Canadian Responsible Investment Conference Panel: Aboriginal Communities and Extractives Industy
Conflict between Aboriginal communities and resource companies can and does happen. And there is no shortage of high profile examples, whether it’s Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, Barrick’s Pascua-Lama mine in Chile or lawsuits brought against Hudbay for alleged human rights violations in Guatemala. But there is another side to this story. In some cases, Aboriginal communities and extractives companies are charting a new path.
On Monday, June 17, at the Canadian Responsible Investment Conference in Vancouver, Bob Walker
, Vice President NEI Ethical Funds, will host a conversation among a panel of experts on the tools being used and the steps now being taken toward collaboration, cooperation and mutually beneficial agreements.
PRI-CDC Academic Network Conference
The PRI Initiative, the Groupe Caisse des Dépôts and the Chaire Finance Durable et Investissement Responsable are pleased to announce the Sixth Annual Academic Conference on Responsible Investment, to be held 13-15 November 2013 at CDC’s headquarters in Paris.
As in previous years the first day will be a Student Symposium, dedicated to the latest new research by Ph.D students. The main conference will be held on the 14th and 15th of November and will consist of plenaries and smaller panel sessions. As this is an international event, this will be a unique opportunity for academics, students, and investment professionals to hear the latest findings, communicate priorities for future research and to network with each other.
Globe and Mail: Ottawa Throws its Weight Behind Social Investing
The Conservative government is throwing its support behind social-impact bonds – an experiment that rewards private investors for putting cash toward social causes.
The government on Monday released a list of projects that could be financed in this way, such as programs to build housing for people with disabilities, reduce recidivism among young offenders or encourage more young aboriginals to learn a skilled trade. Ottawa said it will work with interested groups toward launching projects.
Read the full story here
Blog: Profile: Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business
Blog: Profile: Social Economy Centre
Blog: Profile: The North-South Institute
With its 40th anniversary quickly approaching, the North-South Institute
(NSI) will soon be reflecting on the past four decades of its contributions that have made it one of Canada’s most important policy research institutions in the field of international development. Founded in 1976, the NSI has been ranked twice in previous years as the world’s number one think-tank
with a budget of less than $5 million by the Global Go To Think Tank Index, underscoring the quality of the research produced by this institution. Located in Ottawa, the organization’s main sources of funding – the Canadian International Development Agency and the International Development Research Centre.
Continue reading here
Blog: Profile: Réseau d’Éthique Organisationnelle du Québec
In the past decade, Quebec has become a focal point of business ethics research and networking, reflected by the appearance of sectoral research centres and consultancies springing up around the province, and the Réseau d’Éthique Organisationnelle du Québec
(RÉOQ, or Quebec Organizational Ethics Network) is illustrative of this trend. It should be noted that while the RÉOQ emerged fairly recently as an independent actor on the business ethics “scene” in Canada, this organization is actually the offspring of the Quebec branch of the Ethics Practitioners’ Association of Canada (EPAC/APEC) which was founded in 1996
Continue reading here
Blog: New Sources of Finance Boost Urban Revitalization
There is a lot to be said about emerging trends in responsible investing, and fortunately for the socially responsible investing community, Dr. Tessa Hebb
and her team at Carleton’s Community Centre for Innovation (3ci)
are doing much of the talking these days. Dr. Hebb
is a leading advocate of SRI and social finance projects, and is responsible for developing the most cutting-edge research on the innovations in and implications of the responsible investing sector. A forthcoming journal article in the academic period Regional Studies, co-authored by Dr. Hebb
and recent Oxford University graduate Dr. Rajiv Sharma
, discusses the role of new sources of financing that are driving major infrastructural overhauls and urban revitalization in the United States.
Continue reading here
Blog: Profile: Enterprising Non-Profits
A new and emerging category of industry centered on strong, non-profit organizations has been germinating across Canada for the past decade, predicated on the tenets of ethical business. This model is known as social enterprise – a system which combines aspects of traditional for-profit business practices with non-profit service skills in order to support the development of “healthier communities.” A social enterprise is a for-profit business run by a non-profit organization
which sells products and services to customers. Enterprising Non-Profits
(ENP) is one of the foremost Canadian leaders in this emerging field, promoting the development of social enterprises across the country through dedicated advocacy, funding, and educational programs.
Continue reading here
Blog: Profile: Canadian Business for Social Responsibility
Originally established in 1995, the non-profit Canadian Business for Social Responsibility
(CBSR) has become a pillar of Canadian business ethics advocacy and the organization views itself as “the Canadian representative in a world-wide network committed to corporate social responsibility.” With offices in the Canadian business hubs
of Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary, the CBSR has a strong and influential presence on the corporate scene. During its almost two decades of existence, more than seventy major Canadian corporations have become members of the CBSR in order to reap the rewards of accurate, insightful, and constructive consulting in the area of CSR principles and practices.
Continue reading here
Blog: The Rise of Corporate Social Responsibility in Canada
When it comes down to the nitty-gritty these days, Canadian investors seem to be heeding the advice of those financial advisers who are working tirelessly to promote socially responsible investments that will empower initiatives across the country which are designed to strengthen environmental, social, and corporate governance principles. I have written much about the growing interest in and expansion of the SRI industry in Canada, and I would like to return to this theme in order to touch upon some fresh evidence that illustrates the rising prominence of social responsibility in Canada.
Continue reading here
Call for Papers (Open): The Journal of Environmental Investing 2013
The Journal of Environmental Investing (the JEI; www.thejei.com) is now accepting papers, commentaries, opinion pieces, and book reviews for publication. The JEI promotes intellectually rigorous discourse at the intersection of investing and the environment and is particularly interested in publishing original papers on the following investment-related themes:
Papers in the following areas of interest are also considered for publication:
- Sustainable property, including but not limited to:
- Analyzing the challenges of sustainable property development and management
- Defining and developing both existing and new sustainable properties
- Developing rules, collecting data, and marketing best practices for investment and environmental gains
- Water, including but not limited to:
- Water and wastewater infrastructure
- Managing water risks and addressing supply chain challenges
- Guaranteeing long-term access to clean fresh water worldwide
Special consideration will be given to papers that address macro trends redefining the global investment sphere, such as the growing economic and industrial importance of emerging markets, as well as the continuing trends of resource scarcity and degradation. The editors welcome inquiries about manuscript ideas.For additional information and specific guidelines and instructions for making submissions, please go to http://www.thejei.com. Contributors are required to register for the open-access and free Journal of Environment Investing. Abstracts and papers will be accepted only through the web site. The JEI approaches scholarship collaboratively; they aspire to fulfill the needs of their diverse readership. Suggestions for new themes, syntheses, guest editors,or reviewers are welcome. The Editorial Board at the JEI is committed to the highest scholarly standards and looks forward to incorporating your ideas in their upcoming issues.
- Clean technologies, including energy storage and efficiency
- Land use, land use change, and forestry
- Carbon and greenhouse gases
Blog: Profile: The European Academy of Business in Society
The European Academy of Business in Society – also known by its acronym EABIS – is a major hub of international business ethics research located in Brussels, Belgium. Originally launched in 2002 by a conglomeration of multinational companies including IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Shell, and Unilever, as well as a number of top-tier European business schools along with the assistance of INSEAD
, the central aim of the Academy
is to stimulate and promote “sustainable business practices through partnership, learning, and research.” The creation of EABIS was predicated on a shared concern among European corporate bosses and academics for upholding the principles of corporate social responsibility in business and society. The organization receives much of its funding
from the European Commission, and additional funding may be provided by national governments in the European Union, as well as private foundations.
Continue reading here
Blog: Profile: Robin Cosgrove Prize for Ethics in Finance
The Robin Cozgrove Prize for Ethics in Finance is an independent non-profit organization which was established in 2006 to honour the memory of young investment banker Robin Cosgrove
, whose international travels and experiences led him to believe that “the finance sector should serve the common good as well as making profits.” In particular, Robin had worried that young fellow finance professionals were losing sight of important guiding principles of socially responsibility and ethical practice, and he therefore committed himself to promoting “better understanding of the critical importance of trust, ethics, and personal and corporate integrity” as his life mission. Since 2006, the prize has been awarded to the winners of an annual competition established in Robin’s memory, and it strives
to “stimulate innovative ideas for promoting ethics and integrity in the finance sector.”
Continue reading here
Blog: Event Snapshot: Responsible Investing Webinar at 3Ci
Carleton University’s Centre for Community Innovation (3Ci) was recently featured at our blog
and cited for the notable contributions that its members have made to research in social finance since the mid-1990s. 3Ci is definitely a major node for Canadian knowledge mobilization in the responsible investment sector, and it is our pleasure to announce that Dr. Tessa Hebb
, the Director of 3Ci
, discussed her new work on the organization’s Responsible Investing Initiative on March 26th. Joining Dr. Hebb
was former 3Ci research assistant and Carleton graduate Heather Hachigian
, who is now a PhD candidate in Economic Geography
at the University of Oxford working on responsible investing with funding from the SSHRC’s Community University Research Alliance Award.
