February 9, 2018


The Year 2018: Significant Developments Moving Sustainable Investment and Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility Forward – The Pace is Exciting!

We are just past one month into the year 2018 and there have already been significant advances that directly affect the lives of professionals and organizations in the fields of corporate sustainability and sustainable investing – the two vital halves of the capital markets – and in related fields.

We’ve been bringing you the news and commentaries related to many of these advances in this, our weekly newsletter focused on many aspects of sustainability.  We’ve been preparing in-depth management briefs as well for professionals and delivering these through our new web-based platform, “G&A Institute’s To the Point!”™

Here’s a quick look at some of these briefs – the in-depth background is available for you in the links provided here.

About Capital “Providers” & “Capital Deployers (investors supplying and corporations accessing capital):  the analysis and opinions/perspectives shared on “sustainable companies” and about “sustainable investing” are provided by influential third parties. 

One of These is Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), which has been providing Core Governance QualityScores to investor clients.  These have been expanded to “E” (Environmental) and “S” (Social) QualityScores – and the first scores for 1,500 companies was released this week…there will be 5,000 total in 2018. 

There are two management briefs for you on the “G&A Institute” To the Point!” platform:

What about “sustainable investing”– does it really matter…does it produce Alpha…do investors care? 

We offer the “Proof of Concept”question for Sustainable Investing.  The influential Barron’s editors weighed in first in October 2017 in announcing the editors would focus on sustainable investing, and then produced the inaugural “Top 100 Sustainable Companies” list this week.  You’ll want to review our take on this significant media coverage in To The Point, here.

And for our earlier background brief on Barron’s sustainable investing coverage here.

The Barron’s coverage is here:
Sustainable Funds Prove a Magnet for Money  
(Thursday - February 01, 2018) Source: Barron's - Sustainable investing is alive and growing in the U.S., according to Morningstar’s first U.S. Sustainable Funds Landscape Report, a deep dive into the category. 

We’re tracking things for you -- and delivering results through our various G&A Institute communication channels, like this weekly newsletter, edited by Ken Cynar (our editor-in-chief); in our G&A Institute Sustainability Update™  blog; and in the new G&A Institute’s To the Point!web platform (a combination of open access and subscription management briefs).

And looking ahead into 2018…
The G&A Institute team prepared this brief as 2018 began -- "A Big Year, 2018 – For Developments in Corporate Sustainability  and Sustainable Investing" with background on developments involving MSCI, BlackRock (and CEO Larry Fink’s CEO-to-CEO letter), RBC Global Asset Management, RepRisk, RobecoSAM Group and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, ISS, CalPERS, Climate Action 100+, As You Sow, McKinsey & Company, the State of California and the dawn of the low-carbon economy, and many “bold names” in the corporate sector and investment community. 

There’s more to come – Stay Tuned to G&A!

About Sustainability: Progress Is Being Made - We See Forward Momentum! For Your Attention: The Editors' Scans

Mixed results for Asia Pacific firms in 2018 sustainability ranking   
(Monday - January 29, 2018) Source: Eco Business - The number of firms from Asia Pacific on the Global 100 ranking remains unchanged from last year. But many have dropped to significantly lower positions on the index, with the exception of Samsung, which came in 10th this year. 

Tracking Forest Sustainability to Meet U.S. and International Goals   
(Tuesday - January 30, 2018) Source: USDA - Sustaining the nation’s forests to provide lasting benefits to the people of the United States is at the core of the USDA Forest Service’s mission, and the agency is building the tools and data to support this mission... 

Retailer-led sustainability programs: Do they actually help the environment?   
(Monday - January 29, 2018) Source: Supermarket News - A new case study explores how one grocer's sustainability program drives adoption of environmentally friendly practices at partner farms...

Report: sustainability drives shift to flexible packaging  
(Tuesday - January 30, 2018) Source: eco-business - A new report from global packaging firm Smithers Pira identifies sustainability as one of the main reasons brand owners are switching from traditional materials like glass and metal to flexible packaging types. 

Why your employees need to buy into sustainability   
(Tuesday - January 30, 2018) Source: MoneyWeb - With increasing pressure on companies to examine their environmental impact, business leaders are being forced to take action. Today, companies have to incorporate environmental sustainability and sound business practices into... 

