Sustainability & ESG Trends in View

Sustainability & ESG Trends in View
-– The G&A Institute Team Closely Monitors Developments For You

Every week G&A Institute assembles the value-added content that our team gathers for you as we closely monitor trends and developments in corporate sustainability, corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, sustainable investing, and related topics and issues.  Our Editor-in-Chief Ken Cynar leads the daily effort and you see the results of his work in each issue of Highlights (note we are on #406 this week).  We hope that you benefit from this effort, part of our information-sharing and educational mission.

One of the benefits for us on the G&A Institute team is the yield from the close and continuous tracking and deep analysis of important trends in the related fields in every corner of the world, and in varying spheres of influence.   We are monitoring thought leaders on the corporate sector side, on the asset owner and manager side, from the perspective of the NGO or civic activist, the regulators, the academics, the ESG research service providers, and many more.

As the Global Reporting Initiative’s  (GRI) Data Partner for the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, our team collects, analyzes and databases considerable volumes of data and narrative from the more than 1,200 reports we process each year (the reports are then made part of the GRI global inventory for public access). 

From the thousands of corporate & institutional sustainability reports we process year-after-year, the yield includes value-added information on long-term trends, emerging trends, and “might-be-a-trend-taking-shape” development.  And so high on our list is news, information, research results related to corporate sustainability and responsibility reporting.  We highlight a few for you at the top of the newsletter this week.

We share volumes of information through our communication platforms, such as this weekly newsletter; our G&A Institute company website; the Accountability Central and Sustainability HQ web platform; the  G&A Sustainability Update blog; our Twitter, Facebook, and other social media feeds; and more in-depth management briefs through our “G&A Institute To the Point!” platform. 

IMPORTANT:  As always, we welcome your engagement, invite your queries, your feedback, your suggestions for issues and trends to watch, and suggestions for the guidance of the information-sharing that we do.  We'd also welcome the opportunity to speak with you about our consulting services.  Email us at

In this week’s issue, we’ve identified an especially higher number of important trends for you that are worth “tuning in to” as you continue on your sustainability journey. 

“Sustainability “ trends that are the march – worldwide!

“Warm regards to you” from The Team at G&A Institute this sweltering summer in most parts!

Top Stories -- Corporate & Institutional Sustainability Reporting Developments and Trends, Front & Center

Companies find ways to tell their sustainability stories
(Tuesday - July 17, 2018) Source: The Packer - Produce companies continue to implement and expand programs designed to make their operations more sustainable, and spreading the word about those efforts is the next step as consumers show increasing interest in grower practices. 

Are CSR Clauses Truly Effective in Improving Supply Chain Sustainability?
(Thursday - July 19, 2018) Source: Spend Matters - Corporate social responsibility (CSR) clauses are a common feature in contracts between buyers and suppliers. Yet the vague language of the majority of these clauses suggests limited effectiveness in actually bringing about... 

Why New York City Is Reporting Its Sustainability Progress to the UN
(Monday - July 16, 2018) Source: City Lab - So far, it’s the only city in the world to publish a review of its progress toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

What happens when bad data drives sustainability policies?   
(Friday - July 20, 2018) Source: Eco-business - Data and progress have largely been seen as synonymous, but speakers at a recent carbon forum cautioned against the potential of data to distract attention from the real problems facing the environment. 


Sustainability: Forward Momentum! For Your Attention: From the The Editors' Global Scans

Tune in to these trends and developments pointing the way forward:

The power of engagement and intrapreneurism in sustainability leadership
(Monday - July 16, 2018) Source: GreenBiz - Google is a company that has been built on a culture of radical, constant innovation. In 2017, it topped the Fortune " Best Places to Work" list for the sixth year in a row. A range of programs and benefits help foster what...

Commentary: The private sector must be new champions of sustainable development 
(Monday - July 16, 2018) Source: Channel News Asia - Sustainability must be an integral part of corporate strategies and anchored in corporate cultures, says one observer. 

The Business Case for Sustainability in Commercial Real Estate
(Tuesday - July 17, 2018) Source: National Real Estate Investor - The importance of sustainability in commercial real estate as a growth engine is now recognized by market participants both on the equity and on the debt side. 

Are sustainability certification schemes fit for purpose?
(Wednesday - July 18, 2018) Source: Ethical Corp - Two recent reports point to major failings in schemes such as the Marine Stewardship Council and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Angeli Mehta dives deep to assess the claims and counter-claims in seafood certification 

Packaging producers are not doing enough to convince consumers on sustainability costs  
(Wednesday - July 18, 2018) Source: Cosmetics Design Europe - A leading market research firm has suggested the responsibility to communicate to consumers why packaging costs increase in line with levels of sustainability falls to packaging producers themselves. 

Major US food companies form sustainability alliance
(Friday - July 20, 2018) Source: Seafood Source - Unilever United States, Danone North America, Nestle USA, and Mars Incorporated have joined together to create the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance (SFPA), a new advocacy group that aims to benefit fishing communities and the... 

Does sustainability lead to better companies?
(Friday - July 20, 2018) Source: GreenBiz - Sustainability and good business go hand in hand, whether sustainability drives business results or is the result of good business practices. No matter how you cut it, sustainable practices and transparent supply chains help... 

Our Focus This Week on A Range of ESG Topics & Issues – More Things For You to Think About -– What Will Be the Future Impact? 

Creating Genetically Modified Babies Is “Morally Permissible,” Says Ethics Committee
(Wednesday - July 18, 2018) Source: Futurism - - Ethically Acceptable. We may have just moved one step closer to designer babies. On Tuesday, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (NCB), an independent U.K.-based organization that analyzes and reports on ethical issues in biology... 

