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CSR comprises 11% of a company’s value

By nurturing, growing and protecting companies’ brand and reputation value, corporate responsibility can potentially comprise 11% of a firm’s total value, according to a joint study undertaken by IO Sustainability and Babson College. The Project ROI research project maintains that businesses with effective corporate responsibility programmes have added $1.28bn in shareholder value over 15 years. Among the other positive benefits associated with effective corporate responsibility practices are a 13% increase in employee productivity and a reduction in employee turnover of up to 50%. The study, which was commissioned by Verizon and Campbell Soup, is based on an analysis of 300 peer-reviewed studies.

Project ROI

British women don’t feel discriminated against

Most women in the UK do not feel worse off at work on account of their gender, despite compelling evidence that structural discrimination exists in the workplace. Only 13% of women believe they lose out on pay or promotion opportunities because of gender bias. Even though only three in 10 senior executive positions are held by women, the report finds no evidence that women lose out on promotion because they take time out of work to raise a family. The Women at Work report was carried out by Great Places to Work UK and is based on a survey of more than 170,000 employees in UK companies.

Great Places to Work, “Women at Work: is it still a man’s world?”

UN sustainability goals will cost up to $4.5tn a year

Meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 will cost between $3.3tn and $4.5tn a year, according to a group of more than 65 international mayors who attended a climate conference at the Vatican in July. Most of this investment relates to new infrastructure requirements. The figure compares to the estimated $100bn that combating climate change and adapting to its effects will cost poor countries every year, according to the inaugural Urban SDG Alliance. The SDGs are due to be confirmed in September and formally adopted next March. There are 17 SDGs in total, comprising 169 targets.

Urban SDG Alliance

The crippling costs of climate change

Asset managers face losses of up to $7tn if global temperatures rise by five degrees Celsius by 2100, rising to $13.8tn (equivalent to 10% of the world’s total manageable assets) if they rise six degrees. These values, published in a recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, are based on the discount rate of a private investor. Losses associated with 6°C of warming increase to $43tn if a lower discount rate is considered. Such a rate is in line with that used by the Stern Review and is consistent with public-sector actors that have longer time horizons than individuals.

The findings prompted UK insurance company Aviva to commit to investing £500m every year for five years in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Aviva says its investments will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 100,000 tonnes annually.

EIU, “The Cost of Inaction”

Hong Kong firms much less transparent than average

Hong Kong-listed companies increased their carbon disclosure rates from 15% in 2011 to 19% in 2013, but this is still fall far behind their international peers, a new study by environmental audit firm TruCost finds. The study analyses 100 companies, all of which are listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEx) and which collectively account for 927m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year. Between 2011 and 2013, the carbon footprint of the surveyed companies increased by 16%. Globally, the rate of disclosure on carbon issues is 45% for large listed companies, according to research published by TruCost in 2013. On a more positive note, 74% of the HKEx-listed companies analysed disclose some qualitative information on corporate social responsibility.

TruCost, “Carbon Matters” [PDF]

GHG reductions in US linked to recession

When US greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 11% between 2007 and 2012, many experts credited the fall with a shift from coal to natural gas by electricity producers. Coal-powered electricity fell from 50% of the US’s power generation mix to 37% during this period. Now, new research published in the journal Nature suggests that the decline has more to do with the economic recession experienced by the world’s largest economy. Although natural gas emits half as much carbon dioxide as coal, the production of natural gas is associated with the emission of methane, which is 84 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

Drivers of the US CO2 emissions 1997–2013

China tops world for green buildings

By the beginning of this year, China has completed 2,538 building projects in line with the country’s Green Building Evaluation Standard certification, and a further 627 LEED-certified projects. All the projects combined give it the highest number of green building space by gross floor area on the planet. The previous leading country was the US. According to real estate services firm CBRE, China’s green building industry has grown to 320m square metres, an increase of 154 times on 2008 levels. Green building adds an additional 0.8-6.1% to conventional construction costs, according to CBRE. China’s green building portfolio is split 70-30 between residential and commercial properties.

