September 11, 2017


This Is Hurricane Season in the Americas -- And Climate Change Discussions Will Accompany News Reports About the Super-Storms Coming Ashore

All news/all the time -- that was the American television viewer's diet of content during the week long siege, with Hurricane Harvey sweeping ashore along the Gulf of Mexico areas of the State of Texas.  And the plight of the people of the Houston region, in particular, was on everyone's mind as we watched the struggles of the residents there to stay safe and help their neighbors.

As we watched, many of us from afar, this was the American Spirit at its very best, in such terrible times for Texans to remind us all of the traditions of neighbor-helping-neighbor

The public debate about the issues surrounding climate change (is it happening/what is the cause/what can be done) goes on, folks on both sides of the issue were cautious and sensitive about bringing the subject up in the midst of the suffering in Texas.  But gradually, the debate centered on Harvey's effects came around to the point.

And Florida, another U.S. state, was brought into focus by writers at The Guardian as writer Richard Luscombe (a free lancer based in Miami) reminded readers of perhaps one of the early canaries-in-the-coal-mine -- Hurricane Andrew almost 25 years ago to the day that the giant storm tore through Miami-Dade County -- and causing US$15 billion in insured losses.

Professor Hugh Gladwin in the piece wondered:  Will people base their real estate decisions on climate change futures? He sees higher-standing areas of booming Miami becoming gentrified as a result of sea level rise...and coastal areas threatened by flooding and storm surge will decrease in value.

Writer Luscombe tells us that residents of South Florida are already buying houses in North Carolina and Tennessee -- to have a safe place to go as the seas rise in the Sunshine State!

Climate Corporation (San Francisco) says that it will only take a few climatic events in a row for a collapse in regional/local real property values to fall.  That could make the housing crisis of 2008 "look small."

Luscombe writes that properties in Norfolk, Virginia; Annapolis, Maryland; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Savannah and Charleston, Georgia; and Miami Beach, Florida -- all have areas now where fish swim in driveways and people drive through salt water streets.

As we've reported for you recently, the nation's urban leaders (the mayors of cities large and small) are already addressing the challenges of climate change and making their cities more resilient.  As the TV coverage of Hurricane Harvey slows and we move on to the next news cycle, no doubt climate change discussions will increase in tempo.  This is hurricane season, after all, and there is already a Category Five storm approaching the American coastlines.

We can debate "when" it is appropriate to raise the issues surrounding climate change, and what to do about it.  But we think it is a conversation that is necessary -- so in the end we should do our best to protect all of the U.S.A.'s coastal areas, where 2/3 of the American population reside.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends and colleagues in Houston and the Texas and Louisiana coastal region.  We should all pitch in to help -- neighbor-to-neighbor -- in any way that we can.

What are your thoughts on all of this?

Top Stories This Week...

How climate change could turn US real estate prices upside down   
(Wednesday - August 30, 2017) 
Source: The Guardian - Floridians have long recognized climate’s threat to their homes. Amid the disaster wrought by Harvey, home buyers may look to higher ground 

About Sustainability: Progress Is Being Made - We See Forward Momentum!

Five technology trends defining the future of corporate sustainability   
(Monday - August 28, 2017) 
Source: Eco-Business - The rise of technological innovations that enable real-time data collection and reporting, new methods of communication and number-crunching is set to transform the world of corporate social responsibility, says CSR Asia’s Inna... 

Sustainability Reporting: A strategic opportunity for the Financial Reporting Council?   
(Tuesday - August 29, 2017) 
Source: The Cable - It is no longer news that there has been a concerted effort on the part of some financial regulators in Nigeria to promote sustainable business practices in their various industries.  

Sustainability: Coming to a platform near you   
(Tuesday - August 29, 2017) 
Source: GreenBiz - Sustainability is no longer a status belonging to a select few — it’s a platform that anyone, even a landlord, can control on-site and in real time. Here are three PaaS solutions that are making people smarter and the world more... 

Consumers 'betrayed' over sustainability of world’s biggest tuna fishery  
(Thursday - August 31, 2017) 
Source: The Guardian - Consumers of tuna from the world’s biggest fishery are being “betrayed” over its sustainability, according to a coalition of scientists, retailers, politicians and campaigners, including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. 

Sustainable Business Model Innovation   
(Thursday - August 31, 2017) 
Source: Huff Post - Our work with MIT Sloan Management Review and the Boston Consulting Group shows that nearly 50% of companies have changed their business models as a result of sustainability opportunities. And interestingly, the more ambitious... 

New sustainability ratings fail to tell the whole story, says Kames   
(Friday - September 01, 2017) 
Source: Institutional Asset Manager - Third-party ratings aimed at quantifying the overall “sustainability” of investment funds do not tell the whole story and should not be viewed in isolation, according to Kames Capital. 

Our Focus This Week on A Range of ESG Topics & Issues -- Things to Think About..