Economic Survey breaks new sustainability ground   
(Wednesday - January 31, 2018) Source: Economic Times - With the Economic Survey 2017-18, climate change and sustainable development graduate from being mere buzzwords to real considerations for policy formulation. For the first time, the Survey has taken a major step towards...

Selling Sustainability   
(Wednesday - January 31, 2018) Source: inquirer.net - Sustainability. An oft-time/overused terminology thrown around within the last three decades yet never gaining its full potential in the corporate world. Why? Most likely than not, traditional corporate thinking, which sees... 

The Sustainability Movement Needs Community   
(Wednesday - January 31, 2018) Source: The Underground - The sustainability movement needs sustainable activism. So how do we make a sustainable sustainability movement? 

EU lays down roadmap for sustainable finance   
(Thursday - February 01, 2018) Source: Climate Action Programme - A group of independent experts has delivered its awaited report into making finance greener, cleaner and more sustainable.

The Seven Cardinal Sins of Coffee Sustainability   
(Thursday - February 01, 2018)
 Source: Daily Coffee News - Taking time to count the successes and keeping up hope that the work we do adds up to something is the only way to survive.

“Sustainability is the new organic”   
(Thursday - February 01, 2018) Source: Fresh Plaza - “Sustainability is our language”, says Andreas Schindler, CEO of Don Limòn. “We do not do business anymore purely for the business. We have activities all around the world that approach production and business using Sustainable...

Super Bowl LII scores on sustainability   
(Friday - February 02, 2018) Source: GreenBiz - U.S. Bank Stadium was the first NFL stadium to be built with LED sports lighting, which consumes 75 percent less electricity than metal halide lighting. 

Will sustainability be on CEOs' in-trays after Davos?   
(Friday - February 02, 2018) Source: Ethical Corporation - There are three things that every chief executive must have with them when travelling to Davos: a warm jacket, snow boots, and a new report or initiative. So, now the World Economic Forum’s annual shindig is done for another year... 

Why it's time to align retirement funds with sustainability goals   
(Friday - February 02, 2018) Source: GreenBiz - A new wave of environmentally focused retirement funds aims to advance corporate sustainability goals while enabling employees to save for their own financial future.

A Feature Article For You
The Most Trustworthy Business and Professional Leaders – the Rosters Are Out Today From Trust Across America / Trust Around the World
(January 30, 2018) Source:  Hank Boerner – Chair & Chief Strategist, G&A Institute
Trust!  For many of us, when a critical incident or crisis occurs, one of the first words that come to mind is “trust,” as in “they really broke the trust with us” or “the organization can’t be trusted” (as in the statements made) or “the leaders can’t be trusted.”

Apply this to now-familiar settings:  Wells Fargo bankers and the security of your personal bank accounts.  BP and deepwater ocean drilling or Alaska drilling.  Equifax and your personal financial information.  Valeant pharma and drug pricing – and alleged gouging.

In a world of those little swirling computer screen circles, and IT dominating our business & personal lives…threats can now be everywhere — internet hacking and phishing abounds – and we think:  who can we trust with your information?  That becomes a conscious and subconscious thought process on both a business and personal basis for many of us.

In business and professional life, trust is a valuable and precious commodity.  Warren Buffett has observed, “…it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it…if you think about that, you will do things differently…” (more)

Our Focus This Week on A Range of ESG Topics & Issues – More Things to Think About…

Americans are saving energy because fewer people go outside   
(Tuesday - January 30, 2018) Source: The Verge - Americans are saving energy because they don’t go outside as much anymore, researchers say. It’s a plus for the environment, though in another light (no pun intended), it’s just sad.

Companies Quarterly: 2018 Proxy Season Pointers, Disclosing the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Shareholder Proposals and ICOs   
(Wednesday - January 31, 2018) Source: National Law Review - The end of a year and beginning of the next generally starts the countdown to the public company proxy season. But before moving into 2018, registrants would be well served by first looking back to the guidance that came out of... 

US Cities Most at Risk Because of Climate Change Are Least Energy-efficient, Data Indicate   
(Wednesday - January 31, 2018) Source: VOA News - Miami and other U.S. cities most at risk from disasters exacerbated by global warming are also among those whose high energy consumption is fueling temperature rise, data from clean-energy company Arcadia Power...

