Are You Still In? The President May Not Be On Board -- But These 2,000 U.S. Organization's Leaders Are Still Are!




Are You Still In? The President May Not Be On Board -- But These 2,000 U.S. Organization's Leaders Are Still Are!

As the President of the United States began the laborious process of reneging on the historic global agreement to address the challenges of climate change reached in Paris at the COP 21 meetings in 2015, the reaction inside the country by thought leaders and important economic players was swift and decisive:  The "We Are Still In" movement was launched by private parties and state and municipal-level government officials. 

And by a widening range of institutional investors (asset owners and managers), major corporate leaders (especially the well-known, large-cap corporate brand marketers), respected academic centers, trade & professional associations, family foundations, entrepreneurial businesses, professional practices, information providers...and more.

In just days, more than 1500 companies, 197 majors of cities, 308 universities, nine governors, sent the message loud & clear:  We Are Still In the Paris Agreement!  This new, important social movement is a voluntary, grassroots approach that includes a wide range of stakeholders, many with familiar names, proclaiming:

Despite the Trump Administration reneging on an important commitment -- governmental (public policy) and moral (especially in terms of leadership on the most important societal issue of our time) -- the players in the new movements will continue moving ahead to address climate change challenges. We are still in the game and keeping the word of the United States of America, say the signatories.

Important for all of us to keep in mind: (1) in the USA, the Federal government alone is not driving the process; (2) the Paris Accord was an important blueprint for creating new jobs, especially here in the United States; (3) and was a pathway to creating greater prosperity on a broad basis; (4) part of a concerted effort by the community-of-nations to creating stability in the world community.  Today, just three of the world's sovereign nations are absent from the Agreement:  Nicaragua, Syria...and the United States of America. For shame!

Our Top Story today is the background information for you from the G&A Institute Sustainability Update blog on the We Are Still In Movement, with many of the bold names of the signatories.

This is spreading now like a proverbial prairie wildfire, we say; the response of American leaders in business, academia, investing, social sector organizations, professional providers, and others is encouraging and bold, and sending a clear message in Plain English in our words:  We [the signatories] are still in!  Still in, that is, [in] the effort to address the serious challenges inherent in climate change and committed to innovating solutions while creating economic opportunities!

As a footnote to the commentary, note that the members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors are meeting in Florida this week, and supporting cities (in a bipartisan basis) approved resolutions such as attaining 100% renewable energy by 2035 and encouraging the use of electric vehicles in their jurisdictions. Said Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia: "We are showing the world that cities and mayors can and will lead the transition from fossil fuels to 100% clean, renewable energy!" Mayors also called on the President to re-consider commitment to the Paris Accord and continuing President Obama's Clean Power Plan.

The second Top Story for you in from the widely-read Huffington Post, a commentary by Dr. Gregory Unruh, Arison Professor of Values Leadership at George Mason University and a well-known advocate for sustainable business strategy (including environmental sustainability and climate responsibility).  He shares his perspectives on the important steps in building the organization to meet sustainability goals.

Once the material sustainability issues are identified by the organization, he advises, structures and systems need to be put in place to meet the adopted goals of the [corporate] sustainability journey.  And at the top, CEO commitment is necessary because of the changes that will be taking place on the journey.  Putting in place KPIs for important tangible goals and assigning clear managerial responsibilities are necessary steps to ensure that the sustainability efforts don't hit the rocks.

The key, he writes, is getting the body of middle managers on board -- most are likely to resist and see implementation as a "pain in the butt."  There's more sage advice in his piece.  The two Top Stories are of a pair, we would say.  First, read about the We Are Still In movement, and think about signing on for your organization; and then read Professor Unruh's advice on managing your organization's sustainability journey, based on the research he's done with major academic centers, including MIT (his post is the fourth in the series by MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group).

Top Stories This Week...

Are You Still In? Are You Signed on Yet? C’Mon – the Country Needs You!
(June 27, 2017) 
Source: Sustainability Update Blog, by Hank Boerner, Chairman & Chief StrategistG&A Institute
Question of the Day:  Are YOU Still In?  Have you signed on?  “In” — that is, for the long haul on addressing the many challenges of climate change and related global warming issues.  And “signed on” — to the We Are Still In Movement (please see wearestillin.com for information).