Continue reading here
Save the Date: Canadian Responsible Investment Conference to be held June 17-19, 2013 in Vancouver, BC
The Canadian Responsible Investment Conference is the only national event devoted to socially responsible investing. Of particular interest to institutional investors, financial advisors, investment trustees, portfolio managers, SRI fund representatives and ESG researchers and consultants, the conference continues to grow in attendance each year.
The theme this year is "Engaging for Change". The conference committee and their sponsors have developed an exciting line-up of speakers and topics, and again this year, will offer a series of intensive sessions on Tuesday morning. There will be plenty of opportunity to meet SRI industry participants, discuss the most pressing industry issues, learn from industry thought leaders and promote your organization's product and service offerings.
Impact Investing: Maximizing Social Impacts Through Ethical Capital; What’s Possible?
Impact investing, which aims to generate meaningful social impacts while also achieving a financial return is a rapidly growing global industry. Impact investors, including high-net worth individuals, banks, foundations, and non-profits, are driven by ethics. What can this approach to mobilizing capital deliver to communities? Drawing on the findings of a recent international study for the Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. Edward Jackson
will examine the potential, limits and prospects of this emerging field of practice, and discuss its application in the Atlantic region.
Scaling Up: Exploring an Infrastructure/Impact Investments Exchange in Canada
A significant problem in social finance is how to attract large institutional investors who require sufficient scale, lengthy track records and market-based risk-adjusted returns in order to engage in investment that intentionally seeks both financial return and positive social and environmental impact.
To date, social finance and impact investing have been framed around social enterprise development, with a focus on small deals, limited returns and local investment. These types of investments have high search and transactions costs, as well as limited scalability. For social finance and impact investing to grow beyond a small niche activity, large institutional investors must be attracted into this space. While we have seen increased awareness of social finance by philanthropic investors in Canada, these investors' total assets only amount to $36 billion (2010). In comparison, Canadian trusteed-pension plans control over $1 trillion of assets (2012).
Continue reading here
Responsible Investing Initiative Year One research papers are now online
Six research papers from the RII were presented last autumn. Among them, Dominique Diouf
and Tessa Hebb
explore factors that influence social retail investors. Click here
for the Executive Summary and here
for the full paper.
oikos Young Scholars Entrepreneurship Academy 'Creating Hybrid Ventures'
August 25-30, 2013
The fourth oikos Young Scholars Entrepreneurship Academy provides a unique platform to develop scholars in the early stages of their careers. Exceptional PhD candidates, post docs and young faculty are at the center of the program. The academy aims at advancing academic research, at building networks and at preparing the ground for research relevant for theory and practice. The event includes paper development workshops, professional development roundtables, research talks and outdoor activities in the picturesque Swiss Alps. Participants will also have the opportunity to apply their insights and skills in a HUB Challenge Lab in collaboration with The Hub Zurich (http://zurich.the-hub.net/
) and Ashoka Switzerland.
Participants will benefit from presenting and discussing their work in progress with leading academics who provide feedback on their work and share advice about academic career and personal development. Feedback will be given by fellow students and three international researchers:
- Anne-Claire Pache Assistant Professor, Holder of the ESSEC Philanthropy Chair, ESSEC Business School, France
- Filipe Santos Associate Professor, Director, Maag International Centre for Entrepreneurship, INSEAD, France
- Claus Jacobs SNF Professor of Strategy and Organization, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
Save the Date: 2013 Principles for Responsible Investment Academic Network Conference
The 2013 Principles for Responsible Investment Academic Network Conference will take place in Paris on the 13th - 15th November. It will be hosted by Caisse des Depots
, the French public financial institution and signatory to the PRI.
A Call for Papers and further details will be issued soon.
Announcing the MaRS Center for Impact Investment Fellowships
The MaRS Centre for Impact Investing (CII) is looking for the next generation of impact leaders. This distinguished fellowship program provides individuals with exposure to the emergent impact investing market in Canada, and provides hands-on opportunities to work with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, social ventures, and other engaged players in a variety of strategic and operational roles.
The CII has both short-term (four to five months), and long-term (eight months to one-year) fellowship opportunities available to individuals who have achieved academic excellence and have displayed a commitment to, and passion for, social impact.
You can see a brief overview of the four opportunities with more details available in the attached documents at http://socialfinance.ca
Blog: Profile: Carleton Centre for Community Innovation (3Ci)
Founded in 1997 as a node of “research, education and program management,” the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation – housed at the School of Public Policy and Administration
– is one of the country’s foremost establishments for innovation “in non-profit and philanthropic management, social finance, responsible investment, community-based economic development, and local governance.”
Today, the central mission of 3Ci is to develop and promote social finance projects for the benefit of domestic and international “geographic communities and communities of interest” in order to help these communities improve the quality of life for their citizens.
Continue reading here
Ethics in Finance - Robin Cosgrove Prize 2012-2013
The mission of the Ethics in Finance - Robin Cosgrove Prize is to stimulate a global reflection on ethics in finance. Through the website, the Prize creates an international conversation on the sustainable future of the finance sector and insurance based on strong ethical awareness and commitment to integrity.
The Prize makes awards for creative, unpublished papers setting out innovative ideas for promoting ethics in finance. By encouraging young professionals to examine their attitudes, ideas and behaviour, the Prize has achieved a truly global presence and is a remarkable instrument for promoting sustainable measures for ethics in all aspects of finance.
New Academic Journal: Business Ethics Journal Review
The Business Ethics Journal Review is a new, peer-reviewed academic journal, aiming to combine the best of old-world scholarly publishing with the best of Web 2.0.
BEJR will publish short, peer-reviewed Commentaries on business ethics articles published in the standard, hard-copy academic journals. Every Commentary will be published on , in high-quality PDF format. And every Commentary will be followed by a Comments section, to allow the broadest possible participation in discussion.
Blog: Can Green Investors Avoid Fossil Fuels?
In light of the raging debate in Canadian society over the ethics of fossil fuel extraction and use in recent years, socially responsible investors in Canada have been increasingly hard-pressed to take great pains in avoiding those funds which are even nominally connected to merchants of “dirty” energy.
Naturally, for anyone who is aware of the fierce debate over Canadian resource extraction operations in the Athabasca oil sands, the idea of so-called “green” investors plunking money into the dirty fossil fuels their brethren are protesting against may seem counter-intuitive on the surface. A major sticking point for any Canadian investor as why NOT to divest from fossil fuel commodities in Canada is simple: the revenue from Canadian natural resources makes up a substantial amount of the country’s investment portfolios, and investors will be hard-pressed to seek out a fund which doesn’t control at least a minimal stake in some less-than-environmentally-friendly fossil fuel commodity.
Continue reading here
Blog: Event Snapshot: 16th Annual Conference of the JD/MBA Students' Association
The business ethics conference circuit is already kicking into high gear, as demonstrated by the 16th Annual Conference of the JD/MBA Students’ Association which was held at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Toronto on February 8th. The Conference was celebrated as the premiere meeting of JD/MBA candidates in Canada, and it was well-attended by top brass from law firms, financial enterprises, as well as academic experts from Osgoode Hall Law School
and the Schulich School of Business.
The theme of the 16th Annual Conference of the JD/MBA Students’ Association for this year was reflected in the sub-title of the Conference – “Industrious Elements: At the Intersection of Law, Business, and Mining.”
Continue reading here
Blog: Profile: Corporate Knights
Established in 2002, Corporate Knights
is a Canadian-based “media, research, and financial products company focused on quantifying and animating clean capitalism drivers for decision-makers,” which has also extended its operation to the United States. The mission of the company
is grounded in the concept of ‘clean capitalism’ which calls upon corporations to adopt environmental, social, and corporate governance policies that encourage sustainability and positive growth for both investors and communities across the globe. Since its inception, Corporate Knights has risen to prominence as a leading media outlet on business ethics and corporate social responsibility practices, and is particularly noted for its popular quarterly, the Corporate Knights Magazine.
Aside from its activities in print media, Corporate Knights has also transitioned to producing market research and financial instruments for corporate clients. This area of the company’s operations are managed through a subsidiary branch, Corporate Knights Capital
, which provides the latest statistical data on over 2000 companies which is measured through fifteen key international equity benchmarks.
Continue reading here
Blog: Profile: Social Investment Organization
Originally established in 1989, the Social Investment Organization
(SIO) has come to be known as one of the most respected voices on socially responsible investing (SRI) in the Canadian business community. As a non-profit network with more than 400 corporate members across the country, the SIO’s guiding mission
is to “promote the practice of sustainable and socially responsible investment in Canada.” The SIO’s work is predicated on a four-point mandate which calls for the organization to fill a leadership role “in furthering the use of social and environmental criteria within the investment community in Canada; to raise public awareness of socially responsible investing; to establish the case for environmental/social analysis with other investment organizations; [and] to provide a forum and information source on socially responsible investment” for both its members and Canadian civil society on the whole.
Continue reading here
Blog: Engaging Stakeholders – a Key to Developing Canadian CSR Policy
The road to establishing an inclusive structure for the development of corporate social responsibility (CSR) benchmarks in Canada has been fraught with concerns about the breadth of stakeholder involvement since the very earliest days of government interest in CSR practices and policies. The desire to produce a CSR framework with the input of all sectors of Canadian civil society has been a journey that is often beset by questions of a practical nature which often boil down to concerns about how equal representation can be assured for all stakeholders who are affected by corporate projects at home and abroad.
