July 21, 2017

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The Cities & States of the USA Move Ahead on Climate Change -- Mayors & Governors, Leaders in Addressing Challenges & Providing Solutions

We've been sharing news and perspectives on recent developments in l'affaires climate change, with the US government [at the Federal level] abandoning the landmark Paris Agreement (the COP 21 accomplishments, with almost 200 nations participating). 

The mayors and governors and other leaders at the city/municipal and state governments around the United States are individually and collectively committing to continuing to meet what the US government agreed to do...and what the Trump administration has now "dis-agreed" with moving forward.  There's good news elsewhere in the public sector, though.

The US Conference of Mayors met in Miami Beach recently to address a number of issues that leaders of municipalities are concerned with -- and to develop solutions to address.  Often, it is worth noting, the solutions are reached in partnership with the business community.  That collaboration -- and innovation -- spells o-p-p-o-r-t-u-n-i-t-y for both public and private sectors.

The respective mayors at the conference put climate change high on the agenda and passed a powerful resolution demonstrating their commitment to the nation's commitment in Paris to rigorous address climate change challenges.  (A link to the resolution is in the post below.)

Good news out of the conference:  Cities are purchasing renewable electric energy.  69% of respondents to the Conference survey -- 22% are considering doing so.  Green vehicles?  63% of mayoral respondents are doing that for their municipal fleets; 30% more are considering hybrids, electrics, natural gas, biodiesel.

In a commentary in G&A Institute's Sustainability-Update blog, Chair Hank Boerner shares more information about the good news from the Conference and goings-on at the city and state level -- in "US Cities Showing the Way on Climate Change Solutions." 

This is not just about US cities -- the movement is global as noted in the column.  It is incredible to think that more than half of the world's population now live in cities, and many of the world's urban centers are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change (rising seas, drought, severe storms, heat waves, and more). 

And so -- City Fathers and Mothers are awake to the threats and doing something about climate change.  There's the Compact of Mayors, with 652 cities in the effort, led by former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  There's the CDP Cities Initiative, with more than 500 cities now disclosing their climate change initiatives.  There's America's Pledge, an effort by 227 US cities and counties, 9 US states and 1,650 businesses and investors...a pledge to uphold the US government's commitment to the Paris Agreement.  Read the full text of Hank Boerner's commentary here: http://ga-institute.com/Sustainability-Update/2017/07/15/u-s-global-cities-showing-the-way-on-climate-change-solutions/

And for additional information about climate change action at the municipal level, read about the good work going on in Hollywood, Florida; Bozeman, Montana; Loveland, Colorado; Redmond, Washington.  These stories and more in the informative American City & County news story -- it's about how cities are enticing their citizens to pitch in and help to create a more sustainable city.  There's info here on the National League of Cities' "Sustainable Cities Institute."

Incentivizing sustainability
(Thursday - July 13, 2017) 
Source: American City & County - Cities are financially enticing citizens to take more environmentally friendly actions — and they're seeing results 

News From & About G&A...

UNCW and G&A Institute Announce The Certificate & Certification in "Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Strategies" E-Learning Course Offering Dual Credentials
(July 10, 2017)
Source: G&A Institute - To maximize the value for participants, those completing the "Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Strategies" E-Learning Course requirements successfully will receive not just one, but two credentials.  In this one of a kind course, students will receive a certification from G&A Institute (a well-known research, consultant, and educator in this space) and a certificate from the Swain Center for Executive Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (ranked as one of the best universities in the country by US News & World Report). 

Top Stories This Week...

And in our Top Story, we bring you news about how a US and Swedish private sector leader in sustainability and corporate responsibility is embracing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to reduce risk and balance economic values and social values.  It's an interview by Chris Skroupa, Forbes columnist and CEO of Skytop Strategies (the global conference organizers) with Elaine Weidman-Grunewald of Ericsson (she's a member of the Global Leadership Team and Group Crisis Management Council).  She makes the business case for sustainability in this conversation.

Sustainable Development Goals--Room For Companies To Lead
(Wednesday - July 12, 2017) 
Source: Forbes - The sustainability area is about balancing the need for social, economic development with the impact on the environment and the nexus between different areas such as energy, water and agriculture or access to electricity and... 

