GM, Volvo accelerate into EV curve

The race is on as more automakers make bold commitments and innovators rush to develop fast-charging batteries

In 2017, the Trudeau Liberals pledged to end the sale of all new petroleum-powered vehicles within 23 years. It was a bold step at the time, when electric vehicles (EVs) accounted for just 1% of auto industry sales. But thanks to new technologies, Canadians seem likely to put their old gas-guzzlers in the rearview mirror long before 2040.

In February, a KPMG study reported that 68% of Canadians who plan to buy a new vehicle in the next five years say they are likely to buy an EV. Younger drivers are more charged up than their parents: 79% of drivers aged 18 to 44 say they’re likely to buy an EV in the next five years, versus just 58% of adults over 45.

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Renewable investors lagging despite 700% higher returns than fossil fuels

International Energy Agency report says while renewable stocks surging, reforms needed to level playing field for investors

The experts say that reducing global carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 will require new investment of US$1 trillion to US$2 trillion a year to shift buildings, transportation and industry to renewable electricity sourced from wind, solar and hydro.

Fortunately, taxpayers won’t have to pick up the whole tab. The International Energy Agency, a policy think tank in Paris run by the world’s energy ministers, says the zero-carbon shift can be funded mainly by investors. A new IEA study finds that publicly traded renewable-energy companies are already outperforming fossil-fuel stocks – without exposing investors to additional risk.

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Manifest powers up to help industry master growing climate risks

Venture investors rally around a Canadian start-up that’s helping big companies manage complex risks of climate change

Venture investors are rallying around a Canadian start-up that’s addressing a huge business problem: helping big companies manage the complexity of climate-risk disclosure.

Toronto-based Manifest Climate, formerly Mantle314,  was launched in 2015 as a consultancy by Toronto lawyer Laura Zizzo, who had previously founded Canada’s first law firm focused solely on climate change. In 2020, Manifest pivoted to become a tech start-up, developing AI-based software that automates and expands its consulting services by digitally scraping key data from clients’ financial filings and sustainability reports to ensure they meet growing demands for climate risk disclosure from regulators and investors alike.

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Unilever’s bold veggie stake

The company plans to boost its sales of healthier and climate-friendly plant-based foods fivefolds in the next few years

An outbreak of swine flu in 1998 persuaded Dutch cattle farmer Jaap Korteweg to become a vegetarian. But he still craved the taste of meat, so he worked with chefs, scientists and producers of vegetable protein to develop plant-based foods with the flavour and texture of beef, pork and chicken – but without the cruelty of meat production or its environmental risks (the world’s cattle produce more greenhouse gases than all its automobiles).

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Rockefellers urge banks to stop fossil-fuel lending

Calling the warming climate a “major risk” to the American economy, Rockefeller descendants call for banking innovation

Robber baron that he was, at least John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil and America’s first billionaire, respected science. After his ambitions turned from crushing competitors to philanthropy, in 1901 he founded the first medical research centre in the U.S. At a time when physicians were mainly pill-pushers, the Rockefeller Institute (now Rockefeller University) encouraged scientists to probe the causes of disease, producing many of the first vaccines and inventing the modern science of cell biology.

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The angel is in the details

Six takeaways from the conference centre on Cortes Island that has been stirring up dissent and fuelling social entpreneurs

Off the coast of British Columbia, three ferry rides north of Vancouver, lies a pine-studded island called Cortes. Floating like a puzzle piece in the Salish Sea, named for a Spanish conquistador and bursting with black bears, eagles, otters and orcas, you couldn’t imagine a less likely site to be fomenting revolution.

For the last 25 years Hollyhock, a conference centre on Cortes’s sandy south shore, has been stirring up dissent, promoting social activism and talking cash flow through a movement called the Social Venture Institute (SVI). Founded by a trio of Greenpeace activists from the “Save the Whales” 1970s, Hollyhock began by offering weary urbanites programs in personal growth and the healing arts. In 1995, 30 entrepreneurs who had assembled to explore how business can heal the planet ended up founding what is now SVI. In the years since, Hollyhock’s lush gardens and cedar lodges have become a crucible for more than 3,000 practical altruists who believe the best way to achieve equity and social justice is to build your own change-making platforms.

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CKTV: Prince Charles joins top Global 100 CEOs with urgent call to action

At Global 100 launch, Prince of Wales invites companies to join Terra Carta pledge and accelerate momentum towards net-zero

Every year since 2005, Corporate Knights has unveiled its annual list of the world’s most sustainable companies – the Global 100 – in the snowy mountains of Davos during the World Economic Forum. This year’s list debuted Monday, January 25, in a virtual Zoom gathering. Joining CEOs from four of the world’s most sustainable firms was one of the world’s longest-running advocates for sustainable capitalism, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

While congratulating this year’s 100 most sustainable firms in the “noble pursuit of the idea that business can be a force for good,” Prince Charles urgently called for the sort of leadership represented by the Global 100. He warned that the sum of all countries’ carbon reduction commitments won’t come close to limiting rising global temperatures to an average of 2°C – let alone the essential target of 1.5°. “Rather – and this is the problem – they deliver a 3.2°C increase, which means mass extinction and large parts of the planet being uninhabitable by the end of this century.

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BoJo’s bold, green plan?

U.K. PM Boris Johnson committed to the most ambitious GHG cuts of the G20, however gaping holes in his green agenda remain

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson surprised his country in November by introducing a 10-point plan for a “green industrial revolution.” His £12-billion plan aims to phase out petrol-powered vehicles by 2030, quadruple offshore wind power, boost hydrogen power, develop zero-emission planes and ships, invest in new carbon-capture projects, retrofit homes and public buildings, and make London the world’s centre of green finance – all while creating 250,000 new jobs.

Naturally, the PM took a pasting for thinking too small.

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Biden sets new pace in climate race

Armed with slim majority in the Senate, Biden may soon challenge Canada to keep up on climate policies

While running for the U.S. presidency, Joe Biden championed climate action and promoted a US$2-trillion “Build Back Better” action plan. As president-elect, Biden showed he means business by naming a tough, experienced team to bring a climate lens to transition challenges – not just in Energy and related departments, but also in Defense, Treasury and Justice.

After four years of Donald Trump’s coal and fracking cronies, U.S. environmental groups were elated that progressive, professional experts were taking back government.

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Where’s the beef tax?

FAIRR report estimates that new carbon taxes could cost 40 global meat companies up to US$11.6 billion by 2050

The true cost of your favourite steak or chop may be much higher than the price you pay at the store. Thanks to the potential health risks of eating meat – higher incidences of obesity, heart disease, cancer and premature death – as well as the environmental devastation caused by mass-market meat production, society gets stuck with the tab every time you bite into a Whopper or a roast.

Now a growing chorus of researchers is pushing for a combination of carbon taxes and “sin taxes” to mitigate meat’s impact – and the result may curb your appetite.

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