In 2017 the G&A Institute Team Celebrates the Company's 10th Anniversary -- and Editor-in-Chief Ken Cynar's Continuing Efforts to Keep You Well Informed

In 2017 the G&A Institute Team Celebrates the Company's 10th Anniversary -- and Editor-in-Chief Ken Cynar's Continuing Efforts to Keep You Well Informed

In 2017, the G&A Institute team is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the founding of our corporate sustainability consulting, counseling, advice and research firm.  Many of us at G&A worked together in a prominent issues and crisis management consulting practice serving the Fortune 100 companies and many prominent multi-national businesses.  Our former firm was acquired and the business was being wound down.  And so, literally, in a garage with office space, G&A was launched.

Our mission includes sharing information and working to inform and educate managers in the corporate sector, and in the investment community, about the rising importance of corporate sustainability, corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship, and the increasing focus by investors on all of this. 

Over time the preferred approach of combining corporate environmental management factors, the addressing of social or societal concerns, and adopting more effective and investor-responsive corporate governance by public companies -- the critical "ESG" factors -- included many issues and trend that were familiar to us.  As a team, we had worked on these issue sets for many years as we counseled large company managements.

Our first activity as we got underway was the launch of our Accountability Central web platform.  Our colleague Ken Cynar organized the task, setting up his systems for scouring traditional and other media for "sustainability," "responsibility," "ESG" and related news, commentary and research results.  Very early in the morning, Ken would scour to find (literally back then) a handful of content to share with our growing audience. 

Ten years on, Ken (our Editor-in-Chief) is at the top of his game. This is our 341st weekly issue of the newsletter.  This week he shared with our readers more than 100 articles, all selected by hand, scanning some 1,000 (!) items every week.  A typical week, says Ken, modestly. 

Ken joined our team after a distinguished career in government service almost 20 years ago.  He brings you news and more from "everywhere," in that he has done his scanning, selection and "posting" from such locales as the Czech Republic (his most recent trip), Germany, Italy, France, and various places around North America. 

Ken's selections continue to populate our Accountability Central website; our SustainabilityHQ news selections, and of course, this newsletter.  To Ken, our team member 10 years in -- thank you, and well done!

Ken's selection for you as Top Story this week is a very interesting read.  The panel convened in Singapore was supposed to talk about "Will Businesses Drive the SDGs?" -- but quickly veered into a discussion about the financial markets, not rewarding companies for improving their ESG performance...and so the SDG goals cannot be met.  This turned out to be a very controversial dialogue -- one you'll want to tune in to. Many companies are mentioned as the conversation continued and points were made pro and con about sustainability issues and topics.

Speaking of SDGs, G&A has developed an "SDG Alignment Analysis and Strategic Advice" service offering to help companies leverage and align with the SDGs to maximize the impact and value of their corporate sustainability journey and sustainability reporting.  Find out more here.


Top Story

Do financial markets care about sustainability?  
(Tuesday - March 07, 2017)
Source: Eco-Business - Razzouk threw this grenade at an audience of sustainability professionals last month, suggesting that as the market does not reward companies for improving their environmental and social performance, the UN’s Sustainable...


Sustainability Trends, News & Issues in Focus

4 Unexpected Industries Driving the Sustainability Trend
(Tuesday - March 07, 2017)
Source: - Over the past decade or so, sustainability has generated buzz in a range of industries. In the food industry, terms such as “organic” and “natural” are common. The paper industry emphasizes post-consumer and recycled content....

Investing in ‘Sustainable Democracy’
(Tuesday - March 07, 2017)
Source: Barron's - Socially responsible investing has caught on, with sustainability-themed funds amassing $8.72 trillion by last year. But MarketWatch columnist Michael Brush says “sustainable democracy” isn’t found in these funds’ investment...

Why Keystone XL pipeline won't buy US steel, despite Trump's order
(Monday - March 06, 2017)
Source: CS Monitor - Keystone builder TransCanada will be allowed to skirt an executive order calling for US steel to be used in new pipelines, repairs, or retrofits. Does the move herald a broader evolution for Trump’s 'America First' stance?