Dr. Susan Dieleman
, a tenure-track assistant professor in the Philosophy Department at Dalhousie University prepared a preliminary report on the issue of multi-stakeholder negotiations as a follow-up to the federal government-sponsored National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility which were held between 2006 and 2007 in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary. In her report, Dieleman does not attempt to answer the question of whether these Roundtables – which she refers to as the “stakeholder advisory council” – were successful in their own right; rather, she is “interested to know what questions need to be answered to determine whether the Roundtables were a good example of the use of stakeholder theory.”
Continue reading here
Blog: Canada and International Development – a Narrative Fraught with Controversy
The Canadian International Development Agency
– perhaps better known by its acronym of CIDA – is the Canadian government’s most important and well-funded organization for international development projects around the world. Despite the good intentions that CIDA was established upon, and according to which its staff operate, the relationships recently cultivated by the agency with some major Canadian mining corporations in contentious overseas hot-spots has become a cause for concern among a growing number of socially responsible investors, analysts, and fund managers.
As its raison d’être
, CIDA states that it aims to “manage Canada’s support and resources effectively and accountably to achieve meaningful, sustainable results” and “to engage in policy development in Canada and internationally, enabling Canada’s effort to realize its development objectives.” In a new policy shift
under the Harper government, CIDA was directed by Ottawa to establish new partnerships between Canadian mining companies and NGOs in developing countries in order to use foreign aid projects overseas to boost economic growth across Canada.
Continue reading here
Blog: Profile: Earth Day Network
Chances are that if you live in a major urban centre in any one of approximately 170 countries worldwide, you’ve heard of “Earth Day” at the very least – if you haven’t actually participated in, or witnessed any events dedicated to this globally celebrated event. The history of Earth Day – observed on April 22nd each year – is traced back to the work of environmental activists around the world who joined forces to raise awareness about the precarious state of the planet, its environment, and our role in the big picture of sustainability, social responsibility, and environmental governance.
Launched in 1970, an estimated 1 billion people take part in this international experience
with participation in charity concerts, rallies, school presentations, tree-planting, and other educational activities related to this green holiday. One of the most decisive turning points for social responsibility
emerged out of Earth Day activism and “inspired the US Congress to pass clean air and water acts, and establish the Environmental Protection Agency to research and monitor environmental issues and enforce environmental laws.”
Continue reading here
Blog: 2013 Corporate Engagement Focus List: Who to Watch
With business quickly coming back into full swing following weeks of holiday paralysis and New Year celebrations, Canadian investors are rapidly adjusting their portfolios with the next 365 days in mind to reflect new trends in the first quarter, and ample guidance regarding investment options is available in the form of the 2013 Corporate Engagement Focus List
released by Toronto-based NEI Ethical Investments
. By virtue of its physical location, nestled in the centre of Canada’s corporate heartland, NEI’s corporate relationships and connections throughout the Canadian business scene give the company a unique perspective by which to observe, measure, and report on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) practices as well as ethical investment opportunities throughout Canada.
Published annually in the fourth quarter, NEI’s Corporate Engagement Focus List (CEFL) highlights important business ethics stories that will be making headlines in the new year through identifying both emerging corporate leaders, as well as those companies which are at risk of failure to fulfill responsibilities vis-à-vis sustainability and corporate social responsibility. NEI’s 2013 Focus List reveals that the company’s theme for ethical business in the New Year is to be centred around the philosophy of “making a difference through targeted action,” by adopting corporate engagement as the preferred vehicle for contributing to an economy which “works for people and the environment.”
Continue reading here
“Time” and Responsible Investing Symposium
The purpose of the symposium is to bring together finance industry practitioners, academics, graduate students and other stakeholders to critically investigate the temporal dimensions of responsible investing — the future, the past, timing and the pace of time — in order to understand obstacles to and better directions for SRI. A long-term approach is increasingly hailed as the foremost benchmark for SRI, with many commentators calling for investors to emphasize long-term value preservation and creation. Another key temporal dimension is the past, and investors sometimes have failed to appreciate it or, more precisely, failed to learn from its lessons. For example, the Global Financial Crisis, although of unprecedented scale, was preceded by a history of market jolts. Another relevant temporal perspective is the pace of time, and its impact on wise and precautionary decision-making. From individual to system-level decision-making, human beings can be impatient, and this can be harmful to a sustainable financial economy. The “Slow Money” movement (like the “Slow Food” movement) is one response to this concern.
Overall, this interdisciplinary symposium will feature a range of presentations and debate that explores the temporal dimensions of the financial economy and the SRI sector, and particularly welcomes presentations on:
- The impacts and costs associated with short-termism and other temporal flaws in SRI and the financial economy more generally.
- The cultural, organizational, legal and psychological impediments to long-term and patient financial markets.
- Existing best practices in the financial sector and lessons to learn.
- Recommendations of relevant studies, such as the 2012 Kay Review.
- Role of ESG research in address the temporal impediments to SRI.
- Legal and policy mechanisms to foster behavioural change.
CBERN to Organize “Mining, Ethics and Sustainability Stream” at World Mining Congress 2013
The “Mining, Ethics and Sustainability" program stream is being organized and administered by CBERN, as part of the World Mining Congress
. The purpose of the “Mining, Ethics and Sustainability Stream” of the World Mining Congress is to assess the character and the boundaries of the emerging economic, social and environmental responsibilities of mining in the 21st century required to obtain a social license to operate.
The “Mining, Ethics and Sustainability" program stream will be the core conference event for CBERN’s 6th Annual Conference
, to be held in Montreal in August, 2013.
A call for papers and case studies will be issued by late spring 2012. The call for papers will seek contributions for the “Mining, Ethics and Sustainability" program stream that will explore the ethical responsibilities of mining and the capacity of mining to contribute to sustainable development.
Blog: Sustainable Investing and the Future of Food
What exactly do food prices and sustainable investing have in common you may ask? Sustainable investing professional Doug Watt
recently outlined some potential benefits of investing in socially responsible food commodities in his entry “Have a Taste
,” posted to Advisor.ca
on December 11th. In his purview of the food industry, Watt argues that many socially responsible investors may not be willing to sink their teeth into “a market often driven by human misery.” Nevertheless, the food industry presents a large and important segment of commodities markets around the world, and it also bridges the agricultural industry to consumers, thus presenting an important niche in human consumption which may be positively affected by SRI initiatives; therefore, I suggest we dig a little deeper.
Continue reading here
Blog: Challenges and Opportunities of ESG Practices in Emerging Markets
On Monday, December 10th, the Ethical Investment Research Service hosted an investor network event entitled “Driving ESG Performance in Emerging Markets
” at the global headquarters of Moody’s Corporation in downtown Manhattan. This event had a dual purpose – first, to bring together industry insiders and practitioners to discuss the theme of the conference, i.e. new trends in ESG performance and disclosure amongst companies working in emerging markets, and second, to celebrate the unveiling of the EIRES Emerging Markets ESG research service in North America.
EIRIS is a long-time actor in the field of socially responsible investing, tracing its history back to 1983
when the organization was founded by an array of churches and charities in order to become a leading provider of SRI information. As a registered charity with over thirty staff working with a network of global clients and partners, EIRIS has developed a reputation as a “leading global provider of research into corporate environmental, social, and governance performance” currents. Additionally, EIRIS is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, and it produces a number of publications “to help consumers, charities and financial advisers invest responsibly” such as www.YourEthicalMoney.org
Continue reading here
Research Snapshots and SRI Knowledge Mobilization
With the help of the PRI Academic Network and our partner Research Impact at York University, CBERN Research Assistants, Arun Vallapan and Pooja Vijayaraj at the Schulich School of Business are preparing snapshot summaries of academic research in responsible investment. Each snapshot will be available online through the CBERN website and on the Research Impact resource library
The snapshots are part of a knowledge mobilization program hosted by the CBERN SRI Cluster that aims to engage asset owners, investment managers, and professional service organizations that are global signatories to the Principles of Responsible Investment in advance of and during the PRI Academic Network Conference in October. The program will extend beyond this event through 2012-13 with a focus on Canadian research. To have your research considered for a snapshot, contact Hilary Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
CURI is Recruiting a New Management Team
The Coalition of Universities for Responsible Investment (CURI) is currently recruiting the following three management positions to lead and build on the efforts of CURI’s founding members: Research and Policy Director, Membership and Partnerships Director and Organizational Development Director.
The newly recruited members of the CURI management team will work with its advisory board of academics, students and practitioners, along with a wider network of supporters, to meet the goals of its work plan and its greater strategic objectives.
If you are interested in applying, please send your resume and cover letter to email@example.com by December 23, 2012.
