Female workers disproportionately affected by COVID-19 shutdown
Posted April 3, 2020
The pandemic is exposing persistent gender inequity but there are signs Canada's public companies are progressing
In a special report on the gender pay gap, an analysis by compensation data firm PayScale noted that women are being disproportionately affected by the coronavirus shutdown that is resulting in millions of workers being laid off or working from home.
Women occupy a high percentage of positions in education, office support, social services and personal care, which are more likely to be suspended, laid off or forced to work reduced hours during the pandemic. PayScale noted that women “are also more likely to have to take time off work, or even resign their positions, in order to care for children who are no longer in school, as well as other family members.”Continue Reading...
International Chamber of Commerce demands “bold climate action”
Posted February 18, 2020
Paris-based ICC offers 10 sustainable finance proposals for heading off climate catastrophe
A recent Morgan Stanley study calculated that meeting the Paris Agreement’s goal of curbing global warming by 2050 will require an investment of US$50 trillion in five areas of technology: renewable energy, electric vehicles, carbon capture, biofuels and hydrogen power.
It’s a daunting number. But decision makers in business and government are slowly realizing that the cost of inaction is even greater.
The latest converts: the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), a Paris-based institution that has spent more than a century lobbying for free trade and regulatory transparency. In a Dec. 5 letter to the world’s finance ministers, ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton pushed for concerted policy actions “in support of sustainable development and bold climate action.”Continue Reading...
Companies get failing score on human rights
Posted January 8, 2020
Costco, Lindt, Loblaw and Couche-Tard all earn poor scores in human rights benchmark of 200 brands
With all the focus in recent years on social responsibility, you might think the corporate sector has become a force for good in the global struggle for social justice.
You’d be wrong.
A new study of 200 of the world’s biggest brands found that fewer than half of them show any signs of meeting the United Nations’ 2011 Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Conducted by the UK non-profit Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB), the study mainly surveys companies in apparel, food and drink, resource extraction and technology manufacturing – the four industries considered most susceptible to compromising workers’ rights. The key finding: one in four companies received a score of 10% or less for their efforts to support human rights, activities that range from mere transparency on human-rights issues to establishing effective grievance mechanisms and holding board directors accountable for human-rights issues.Continue Reading...
China’s coal use is surging at home and abroad – but a low-carbon path is still possible
Posted December 3, 2019
The country's Belt and Road Initiative is both a massive coal risk and green opportunity
Responsibility for meeting the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement has always focused, rightly, on the world’s major greenhouse-gas emitters, mainly the U.S., Europe and China. Now the latest reports say China is in the midst of adding new coal power plants equivalent to the EU's entire capacity in an attempt to fire up the country's slowing economy.
"As more countries turn away from coal and retire their plants, China’s continued pursuit of coal is increasingly out of step with the rest of the world, and is now effectively driving the ongoing expansion of the global coal fleet," according to San Fransisco-based Global Energy Monitor. Continue Reading...
Ladies first: All 240 TSX Composite companies now have at least one female director
Posted October 30, 2019
We’re slowly chipping away at the glass ceiling, but just 17 Canadian companies have gender-balanced boards
Countless books have been written on the keys to running a successful corporation. One hot tip confirmed yet again by the latest research: put more women in leadership. Recent number-crunching from Morgan Stanley found that globally, the most gender diverse companies outperformed regional benchmarks by 1.7% yearly – even more so in North America. This after the latest findings from the Harvard Business Review concluded that having at least one female director on a board was associated with better acquisition decisions and ultimately improved a firm’s performance.Continue Reading...
Not business as usual: A roundup of Canadian businesses joining global climate strike
Posted September 27, 2019
Which Canadian companies are encouraging workers to join the today's climate strike?
“It’s not business as usual for the world's children to skip school to get adults to pay attention to the climate crisis. It’s not business as usual for citizens to strike to get governments to make meaningful commitments to climate action. So, on Friday, September 27, we’re not doing business as usual.”
That’s the statement issued by a group of global businesses pledging to support worker participation in the climate strikes last week and today, September 27, as millions around the world gather to demand greater climate action from governments.Continue Reading...
The Great Coal-lapse
Posted July 16, 2019
In Switzerland, the U.K. and yes, even the U.S. signs of a post-coal world are emerging
In spite of any magical thinking, “beautiful, clean coal” doesn’t exist. Coal is the dirtiest fuel. It emits the highest proportion of carbon dioxide compared to other fossil fuels as well as other noxious substances such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and mercury.
Fortunately, coal is on the way out. Germany is even managing to shutter its coal industry without sacking a single miner.Continue Reading...
Happiness index: Smile for more progress
Posted July 12, 2019
While Finland may be happiest country on earth, Canada is slipping on UN ranking
There’s good news and bad news in the latest research on world happiness.
The seventh annual World Happiness Report was released in March by the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Yes, there’s a science of happiness, and the data is robust enough that researchers can measure people’s well-being in 156 countries.
The calculations are more complicated than you might think, but here’s the bottom line.Continue Reading...
Car-free cities are picking up speed
Posted June 21, 2019
Oslo, London, Berlin and even Toronto are among a growing list of cities paving the way for cleaner commutes
When a Labour-Green coalition replaced the Conservative party at Oslo’s city hall in 2015, change was on the table. But one of the council’s promises – to become the first European city to ban motor traffic in the heart of the city – collided head-on with angry motorists and a business group that claimed such a ban would create a “poorer city” and a “dead town.”
Costing climate inaction: Bank of Canada joins ‘coalition of the willing’
Posted May 29, 2019
While Canadian politicians waffle over climate change, Bank of Canada declares climate risks a threat to economy
While politicians in Canada and around the globe deny or waffle over climate change, the world’s central bankers are taking the climate crisis seriously.
"Climate change continues to pose risks to both the economy and the financial system," said Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz with the release of the bank's first-ever report on climate risks earlier this month. The bank announced that it's undertaking a multi-year research plan to better assess the climate risks facing Canada's financial system, including looking at bank loans to carbon-intensive sectors.Continue Reading...