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Publisher's note
Toby is the CEO and co-founder of Corporate Knights Inc. and publisher of Corporate Knights Magazine. He spearheaded the first global ranking of the world’s 100 most sustainable corporations in 2005, and in 2007 coined the term “clean capitalism.”

Canadian economy can’t succeed if the Indigenous economy fails

Enjoying the spectacle of Jody Wilson-Raybould cleaning the floor with the PM? Guess what corporate Canada: you’re next

 

Enjoying the spectacle of Jody Wilson-Raybould cleaning the floor with the Prime Minister? Guess what corporate Canada: you’re next. Anybody doubting this needn’t look further than the 275 straight court cases Indigenous peoples have won, stopping many resource projects in their tracks.

The new rule of business in Canada’s resource economy is: No Indigenous buy-in, no dice. Buy-in doesn’t come cheap. It means a radical departure from business as usual practices. That means more than just a few token jobs. The table stakes are meaningful equity ownership, control through executive and governance bodies, employment, involvement in environmental planning and, critically, sourcing. Canadian businesses and governments need to be much better partners and customers of Indigenous businesses.

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Imagine a cleaner Canada

Four common sense measures to get us there

Imagine the Canada of 2025. Zero-emission vehicles putter across the country, silently saving the average person $1,500 a year on fuel costs. Homes and workspaces are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, with a fraction of the utility bills and virtually all of our power coming from zero-emission sources that make it easier for everyone to breathe. Our fossil fuel industries are pumping out clean commodities to satisfy the high and growing demand for global customers.

That world is within our grasp thanks to advances in technology, abundant clean power and natural resources, and the can-do mentality of Canadians. But it is not just going to fall into our laps.

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Don’t let SNC axe ‘Maple Leaf Advantage’

It’s time for Ottawa to stop sitting on its hands and bolster corporate accountability checks

Corporate accountability mechanisms for Canadian companies operating in developing countries have been a long time coming. A National Roundtable for Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries gathered in 2006 and offered a great deal of promise – until nothing happened. Then in 2009, Liberal MP John McKay put forward private member’s Bill C-300 – dubbed the “responsible mining bill” – to establish an accountability mechanism for Canadian mining, oil, or gas companies in developing countries.

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10 lessons from Davos on changing capitalism’s tune

While everyone's crooning about sustainability at WEF, more companies need to put their money where their mouths are

“The times they are a-changin',” belted Bob Dylan in his iconic 1964 song that tapped the revolutionary ethos of the decade.

The first time I went to the annual Woodstock for capitalists in the Swiss village of Davos back in 2005 (to launch the inaugural Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World ranking), Dylan’s lyrics would have been the last theme song in the universe chiming in my head.

I remember then asking Steven Schwartzman, co-founder of the giant investment firm Blackstone, if he was doing any investments in renewables or green companies. He replied, “Nah, that stuff is too small for us.”

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Optimistic in spite of reality

Despite rising GHGs and Once-ler leaders in White House and now Brazil, economics and the human spirit ride to the rescue

My first summer job that didn’t involve cutting grass was in Bosnia with an outfit called Conflict Resolution Catalysts, which had the lofty mandate of restoring interethnic civility in the war-torn region. Fittingly, the group’s motto was “optimističan uprkos stvarnosti” (optimistic in spite of reality). That has been my life motto ever since.

Lately, this motto has been put to the test.

In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) painted a stark picture of the high cost we can expect to pay if global temperatures rise by 2˚C instead of 1.5˚C. The half-degree of extra warming doubles the decline in crop yields, fisheries, species extinction, and portion of the population exposed to extreme heat, which in turn adds up to 150 million premature human deaths, mass species extinction and hundreds of millions of climate refugees this century. The problem, based on the Climate Action Tracker models, is that we are currently on track to heat up the planet 3.3˚C by 2100 – a “Hothouse Earth” scenario in which all bets are off.

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