Contributing editor
Jeremy is a contributing editor at Corporate Knights Magazine. He previously served as the editor-in-chief from 2015-2018. In 2013, he was named a Mining Country Fellow by the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources.

Heroes & zeros: Kering and Fiat + Starbucks

By Jeremy Runnalls
Kering releases new environmental profit and loss report, while Fiat and Starbucks attract the EU’s wrath.

Hero: Kering

French luxury goods holding company Kering took another step towards fully measuring its ecological footprint by publishing a consolidated 2014 environmental profit and loss (EP&L) report in November. This pioneering accounting system is intended to place a dollars-and-cents value on the environmental impact of its operations.

The results found that the company had produced an environmental impact of around € 793 million in 2014, a 2.2 per cent year over year increase. Ninety-three per cent of this impact was generated through its supply chain, with the remaining 7 per cent resulting from internal operations. A full quarter of Kering’s impact came from the leather used in many of the company’s products, while another 17 per cent was linked to cotton.

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Editor’s Note: Getting the “Davos Man” onboard for the fight against climate change

We're going to need all the help we can get.

This piece appeared as an editor’s note in the Winter 2016 issue of Corporate Knights

Corporate Knights releases the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World list in Davos for a reason. We want to make sure the world’s business elite are on hand to witness which of the largest companies around the globe are becoming more resource-efficient and socially responsible, and making meaningful improvements to their governance structures.

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Electric avenue

By CK Staff and Jeremy Runnalls
Ford doubles down on electric vehicles, smart mobility systems.

Ford Motor Company revealed plans last week to spend $4.5 billion (U.S.) on electric vehicle (EV) development and introduce 13 new models by 2020.

This investment by the Detroit automaker, constituting its largest commitment to EVs in its history, will result in 40 per cent of its models being electrified in the next five years, up from 13 per cent. This figure encompasses full EVs, along with plug-in and regular hybrids. Ford has already hired an additional 120 engineers for its Electrified Powertrain Engineering program this year, and plans on adding more R&D capacity in the years ahead.

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Reducing pollution and congestion in Oslo

By Jeremy Runnalls
The Norwegian capital of Oslo moves to ban cars from city centre by 2019.

The new Oslo city council is moving ahead with plans to eliminate all private vehicles from central Oslo over the next four years.

"We want to have a car-free centre," Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, lead negotiator for the Green Party in the Norwegian capital of Oslo, told reporters at a press conference in late October. "We want to make it better for pedestrians, cyclists. It will be better for shops and everyone."

While the details have yet to be finalized, city council plans on replacing automobile transportation in the city centre with alternatives that include 60 kilometres of new bike lanes, a new subsidy for the purchasing of e-bikes and a significant expansion of its already-robust public transit system.

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Heroes & zeros: Novo Nordisk and Silver Wheaton

Novo Nordisk brings diabetes treatment to poor, while Silver Wheaton avoids its taxes.

Hero: Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharmaceutical company largely dedicated to diabetes treatment, launched a six-month diabetes awareness campaign in July in conjunction with the Kenyan Ministry of Health and the Kenya Diabetes Management and Information Center. The campaign aims to increase rates of early diagnosis among the population through public screening and education campaigns housed in faith-based organizations and various public healthcare facilities. “We know that the rate of undiagnosed diabetes is negatively impacting the health and economic wellbeing of thousands of people in Kenya,” says Ben Konate, general manager, Novo Nordisk Middle Africa. “Breaking this pattern of lack of awareness is our promise to people living with diabetes.” The program is also being supported by the Danish Embassy, Philips Pharmaceutical and a number of smaller Kenyan NGOs.

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The pro-GMO argument for putting a label on it

Is big Ag shooting itself in the foot with its anti-labeling campaigning?

The battle over mandatory GM (genetically modified) food labeling in the United States has heated up in recent years, with perceived inaction in Congress leading to movements at the state level to pass their own labeling laws. Ballot initiatives in Oregon, California, Washington and Colorado have all rejected mandatory GMO efforts, albeit by slim margins. Industry-led opposition has spent vast sums of money fighting these initiatives, including $46 million on the 2012 California referendum alone. Despite these setbacks, campaigners are preparing for another big push in several Western states in 2016.

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The other reason for building greener workplaces

By Jeremy Runnalls
Evidence is mounting that green buildings have a positive effect on health outcomes for tenants, but more research is needed.

More buildings than ever now carry the label green or sustainable. According to McGraw Hill Construction, 41 per cent of all non-residential building starts in 2012 were green, compared to 2 per cent in 2005. More than 3.6 billion square feet of building space have now been certified by LEED, the leading green building certification regime.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines the act of sustainable building as “the practice of creating and using healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance and demolition.” Yet the weight placed on protecting occupant health is often overlooked when discussing the merits of green building construction.

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EarthSpark International completes 1st Haitian “prepay” microgrid

The EKo Pwòp microgrid will provide clean, reliable power to 430 homes and businesses in Southern Haiti.

Hopes were high in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 Haitian earthquake that the billions of dollars in aid money that arrived would be able to address the country’s massive infrastructure deficit. Yet five years on, efforts to rebuild the country remain a work in progress, starting with its electricity grid. An AP article summarized the problems succinctly with its headline “Haiti seeks to rebuild, or just build, power grid.”

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The Best 50 rolls up the rim

Tim Hortons is the top-ranked company on the 2015 Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada.

A former regional manager at a Canadian extractives firm was recently reflecting on how, a decade ago, his industry viewed Corporate Knights. “The general impression then from within the company was that Corporate Knights was a constructive and reasonable voice – albeit a little idealistic – with unreasonable expectations about what a corporation can and should do in terms of social responsibility,” he explained in an email exchange.

The jury’s still out as to whether or not our magazine’s vision is too utopian, but recent evidence suggests that both corporate and political culture is moving closer to our worldview. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, a past enthusiast of banking deregulation, gave a speech in April extolling the virtues of inclusive capitalism in a speech titled “The fierce urgency of fixing economic inequality worldwide.”

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Canada’s greenest mayor

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has spent the past seven years transforming his city into a sustainability powerhouse.

October 2008 was a dark time for the environmental movement in British Columbia and throughout Canada. The economic downturn had focused the electorate’s attention away from climate change onto pocketbook issues, turning Stéphane Dion’s Green Shift plan into an albatross around the neck of the federal Liberal Party and contributing to the re-election of the Conservatives.

In B.C., Premier Gordon Campbell’s province-wide carbon tax, introduced earlier that year, was polling poorly going into a Spring 2009 election against an NDP party that had vowed to “axe the tax.” Presented with these developments, the Globe and Mail’s Gary Mason opined that “it may be some time before we again see a political leader in Canada brave enough to build a campaign platform around saving the environment.”

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