could be forgiven for presuming, were going to let up in unison by 2020 when hundreds of deforestation-free pledges would finally kick in.

One year from that deadline, UK-based non-profit Global Canopy had some less than laudatory news to share on the International Day of Forests, March 21. Not a single corporation is on track to deliver on their deforestation-free pledges.

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Meet the man brokering a path to economic reconciliation

JP Gladu says it's time governments deliver change through supply chains - by doing business with Indigenous entrepreneurs

As the CEO of the Toronto-based Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, JP (Jean Paul) Gladu can often be spotted at conferences and functions in a sharply tailored suit with a fashionable flash of lavender or plum peeking out his breast pocket. But Gladu is quick to tell audiences that he’s as comfortable in boardrooms as he is in his bush clothes hunting moose on his First Nation on the shores of Lake Nipigon, near Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Growing up Anishinaabe hunting and fishing with his father, a second-generation logger and chief, Gladu had always planned on becoming a conservation officer. His first job out of forestry school involved working with over 40 First Nations communities across Ontario through the federal First Nations Forestry program, and that, says Gladu, “is when I fell in love with my community.”

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Is your ethical investing app upselling greenwash?

'Animal welfare’ funds heavy in animal testing? Low-carbon funds dripping in oil? Your BS-free green guide to 9 SRI apps

 

Gone are the days when penny pinchers walked into their local banks and signed onto whatever investments their financial advisors recommended. A deluge of young investors is shaking up the investment community, demanding that their hard-earned savings do more than just tick upwards until they retire in Florida.

And since, let's face it, few of us really have time for or interest in sitting through dull bank meetings to talk mutual funds, low-fee automated robo-advisors are stepping in to deliver feel-good investments you can order up in minutes on your smartphone.

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