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

DU Alumnae Take Passion for Sustainability into the Workforce
(Monday - July 10, 2017) 
Source: Denver University - Lane credits her experience at the sustainability center for helping her to engage stakeholders at her current job. Lane says she utilizes the lessons she learned to help improve waste-diversion efforts in Denver. She sees.
G20 Communique: Strong On Climate Change, On Sustainability, On Environmental Justice
(Wednesday - July 12, 2017) 
Source: Clean Technica - It was a victory for climate change action and support for the Paris Climate Agreement, for sure. But the G20 Communique at the end of the Hamburg summit was much more than that: A statement about sustainability, income... 

Sustainability Investing: A Harmony of Interests for a Better World?
(Thursday - July 13, 2017) 
Source: Market Mogul - One of these new frontiers is the business of sustainability: the awareness of humans’ impact on climate changes has increased investors’ concerns on where their wealth is being directed, whether the business they are financing... 

U.S. Roundtable For Sustainable Beef Concludes Third General Assembly Meeting
(Thursday - July 13, 2017) 
Source: KTIC - Moving forward, the organization will focus on finalizing the sector-specific metrics, developing the Sustainability Assessment Guides and supporting pilot projects, field trials and research with leadership from the Engagement... 


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

The ELEPHANT in the Room for Sustainability
(Monday - July 10, 2017) 
Source: Huff Post - On social media over the past year there have been 7 million mentions of poverty and 189 million mentions of climate change. That’s 27 times the interest. Climate change is critically important but poverty seems to be forgotten 

The Threat to America That No One is Talking About
(Monday - July 10, 2017) 
Source: Huff Post - Our country has to maintain a strategy to use against a potential microbial attack that would strike terror in the hearts of every American if we’re not prepared for it when it hits. And make no mistake, it will come. It’s only a... 

Poll: 40% Of Americans Think Global Warming Will Make Humans Go Extinct
(Tuesday - July 11, 2017) 
Source: Daily Caller - Roughly two-fifths of Americans believe global warming will eventually lead to humans becoming extinct, according to a Yale University poll. 

Net neutrality supporters say online rally is just the start of the fight to keep tough FCC rules
(Thursday - July 13, 2017) 
Source: LA Times - Some of the Web’s biggest names — Amazon, Google, Netflix and Twitter — joined thousands of smaller websites Wednesday in urging users to tell Washington to leave the Internet the way it is.

Rising Temperatures Could Make Air Travel Even Worse
(Friday - July 14, 2017) 
Source: Gizmodo - Last month, as a record-breaking heat wave swept through the southwest United States, dozens of flights were canceled when the blisteringly hot conditions made it hard for jets to take off.

Global Oil Prices Fall After IEA Report Suggests OPEC Compliance on Output Cuts Waning
(Thursday - July 13, 2017) 
Source: The Street - Global oil prices were under pressure again Thursday after a report from the International Energy Agency said compliance from OPEC members on its agreed production cuts fell to the lowest level of the year last month. 

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

Uncertain Future for Government-Run Retirement Savings Plans  
(Wednesday - July 12, 2017) Associated Profiles : Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds – State Treasurer’s Office 
Source: Investopedia - States that have begun work include California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington state. Oregon expects to pilot test its retirement plan to a small group of workers beginning July 1. Meantime...

Virginia Retirement System hits historic high of $74 billion
(Tuesday - July 11, 2017) Associated Profiles: Virginia Retirement System 
Source: Richmond.com - You have reached the limit of 10 free articles per 30 days. To continue, log in now or sign up for a digital Richmond Times-Dispatch subscription for only $8.99 per month. Click below to subscribe – you’ll have... 

China’s $800 Billion Sovereign Wealth Fund Seeks More U.S. Access
(Thursday - July 13, 2017) Associated Profiles : China Investment Corporation 
Source: New York Times - The fund, the China Investment Corporation, urged American authorities to allow better access to the market, at a time when Chinese deals are facing more scrutiny. “We hope that the U.S. government will provide us with a... 

News for You From the Corporate Sector - With (+) and (-) Signs

AkzoNobel: Sustainability is a Profitable Business Model
(Monday - July 10, 2017) 
Source: Industry Week - In tandem with moving towards zero carbon emissions, the company's objective is to create innovative products and services that help their customers both reduce energy use and carbon impact. The company desires to be on the... 