Texas set to pass Iraq, Iran as world's third-largest oil producer
(Thursday - July 19, 2018) Source: The Hill - Texas's oil industry is set to surpass Iraq and Iran to become the third-largest oil producing region in the world, behind only Russia and Saudi Arabia. 

Asthma deaths rise 25% amid growing air pollution crisis(UK)
(Thursday - July 19, 2018) Source: The Guardian - A record number of people are dying of asthma, and experts have warned growing air pollution and a lack of basic care could be to blame. 

Oil majors win dismissal of New York City climate lawsuit  
(Friday - July 20, 2018) Source: Reuters - A U.S. judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit by New York City seeking to hold major oil companies liable for climate change caused by carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels.

People of all ages define the American Dream the same way — but millennials take it one step further
(Friday - July 20, 2018) Source: Yahoo Finance - The American Dream is alive and well. Nearly 60% of respondents surveyed in Bank of the West's 2018 Millennial Study believe they have attained the American Dream or believe that it's still attainable today. 

From the Corporate Sector - Both Positive & Negative – There’s a Lot Going On – Headline Scans for You 

Remember the great line from the 1960’s movie, “The Graduate”? – About “Plastics”:  Young Ben (played by Dustin Hoffman) is aimless and he is told by a knowing adult, “There’s a great future in plastics. “Plastics, Ben, plastics.”  Well plastics are very much still in the news:

That anti-straw movement? It's all based on one 9-year-old's suspect statistic  
(Thursday - July 19, 2018) Source: USA Today - The origin of the movement to ban plastic straws may come as a surprise: It began with a 9-year-old boy named Milo Cress and his 2011 campaign, "Be Straw Free," which launched to raise awareness about plastic waste

Marriott Follows Starbucks In Dropping Plastic Straws
(Thursday - July 19, 2018) Source: NPR

Disability rights groups question Starbucks’ straw ban
(Tuesday - July 17, 2018) Source: New York Post 

Trends in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability
(Monday - July 16, 2018) Source: Environmental Magazine - A company’s worth is based not only on how much money they make, how many products they sell, or how many customers they reach, but also on their social and environmental impact. Recently, with the rise of global warming, plastic... 

Other Developments to Ponder

UK under dangerous pressure to lower its sustainability commitments
(Wednesday - July 18, 2018) Source: The Conversation - It’s not surprising that the government’s recent white paper was controversial. “Taking back control” of UK regulation was one of the main objectives of the Leave campaign. But the white paper suggests that the UK will maintain...  

How to prevent your sustainability collaboration from failing
(Thursday - July 19, 2018) Source: GreenBiz - More than ever before, companies are collaborating with stakeholders across their value chains, and even across entire regional or global governance systems, to learn about the systemic issues that curb long-term business growth... 

46 Sustainability Leaders (Who Are Also Women)
(Thursday - July 19, 2018) Source: Forbes - "Do you know any other female sustainability experts?" 

McDonald’s To Serve Certified Sustainable Beef in Canada
(Tuesday - July 17, 2018) Source: Environmental Leader - McDonald’s Canada plans to serve Canadian beef from certified sustainable farms and ranches, sourcing more than 20 million Angus burgers from them over the next 12 months. The company will purchase Angus beef certified according... 

Palm oil sustainability group reinstates Nestle membership
(Tuesday - July 17, 2018) Source: Business Insider - Nestle's membership in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has been reinstated three weeks after it was suspended, according to a joint statement issued by the company and the industry watchdog. 

Papa John’s Further Shuns Founder, Evicting Him From Offices
(Monday - July 16, 2018) Source: Bloomberg

Google said to be fined record $5 billion by EU over Android, report
(Wednesday - July 18, 2018) Source: Fox Business 

After one month in role, Texas Instruments CEO ousted for personal conduct  
(Wednesday - July 18, 2018) Source: Dallas News 

Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey: Industry 4.0, Employer Loyalty and Business Ethics
(Wednesday - July 18, 2018) Source: Spend Matters 

Warren Buffett finds an 'elephant' in Berkshire's own backyard
(Thursday - July 19, 2018) Source: CNBC

Report: Wells Fargo will pay millions in refunds for pet insurance, other add-on products
(Friday - July 20, 2018) Source: Los Angeles Times

Merck pledges to cut prices for seven drugs
(Friday 20, 2018) Source: CNN 

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

Goldman to formally name David Solomon next CEO early this week - NYT
(Monday - July 16, 2018) Source: Reuters - Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) is expected to name its president, David Solomon, its next chief executive officer early this week, the New York Times reported here on Sunday. 

Malaysia expects to recover up to S$4.8 billion of 1MDB funds: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng
(Friday - July 20, 2018) Associated Profiles : 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB, formerly known as Terengganu Investment Authority) Source: The Straits Times - Malaysia expects to recover as much as US$3.5 billion (S$4.8 billion) of funds potentially lost through 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. The government may be... 

Federal Reserve chair calls decline in workers' share of profits 'very troubling'
(Wednesday - July 18, 2018) Source: LA Times - The fall in the percentage of economic growth flowing to workers is "very troubling," a worrisome sign in an otherwise bright American economy, Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell told a Senate panel Tuesday. 

New York State Common divests publicly traded prison holdings  
(Tuesday - July 17, 2018) Associated Profiles : New York State Common Retirement Fund  Source: Pensions & Investments - New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, has divested its holdings in publicly traded prison companies. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the sole trustee of the $206.9 billion pension fund, "approved an updated restriction...

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.

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G&A's To The Point! is a businesss intelligence web-platform resource. This management briefing service offers timely insights and perspectives on Corporate Sustainability, Responsibility & Citizenship. Click here to request a trial subscription. Below are links to a sampling of three recent briefs:

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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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