Build the Organization for Your Sustainability Goals   
(Wednesday - June 21, 2017) 
Source: Huff Post - As with any strategic initiative, the success of a sustainability strategy depends on implementation. Once you’ve identified your material sustainability issues and crafted strategic goals around them, you need to establish... 

Important Items for Your Attention: Editors' Sustainability Scans - Progress!

Why Monetization Should Not Be Used for Sustainability Accounting
(Monday - June 19, 2017) 
Source: Sustainable Brands - The truth is that most of what passes for mainstream practice in sustainability accounting today does not pass this test. One such method is monetization, according to which a monetary value (positive or negative, as the case may...

How hybrid energy storage aids corporate sustainability
(Monday - June 19, 2017) 
Source: GreenBiz - The market for commercial and industrial (C&I) energy storage has experienced rapid growth as a result of numerous market developments in the past several years. Across the entire energy storage industry, decreasing prices for... 

3 trends shaping the future of sustainable retail
(Monday - June 19, 2017) 
Source: GreenBiz - Arguably most of the environmental and social impacts in retail lie in its supply chain — the manufacturing of consumer goods. 

More Developers Are Targeting Aggressive Sustainability Goals
(Wednesday - June 21, 2017) 
Source: Forges - From green roofs to renewable energy production, sustainability has become an integral part of development. Investors, tenants and cities are pushing developers for more environmentally friendly and energy efficient projects...

Seeing green: Why fleets are jumping on the sustainability trend
(Wednesday - June 21, 2017) 
Source: Fleet Equipment - G&D Integrated is a good case study on how there are many reasons today’s most progressive fleets are embracing environmental sustainability. On the one hand, the for-hire carrier believes doing what it can to protect the... 

Sustainability: A greener culture
(Thursday - June 22, 2017) 
Source: Nature - Although most researchers say that tackling climate change will require large-scale action from nations and corporations, many individuals are trying to do their own parts...

The Brands That Have Been Sustainable Since Before It Was Buzzy
(Thursday - June 22, 2017) 
Source: Fashionistes - At the CFDA's first-ever "Fashion Future" graduate showcase this spring, there was one theme that surfaced again and again in the top student work on display: sustainability ...

Flint outlines sustainability progress
(Thursday - June 22, 2017) 
Source: Labels & Labeling - Flint Group has taken ‘important steps’ to measure and reduce its environmental footprint in recent years, with its 2017 Sustainability Report outlining the work that has gone on, and continues, to improve the company’s social... 

Weaving sustainability into Singapore’s urban fabric
(Friday - June 23, 2017) 
Source: Eco-Business - Some people may say that cities disconnect people from nature or sacrifice sustainability at the altar of commerce. But these companies are proving that encouraging sustainable habits can change lives, and turn a profit. 

SFA Director Mike Schragger: How to Make Sustainability a Business Success
(Friday - June 23, 2017) 
Source: ISPO - Everybody in the sports industry talks about sustainability and every outdoor company agrees that “we have to protect our nature“. A great development – or is sustainability just a buzzword? Mike Schragger has a clear view of the... 

Making Sustainability Part of Your Defined-Contribution Plans
(Friday - June 23, 2017) 
Source: MorningStar - Investors are very interested in sustainable investing, but one of the main ways most people invest, through their workplace defined-contribution, or DC, retirement plans, typically have no sustainable options.


Our Focus This Week on A Range of ESG Topics & Issues -- Things to Think About..

What's a woman on the board worth to stock investors? About 300 bps, according to CIBC study
(Tuesday - June 20, 2017) 
Source: Financial Post - Having women on a company’s board of directors leads to better stock market returns and that’s information institutional investors can use when deploying their portfolio strategies, a new report prepared by CIBC World suggests. 

Why Oil Prices Are Plummeting
(Wednesday - June 21, 2017) 
Source: Forbes - As a long-time investor in the energy sector, the current quarter has been one of the worst I can recall. It seemed like the market had turned the corner in 2016 when energy was the top-performing sector following two difficult... 

Why this leading shareholder advisory firm is now studying climate change
(Thursday - June 22, 2017) 
Source: CNBC - A leading shareholder advisory firm is buying up environmental data and analytics companies, because its says investors are increasingly concerned about the impact climate change will have on their portfolios. 