CBRE, “The New Era of Green Buildings in China”

Denmark’s renewable power generation exceeds demand

Denmark recently produced more electricity from renewable sources than it needed to meet its total domestic demand. Unseasonably high winds on 9 July meant that Denmark’s wind farms generated 116% of the country’s power demand, meaning it could export electricity to neighbours such as Norway, Sweden and Germany. The achievement comes despite Denmark’s wind industry not realising its full 4.8GW capacity at the time of the peak winds. The Scandinavian country anticipates an additional 0.5GW and 1.5GW of onshore and offshore wind power capacity respectively by the end of this decade. Year on year, the Danish wind industry is growing by 18%. It now counts 3,768 wind turbines in total.


Organisational Insights

Unprepared for infectious disease pandemic

Citizens in France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US strongly support investments in developing countries to reduce the threat of infectious diseases, according to an opinion survey carried out by the World Bank. Two fifths of the 4,000 respondents to the survey think the world will experience another global epidemic in the next decade. Seven in 10, meanwhile, believe that strengthening healthcare in developing countries will save the world money. The World Bank estimates that an outbreak similar to the 1928 Spanish flu would costs as much as 5% of global GDP, or $3.7tn based on 2013 GDP levels.

World Bank, Preparing for the Next Outbreak

Half of young people in sub-Saharan Africa not in school

Around 89 million people aged 12-24 are out of school in Sub-Saharan Africa, close to half of all youth in the continent, according to new statistics from the World Bank. An estimated 40 million more young people are expected to drop out of school over the next decade, facing an uncertain future due to inadequate skills. The World Bank identifies three primary policy entry points to ameliorate the situation: focus on the retention of at-risk youths in school; remediation through alternative education; and integration with the labour market. The study also finds that early marriage is a key barrier to young females’ education, with the prospect of marriage affecting girls’ schooling even before they are wed. Rural youths are more likely to be excluded from education (25% excluded) than urban youth (14%), the study reveals.

World Bank, Out-of-School Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Policy Perspective [PDF]

Mental health under-funded and under-staffed

Worldwide, nearly one in 10 people have a mental health disorder, but only 1% of the global health workforce is working in mental health. Research from the World Health Organisation points to huge disparities in mental health services around the world. On average, there is less than one mental health worker per 10,000 people. In low and middle-income countries, however, rates fall below 1 per 100,000 people. In these worse-off countries, spending on mental health services amounts to less than $2 per capita per year. The figure is 25 times higher in high-income countries.

WHO Mental Health Atlas 2014

Company snapshots

P&G to manufacture 230m recycled bottles

Consumer good giant P&G is to convert the bottles of many of its flagship brands to recycled packaging. P&S anticipates producing 230m of its Fabric Care bottles, which will be rolled out in the first half of 2016. The initiative will bring the company’s recycled packaging use up to 3,800 tonnes. Coca-Cola, meanwhile, has announced the second-generation of its PlantBottle technology, which can potentially be made from 100% plant-based material. The existing PlantBottle comprises 70% plastic and 30% organic matter (a derivative of sugarcane). The new look bottle is not commercially available yet.


Tiffany sources 100% of rough diamonds from known suppliers

Jewellery company Tiffany now receives 100% of its rough diamonds either directly from a known mine or from a supplier with multiple known mines. Most of the company’s rough diamonds are cut and polished by its wholly owned subsidiary, Laurelton Diamonds. These rough diamonds account for 65-75% of the polished diamonds used in Tiffany’s jewellery. The remainder of its polished diamonds are sourced from suppliers that are compliant with the World Diamond Council’s System of Warranties, which extends the benchmark Kimberly Process on conflict diamonds to the polished diamond trade. Last year, Tiffany reported a $2.5bn profit from net sales of $4.2bn.

Tiffany & Co, 2014 Sustainability Report

JLL saves US clients $47m through green building advice

JLL has saved its US clients $47m as a consequence of green building initiatives, the commercial real estate service provider and property investor reveals in its sixth annual sustainability report. The US arm of the business calculates that its interventions have saved 278,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Globally, JLL has helped its real estate clients achieve 87 green building certifications, covering more than 18m square feet. The company manages a property and facility portfolio 3.4bn square feet. Real estate is responsible for about 40% of energy consumption worldwide.


cheat sheet  discrimination  gender  equality  climat echange  transparency  GHG  China  construction  renewable energy 

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