This disappearing Cape Town reservoir is a preview of climate nightmares to come   
(Friday - February 02, 2018) Source: The Verge - In less than 100 days, Cape Town — a South African city of about 4 million people — could run out of water, in what officials call “Day Zero.” A view of the crisis from space shows the city’s massive reservoirs drying up after...

News for You From the Corporate Sector -Both Positive & Negative - Headlines 

Honda, Nestle, Microsoft among companies recognized for sustainability
(Wednesday - January 31, 2018) Source: Supply Chain Drive - The number of companies recognized for reducing environmental risks has doubled since last year, and that indicates a sizable shift in company priorities toward sustainability. 

Intel told Chinese firms of Meltdown flaws before the US government   
(Monday - January 29, 2018) Source: Emgadget 

Volkswagen, BMW condemn use of monkeys in diesel fumes study
(Monday - January 29, 2018) Source: Economic Times

Amazon, JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway team up to lower healthcare costs for their workers — and maybe everyone   
(Wednesday - January 31, 2018) Source: LA Times 

 U.S. food distributors allege Tyson Foods, rivals fixed chicken prices   
(Thursday - February 01, 2018) Source: Reuters 

And the firms affected by industry-sector upheaval and disruption

So Long, Xerox: A Look Back at the Company Whose Name Became a Verb   
(Thursday - February 01, 2018) Source: Fortune

Sears lays off roughly 220 corporate workers 'effective immediately'   
(Thursday - February 01, 2018) Source: USA Today 

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

New York Pension Fund Doubles Bet on Low-Carbon Companies   
(Wednesday - January 31, 2018) Associated Profiles : New York State Common Retirement Fund Source: Wall Street Journal - The New York State Common Retirement Fund will now invest $4 billion in a so-called low-emissions index designed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management. 

Trump Administration News / Affecting Directions on Governance and ESG

Trump once again seeks to slash funding for clean energy in 2019 budget
(Thursday - February 01, 2018) Source: CNBC - The Trump administration's 2019 budget proposal will seek deep cuts to clean energy research spending when it is released next month, according to draft budget documents obtained by the Washington Post. 

Trump administration strips consumer watchdog office of enforcement powers in lending discrimination cases   
(Friday - February 02, 2018) Source: Washington Post - The Trump administration has stripped enforcement powers from a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unit responsible for pursuing discrimination cases, part of a broader effort to reshape an agency it criticized as acting too... 

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:

ISS Unveils New Corporate “E” and “S” QualityScores For 1,500 Companies


“PROOF OF CONCEPT” FOR SUSTAINABLE INVESTING? Barron’s Weighs In With Inaugural List of Top 100 Sustainable Companies



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.


Proof of Concept for Sustainable Investing: The Influential Barron’s Names the Inaugural “The Top 100 Sustainable Companies — Big Corporations With The Best ESG Policies Have Been Beating the Stock Market”

The Words From Davos In 2018: Sustainability, Responsibility…And More In This, The Fourth Industrial Revolutionhttp://ga-institute.com/Sustainability-Update/2018/02/02/the-words-from-davos-in-2018-sustainability-responsibility-and-more-in-this-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/



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

G&A Institute Webinar: Moving From G4 to The New GRI Standards


Featured Events


Governance & Accountability Institute Featured Service
Sustainability Reporting
(GRI, SASB, IIRC, UNGC, CDP) Measuring, managing and reporting on the progress of the organization's sustainability journey... More on Sustainability Reporting

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

FLASH REPORT: 82% of the S&P 500 Companies Published Corporate Sustainability Reports in 2016

Download G&A's "Sustainability - What Matters" Research Report.
Want even more?
Get All 84 Indicator Rankings By Sector.

Learn More About G&A Research



G&A Institute is the Data Partner for the Global Reporting Initiative's (GRI) in the USA, UK and Republic of Ireland. We identify, receive, collect, analyze, database, and communicate about every report issued in any of the 3 countries. Over the past 6+ years, G&A analyzed 6,000-plus sustainability reports in this pro bono role and databased 100+ important data points for each report. Find out more @ G&A's What's A Data Partner


Navigating the way to sustainability...
Contents © 2009 - 2018
All Rights Reserved

Copyrights for other providers are noted where appropriate.
Please credit the source if quoted.


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:

Sustainability / ESG Consulting Services

Communications & Recognition Services

Investor Relation Services

For more information, contact Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc.
New York, New York | Tel 646.430.8230 | Web www.ga-institute.com | Email info@ga-institute.com