7 reasons we’re facing a global water crisis   
(Monday - August 28, 2017) 
Source: Eco-Business - Every day brings more news of water-related troubles from around the world. Here are seven things you need to know about our escalating water crisis, and what we can do about it

CEO pay: How much is too much?   
(Tuesday - August 29, 2017) 
Source: The Hindu - High executive pay was at the centre of the recent standoff between the founders and the management of Infosys Technologies. To middle-income earners who are also shareholders in listed firms, any nine-digit pay packet may appear...

Brazilian court blocks abolition of vast Amazon reserve   
(Thursday - August 31, 2017) 
Source: The Guardian - A Brazilian court has blocked an attempt by the president, Michel Temer, to open up swaths of the Amazon forest to mining companies after an outcry by environmental campaigners and climate activists. 

How America’s top 1 percent keeps getting richer   
(Thursday - August 31, 2017) 
Source: Record Star - Why are people like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg so incredibly rich? Sure, they’re great businesspeople, and they had the right ideas at the right time. But most importantly, when their businesses succeeded, they...

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

Shaw Industries, other carpetmakers move to more sustainable production   
(Tuesday - August 29, 2017) 
Source: Times Free Press - The world's biggest carpetmaker said Monday that 85 percent of its products are now certified for sustainability by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute as carpet and rugs are made with less energy and water and... 

Brewing a more Sustainable Future   
(Wednesday - August 30, 2017) 
Source: National Geographic - Every time you toss an aluminum can into a recycling bin, you’re living a legacy pioneered by Bill Coors. The visionary beer brewer helped introduce the idea of recyclable aluminum cans in the 1950s, and Coors Brewing has been a... 

Tiffany & Co. Highlights Progress and Commitments in New Sustainability Report   
(Friday - September 01, 2017) 
Source: CSRWire - Tiffany & Co. released its seventh annual Sustainability Report, which details the company’s continued leadership in sustainable luxury and its progress in 2016 towards its commitments to environmental and social responsibility. 

New Ford Sustainability Report Reveals Progress on Water Stewardship Goals   
(Friday - September 01, 2017) 
Source: Sustainable Brands - The Ford Motor Company has released its 18th annual Sustainability report detailing its environmental progress across the world and commitment to continued sustainability actions in the future. Coinciding with the release is a... 

Sustainability finance lessons, from Adidas to Starbucks   
(Wednesday - August 30, 2017) 
Source: GreenBiz - As more retailers seek ways to pay for energy and sustainability upgrades, we’ve seen the benefits of alternative financing approaches accumulate for companies such as Apple, Starbucks, Adidas, and LVMH. 

Google, Exxon, Caterpillar ... Corporate America donates millions to Harvey relief   
(Monday - August 28, 2017) 
Source: CNN Money - Corporate giants are making big contributions to disaster relief organizations to help victims of Tropical Storm Harvey. 

Beer companies switch to canned water for Harvey victims    
(Wednesday - August 30, 2017) 
Source: NY Daily News - The Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Georgia and the MillerCoors plant in Chicago both announced that they were donating more than 200,000 cans of water to the people of southeast Texas affected by Harvey 

5 lessons learned from Amazon's first week with Whole Foods   
(Friday - September 01, 2017) 
Source: Chicago Tribune - On Monday, Amazon closed on its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market — much earlier than many expected — and immediately slashed prices on staple items in a savvy bit of marketing that had been announced a few days... 

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

Kuwaiti Wealth Fund May Pull Billions From External Managers   
(Tuesday - August 29, 2017) Associated Profiles : Kuwait Investment Authority 
Source: Bloomberg - Kuwait Investment Authority is planning to manage more of its own assets as the world’s fifth-largest sovereign wealth fund seeks to take more risk to boost returns. The KIA, as the fund is known, wants to increase the...

An Activist Investor’s Latest Tactic: Playing Nice   
(Thursday - August 31, 2017) 
Source: Bloomberg - Weeks after disclosing its stake in P&G in February, Trian updated its website with a section expounding its commitment to corporate stewardship. The money manager also published its first policy statement on the subject and... 

Trump Administration News... Affecting Directions on Governance, Sustainability & Climate Change

Trump kicks off tax reform pitch   
(Wednesday - August 30, 2017) 
Source: The Hill - President Trump is set to kick off his sales pitch on tax reform Wednesday with a speech in Missouri as he seeks to rally the public behind one of his top legislative priorities.

Hurricane Harvey - The Bigger Picture

Harvey's Impact On The Energy Market Will Be Substantial   
(Tuesday - August 29, 2017) 
Source: Forbes - Houston is the central hub for the energy industry in the U.S. It is important for oil and refined product imports and exports, it is an important storage area for oil and refined products, and much of the Strategic Petroleum... 

Homeowners (and Taxpayers) Face Billions in Losses From Harvey Flooding   
(Tuesday - August 29, 2017) 
Source: NY Times - Hurricane Harvey may inflict as much as $30 billion in damages on homeowners, according to preliminary estimates. But only 40 percent of that total may be covered by insurance — and of that, the federal government will bear the..

Will Flooding In Texas Lead To More Mosquito-Borne Illness?   
(Thursday - August 31, 2017) 
Source: Huff Post - The devastating floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey will damage many human habitats, but after the flood recedes, the waterlogged city may become a more welcoming habitat for mosquitoes.



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