July 23, 2018


“Urban Centers – Preferable Place for Billions of Us to Settle Down -- So What About Helping Growing Cities Become More Sustainable?

In focus:  With the majority of the population moving into urban centers in coming decades…how can the action of today’s city planners create a better future for us?  Scientific American shares some perspectives.

The Seto Lab at Yale University tells us that in 2008, the global urban population exceeded the world’s rural population for the first time – and that by 2050, 70% of the population will be living in urban areas.  Nearer term, by 2030 there will be 1.5 million square kilometers of new urban land area.  That will triple the global urban land area of the year 2000 as we entered the 21st Century. 

The forecasts suggest a limited window opportunity to shape future urban development.  Author Chan Heng Chee offers suggestions in a very interesting Scientific American article for you – our Top Story this week.

Author Chan Heng Chee is Ambassador-at-Large for the Singapore Foreign Ministry, and chair of the Lee Kuan Yew Center for Innovative Cities and the Singapore University of Technology and Design.  We may remember her as the ambassador to the U.S.A. (1996-2012).

She reports from this year’s World Cities Summit  in Singapore, which this year focused on “Livable and Sustainable Cities: Embracing the Future Through Innovation and Sustainable Cities.” 

One necessary ingredient for embracing sustainable development:  a visionary leader and a desire to implement the vision.  The availability of the Sustainable Development Goals is another.  Institutional structures are needed to put the vision in place (she offers examples from her home country of Singapore). And the fellowship of the city leaders worldwide is important – the example being the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

The message: You are not alone – and collaboration and cooperation is critical if the civic, business, financial and other sectors are going to make the world’s urban areas sustainable in this century.  This is a fascinating report that you will want to read.

FYI - the Top 10 Cities roster today (in descending order) is:  Zurich, Singapore, Stockholm, Vienna, London, Frankfurt, Seoul, Hamburg, Prague, and Munich.

Top Stories

3 Ways Cities Can Become More Sustainable   
(Monday - July 09, 2018) Source: Scientific America - With the majority of the population moving into urban centers in coming decades, the actions of city planners now could create a better future for us all. But how? 

And related to this story:
UN forum spotlights cities, where struggle for sustainability ‘will be won or lost’   
(Friday - July 13, 2018) Source: Modern Diplomacy - Although cities are often characterized by stark socioeconomic inequalities and poor environmental conditions, they also offer growth and development potential – making them central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development...

Cities and states mull straw ban   
(Wednesday - July 11, 2018) Source: ABC Ban - Starbucks' announcement that it will be going strawless soon to help the environment is part of a broader effort from private companies like McDonald’s and Marriott and cities like New York and Seattle to curb the use of plastic... 

Information about the Seto Lab and its work in urbanization and global change: https://urban.yale.edu/research/theme-3


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

Striking photos capture the world's sustainability crisis   
(Monday - July 09, 2018) Source: CNN - Some of the past decade's most striking and pertinent images have gone on display as part of the Prix Pictet's 10th anniversary exhibition at Les Rencontres d'Arles photography fair in France.  

Global SRI: Spotlight Shines On Sustainability   
(Monday - July 09, 2018) Source: Seeking Alpha - Our belief is companies that are committed to building a sustainable economy are likely to thrive in an environment that is rapidly evolving

Innovations from the Energy and Environmental Sustainability Solutions for Megacities Program   
(Tuesday - July 10, 2018) Source: Scientific American - Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, in China, and the National University of Singapore have tackled the of food waste and other urban problems 

If Your Business Is Not Sustainable Pretty Soon It Won't Exist   
(Tuesday - July 10, 2018) Source: Forbes - Reports such as one published recently by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, show that sustainable business is an untapped USD 12 trillion opportunity. Making sustainability the most lucrative business sector... 

Top Sustainability Trends and Insights on How Business Frameworks Are Changing in 2018 | Infiniti Research   
(Wednesday - July 11, 2018) Source: Business Wire - Infiniti Research, a world-renowned market intelligence solutions provider, has announced the completion of their latest list blog on the top sustainability trends for 2018. 

Why Dirty Is The Newest Sustainability Buzzword   
(Wednesday - July 11, 2018) Source: Vogue - Keen to shop responsibly? Take notes from Cora Hilts, the founder of Rêve En Vert, who is determined to add "dirty denim" to the environmentally-and ethically-conscious shopper's lexicon thanks to a collaboration with E.L.V.... 

Leading sustainability experts call for more efficient approach to deliver UN goals   
(Thursday - July 12, 2018) Source: Phys.org - Dozens of global sustainability experts and stakeholders have called for urgent action to exploit the connections between goals designed to end poverty, hunger and environmental destruction to deliver significant savings off the...

Leading sustainability  
(Thursday - July 12, 2018) Source: The Guidon - Even the most mundane things may leave a large footprint on both the people and their environment. But some businesses make the conscious choice of finding ways to reduce the waste left behind by their operations. 