Blog: Organizational Profile: EthicsCentre CA
The Canadian Centre for Ethics and Corporate Policy (CCECP) – better known by its agnomen “EthicsCentre CA” since 2002 – is an organisation that has been a tireless promoter of “ethical orientation and culture in Canadian organisations” since its inception in 1988. The roots of this organisation are found in faith-based activities and can be traced back to the King Bay Chaplaincy
that was established by Rev. Graham Tucker in the 1980s. The Chaplaincy
was designed to be a spiritual centre in downtown Toronto specifically designed to give professionals at high-stress financial firms reprieve during major global financial turmoil during that decade. Building upon his experience as head of the Chaplaincy, Rev. Tucker and his colleagues decided in 1988 to establish a non-denominational organisation that would work to instill their visions of ethical business principles throughout Canadian civil society.
Today, EthicsCentre CA operates as a non-partisan body and registered Canadian charity, and it is a fully volunteer-staffed initiative. The penultimate mission of EthicsCentre CA is to “promote the positive role of ethical decision-making” by functioning as “a forum and catalyst for constructive discussion and debate” vis-à-vis Canadian business policies and practices, as well as those of other domestic actors. With its headquarters located in the heart of downtown Toronto – the financial capital of Canada – the EthicsCentre CA staff is within a stone’s throw of some of the most pivotal corporate offices in the country. The close proximity to Canada’s corporate heartland makes EthicsCentre CA uniquely positioned to work alongside major players in the world of Canadian business and finance
, such as partners like the BMO Financial Group, CIBC, Deloitte, Export Development Canada, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, and Sun Life Financial (just to name a few).
Continue reading here
Blog: Profile: Institute for the Study of Corporate Social Responsibility
Ryerson University, located in the heart of downtown Toronto, is quickly becoming a major focal point of research and scholarship on corporate social responsibility, an increasingly hot-button topic in the world of business and finance. Since 1993, when the school was awarded full university status by the government of Ontario, Ryerson has evolved to include some of the most cutting-edge faculties in various disciplines
, including broadcasting, engineering, and finance. The Ted Rogers School of Management, housed at Ryerson University, is Canada’s biggest business school
and is formally “accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – a designation achieved by less than five percent of business schools worldwide.”
It is from within the Ted Rogers School of Management that some of the latest and most innovative ideas are emerging related to the study of corporate social responsibility. Indeed, the home page of the Institute for the Study of Corporate Social Responsibility makes clear that the aim of this institution is to become the leader in CSR research and scholarship
, an objective that the university has adopted, “recognizing that increasingly, CSR issues are drivers for change in the business community.” According to the institute, new attitudes of “consumers, communities, workers, investors, and supply chain partners” have elicited a change in not only the study of finance and business, but in the way that actors in the business world operate. Increased consumer demands for corporate transparency, ethical investing, and sustainable development are some of the emerging elements that inform and galvanize the work of faculty members and students at Ryerson’s Institute for the Study of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Continue reading here
Blog: Book Launch: The Rise of Global Corporate Social Responsibility
The ascent of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and socially responsible investing (SRI) practices over the past twenty years has marked a profound change in policy and practice for corporate bosses, financial chiefs, and government bureaucrats alike. Whereas prior to the 1990s the concepts of CSR and SRI were still widely unknown outside of a small circle of ethics pioneers, in the past two decades we have seen the progressive emergence and adoption of these concepts by many in the corporate world. Moreover, the move towards codifying CSR and SRI practices as benchmarks of corporate conduct has been indubitably encouraged by an ‘awakening’ amongst concerned investors who, more than ever, are demanding increased attention to the way that companies deal with issues in the areas of environmental, social, and corporate governance.
In her recently published book The Rise of Global Social Responsibility: Mining and the Spread of Global Norms
, Professor Hevina Dashwood
of Brock University provides a thorough and well-documented analysis of the adoption of corporate social responsibility practices throughout the mining and mineral exploration sectors. With the author’s research of CSR practice and policy firmly steeped in theories drawn from her own discipline, international relations, and combined with institutional approaches from organizational theory and public policy, Dr. Dashwood aptly charts a course that clearly illustrates the role which global norms have played in the adoption of CSR practices by mining conglomerates.
Continue reading here
Blog: MaRs Social Finance Forum
The MaRs Centre for Impact Investing
hosted its annual Social Finance Forum, with a slew of financial executives, business professionals, and renowned academics lined up to make this institution the epicenter of social finance discussions between November 8-9. Following on the previous year’s theme of “investing in good deals
,” this year’s forum theme focused on “measuring up” on impact investment by “examining the opportunities and challenges surrounding impact measurement, while exploring what makes a good deal and how existing markets measure up.”
As I wrote about in my organizational profile of the MaRs Centre for Impact Investing (CII)
, the mission of this institution is “indelibly rooted in the desire to understand and alleviate what its founders view as the most pressing issues of the day – primarily global, untenable crises such as widespread poverty, famine, environmental degradation, rampant corruption, and social malaise on the whole.” In pursuing the avenue of social finance as the main tool to combat problems arising from a lack of clear consensus of Canadian and foreign companies on environmental, social, and corporate governance practices (ESG), the Centre for Impact Investing seeks to draw attention to ESG themes and encourage debate, discussion, and brain-storming by staging conferences such as these.
Blog: Understanding the Principle of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent
Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) has become a hot topic over the last few years where aboriginal communities are concerned. The cause of FPIC advocacy is grounded in the conception of the inherent rights of human communities to self-determination and their right to “freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development” as codified by the United Nations Charter
in Chapter 1, Article 1 of that universally accepted document.
At first glance, the term ‘Free, Prior, and Informed Consent’ may not necessarily invoke thoughts of human rights and international law, but that is exactly what the concept of FPIC deals with
. In a nutshell, FPIC is “the principle that a community has the right to give or withhold consent to proposed projects that may affect the lands they customarily own, occupy, or otherwise use. FPIC…is now a key principle in international law and jurisprudence related to indigenous peoples.”
Blog: Canadian Mining in Guatemala an Antithesis to Human Rights
On Wednesday, October 31st I was very fortunate to be a part of the audience who gathered at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School to hear Professor Shin Imai
talk about the controversies surrounding Canadian mining companies and their relationships with native communities in Latin America. As the co-director of the Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources, and Governments, and as the director of the Justice and Corporate Accountability Project at Osgoode Hall Law School, Professor Imai brings decades of experience in human rights, refugee law, and indigenous rights to the table.
From the outset of his lecture, Mr. Imai makes it crystal clear that one of the key factors to consider in resource extractive projects wrought by Canadian companies in developing regions is the existence of a stinging corporate social responsibility and accountability gap where these companies are concerned – “nobody knows what’s going on,” he states matter-of-factly. While Canadian mining companies are releasing reports which are meant to trumpet their CSR instruments and human rights policies, such as HudBay Minerals did in its 2011 CSR Report
, the fact is that the reality on the ground at these overseas mines is very different, argues the Professor.
Blog: 2012 Schulich International Case Competition
Sponsored by major Canadian mining conglomerates such as Goldcorp, Barrick, HudBay Minerals, and Kinross (amongst other firms), the 2012 Schulich International Case Competition (SICC) brought together an array of graduate students from around the world from November 30th to December 1st, who competed to present solutions to real issues and challenges that mining companies face around the world today.
First hosted in 2011, the SICC not only offered many excellent networking opportunities with fellow MBAs from around the globe, but it also presented an opportunity for participants to display their business prowess for the event’s judges, all of whom are important executives working in the finance sector.
Blog: Combating Corruption in the Mining Sector
Transparency International (TI)
is perhaps the most recognized name in the fight against corruption anywhere in the world; the work that the organization does to curb all forms of illicit activities within the resource extractives sector constitutes an intensive program in and of itself. With more than 100 chapters in dozens of countries around the globe, Transparency International identifies and exposes corruption
ranging from small-time crooks dealing in petty bribes to government officials involved in major fraud.
In light of the importance of combating corruption in the resource extractive sector, on October 31st, Transparency International Canada hosted a seminar in Vancouver, British Columbia in conjunction with Davis LLP on efforts to stem the tide of corruption in the Canadian mining sector.
Latest Edition of the European SRI Study is Now Available
The 2012 study reports detailed figures against the most common sustainable and responsible investment strategies adopted by European investors and shows that each of these has outgrown the overall market since 2009.
Some of the Study's most important findings include, among others:
- Strong market growth is underpinned by increased market sophistication.
- Impact investing market is included in the survey for the first time reflecting increasing investor interest.
- The market remains more than ever driven by institutional investors while legislative action is perceived as the second most important market driver for the coming years.
- European investors are increasingly adopting investment policies excluding certain types of weapons.
Blog: Gazing into a Responsible Investment Crystal Ball - Reflections on the PRI-CBERN Academic Conference 2012
Two powerful impressions will stay with me from the 2012 PRI-CBERN Academic Conference on responsible investment
. Firstly, the energy and commitment of the academics and practitioners
who came together to present, debate, agree and disagree make this a unique field. Secondly, the diversity of perspectives and interpretations of what ‘responsible investment’ actually is is alternately stimulating and frustrating. What is the balance of ‘value’ and ‘values’? Is the purpose of RI to change ‘the system’ fundamentally, or to ameliorate pragmatically from within? How do we measure impact and effectiveness?
