April 5, 2017


In the Dark Days of White House / EPA Action on Climate Change, Here are 7 Encouraging Trends for You from Amy Augustine at Ceres

Horrible headlines now coming out on the developments at the White House regarding climate change, global warming, and related issues as campaign rhetoric is fitted, however clumsily or mean-spirited, to public governance to attempt to match ill-advised campaign promises.

The reality is that there are a number of very encouraging developments, trends that hold great promise for those of us who are not climate change deniers and think that global warming is a hoax coming from China to disadvantage American companies!

The Ceres staff members have long been engaging with, monitoring and advising (the rest of us) on critical issues in the areas of Corporate Sustainability - Responsibility - Citizenship - Environmental Management -- and of course, the paths to more sustainable investing.

Amy Augustine, the senior director of corporate programs at Ceres, shares with us in our Top Story the seven trends she sees continuing to drive corporate sustainability in 2017. Our view is that this could be a "hinge year" for the United States in terms of focus on climate change, global warming, societal issues, environmental management and host of related issues therein. (As in. "the hinge of history" with things going this way or that, the before and after.)

Amy observes: "Bold leadership, as well as individual collective action from influential companies and investors, is critical to ensure continued progress in achieving the ambitions of the historic Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."

The seven trends are encouraging: (1) U.S. corporate sector support for U.S. clean energy policy is accelerating; (2) investor expectations continue to rise that public companies will disclose information on more climate change risks and opportunities. (Remember, the US SEC in 2010 reminded boards of companies that they have the responsibility to oversee risk, and that climate change is clearly a risk. But that was yesterday, under the former Administration...today is the era of climate denial in the White House.)

Trend 4 is the focus on Water Risk -- large-cap companies operating in water-stressed areas are not waiting for government action to conserve protect water sources. Amy Augustine cites the efforts of such responsible enterprises as General Mills, Gap and Pepsico engaging with policymakers in California to urge on stronger water management measures.

What about Trend 3 - and 5, 6 and 7? The details are waiting for you in the Top Story (link below). Amy's concluding comment is..."No doubt, company actions on all of these (7 trends fronts) will continue to evolve and hopefully accelerate; such leadership is more essential than ever."

At G&A Institute, we're doing our part to report on both sides of the hinge -- the great things that have been accomplished in the "good days" of the past decade, and the threatening things that are proposed or (positions) adopted in these not-so-good-days at US EPA, the White House or in the Congress. Do check out the second in the newsletter, our comments in G&A's Sustainability-Update Blog on the latest moves by the President and EPA Administrator to attempt to roll back the rich legacy of the prior administration. (You can sign up to receive updates as these are posted.) Let us have your thoughts as well!

And, we invite you to download "Trends Converging," the book prepared in 2016 by G&A Chair Hank Boerner, which sets out important information about where are as the climate change deniers/destroyers go to work in Washington DC to undo the progress made.

Click here to download the digital copy.

Top Story

7 Trends That Will Drive Corporate Sustainability in 2017
(Wednesday - March 22, 2017)
Source:Triple Pundit - As we confront a new political climate that is inspiring both uncertainty and rising citizen action, I am more convinced than ever that business must play a critical role in achieving a sustainable, equitable and clean-energy...

Commentary & Opinion

Worried About Climate Change? Nah – The Deniers & Destroyers Are Work – White House Attempts to Roll Back Obama Environmental Protection Legacy
Tuesday, 28. March 2017
Source: Hank Boerner, CEO and Chairman of Governance & Accountability Institute
Climate Change
Deniers/Destroyers at work – at US EPA — the White House — hoping/wishing for rollback of rich Obama legacy positions on climate change issues… by Hank Boerner – Chairman, Chief Strategist – G&A Institute March 28, 2017 In classic-CNN style …

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Sustainability Trends, News & Issues in Focus

How to view sustainability's historic moment
(Monday - March 20, 2017)
Source:GreenBiz - Effectively addressing the barriers to creating the world so many wish to see is a tall order. In that effort, we shouldn’t expect complete change overnight.

BT to grade companies’ ethics, sustainability
(Monday - March 20, 2017)
Source:Australian Business Review - Westpac has embedded sustainability scoring of more than 200 managed funds and listed companies into its wealth platform, giving financial advisers and retail customers a better view of increasingly topical issues such as carbon...

The Sustainability Consortium Releases Landmark Report to Drive More Sustainable Consumer Products
(Tuesday - March 21, 2017) Associated Profiles : Sustainability Consortium (TSC)
Source:CSR Wire - The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) announced today the release of its first Impact Report, marking a significant collaboration between leading multi-national corporations, civil society, and...

Mobilizing Scientists for Global Sustainability
(Wednesday - March 22, 2017)
Source:NY Academy of Science - UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and Academy President Ellis Rubinstein came up with the idea to convene this first gathering of representatives from the science and technology communities at the Academy headquarters, in...

Japanese innovation serves sustainability
(Thursday - March 23, 2017)
Source:Euro News - Japan is drawing on its experience and knowhow to try and meet the sustainable development goals set out by the United Nations for 2030.

What I learned on my Listening Tour: Sustainability reporting needs to evolve
(Thursday - March 23, 2017)
Source:Huff Post - After two decades working as a CSR professional and just three months leading GRI, I’m more convinced than ever that transparency is a powerful force for change. But I’m also just as convinced that we are still far from end goal...

In Search of Sustainable Leadership: A Series
(Friday - March 24, 2017)
Source:Sustainable Brands - Building a ‘sustainable’ brand or enterprise can involve many things. Depending on your circumstances, these might range from generating sustainable solutions for everything from energy to supply chains, packaging, manufacturing...