How a sustainability summer camp could affect millions of youth   
(Friday - July 13, 2018) Source: GreenBiz - I began thinking about sustainability for the first time in 2008, the year my Eagle Scout son changed my worldview. I realized that while many adults had tried to get me to look at the growing set of global environmental... 

Australia Falters on Sustainability   
(Friday - July 13, 2018) Source: US News - Australia is performing worse than most other advanced countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the global SDG Index, which compares different nations' performance on the goals. 

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

Mysterious source of illegal ozone-killing emissions revealed, say investigators   
(Monday - July 09, 2018) Source: The Guardian - A mysterious surge in emissions of an illegal ozone-destroying chemical has been tracked down to plastic foam manufacturers in China, according to an on-the-ground investigation published on Monday.  

Morals over money: Low-cost options for socially responsible investors   
(Thursday - July 12, 2018) Source: Globe and Mail - Do you keep your morals in mind when making investment decisions? If so, you’re not alone. Increasingly, investors are considering the broad social impact of their portfolio allocation decisions. And accordingly, a bevy of new...

It's Not Just Sea Levels. Here's The Devastating Impact Climate Change Is Already Having on The Web of Life   
(Thursday - July 12, 2018) Source: Science Alert - Phenologists have observed plants reacting like spring's arriving early, due to this increased heat, by putting out new leaves and blossoming before usual, in many places around the world

Study: Asians displace blacks as most economically divided group   
(Friday - July 13, 2018) Source: USA Today - ncome inequality has been growing steadily among all Americans since the 1970s. But within racial groups, the gap between rich and poor is growing most rapidly among Asians in the U.S., according to a new study. 

Ireland Expected To Become World's First Country To Divest From Fossil Fuels  
(Friday - July 13, 2018) Source: NPR - The Republic of Ireland took a crucial step Thursday toward becoming the first country in the world to divest from fossil fuels. Lawmakers in the Dail, the lower house of parliament, advanced a bill requiring the Irish...

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

Wrangler Shows How Sustainability Data Transforms Supply Chains 
(Tuesday - July 10, 2018) Source: Environmental Leader - A white paper published by Wrangler and farm-management software company MyFarms demonstrates how field-level sustainability data can strengthen business relationships and results throughout agricultural supply chains. 

HP links $700 million in revenue to sustainability strategy   
(Tuesday - July 10, 2018) Source: Greenbiz - It’s getting simpler for HP Inc.’s chief sustainability and social impact officer Nate Hurst to justify his strategy to his CFO. He lets the numbers do the talking. 

Nissan admits falsifying emissions tests in Japan   
(Monday - July 09, 2018) Source:

Judge Orders Chinese Turbine Maker to Pay $59M for Stealing Secrets    
(Monday - July 09, 2018) Source: Newsmax 

Monsanto 'bullied scientists' and hid weedkiller cancer risk, lawyer tells court   
(Tuesday - July 10, 2018) Source: The Guardian 

BMW signs deal to make electric Mini in new factory in China   
(Wednesday - July 11, 2018) Source: Electrek

Tesla makes massive bet on China with new 500,000-car Shanghai factory   
(Wednesday - July 11, 2018) Source: Ars Technica

U.S. appeals court upholds Volkswagen's $10 billion diesel settlement
(Wednesday - July 11, 2018) Source: Reuters

Netflix has narrowed the gap: The streaming giant’s unique approach to corporate governance   
(Thursday - July 12, 2018) Source: Smart Company 

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay nearly $4.7B to 22 plaintiffs in talcum powder lawsuit   
(Friday - July 13, 2018) Source: Fox News

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

Pennsylvania state treasurer condemns $5.5bn pension fee ‘waste’   
(Monday - July 09, 2018) Associated Profiles : Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System Source: Financial Times - Joseph Torsella, state treasurer, has accused Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) and Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) of wasting $5.5bn paid as fees to Wall Street... 

Third of sovereign funds plan to cut equity holdings, cite trade war fear   
(Monday - July 09, 2018) Source: Reuters - LONDON - Over a third of sovereign investors plan to cut their equity exposure over the next three years after a strong run in 2017, citing trade wars, geopolitics and high valuations as headwinds to performance, a study by asset.

G&A Institute Sustainability Update
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“Total Impact Valuation” – Monetizing the Enterprise’s “Cost-Benefit Analysis” of the Impact on Society? This is for CEOs – Advice From The Conference Board

Is Business Doing Enough to Address “Environmental Degradation” –and Other Important Points-of-Debate At A Recent Harvard B-School Conference

Barron’s Magazine Heralds the Arrival of Sustainable Investing to the Mainstream In Special Issue This Week – Sustainable Investing Version 2.0 Is Here!


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Second in the Series: A BIG YEAR SHAPING UP, 2018 – Developments in Corporate Sustainability / Responsibility & in Sustainable Investing in 1Q

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