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Bloomberg Businessweek published a report this week outlining the problem with ESG investing. It’s a lengthy analysis with lots of facts and figures, so I thought it would be worthwhile to summarize its major findings.

Dig deeper → 2 min

Meet MSCI: the ESG matchmaker

MSCI is the world’s premier ratings company for environmental, social and governance (ESG) designations. It’s the ESG equivalent of Moody’s for insurance ratings.

MSCI has become the de-facto standard for smacking “sustainable” on any investment fund. The impact of sustainable investing has suffered as a result.

What’s the problem with MSCI ESG ratings?

According to Bloomberg’s report, MSCI ratings don’t accurately measure the impact of a company on the Earth. Rather, their ratings measure the impact of the Earth on a company.

It’s a powerful distinction that has damning effects on the real-world impact of ESG ratings. And it’s a method that MSCI openly boasts as a logical indication for relevant stakeholders.… Read the rest

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If you want to decarbonize the economy, carbon offsets don't work. Here's why.

Despite doubling in price the last 18 months, carbon offset prices are cheap (relative to the cost of reducing emissions). Carbon offsets should and will be much more expensive. For now, because they're so cheap, carbon credits act more like a marketing tool than a social good.

The little secret?

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The scoop: Supply chains must respond to increasing demand for climate action. Key talking points: People can see the potential effects of climate change in places like the Rhine River in Europe and Texas with its winter energy crisis.Rising ocean temperatures are pushing lobsters north and making it harder for these creatures to reproduce, harming the seafood industry in the Northeast.In response to consumers and investors, automakers are transitioning to electric vehicles, even for the most popular models.The effects will worsen if governments and the private sector don’t act quickly. Droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, and other storms will get stronger and cause further damage to industries, the environment, and the supply chain. Dig deeper → 5 min
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Big picture: Ford has announced a $50 billion investment in EVs as these vehicles become more popular. Ford is trying to chase Tesla’s business model with lower overhead costs and higher profits.Ford will keep the Mustang’s ICE, but a hybrid or electric model could come by the decade’s end.ICE cars are here for now, but bodies like the EU are trying to phase them out.Sports car manufacturers are also making the transition to EVs. In reality: ICE cars are far more prevalent than EVs, but manufacturers feel pressure from investors to shift to EVs because of profits and climate change. The world has shifted gears toward greener initiatives in the past few years. People and companies have started to take climate change seriously as its effects start to show. Consumers want more sustainability, and one sector moving forward with greener products is the automotive industry. Manufacturers’ green goals, such as Ford’s investment in EVs, have made many people wonder what’s next for internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. Dig deeper → 3 min
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Global economic hotbeds with fast-growing populations in Africa face the highest climate risk than any other region in the world. Cities like Kampala in Uganda, Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, and Lagos in Nigeria face the challenges of a population boom plagued by drought or crop failure. Dig deeper → 3 min
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Aircraft are often associated with air pollution and fuel consumption, but the aerospace industry is more sustainable than many realize. Behind-the-scenes nondestructive aerospace testing (NDT) makes the industry more sustainable every day. These techniques are helping engineers create safer, more efficient planes while reducing waste from design through maintenance and repair.  Dig deeper -> 4 min
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Hot take music festivals need sustainability now more than ever.

What’s the matter The music industry is an integral part of society, but it has some catching up to do in the world of sustainability. With constant traveling, waste production and energy demands, tours and festivals carry a heavy environmental impact.

By the numbers

  • A UK study found that in 2015, five artists collectively generated 19,314 kilograms of CO2 emissions between April and September (the equivalent of 1 million people’s CO2 emission per year)
  • Tours can go through 18,720 plastic bottles a year

Bottom line While touring and festivals may be environmentally harmful now, there are many potential solutions for eliminating single-use plastics, utilizing biodiesel in transportation, recycling batteries, sourcing merchandise made from organic materials, promoting carpooling to the event, and educating fans.

Dig deeper → 2 min

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The scoop: Food takeout and delivery accounts for considerable waste. About 29% of all greenhouse emissions come from packaging. And food takeout uses a lot of packaging.

The problem w/ takeout packaging: *orders burrito* Let me wrap that in foil for you. Here are plastic utensils and paper napkins wrapped in plastic. Oh, and three packs of ketchup + hot sauce. And a paper bag was placed in a plastic bag. Salt and pepper packets no one's eaten since the 90s? Take it. *eats with hand*

Facts and figures:

  • Finding the best material is complicated. One study found that Polystyrene/EPS Foam had a 7-28% lower environmental impact than aluminum and a 25% to six times lower impact than Polypropylene.
  • Plastic waste impacts over 700 marine species

Sustainable packaging solutions: Reduce and reuse. Recycling (in this context) is kinda BS. Buy in bulk. Use creative alternatives on the go. Shop at restaurants that use sustainable plant fibers or limited packaging. If you have a good relationship with your local food business, talk to them about affordable options.

Dig deeper → 3 min

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The scoop: You can’t improve what you can’t measure. An organization must accurately measure GHG emissions and carbon footprint to improve its environmental sustainability outlook. 

Here’s an interesting set of stats:

99% of F500 companies report being “sustainability-conscious” or mention it as a priority in their goal statements.

A little over 60% made commitments to reduce emissions with varying degrees of comprehensiveness. A common goal is to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, yet most companies don’t have decarbonization roadmaps or intermediary reduction targets.

And less than 15% set long-term and short-term reduction targets in line with corporate standards derived from the latest climate science.

These numbers tell a straightforward story. Sustainability gets a lot of lip service, but most businesses haven’t invested time and money into this objective. Creating a carbon footprint baseline is a high-impact first step in any organization’s sustainability journey, and this exercise achieves diverse goals within profitability and risk management.

Emissions accounting terminology may seem complex, but by the end of this article, we’ll find that the foundations of GHG emissions accounting are relatively intuitive. It’s just a matter of breaking up different impact areas of an organization into smaller, digestible bites.

Dig deeper → 5 min

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The scoop: New construction needs to prioritize sustainable practices to prevent an energy crisis in the future. Real estate investors are starting to take notice.

Facts and figures:

Bottom line: Investors are and will always be driven by returns. But the private sector is starting to realize the necessary risk assessment and tax burdens associated with energy-sucking real estate. Green building is the future.

Dig deeper → 3 min

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