Deadly Heat Could Be Norm By 2100: How Societies Adapt To Killer Temperatures
(Thursday - June 22, 2017) 
Source: TechTimes - About a third of the global population experiences over 20 days of deadly heat per year. Findings of a new study now estimate that this number will rise by at least 50 percent by the year 2100. 

California invested heavily in solar power. Now there's so much that other states are sometimes paid to take it
(Friday - June 23, 2017) 
Source: LA Times - Well, actually better than free. California produced so much solar power on those days that it paid Arizona to take excess electricity its residents weren’t using to avoid overloading its own power lines

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News & Opinion: Asset Managers, US Pension Funds, Sovereign Wealth Funds

Norway issues $1bn threat to Brazil over rising Amazon destruction  
(Friday - June 23, 2017) 
Source: The Guardian - Norway has issued a blunt threat to Brazil that if rising deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is not reversed, its billion-dollar financial assistance will fall to zero. The leaders of the two nations meet in Oslo on Friday. 

Swedish pension fund sells out of six firms it says breach Paris climate deal
(Monday - June 19, 2017) 
Source: Reuters - Sweden’s largest national pension fund, AP7, has sold its investments in six companies that it says violate the Paris climate agreement, a decision environmentalists believe is the first of its kind. 

Sovereign investors tweak portfolios for environmental risk
(Monday - June 19, 2017) 
Source: Reuters - Some sovereign investors are reducing their exposure to fossil fuels or seeking clean alternatives to protect their portfolios from rising environmental risk. 

Biggest U.S. banks clear first hurdle in Fed's annual stress tests
(Friday - June 23, 2017) 
Source: Reuters - The 34 largest U.S. banks have all cleared the first stage of an annual stress test, showing they would be able to maintain enough capital in an extreme recession to meet regulatory requirements, the Federal Reserve said on... 

A massive hedge fund that shut itself to outsiders is crushing it
(Tuesday - June 20, 2017) Associated Profiles : Employees Retirement System of Rhode Island (ERSRI) 
Source: Business Insider - From January 2012 through January 2015, the flagship fund "performed poorly with an annualized return of 0.65% net of fees," according to a consultant report for the Employees' Retirement System of Rhode Island. "It is no longer... 

News for You From the Corporate Sector

How Marks & Spencer Is Helping To Build A Global ‘Sustainability Tribe’
(Monday - June 19, 2017) 
Source: Ecosystem Market Place - When UK retailer Marks & Spencer launched its ambitious sustainability strategy in early 2007, it dubbed the strategy “Plan A” to remind us that we have just one planet, so there is no Plan B.  

Here are some takeaways from the Uber founder’s departure
(Wednesday - June 21, 2017) 
Source: Washington Post - In a move that shook up the ride-hailing world last week, Uber’s Travis Kalanick took a forced vacation from the company he built. It’s not clear how long the departure will last, but the timing of his exit was clear: Kalanick is...

Whole Foods CEO hints at another brand under Amazon
(Tuesday - June 20, 2017) 
Source: Business Insider - After Amazon.com Inc completes its takeover of high-end grocer Whole Foods Market Inc , it might launch another brand with different standards, the grocery chain's chief executive said in remarks reported in a securities filing...

Mylan shareholders vote against executive pay, re-elect board
(Friday - June 23, 2017) 
Source: Reuters - Mylan NV shareholders voted against the generic drugmaker's executive pay policy but re-elected the board at its annual meeting on Thursday despite a shareholder campaign in the wake of a scandal over high prices for its EpiPen... 

Xylem Publishes 2016 Sustainability Report
(Tuesday - June 20, 2017) 
Source: WaterWorld - Solving the planet's water challenges has never been more urgent. A growing population, overtaxed water infrastructure and increasing weather events all highlight the need for sustainable solutions. And solving...


Trump Administration News... Affecting Directions on Governance, Sustainability & Climate Change

Something Ain’t Right
(Tuesday - June 20, 2017) 
Source: Larry Checco, featured commentator - Telling the truth means never needing to remember what you said. Given all the conflicting and distorted information that daily spews from the current White House, it appears its primary resident and staff are severely challenged...

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