Pilgrim's announces release of '2016 Sustainability Report'
(Tuesday - July 11, 2017) 
Source: Feedstuffs - Pilgrim's Pride Corp. announced July 10 the release of its "2016 Sustainability Report." The 193-page report covers nearly 90 different important sustainability aspects, details the company's performance, explores key... 

$142 million settlement in Wells Fargo scandal gets preliminary OK
(Tuesday - July 11, 2017) 
Source: Greensboro.com - A federal judge has given preliminary approval to a $142 million settlement addressing the fraudulent customer accounts scandal that has shadowed Wells Fargo & Co. for nearly a year. 

Halliburton hiring 100 per month to meet Texas fracking demand
(Tuesday - July 11, 2017) 
Source: Chron.com - Halliburton has hired about 100 new workers each month this year to keep up with surging demand for fracking in West Texas, a sharp turnaround after the job-killing oil bust. 

7-Eleven Continues Commitment To Sustainability
(Wednesday - July 12, 2017) 
Source: NACS - ?IRVING, Texas – After introducing two Rainforest Alliance Certified coffees in six months, 7-Eleven is making its biggest product commitment to sustainability with the switch to a new Rainforest Alliance Certified single-origin... 

Cabot Corporation Shares Sustainability Progress with Release of 2016 Sustainability Report
(Wednesday - July 12, 2017) 
Source: Business Wire - Cabot Corporation (NYSE: CBT) announced today the publication of its 2016 Sustainability Report. The report, titled “Making a Difference,” focuses on the company’s sustainability progress throughout calendar year 2016... 

CA Technologies Releases Latest Sustainability Report  
(Thursday - July 13, 2017) 
Source: CSRWire - Digital transformation isn’t easy. But it is essential. We’re here to lend a hand, with proven key practices that have helped thousands of companies succeed. 

Eurojersey launches new sustainability campaign
(Friday - July 14, 2017) 
Source: Innovation In Textiles - Eurojersey, leader in the production of Sensitive Fabrics, launches its new corporate campaign Sustainability Has Wonderful Shades, which aims to address the many facets of sustainability, not just in terms of ecological... 


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


Editorial: Under Trump, U.S. retreats on climate change, environment
(Thursday - July 13, 2017) 
Source: Tampa Bay Times - President Donald Trump was scheduled to leave Wednesday night on his second European trip within a week. This is essentially a private visit at the personal invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron to enjoy Bastille Day....

TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

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G&A Institute Sustainability Update
Informative, insightful, thought provoking
Governance & Accountability Institute's blog focusing on the sustainable world evolving daily before our eyes.  Read it, absorb it, question it and challenge.

RESEARCH RESULTS: Using The GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework Improves The Quality of ESG Disclosures – Joint Research From G&A Institute and Baruch College Shows

Conversation with Professor Baruch Lev at NYU: Is Accounting Outmoded?

Where Are We Now With Climate Change Solutions After the G20 Meeting and the Trump White House Abandonment of COP 21/Paris Agreement?
U.S. / Global Cities Showing the Way on Climate Change Solutions

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G&A WEBINAR SERIES

Missed one of our webinars?
Access archived recordings & slides via the links below. Have an idea for a future webinar, email us at info@ga-institute.com

GRESB in 60 Days: Tech, Tools & Best Practices to Respond in 2017

Why Getting Started with CDP is More Important than Ever in collaboration with CDP

Why 2017 Should Be The Year You Respond to RobecoSAM (DJSI)? in collaboration with RobecoSAM and Nasdaq

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Governance & Accountability Institute Featured Service
Critical ESG Issues Management
Mapping, organizing, understanding, and addressing critical issues...
Learn more about Critical ESG Issues Management

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The Sustainability Highlights eNewsletter is prepared by Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc. based on continuous monitoring of trends and developments in Sustainability and ESG. Governance & Accountability Instiute is the “Sustainability Headquarters™” for clients in the corporate, investment, public and social sectors. Based in New York, G&A is a for-profit consulting organization providing a range of value-added strategies, services and resources related to ESG & sustainability to clients in the corporate and capital markets communities. For G&A's full range of services, click on each of the links below:

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