November 30, 2018


SCARY STUFF: The Fourth Official Climate Science Special Report by the U.S. Governments Global Change Research Program

Whether you are an investor, company executive or board member, or an issue advocate, or civic leader, these “high probability” outcomes should keep you up at night:  more superstorms; more drought; increased risk of forest fires; more floods; rising sea levels; melting glaciers; ocean acidification; increasing atmospheric water vapor (thus, more powerful rainstorms)…and more. 

How about a potential drop of 10% in the U.S.A. Gross Domestic Product by end of this century?

These are some of the subjects explored in depth in the fourth “Climate Science Special Report” of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.  That is a collaborative effort of more than a dozen Federal departments, such as NOAA, NASA, US EPA, and executive branch cabinet offices of Commerce, Agriculture, Energy, State, Transportation, and Defense; plus the OMB (Office of the President).

The experts gathered from these departments of the U.S. government plus a passel of university-based experts, reported last week (in over 1600 pages of related content) on the “state of science relating to climate change and its physical impacts.”  The CSSR (Climate Science Special Report) serves as a foundation for efforts to assess climate-related risks and inform decision-makers…it does not include policy recommendations.  The results are not encouraging – at least not in November 2018.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the lead agency working with NASA and other governmental bodies to develop the report – which analyzes current trends in climate change and project major trends out to the end of this 21st Century.  The focus of the work is on human welfare, societal, economic, and environmental elements of climate change.

Each chapter of the report focuses on key findings and assigns a “confidence statement” for scientific uncertainties. There are 10 regional analyses of climate change (such as the Northeast, and Southern Great Plains). 

Some highlights:  (1) This period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization. (2) Thousands of studies have documented changes in surface, atmospheric and oceanic temps; (3) and glaciers are rapidly melting; (4) rising sea levels; (5) and the incidence of daily tidal flooding accelerating in more than 25 Atlantic and Gulf coast cities.
The various findings, the authors point out, are based on a large body of scientific, peer-reviewed research, evaluated observations and modeling data sets. In this report, we should note, experts and not politicians speak to us in clear terms.

Global climate is projected to change over this century (and beyond) – the report is replete with “likelihoods” of events) and the experts state that with major effort, temps could be limited to 3.6°F / 2°C or less – or else.  Without action, average global temperatures could increase 9°F / 5°C relative to pre-industrial times – disaster at the end of the 2100s. 

The Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Risk Disclosure (the TCFD) strongly recommendations that the financial sector companies and (initial) four business sectors begin to test scenarios against (to begin with) 2-degrees Centigrade (3.5°F) temp rise and increase from there.  This assessment should be a valuable resource for investors, bankers, insurance carriers and companies in their scenario planning (alternative scenarios are in the report).

Click the links below for:

Our Top Story is The Washington Post’s take on the report and its issuance on a slow Thanksgiving Friday news period.

This Week's Top Stories

Washington Post – Climate story by Brady Dennis and Christ Mooney
Major Trump administration climate report says damage is ‘intensifying across the country’

(Friday November 23, 2018) Source: The Washington Post - Scientists are more certain than ever that climate change is already affecting the United States — and that it is going to be very expensive. The federal government on Friday released a long-awaited report with an unmistakable message: The effects of climate change, including deadly wildfires, increasingly debilitating hurricanes and heat waves, are already battering the United States, and the danger of more such catastrophes is worsening.


Sustainability: Continuing Forward Momentum!
For Your Attention: Items From the The Editors' -- There is Much Good News to Share

Sustainability A Variable Driver Of European Shopper Behaviour
(Wednesday - November 14, 2018) Source: Packaging Europe - The IRI’s new European Shopper Insights Survey, has found that environmental considerations occupy significant mind-space in consumers throughout Europe. However, both overall levels of concern for sustainability and the focus of... 

APR: ‘There is no sustainability without recycling’
(Thursday - November 15, 2018) Source: Resource Recycling - The head of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) recently voiced concerns that plastics recovery progress could get dampened by stakeholders’ transition to more holistic approaches to materials management. 

Reducing damage is the key to sustainability
(Thursday - November 15, 2018) Source: BizJournal - Damaged items have to get rebuilt, repaired, restocked, rehandled — and sometimes they just get relegated to a landfill. They have to get reshipped, making another journey through the supply chain, in another box filled with... 

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

Despite Climate Pledges, Global Energy Emissions on the Rise
(Tuesday - November 13, 2018) Source: US News - Despite dire warnings from climate scientists and an especially alarming report by the United Nations' main climate panel last month, countries are no closer to reducing their heat-trapping carbon emissions than they were in 2017...

Climate contrarian uncovers scientific error, upends major ocean warming study
(Wednesday - November 14, 2018) Source: San Diego Union Tribune - “Our error margins are too big now to really weigh in on the precise amount of warming that’s going on in the ocean,” Keeling said. “We really muffed the error margins.” 

California wildfires raise concerns about impacts to environment and health
(Thursday - November 15, 2018) Source: USC News - More than a nuisance, smoke from wildfires is a health threat. It can smear lungs with soot similar to how it sullies blue skies. It afflicts the most vulnerable populations, the elderly and children. Yet vigorous adults comprise...



Headlines From the Corporate Sector - Both Positive & Negative

New Survey Shines Light On How Business Leaders View Sustainability
(Wednesday - November 14, 2018) Source: Triple Pundit - The past 10 years have seen incredible progress in sustainable business. There are global multi-stakeholder commitments on climate action and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, collaborations driving systemic change across...  

