Canadian banks start doing the math on climate change risks

Bank of Canada working with financial sector to get a grip on how climate change scenarios will affect their bottom line

At long last, Canada may have reached the point where climate change is no longer a political issue, but rather a clear problem that needs to be solved.

As evidence, take Tiff Macklem. Appointed last June as the 10th governor of the Bank of Canada, his job is to ensure the stability of Canada’s financial system. With the bank’s tradition of political independence, and most of his seven-year term still to come, Macklem can afford to confront the climate threat head-on. 

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Our top five sustainability stories of 2020

Why we think change is not just possible – it’s already happening

Is there reason to be optimistic in the fight for clean capitalism? Corporate Knights thinks so, and our readers clearly believe it, too. We’ve compiled a list of Corporate Knights’ five most popular stories of 2020. They cover a broad range of topics: two of our renowned “lists,” one radical proposal from an oil-industry executive, our big roundtable initiative and an offbeat tale of how Ottawa’s reforestation program literally missed the forest for the trees.

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If fashion brands to build back better they’ll have to #PayUp billions in unpaid wages

Fashion brands were pressured to #payup billions to overseas workers left in pandemic lurch, but wages still in free fall

Workers and fashion-loving consumers alike are fighting back against the world’s top fashion brands, which has left independent suppliers in the lurch for up to US$40 billion in unpaid bills.

When COVID struck and the malls shut down, more than 2,000 retail and fashion companies abruptly cancelled thousands of orders, many failing to pay even for those that had been completed. The small suppliers who produce some of the world’s best-known brands – The Gap, Nike, Primark, H&M and hundreds more – were forced to cut staff or even close their doors, leaving millions of workers struggling to feed their families.

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CKTV: Lessons from the last global crisis come into focus

International roundtable on the lessons of 2008's global recession and how to craft a green recovery

On September 30, we assembled an international panel for a lively discussion about lessons learned from previous global economic crises and what must be done to get it right this time. The panelists shared varying approaches to, and philosophies behind, green stimulus deals in Germany, France, Canada, and at the EU level, including the role that business can play in making green stimulus more effective.

"It's not just a case of sticking a whole bunch of shovels into the ground," said Don Drummond (Queen's University) . "We need a new mechanism and new sources of growth in Canada. The traditional sources aren't working."

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How a $20 bill could be worth close to $308

Green New Bill campaign encourages feds to invest in green recovery ahead of throne speech

With files from Ralph Torrie 

In advance of this week’s throne speech, a coalition of grassroots groups has launched the first Canadian bill that shows a $20 bill’s long-term value if the federal government invests in a green recovery.

Recent calculations made by economists at Corporate Knights found that for every $20 invested in a green and just recovery, $307.85 would be contributed to Canada’s GDP over the next 10 years. This figure was calculated by factoring $125 in direct investments by the private sector and other governments, as well as multiplier and indirect benefits.

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Souping up the Trans-Canada highway with ultra-fast EV chargers

If Canada is going to meet its ZEV sales targets, it needs to put ultra-fast Trans-Canada charging network in top gear

We asked Canada’s thought leaders to weigh in with ideas for how the government should spend stimulus money as part of a Green Recovery. To read the entire report series, head to Planning for Green Recovery.


Some heavy-hauler truckers spend upwards of $75,000 just on diesel, while the average Canadian driving an F-150 pickup 20,000 kilometres gets dinged for $2,000 at the pump. Imagine cutting those fuel bills by 75%, without the range anxiety many Canadians currently have around electric vehicles or long waits for the vehicle to juice up.

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Female workers disproportionately affected by COVID-19 shutdown

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.”

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International Chamber of Commerce demands “bold climate action”

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.”

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Companies get failing score on human rights

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.

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