Irish seafood group launches fishing sustainability standard
(Monday - March 06, 2017)
Source: Undercurrent News - Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency, has launched a new certification standard for sustainability in the Irish fishing sector, at the Skipper Expo International trade show in Galway on March 3.
Trosky: Tout your sustainability
(Tuesday - March 07, 2017)
Source: News Sentinel - The question is, what are you, your company or the organizations you work for doing to conserve energy, reduce your carbon footprint or promote sustainability? How green are you?

2016 Greenbuild Sustainability Report
(Wednesday - March 08, 2017)
Source: Dexigner - The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released the 2016 Greenbuild Sustainability Report, highlighting valuable metrics and key benchmarks regarding the impact on energy use and waste management at the 2016 Greenbuild...

Do Board-Level Sustainability Committees Impact Company Performance?
(Wednesday - March 08, 2017)
Source: Bentley University - Is it beneficial for corporate boards to continue to adopt and dedicate resources to sustainability committees when early findings from academic research have shown these committees have little to no performance impact? New...

New report: Marketers feel held back by their employers on driving sustainability
(Wednesday - March 08, 2017)
Source: The Drum - A clear majority of marketers feel a moral imperative to incorporate sustainability practices into business, yet the companies they work for do not have a defined sustainability strategy. This was one of the key findings of a new...

The ‘Hard Business Benefits’ of Sustainability
(Thursday - March 09, 2017)
Source: Environmental Leader - Employees feel more strongly about environmental sustainability than their employers, according to a survey of more than 200 brands and agencies conducted by marketing website The Drum and marketing agency gyro.

Is sustainability sustainable?
(Thursday - March 09, 2017)
Source: Beef Magazine - As the sustainability drumbeat gets louder, many beef producers question if the idea has any substance. Approached correctly it does.

Pure Strategies: Increased Corporate Sustainability Spending Spurred Gains of $5-8B in 2016
(Friday - March 10, 2017)
Source: Sustainable Brands - New research from sustainability consulting firm Pure Strategies reveals growth in corporate spending in sustainability; more than 80 percent of surveyed companies expect a budget increase from 2016 to 2017 with a third...

Five reasons why sustainability improves the bottom line
(Friday - March 10, 2017)
Source: Global Risk Insights - Sustainability can be a daunting concept, especially for legacy firms: it is easy to get wrong, and its benefits are often not immediately apparent...

The eco has landed: sustainability gets stylish
(Friday - March 10, 2017)
Source: Financial Times - But now, both luxury conglomerates and smaller designers are increasingly considering their environmental impact and taking steps to create more sustainable products. New York-based Maria Cornejo, for example, showed a collection...

News From the Corporate Sector:

Exxon to invest $20 billion on US Gulf Coast refining projects
(Tuesday - March 07, 2017)
Source: CNBC - Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil producer, said on Monday it would invest $20 billion through 2022 to expand its chemical and oil refining plants on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Kraft Heinz faces 3 shareholder proposals to push sustainability
(Monday - March 06, 2017)
Source: Pittsburgh Post- Gazette - When the Kraft Heinz Co. recently grabbed the market’s attention with an audacious $143 billion bid to buy Anglo-Dutch consumer packaged goods giant Unilever, one subject that interested some observers was how the two corporate...

Bea Perez: From 'Sustainability' to 'Social Purpose,' and Why Mistakes Lead to Success
(Tuesday - March 07, 2017)
Source: Sustainable Brands - But who inspires Bea Perez – Coca–Cola’s Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP of Global Assets, Partnerships, Innovation, Licensing, Retail & Attractions – and what are her values?

Ikea Allocates €3B for Sustainability Investments
(Thursday - March 09, 2017)
Source: Just Means - Some of the world’s leading companies are embracing the transition to a low-carbon economy, and are ready to back up their commitments with large investments in sustainability. Their efforts need to be matched by governments with...

News/Updates on ESG Issues & Players

Largest U.S. Onshore Oil Discovery In 30 Years Identified In Alaska
(Friday - March 10, 2017)
Source: Your Alaska Link - Anchorage, AK – Oil companies Repsol and Armstrong Oil and Gas discovered a major onshore oil find on the North Slope. The Horseshoe project is a portion of the Nanushuk prospect, within the Pikka Unit.

On Women's Day eve, statue of girl stares down Wall Street Bull
(Wednesday - March 08, 2017)
Source: CNBC - As many American women prepare to draw attention to their role in the workplace, a Wall Street firm on Tuesday put up a statue of a girl in front of Lower Manhattan's well-known bronze charging bull, as if to fearlessly stare it...