Sustainability: the role of the ingredient supplier
(Friday - March 24, 2017)
Source:Cospectic Design Europe - In this guest article, ahead of the in-cosmetics Global show next month, Chris Sayner, Vice President of Customer Alliances Corporate Sustainability, Croda International Plc explains how the ingredients supplier role has...

Focus on ESG Topics & Issues

For Goldman Sachs, a rare pass from shareholder resolutions
(Friday - March 24, 2017)
Source:KJGO - For the first time in more than a decade, Goldman Sachs Group Inc has managed to avoid any proxy battles with activist shareholders by convincing investors and securities regulators that voting on several proposed corporate...

Campuses take a stand when protests go too far
(Thursday - March 23, 2017)
Source:CS Monitor - In a move to expose students to more diverse viewpoints, colleges and universities have invited controversial figures to speak, resulting in disruptive protests. Here's a look at how three schools are drawing the line between the...

California Earthquakes: San Andreas Fault Could Cause Coast To Instantly Sink Below Sea Level
(Thursday - March 23, 2017)
Source:International Business Times - Add "sinking below sea level" to California’s list of natural disaster worries. Portions of the Golden State could be at risk of abruptly dropping into the sea during a severe earthquake like the “Big One” scientists have been...

EPA makes it official, sends $100 million to Michigan for Flint water crisis
(Monday - March 20, 2017)
Source:Michigan Live - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $100-million grant to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to fund drinking water infrastructure upgrades in Flint, funding that had been approved by Congress and...

All drill, no frack: U.S. shale leaves thousands of wells unfinished
(Friday- March 24, 2017)
Source:Reuters - U.S. shale producers are drilling at the highest rate in 18 months but have left a record number of wells unfinished in the largest oilfield in the country – a sign that output may not rise as swiftly as drilling activity would...

The Corporate Sector - Sustainability, CSR, Citizenship

Starbucks issuing first global yen-dominated sustainability bond
(Monday - March 20, 2017)
Source:MarketWatch - Starbucks Corp. SBUX, +1.79% said Friday that it will issue the first yen-dominated corporate sustainability bond. The proceeds will total 85 billion yen (about $754 million) in 0.372% senior notes due 2024, and the coffee...

Kraft Heinz Expands Sustainability Push After Unilever Bid
(Wednesday - March 22, 2017)
Source:Bloomberg - Kraft Heinz Co., rebuffed recently in its bid to buy Unilever, is investing $200 million in an expanded corporate social responsibility program that includes a pledge to fight malnutrition and decrease its environmental footprint.

How L’Oréal Is Turning Itself Into A Sustainability Leader
(Thursday - March 23, 2017)
Source:Fast Company - www.fastcompany.com/3069080/how-loreal-is-turning-itself-into-a-sustainability-leader...

The Cheerios bee rescue: Can corporations help save pollinators?
(Thursday - March 23, 2017)
Source:CS Monitor - All over the world, bees are vanishing, but not just from the wild. The Cheerios cereal mascot, a cartoon honeybee named Buzz, has also disappeared from his usual position on cereal boxes around the United States.

P&G helps ASU students learn about sustainability
(Thursday - March 23, 2017)
Source:WALB TV - On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, Procter and Gamble (P&G) donated $10,000 to Albany State University’s (ASU) Global Sustainability Project.

Institutional Investor Updates: News About Asset Managers, US Pension Funds, Sovereign Wealth Funds

Norway's wealth fund earned less money due ethical divestments
(Tuesday - March 21, 2017)
Source:Reuters - Norway's $915-billion sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, is earning less money because of divestments it has made over the past decade due to ethical considerations, it said on Tuesday. It returned 1.11 percentage points...

CA lawmakers want to divest funds from companies involved in border wall construction
(Thursday - March 23, 2017) Associated Profiles : California State Teachers’ Retirement System
Source:San Francisco Examiner - CalPERs investments, valued at nearly $312 billion, and CalSTRS — valued at nearly $202 billion — represent the nation’s two biggest pension funds. The bill would also require the two pension funds to report by...

Columbia University to Divest from Thermal Coal Producers
(Friday - March 24, 2017)
Source:Chief Investment Officer - Columbia University’s trustees have voted to divest from companies that earn a significant portion of their revenue from thermal coal production.

Trump Administration News... Affecting Sustainability and Climate Change

Trump advisers want concessions for coal if U.S. stays in climate pact
(Monday - March 20, 2017)
Source:Politico - Trump administration officials have told lobbyists and European diplomats that the U.S. won't stay in the nearly 200-nation Paris climate change agreement unless it can secure wins for the fossil fuel industry, according to three...


Missed the G&A Institute webinar with guests Robert Dornau of Robeco SAM Group (managers of the DJSI) and Evan Harvey, Director of CSR for NASDAQ...on "Why your company should respond to the RobecoSAM CSR questionnaire this year?" you can access the archived recording and slides here.



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

Worried About Climate Change? Nah – The Deniers & Destroyers At Work – White House Attempts to Roll Back Obama Environmental Protection Legacy

World Bank & Partners + S&P Dow Jones Indices, & Partners — Rolling Out New Sustainable Investing Approaches for Institutions…

Climate Change Resolutions / and Investors’ Voting — “Hurricane” Coming in 2017 Shareholder Voting?http://ga-institute.com/Sustainability-Update/2017/03/21/climate-change-resolutions-and-investors-voting-hurricane-coming-in-2017-shareholder-voting/

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