This diversity is reflected within PRI
itself, with a wide range of perspectives among signatories. Yet despite this there is a ‘centre of gravity’ among signatories on what we’re trying to do. Essentially we’re exploring the territory where ‘value’ and ‘values’ overlap – the zone where the way companies address and respond to environmental, social and governance issues generates risk and opportunity that have financial implications. As climate change bites, populations age, supply chains globalise, competition for talent sharpens and resource scarcity makes itself felt there are more and more situations in which values and value look like opposite sides of the same coin.
Blog: Organizational Profile: MaRs Centre for Impact Investing
Originally launched in the winter of 2011, the Centre for Impact Investing (CII) – located in the heart of Toronto’s MaRs Discovery District – has become a burgeoning focal point for the production and dissemination of research on sustainability issues, environmental social and corporate governance (ESG), and socially responsible investing (SRI). As per their self-declared mission statement
, the goal of CII is to “increase awareness and effectiveness of social finance in catalyzing new capital, new talent, and initiatives aimed at tackling social and environmental problems in Canada.” By virtue of its location within Canada’s premier social innovation facility, CII works closely alongside the original MaRs Foundation – focused on Medical and Related Sciences – and it also maintains a close partnership with the Social Innovation Generation (SiG).
For updates on developments and initiatives taking place at MaRs CII and elsewhere in the social finance and impact investing community, visit SocialFinance.ca
, a program organized under MaRs that “brings together the voices of social finance practitioners and thought leaders across the country and internationally”. SocialFinance.ca offers a resourceful social media program that features blogs, tweets, and an online platform with many resources on social finance and impact investing.
Blog: Canada Global Reporting Initiative Conference 2012
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is an expansive and elaborate project which operates as a non-profit organization, with its main objective being the promotion of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) standards. The GRI’s claim to fame is its “comprehensive sustainability reporting framework,” through which it encourages and promotes adherence to ESG standards
; the framework has been adopted by countless companies worldwide.
Of the many events in October 2012, there was one event that was a precedent-setter: the Global Reporting Initiative hosted its first ever Canadian conference at the Toronto Stock Exchange and York University’s Schulich School of Business from October 16-17, with the collaboration of York University as well as Sustainalytics, a global ethical business research firm.
For more details and information about this event, you are invited to visit: www.globalreporting.org/information/events/canada-conference/Pages/default.aspx.
Blog: Enbridge and the Northern Gateway Pipeline: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
For decades, Enbridge Incorporated has been seen as one of Canada’s foremost corporate leaders in environmental, social, and corporate governance; even during the course of this past year, the company received accolades
as one of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations, was ranked as the number two most sustainable business in Canada, and for the third year in a row was voted as one of Canada’s most environmentally conscious business giants. How quickly positive vibes seem to dissipate in a heart-beat in the world of big business, especially where resource extraction is concerned.
Over the past few months, Enbridge’s reputation as a progressive-minded leader and standard-bearer of the CSR movement has been challenged by contentious political and social debate that has erupted over its unwavering support of its own Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal. Unfortunately for Enbridge and its stakeholders, rancorous political debate and often-negative mainstream news coverage of the company’s response to concerns around the proposed pipeline have quickly blighted the company’s previously spotless record of corporate social responsibility, as a recent Jantzi Social Index publication
Blog: PRI-CBERN Academic Network Conference: Student Symposium Wrap-Up
The first day of the PRI-CBERN Academic Network Conference
featured a student symposium
with participants from across the globe. Students presented their research to their peers with feedback provided on their work by moderators from both the academic and private sectors.
Topics at the Student Symposium covered disciplines such as law, sociology, physiology, business management, governance, institutional theory, finance, and economics on topics that included climate change, the retail industry, governance in Africa, investing in Asia, sustainability reports, benefit corporations, transparency and public policy. Student travel subsidies were provided by PRI.
Blog: Carbon Disclosure Project's Canada 200 Report Launch
The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is a UK-based “independent not-for-profit organization working to drive greenhouse gas emissions reduction and sustainable water use by businesses and cities”. On October 16th, 2012, a group of handpicked individuals joined top Canadian business executives for the launch of CDP’s Canada 200 Report
, which was compiled by the Canadian management consulting agency Accenture. Included in the report was reports measuring carbon disclosure and carbon performance indices, figures which showcased the companies that are “leading the way” in “addressing climate change and realizing opportunities that contribute to increased company valuation.”
Blog: CBSR Sustainability Investment Forum
On Monday, October 15th, the Canadian Business for Social Responsibility hosted a Sustainability Investment Forum in Calgary, Alberta, a month in advance of its anticipated 10th Annual CBSR Summit
, with the latter event being hosted in Toronto.
Sponsored by Enbridge Inc. and Raymond James Ltd., and presented in conjunction with the University of Calgary’s Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability, this colloquium featured a number of prominent corporate professionals (executives, analysts) as well as academic experts whose focus is sustainability, giving to the event an interdisciplinary approach which assisted the forum participants and attendees in understanding the concept, implementation and opportunities that sustainable investments bring to the table.
Principles of Responsible Investment with Dr. Wolfgang Engshuber
The United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative (PRI)
is a network of international investors working together to put the six Principles for Responsible Investment into practice.
will talk about the challenges of investment including issues such as SRI, ESG metrics, the relationship between SRI and good corporate governance and risk management. He will also provide an update on the strategy of the initiative and latest developments within implementation support, clearinghouse, reporting & assessment and networks.
Blog: Ethics and Governance - Book Launch and Luncheon
On October 3rd, the Albany Club at 91 King Street West hosted a luncheon to mark the occasion of a book release
– but this was no regular book and the authors are no regular Joes. This event saw renowned Professor of Business Ethics Leonard (Len) Brooks of the University of Toronto and his colleague David Selley – a retired partner at Ernst and Young – talk about their “insights into the new topics and updates” on issues of corporate social responsibility, topics which are newly explored by these two veterans of finance in the fourth edition of their seminal work entitled Ethics and Governance: Raising the Bar.
Professor Brooks and Mr. Selley shared a wealth of knowledge
with participants at the luncheon which focused on the new reality of what they see as a “development of a corporate culture of integrity”. The speakers also weighed in on how the global financial meltdown in 2008 and other big business busts have led to the “need for increased attention to anti-bribery programs, better ethics risk management, increasing calls for CSR and other forms of corporate accountability, and an understanding of what ethical leadership is, and how it should be developed and demonstrated.”
PRI-CBERN Academic Network Conference 2012
The UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment
and CBERN are pleased to announce the Fourth Annual Academic Network Conference on Responsible Investment, October 1-3, 2012 at York University, Toronto, Ontario. The conference is a unique opportunity for researchers, students and investment professionals to present research, identify research opportunities and build partnerships to continue to enhance our knowledge of responsible investment.
The conference opens with a student research symposium on October 1 and will feature over 20 presentations by international student researchers. There are currently 2 spaces available for PhD students to present their work.
For details, contact Hilary Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog: 5th Annual PRI-CBERN Academic Network Conference
The week of October 1st was an exciting one for CBERN, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), York University, Schulich School of Business, and for those involved or interested in the concepts of business ethics, sustainability, and responsible investing. This year’s event was made possible by the gracious sponsorships endowed upon CBERN by the Schulich School of Business, York University, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Corporate Knights, Forum Pour L’Investissement Responsable, Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, Sustainalytics, and Bâtirente.
The theme of this year’s PRI Academic Network Conference was focused on the evolution of responsible investment, and how to navigate the complexities of this rather new, but rapidly expanding financial sector. Keynote speakers discussed the value of shareholder engagement, the role of business ethics in finance, and creating incentives in the long-term which align the interests of asset owners and managers.
Blog: SRI Website Review
Employing the tagline of “where sustainable companies meet responsible investors,” SRI Connect is a website for which the target audience can be broadly categorized as “SRI professionals” encompassing the three main categories that the page seeks to help network together, namely the employees of ethical business firms, responsible investors, and financial advisors working in the sphere of socially responsible investing.
SRI Connect is chock full of resources
to help facilitate connections and the dissemination of focused knowledge within the responsible investing community. The project breaks down into many moving parts which, taken together, provide an excellent database for both networking and keeping abreast of industry developments.
Announcing the 2012 Social Finance Forum: Measuring up
Embracing the theme of "measuring up," the 2012 Social Finance Forum will delve deeply into the opportunities and challenges of growing impact investing in Canada. A key focus this year is how impact measurement makes a “good deal” a success for ventures, investors and society alike.
- Exceptional keynote speakers from across Canada and internationally, including Bart Houlahan, co-founder of B Lab, and Jeremy Nicholls, CEO of The SROI Network International
- Solution-focused and skill-building workshops on social impact measurement and impact investing in Canada
- Showcases of leading social enterprises from the SVX
- Spotlight on Canada's most influential social finance players at the announcement of the Social Finance Awards winner
- Good Deals Café
ESG Newsletter - September 2012
Read the NEI Investments' September ESG Newsletter featuring stories on: "Focus List 2012: The Year In Review; Seeds of change have been planted in the oil sands; Reining in Executive Pay: NEI Announces the Launch of Feedback on Pay Campaign" and more.