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

Exclusive: Norway's wealth fund may blacklist firms over emissions, corruption risk 
(Thursday - March 09, 2017)
Source: Reuters - The ethics watchdog for Norway's $900-billion sovereign wealth fund will recommend this year that the fund exclude or put on a watch list several firms in the oil, cement and steel industries for emitting too much greenhouse gas

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs moves for more women and minorities on corporate boards
(Thursday - March 09, 2017) Associated Profiles : Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS)
Source: - Joining Frerichs in this endeavor are UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio, the SEIU Master Trust, the Sundance Family Foundation, Segal...

Commentary & Opinion

“Wolf” Now at the Head of EPA – No Disguises Needed to Fool the Sheep (er, We-the-People)
(Saturday, 11. March 2017)
Source: Hank Boerner, Sustainable Update — Is the Wolf disguised in sheep’s clothing? Nah — not to worry about any disguising — the wolf’s intentions were well signaled to us — the Denier/Destroyer-in-Chief at U.S. EPA is doing exactly what we expected him to do...

Opinion: Too Much Information on Sustainability Could Influence Consumer Habits for the Worst
(Tuesday - March 07, 2017)
Source: NewsWeek - Most people would agree that living more sustainably is something to strive for. With £13bn worth of food being wasted each year in the U.K. and global temperature records being broken every three years, being green is more...

The Case for a Carbon Tax
(Thursday - March 09, 2017)
Source: National Review - The carbon tax is one of those policy ideas that is largely sound in theory but runs up hard upon the shoals of reality. I am not convinced that a national carbon tax would change U.S. consumer behavior to such an extent that it...

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Threat Assessment -- Issues in Focus

United States at Risk for Yellow Fever From Brazil Outbreak  
(Thursday - March 09, 2017)
Source: Medscape - Yellow fever could become the 5th mosquito-borne virus to hit the United States in recent years, according to experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland.

The raging bird flu in China is a good reminder the US isn't prepared for a pandemic
(Monday - March 06, 2017)
Source: VOX - A strain of deadly bird flu that has a high risk of becoming a pandemic is surging in China, and experts are warning that the US isn’t making the necessary preparations.

Bird flu found in Tennessee chicken flock on Tyson-contracted farm
(Monday - March 06, 2017)
Source: Reuters - A strain of bird flu has been detected in a chicken breeder flock on a Tennessee farm contracted to U.S. food giant Tyson Foods Inc, and the 73,500 birds will be culled to stop the virus from entering the food system, government..
Fault System off San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles Counties Could Produce Magnitude 7.3 Quake
(Thursday - March 09, 2017)
Source: Institution of Oceanography - A fault system that runs from San Diego to Los Angeles is capable of producing up to magnitude 7.3 earthquakes if the offshore segments rupture and a 7.4 if the southern onshore segment also ruptures, according to an analysis led...

Volcanoes Erupting All Over The World: Is Something Happening To The Earth’s Core?
(Monday - March 06, 2017)
Source: Collective-evolution - According to Volcano Discovery, 35 volcanoes are either currently erupting right now or just recently erupted all over the world. There are even more volcanoes with eruption warnings and tons of other volcanoes that are active...

The Trump Team -- And Potential Impacts on Environmental Protection, Sustainability and Related Issues

Send the Oil: What America Gains from Trump's Big Energy Push
(Monday - March 06, 2017)
Source: The National Interest - America’s energy revolution continues to achieve new milestones after the landmark gas and oil export breakthroughs of 2016

No matter what Trump does, US cities plan to move forward on battling climate change
(Wednesday - March 08, 2017)
Source: Business Insider - Cities are centers for environmental leadership. Mayors throughout the country, regardless of party, champion climate mitigation solutions. We all need clean air and clean water, and it is not just a local problem, but one that...


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 blog focusing on the sustainable world evolving daily before our eyes.  Read it, absorb it, question it and challenge. Recent posts:

World’s Largest Asset Manager on Climate Risk Disclosure — the BlackRock Expectations of Public Company Boards and C-Suite

On the Cutting Board: The US EPA Budget – Staff – Programs – Grants As the Trump Administration Plans the Coming FY Budget

“Wolf” Now at the Head of EPA – No Disguises Needed to Fool the Sheep (er, We-the-People)


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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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