How to Tie Executive Compensation to Sustainability
(Tuesday - November 13, 2018) Source: Harvard Business Review - The dilemma for directors, however, is determining what aspects of sustainability, or ESG performance, should have priority — and should be linked to pay incentives. 

Cocoa market still ‘unethical, unfair’ despite 10 years of sustainability in the industry
(Tuesday - November 13, 2018) Source: Confectionery News - The cocoa and chocolate sector is becoming more sustainable but smallholder farmers are yet to be convinced, writes analyst Laurent Pipitone. 

US cotton launches protocol to boost sustainability
(Wednesday - November 14, 2018) Source: Ecotextile - A new integrated data collection, measurement and verification procedure that documents US cotton production practices and their environmental impact has been launched today at the on-going Cotton Sourcing USA Summit in... 

As fashion moves toward sustainability, streetwear’s major players are notably silent on environmental impacts
(Thursday - November 15, 2018) Source: Glossy - As consumers become more aware of the insidious effect that the global fashion industry has on the environment, fashion brands have responded by embracing sustainability both as a business practice and a marketing tool... 

Mainstreaming Sustainability: What Banks And Business Schools Should Do Next
(Tuesday - November 13, 2018) Source: Forbes - Assets globally that are invested in accordance with environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles, or sustainable investments, have been growing 17% per year and now stand at $23 trillion according to McKinsey... 

Outdoor Industry Isn’t Promoting Sustainability Enough, Expert Says
(Tuesday - November 13, 2018) Source: Footwear News - “I encourage brands and retailers to do a much better job of calling out products that are sustainable in their mix,” The NPD Group Inc.’s VP and senior sports industry adviser, Matt Powell, said today during the Industry Trend..

Macy's is making a move that signals the death of department stores as we know them
(Thursday - November 15, 2018) Source: Insider - In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday, CEO Jeff Gennette said the department-store chain would shrink its less productive stores and cut back on staff at these locations. 

And the Headlines of interest…

Sears should close for good, creditors say
(Tuesday - November 13, 2018) Source: CNN 

VW claims it can produce 50 million electric cars, vows to have ‘much lower’ prices than Tesla
(Tuesday - November 13, 2018) Source: Electrek 

‘Completely safe’: Monsanto owner Bayer hit by new wave of lawsuits over Roundup weed killer
(Wednesday - November 14, 2018) Source: RT
Is Apple Trying to Hide Something From Investors?
(Wednesday - November 14, 2018) 
Source: Motley Fool

New York politicians push back on Amazon HQ2 plans
(Thursday - November 15, 2018) Source: Tech Crunch 

Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant under investigation by NRC
(Thursday - November 15, 2018) Source:

Ford, Walmart to collaborate on designing automated-vehicle delivery
(Thursday - November 15, 2018) Source: Reuters 

DOJ and SEC subpoena Snap over allegedly misleading investors
(Thursday - November 15, 2018) Source: Engdget 


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

Public Pension Return Assumptions Fall to All-Time Low
(Thursday - November 15, 2018) Associated Profiles : North Carolina Retirement Systems 
Source: - Among the more high-profile pension funds lowering their investment return assumptions this year were the North Carolina Retirement Systems, which cut its assumed rate of return to 7% from 7.2%, the Teacher Retirement System... 

Saudi killing of Khashoggi is ‘business as usual’ in the Arab world
(Wednesday - November 14, 2018) Associated Profiles : Sanabil al-Saudia - (Has been known as Public Investment Fund)Hassana Investment Company Source: Sun-Sentinel - Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and his powerful son Crown ... Meanwhile, the crown prince is trying to use the country’s sovereign wealth fund—or the Public Investment Fund—to stave off economic collapse by...

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.

The State of Sustainable / ESG Investment in 2018: The State of Corporate Sustainability Reporting & How We Got Here

The Survey Results Are Here: $12 Trillion in Professionally Managed Assets Are Guided by Sustainable Investing / ESG Approaches in the USA – That’s $1-in-$4 of All Capital Market Assets Under Professional Management At End of 2017

Is the Movement to Achieve Greater Societal Sustainability Reaching the Consumer? One Consumer Marketers’ Story… The G&A team develops timely insights and perspectives on Corporate Sustainability, Responsibility and Citizenship and we share with you on G&A's To The Point! platform – access is complementary with your registration.  Recent briefs include:

Tech Leaders – Are They Good Corporate Citizens? Microsoft and Other Firms Address the Needs of Their Employee New Parents – And One Positive Signal is Sent

The Needle Continues to Move Forward – Developments in Corporate Sustainability / Responsibility and Sustainable Investing Continue to Shape an Important Year

California Leads the Way (Again) – State’s Giant Pension Funds Must Now Consider Portfolio Climate Risks & Report on Results – It’s the Law


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Surveying of analysts and asset managers to determine the level and interest of sustainable investing and corporate ESG performance integration….
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Louis Coppola from G&A Institute Goes In Depth on How to Improve ESG Performance


Governance & Accountability Institute Research

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

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Upcoming Events

5th Annual Sustainable Investing Conference
Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 | 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Straight from the source, hear about the long-term experiences of preeminent investor Jeremy Grantham (Co-founder, Chief Investment Strategist, GMO) with regard to sustainableinvesting and market cyclicality.Join CFANY on Friday, November 30, to gain insight on topics including Long-Termism, ESG Integration, Diversity, and more. Register here.



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