Blog: Crowdfunding a Big Hit with Entrepreneurs and a Huge Headache for Regulators
The first image that comes to mind when someone mentions the word “crowdfunding” is of flash mobs dancing in public squares, with their minders taking donations only a few steps away. Other unwitting readers may imagine that crowdfunding is the practice of mobilizing masses of people in the streets through financial contributors to movements such as #Occupy. The actual truth of the matter is that while crowdfunding is indeed related to mobilizing masses – usually through Internet campaigns – this practice is actually a successful financial tool that is quickly gaining traction by offering interest from the success of big projects to “small investors”.
Crowdfunding is a relatively simple idea, and it operates upon the premise that people donate directly to social causes without the use of an intermediary agent
such as a charity. In the world of corporate business, the practice works in the exact same way, except instead of crowdfunders donating to a charitable cause, they make investments in various enterprises and they expect returns. While crowdfunding equity investments is said to be the “most contentious” form of this practice – partly because of its formerly illegal status in the United States (that has since been discarded by the new JOBS Act) – this tool is undeniably successful in uniting entrepreneurs with huge numbers of potential investors – and capital.
Blog: Social Impact Bonds - Investing Wisely
Bonds are an intriguing topic not only because of their role in regulating the economy and in assisting government projects, but also because they can be pooled as liquid capital in any project, no matter what its aims, scope, or duration. This is where socially responsible investors and business leaders have stepped in, introducing a new kind of bond that will allow other conscientious investors to purchase bonds which are particularly tailored to assisting with objectives aimed at social justice, ethical business practices, and sustainable development.
Fittingly known as “Social Impact Bonds” (SIBs), the acquisition of one of these financial instruments enters the investors into a “contract with a public sector commissioner in which it pays for improved social outcomes”. SIBs are typically used to pump money into socially responsible projects that connect government, private corporations, NGOs, and other interested parties, with a desired aim
being to secure a “high probability of success” in the project.
Blog: The Gender Lens as an Emerging Theme in Social Responsibility
Achieving success in the world of business and finance can be an arduous experience for women. The corporate world has traditionally been dominated by men, with the very bedrock of economic theory rooted in the philosophies and musings of male scholars spanning Adam Smith, George Mason, John Locke, and more recently Friedrich Hayek, John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, Joseph Stiglitz, and Paul Krugman, amongst others. Nevertheless, women have started to take top positions in the world of business, as evidenced by the fact that there are now 20 female CEOs at the helm of Fortune 500 companies in America
according to a report released in July.
Despite the fact that this number only represents a miniscule 4% of all CEOs on the US-based Forbes list, it is still a sign that woman’s place in the corporate world is slowly becoming entrenched. Furthermore, at the same time as we are witnessing an increase in corporate female management, the idea of gender-focused investing (aka “gender-lens investing) is also emerging as a new theme in social responsibility, and a possible connection to the ascent of women in management would be frankly unsurprising.
Blog: Protecting Marine Ecosystems as a Vital Mandate for Responsible Investors
Given the incredible importance of H20 vis-à-vis human society on the whole, it is with great joy that I learned earlier this week about the World Wildlife Fund’s introduction of a new investment model
‘to recover marine ecosystems’. As many readers will know, the WWF is a household name on the global stage where environmental and ecological conservation is concerned, and their foray into the world of SRI definitely adds a both welcome and fresh perspective to sustainable development initiatives. Along with the unveiling of their investment model – dubbed the Financial Institution for the Recovery of Marine Ecosystems (FIRME) – the WWF Fund also released a detailed report about the proposed project, entitled Raising the Sunken Billions: Financing the Transition to Sustainable Fisheries.
According to the WWF report, unsustainable fishing is bad business. According to a figure from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (UNFAO) cited in this analysis
, “the difference between what is made and what could be made if fisheries were better managed is conservatively estimated to be $50 billion per year (US).” Canadians are no strangers to ‘bad business’ and economic malaise where marine ecology is concerned, with Newfoundlanders recently having marked the anniversary of a self-imposed 20-year ban on cod fishing
which persists till this day.
Blog: An Ethics Database for the 21st Century – Globethics.NET
I recently had the wonderful opportunity to interview Nicolae Irina
, CBERN’s E-Librarian and contributor to Globethics.net to get some insight about the Globethics.net
library – an expansive, state-of-the-art, and totally free resource on all-things-ethical. As a PhD student in York University’s Philosophy Department, Nicolae’s work is focused on the relation between corporate social responsibility and human rights, the ongoing discussion of the UN Draft Norms and the subsequent debate over the Reports of the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
Blog: Debunking ‘Shareholder Primacy Theory’
The great neoliberal economist Milton Friedman once made the famous assertion
that “there is one and only social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits.” Regrettably, this statement has been adopted as an almost infallible cornerstone of business management by educators and companies alike since the 1970s, and it has undoubtedly played a notable part in the collapse of national economies in western nations plagued by rampant corruption, nepotism, and barely fathomable scales of fraud. Fortunately, corporate bosses – and perhaps more importantly investors – are waking up to the reality that shareholder primacy theory is neither a positive catalyst for economic prosperity, nor a socially responsible approach to finance on the whole.
Workers Capital and Emerging Markets: an interview with Priya Bala-Miller
Each week Emerging Markets ESG publishes an interview entitled, “Five Questions about SRI.” The interview features a practitioner’s insights about SRI in emerging markets and through Emerging Markets ESG shares this expertise with a wide global audience. The goals of Five Questions about SRI are fourfold:
- To collect a catalogue of examples of SRI in practice in emerging markets.
- To raise awareness about SRI in emerging markets.
- To reflect on what SRI in emerging markets means to practitioners.
- To enable SRI practitioners in emerging markets to network with peers around the world.
This week’s interview is with Priya Bala-Miller, Director, International Program, Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), Vancouver, Canada.
Source: SHARE August E-Newsletter
NEI's Robert Walker to Chair Boreal Leadership Council
Robert Walker, vice president of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Services and Ethical Funds for NEI Investments, has been named as Chair of the Boreal Leadership Council. The council comprises conservation and Aboriginal groups, resource companies and financial institutions with an interest and a stake in the future of Canada’s Boreal forests.
Source: SHARE August E-Newsletter
Sustainalytics Research Team Honoured
The survey ran through June and received responses from 239 analysts and portfolio managers from 139 companies in 17 countries. It asked for quantitative and qualitative responses from asset managers globally on how they rate the SRI research published by independent providers and from the research providers themselves on how well quoted companies communicate their sustainability performance to investment analysts and on how asset managers communicate their research needs.
Award winner from the major categories were:
Best SRI analyst (individual) – Dayna Linley, Sustainalytics
Best SRI analysis (firm) - Sustainalytics
Best Corporate Governance analyst (individual) – Laurence Loubieres, Sustainalytics
Best Corporate Governance analysis (firm) – GMI Ratings
Best Quoted Company for SRI communications – Unilever
Best Asset Manager for SRI research – The Co-Operative Asset Management
Best salesperson for SRI / Corporate Governance research – Darragh Gallant, Sustainalytics
Source: SHARE August E-Newsletter
The Principles for Responsible Investment: Addressing Investment Risks in the 21st Century
Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business, the Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE), and the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) are hosting an event on October 16, 2012 in Vancouver, BC, that will feature keynote speaker Dr. Wolfgang Engshuber, Chair of PRI. The event will feature panel presentations and discussion with the audience and will address the role of responsible investment in comprehensive risk management and building healthy, sustainable capital markets. The event will bring together a wide range of professionals, from investment fund decision makers to academics.
The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative, is a partnership between the United Nations and global investors with the goal of promoting and main streaming responsible investment practice. The PRI Initiative has become the leading network for investors to learn and collaborate to fulfill their commitments to responsible ownership and long-term, sustainable returns.
Blog: Enbridge vs. the First Nations
Another day gone by, and another energy sector project is in limbo because of disputes between the corporate sector, the federal government, and Canadian First Nations. The particular conflict in question concerns the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline
(NGP) which has been developed (on paper, at least) by Enbridge and which would span some 1, 173 kilometers in length, extending from its place of origin outside of Edmonton and terminating near the town of Kitimat in northwestern British Columbia. Unless of course, some 100 First Nations bands have anything to say about the matter.
Now, as with all oil pipeline projects, the NGP has its fair share of adversaries within communities that would be affected by the construction route that Enbridge engineers have chosen to lay their conduit for the black gold emanating from Alberta’s equally controversial Athabasca oil sands. The plans for this development have been complicated by more than just outcry from environmental activists and their ilk. Dozens of First Nations bands with territory straddling the proposed NGP route have outright rejected any construction on their lands, setting the stage for another very public battle between Canadian First Nations peoples, the federal government, and the Canadian corporate sector.
Sustainability Investment Forum: A CBSR Event
Date: October 15, 2012
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Information: Contact Sheila Carruthers at email@example.com
While many companies have integrated CSR and ESG practices and processes into their business strategies and operations, the question remains as to what is being done to leverage these achievements to demonstrate shareholder value.
Join CBSR to explore how investors assess companies' market value and whether there is a way to gauge how CSR practices add to that value. Sustainable investment, investor relations, and CSR experts will lead the Forum's discussions.
This event is particularly targeted at investor relations professionals, people working in CSR related roles, investment professionals, and academics.
Job: Responsible Investment Manager, Sustainalytics
Sustainalytics is seeking a Responsible Investment Manager for their Toronto office. The successful candidate will provide a
high level of service quality to Sustainalytics’ clients, through the
development and delivery of responsible investment and corporate
sustainability products and services; Act as the trusted advisor to
responsible investors; Maintain and improve client retention and client
satisfaction; Mentor and/or manage account managers, Strengthen and
professionalize client management; and Generate new business.
Complete details on this opportunity are available at www.sustainalytics.com
Blog: Resource nationalism in Latin America
The progressive nationalization of natural resources in some peripheral nations of the developing world has nary been more pronounced in recent years than with legislation passed by the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These three nations are governed by leaders who have been heavily influenced by political ideologies which call for national governments to take control over their natural resources, as part of an effort to become self-sustaining economies free of foreign influence.
The decision by leaders in Latin America to progressively nationalize their natural resources – which also act as the main conduits for foreign investment – have naturally left Western investors and corporations in a bind. While political hostility in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador has historically been directed towards US policies and corporations in the region, Canada has recently found itself at the certain of a brewing battle emerging from the Bolivian brand of resource nationalism.
Blog: Organizational Profile: The Finance and Sustainability Initiative
The Finance and Sustainability Initiative is a promising venture composed of investment professionals and business executives who understand that in order to achieve sustainability, we must educate our youth on the pitfalls of outdated, unsustainable, and careless consumption and business tactics. Networks like the FSI offer forums for business leaders to develop models that will help equip future generations with the necessary tools to secure sustainability in environmental, social, and corporate governance. As the FSI has shown, education is the primer in that equation.
Blog: Battle for the North – Quebec’s future at stake with Plan Nord
With the spectre of provincial elections looming large on the horizon in Québec
and with September 4th promising to introduce a possible reconfiguration of the political pieces at the National Assembly of Québec (the provincial legislature), there are any number of topics on the political agenda that may sway voters towards one party or another. The Plan Nord
is one of these crucial electoral issues that may just see Premier Jean Charest’s Liberal Party fall from grace.
– which is a major litigation firm dealing closely with mining projects – reports that the Plan Nord, launched by Premier Charest in May 2011, “provides for the development of territory of Québec located north of the 49th parallel over the next 25 years.” According to this report, the project is an ambitious and wide-ranging foray into developing Québec’s rich natural resources potential in its expansive northern regions
, and is set to cover 72% of the province’s territory (roughly 1.2 million km²). Following the philosophy of responsible investing 101 which has taken a firm foothold in Québec’s economic capital, Montréal, in recent years, Plan Nord calls for “a development project that is integrated socially, economically, and environmentally that will be implemented over a long period of time.”
Volunteer Researcher: CURI 2012 Benchmarking Study
The Coalition of Universities for Responsible Investing (CURI) requires a
volunteer to assist with CURI's research projects aimed at benchmarking
the responsible investment policies and practices of 3-4 university
endowment funds in Canada. Core responsibilities include gathering
survey data to generate responsible investment profiles for the assigned
Click the links above for complete details on this opportunity.
Blog: Conflict minerals and responsible investing
Conflict stones have, for worse, been a part of the legitimate trade in precious metals and minerals for many decades. With the issue of conflict stones like “blood diamonds” popularized by various Hollywood film-makers over the years (Edward Zwick’s rendition
comes to mind), Western audiences have become familiar with the controversies surrounding precious minerals, and perhaps are more concerned about the origins of their diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, gold, silver, and other high-end valuables than at any previous time. Despite the fact that the plight of communities producing conflict stones is a rather public matter, repeated attempts by international organizations to control or ban the sale of minerals originating from war zones have been largely unsuccessful in the past decade.
Partner Update: Responsible Investing Initiative
The Responsible Investing Initiative (RII) Community-University Research Alliance is now in its second year. The project actively involves approximately 15 researchers, 6 PhD students and over 30 partner organizations across Canada and internationally. Researchers will be presenting results from the first year of research at the upcoming PRI Academic Network Conference
at York University in October. Six research papers on a range of topics across the project’s five research streams will be presented. As a Partner, CBERN will assist in mobilizing the research produced through this project. The RII is funded through SSHRC, hosted at Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, and led by Tessa Hebb, CBERN SRI Cluster Co-Leader. For more information on the RII visit http://www3.carleton.ca/3ci
Partner Update: SIO Conference Wrap-up
CBERN was an Academic Partner, along with Network for Business Sustainability and the David O’Brian Centre for Sustainable Enterprise at the John Molson School of Business, for the recent SIO Conference on Responsible Investment
in Montreal. CBERN hosted an industry booth during the conference with the help of PhD Cluster Steering Committee member, Nolywé Delannon. This was a great opportunity to connect with professionals in the field regarding the role of research in moving the SRI agenda forward and new Canadian initiatives. Highlights of the conference included Dr. Lynn Stout’s critique of shareholder power, Responsible Investor editor Hugh Wheelan’s interview with Dr. Wolfgang Engshuber of PRI from Rio+20, and the closing interview with former Prime Minister Paul Martin. Social Finance put together a great Storify blog
on the conference. Check cbernblog.ca
for an upcoming interview with Eugene Ellmen, Executive Director of SIO.
Blog: Rio+20 leading to greener pastures?
Set almost twenty years to the day that the famous 1992 Earth Summit was held in the same Brazilian metropolis, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 brought together captains of industry, corporate titans, national leaders, and policy experts from around the world with the aim of establishing a concrete plan to encourage sustainability amongst nations.
Now as with any international conference that aspires to find a common denominator between the world’s diverse nations on a hot-button topic such as sustainable development and corporate responsibility, many attendees agreed to disagree on what the drawing board should look like for a sustainable future. According to one of my colleagues who studies political science at Queen’s and recently wrote a recap on Rio+20, one of the major obstacles to achieving the stated objectives of the summit is the inherent gap that exists between core and peripheral nations on how to achieve sustainability evenly across the board.
Internship: Research Assistant with CBERN Partner: Social Investment Organization
The Social Investment Organization (SIO)
is seeking up to two research assistant interns
to provide research support on the Canadian Socially Responsible
Investment Review. Every two years, the SIO conducts a survey of
Canadian investors to determine the size and characteristics of the
socially responsible investing (SRI) industry in Canada. Click here
to see last year’s report.
This project is now part of new global initiative where the world’s
leading SRI investment organizations are joining up to measure and
report on the size of global SRI assets. This project will result in a
report that shows the types of investors involved, breaks down the
strategies that they employ and makes international market comparisons.
Updated Database of Contacts in the Field of Socially Responsible Investment
The Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program published an initial Database of Contacts in the Field of SRI on the capital markets research page of the PFS Program website on October 25, 2002. It contained contact information about more than 275 organizations whose SRI activities were reported online and/or in the financial press. Thereafter, the PFS Program updated the database eight times.
This 14th edition of the database, with current information as of June 30, 2012, contains 1,539 organizations and 807 conferences/events divided among the following 15 categories: Academia (65 institutions); Awards and Prizes (29); Companies – Listed Companies (428); Conferences and Events (807); Exchanges (25): Financial Institutions (220); Governmental Organizations (70); Indices (58), Media (82); Networks (82); Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) (244); Private-Public Partnerships (13); Professional and Trade Associations (83); Rating and Research (124); and Standard-Setting Organizations (16).
Blog: Sustainability – a Burning Platform
Life in the corporate world is oftentimes a high-octane, fast-paced, no-nonsense kind of exercise which could best be compared to sky-diving in terms of the risks involved, except with arguably less chance that you’ll be equipped with a parachute to cushion your fall if and when an investment starts going South and winds up the way of the Dodo.
Admittedly, I am exaggerating a tiny bit, but perhaps we can all acknowledge that in the current financial climate there is never complete certainty about what constitutes a truly secure investment. Insane amounts of untenable and precarious risk-taking are at the root of the global financial crisis and have certainly motivated changes in corporate behaviour so let’s talk about risk-taking then, and why some corporations have begun to redesign their corporate strategies in an era of unyielding economic turmoil.
New book: The Business Case for Sustainable Finance
Edited by Iveta Cherneva
This edited volume brings together finance industry perspectives from top global institutions, which focus on the bottom line for integrating ESG factors into the operations of the finance industry. Executives and senior practitioners answer the question: 'Does following sustainable finance principles make commercial sense for a commercially-oriented financial institution, and if so, what evidence is there?'
Responsible Investment at cbernblog.ca
Blog: Faith-based investing brings good tidings to corporate social responsibility
Emerging from a myriad of ethical business solutions covered during the conference is an interesting observation about the important role of faith in motivating socially responsible investing and corporate sustainability practices.
While those who are familiar with SRI may not necessarily be familiar with faith-based investing, the truth of the matter is that SRI and business ethics can be traced back to religious practices of moral behaviour and charity, a crux of many major world religions. The New Testament tells Christians that charity is an essential part of their faith; Jews are commanded by the Torah to give 10-20% of their earnings to tzedakah; Muslim faithful donate some 2.5% of their annual income to zakat; Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs return various amounts of Daan to their communities.
Gary Hawton Receives the Canadian SRI Distinguished Service Award
Newswire press release
Gary Hawton, President of OceanRock Investments, was presented with the Canadian SRI Distinguished Service Award at the Social Investment Organization Annual Conference
. In addition to this honour, Gary was also appointed to the role of President of the board of the SIO after serving several years in other executive board positions. Both the award and the nomination were presented to Gary in recognition of his leadership and extensive contributions to socially responsible investing and his relentless pursuit of environmental, social and governance accountability for publicly traded companies.
The award, which is presented by the SIO, can only be won once in a person's lifetime. It is awarded to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the Canadian socially responsible investment industry through their leadership, commitment, initiative, innovation, collaboration and/or impact in advancing industry growth and recognition.
Blog: More Flashlights; Better Vision: A snapshot view of the CBERN PhD Winter Research Meeting 2012
Clearly I was being privileged to get a sneak peek into this behind the scenes world that CBERN, these PhD students, and the advisors are all a part of. Right now there is a ton of CSR and ethic based projects, papers, and ideas floating about. However no one seems to really have a grasp on what this means for the world at large. These are the people who are grabbing some of these ideas and showing how they are useful or what the true natures behind these concepts are. These are the champions of ethics who are working to make the place a little better and a little clearer on how to make the best of this interconnected, uncertain and complex place we all call home.
Responsible Investment Resources in the CBERN E-Library
CBERN has developed a collection of resources
related to responsible investment with the help of PhD Research Assistant Nicolae Irina. The library contains both full text documents and links to resources. Built through member and organization contributions, the library includes resources from Sustainalytics, Social Investment Organization (SIO), Carleton Centre for Community Innovation (3ci), and the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS)
. This initiative is part of the development of a global initiative led by our partner Globethics.net
. Globethics.net hosts a library free-of-charge to thousands of full-text documents on ethics and related disciplines.
Blog: ISEAL: introducing credible standards for the 21st Century
Sustainable business practices are all the rage these days it seems, and the ISEAL (the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling) Alliance is no exception to this rule. A few days ago, we here at CBERN received a communiqué from this respected organization, asking us to join a “year-long steering committee” set up by their executive, which will be responsible for brainstorming and producing a new framework of credibility principles that ISEAL hopes will become the accepted international parameters for sustainable business practices.
This year’s annual ISEAL conference was just held in Bonn, Germany and took place over a course of two days between May 29 and May 30. Much of the focus during this year’s conference was directed at conference attendees throwing their collective weight and imagination into developing a new set of what ISEAL calls its “Codes of Good Practice” (CGP), described by the Alliance as “global references for developing credible standards.”
Blog: Event Snapshot: The SIO Conference on Socially Responsible Investment
The conference was an important and informative one, providing a stage for major Canadian and international voices in sustainability to deliver their combined vision and individual appraisals of ethical business to the current and next generation of corporate leaders. One of the most crucial results of the conference for business ethics researchers was to identify the place of ‘impact investment’ in today’s corporate environment, and set the bar for social and environmental responsibility in the corporate sector. The SIO conference was a boon for this objective, as was the Rio + 20 UN Summit, on an international scale.
Blog: Corporate Knights release 11th annual report on “50 Best Corporate Citizens”
Corporate Knights once again hosted its annual gala event to honour Canada’s “50 Best Corporate Citizens
,” held last Thursday night at Corus Quay which sits on the Toronto waterfront. The company is a respected and prominent leader in the production of media, financial analysis, and market research centred on the adoption of “clean capitalism” and ethical investing by Canadian businesses.
Blog: BC approves “Community Contribution Company” to benefit social causes
For Canadians, the inception of the C3 model in BC and its potential introduction across Canada opens the door to a whole new stratum of socially-responsible and community-conscious enterprises, presenting a significant leap in the evolution of capitalism as Alex Wood describes it. With these Community Contribution Companies, conscientious investors will be able to join purpose-savvy entrepreneurs in supporting initiatives that promote ethical, moral, and social sustainability and which are sure to be commercially successful while at the same time promoting the development and modernization of Canadian communities.
Finance & Sustainability Initiative Launch
The Finance and Sustainability Initiative (FSI) held its first annual general meeting in Montreal in April 2012. FSI is based in Montreal and seeks to build a broad membership base across North America and the rest of the world. The members that make up FSI are individuals interested in sustainability, finance professionals, academics in related fields, corporate leaders and members of government institutions. It collaborates with several leading sustainability organizations, such as SIO and UNPRI, and is a partner with the Quebec chapters of the Canadian Investor Relations Institute (CIRI) and the CFA.
FSI, in collaboration with Concordia University, has developed a program to create and fund a new certification program: the Sustainable Investment Professional Certificate (SIPC). The program will see its first cohort complete the course in 2012. Graduates will receive a professional certification in sustainable studies from the David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, part of the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University.
Five Questions about SRI: Interview with CBERN Member Olaf Weber
Each week Emerging Markets ESG
publishes an interview entitled, “Five Questions about SRI.”The interview features a practitioner’s insights about SRI in emerging markets and through Emerging Markets ESG shares this expertise with a wide global audience.
On April 20, 2012 CBERN member Olaf Weber, Associate Professor, Export Development Chair in Environmental Finance, University of Waterloo, was featured in the weekly interview. CBERN connected Olaf with the Emerging Markets ESG publisher. If you are interested in contributing to this weekly series, please contact Hilary Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the interview
Canadian Summit on Socially Responsible Investment
Registration for the annual conference on socially responsible investment hosted by the Social Investment Organization is open. PhD students are encouraged to take advantage of the reduced registration rate (until May 25, 2012) of $382.50 + GST/QST.
The conference is hosted in partnership this year with the Finance and Sustainability Initiative, and features intensive sessions on topics such as:
CBERN is an Academic Partner for the conference and will be supporting this event by featuring research and practitioner perspectives on conference topics through our SRI Cluster microsite on the CBERN website, and through cbernblog.ca. You can connect with SIO at www.socialinvestment.ca.
- ESG criteria, integration and performance,
- impact investing and mission-related investing,
- shareholder engagement on the issue of free, prior and informed consent in mining, shale gas and other resource projects in Quebec, and
- strategies for portfolio managers and analysts.
PRI-CBERN Academic Conference 2012 - Evolution of Responsible Investment: Navigating Complexity
The Principles for Responsible Investment and the Canadian Business and Ethics Research Network (CBERN) are pleased to announce the Fifth Annual Academic Conference on Responsible Investment, October 1-3, 2012 at York University. The conference is a unique opportunity for researchers, students and investment professionals to present research, identify research opportunities and build partnerships to continue to enhance our knowledge of responsible investment.
The purpose of the 2012 Academic Conference is to develop our understanding of the complexity of institutions, organizations, strategies and processes that make up responsible investment. On October 1, a PhD Student workshop is scheduled. Further details will be announced in the summer.
Registration for the conference will open in June. If you are interested in registering for the PRI-CBERN Academic Conference 2012 please complete the “registration interest form" to ensure that you are notified when registration opens.
Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment Special Edition
The Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment will publish a special edition featuring papers from the Symposium on SRI and the Canadian Extractive Industry held last September 2011 at University of British Columbia. The Symposium was organized by Ben Richardson, CBERN SRI Cluster Co-leader and Canada Research Chair in Environmental Law and Sustainability, and co-sponsored by the CBERN SRI Cluster and UBC Law. The edition will be published in late 2012.
CURI Hosts Symposium in Victoria
The inaugural Coalition of Universities for Responsible Investing
(CURI) Symposium took place on June 21, bringing together, students, investment professionals, university representatives and responsible investment (RI) experts to discuss the state of responsible investing in Canadian universities, and how this can be improved. CBERN assisted with organizing the event and also provided sponsorship.
, CURI co-founder, commenced with an overview of the current state of responsible investing at Canadian universities. According to Huppe, Canadian universities are ahead of the rest of North America in terms of transparency. This is good news, as transparency is essential in determining the environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts of an institution’s investment strategy. The bad news is that Canadian universities are lagging behind the rest of North America in the areas of investment priorities and shareholder engagement.
While the current state of RI at universities is concerning, there is also cause for hope. CURI has identified several opportunities to increase university RI. These opportunities include sharing information and collaborating between schools regarding adoption of RI practices; educating both students and trustees, including the incorporation of RI into curricula; and setting standards for university RI practices and frameworks. All of these opportunities were explored throughout the symposium.
Wes Cragg Joins 3ci Responsible Investment Initiative as Research Stream Leader
Wes Cragg has taken on a research stream leader position for the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation’s (3ci) new Responsible Investing Initiative (RII). Wes will be heading up a research team to develop a case study on responsible investment and extractives focusing on First Nations economic development, building on a research project currently under way with the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach. The Research Stream will be organizing through a project workspace hosted through the Ethics of Resource Extraction Cluster, with links to the RII workspace hosted through the SRI Research Cluster. Check the SRI Cluster for more information about this project.