Outdoor co-op REI nudges suppliers on climate and equity

April 14, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Outdoor co-op REI nudges suppliers on climate and equity Deonna Anderson Wed, 04/14/2021 – 05:01 Outdoor recreation retail co-op REI is asking its suppliers to double down on their climate strategies and social justice policies, and will require all existing partners to share their climate action plans by the end of this year. The expectations were included in the impact report REI released today along with the company’s 2020 financials. In it, the outdoor recreation retail co-op shared that it reached $2.75 billion in revenue in 2020 and highlights other wins from the year that was, including details of the organization’s climate strategy. Included in the report is an overview of how REI has been implementing circular business model practices for years now, offering re-commerce and gear repair as ways to extend the life of products. In 2020, it tested a retail format with a pilot of two standalone used gear pop-up stores in Manhattan Beach, California, and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, according to the report. “REI, as a company, we believe that this broader kind of shift to a more circular economy is something that the world is really going to have to do over the next 10 years,” said Ken Voeller, director of circular commerce and new business development at REI, during GreenBiz 21 earlier this year. As a retailer that sells over 10,000 products in its 168 stores, REI believes it has an opportunity to push the ball forward more quickly when it comes to the issues it is trying to address like climate and racial equity. That’s where its  Product Impact Standards , a set of expectations for the brands REI sells in its stores, come in. While the standards were updated in December 2020 and first launched in 2018, REI is now working to ensure that all products in REI stores adhere to the standards. To do that, it is working with its more than 1,000 vendors to meet the standards’ respective deadlines. “By providing a comprehensive framework for base-level brand expectations and aspirational preferred attributes, REI’s sustainability standards have encouraged us, and others who are just as dedicated to elevating sustainability, to step up our efforts,” Mark Galbraith, vice president of product at Osprey, told Outside Business Journal back in December.  The list includes both required expectations and voluntary preferred attributes, which are more rigorous than the former.  For example, when it comes to REI’s standard related to fair and safe supply chains, the expectation is for brands to have a manufacturing code of conduct in place “that outlines the social and environmental standards to be upheld within their supply chain.” REI further prefers that suppliers use the Fair Trade USA, Fairtrade International or Fair for Life certification for their products. Standard highlights The standards are part of a holistic approach to ensure that every purchase at REI supports better ways of doing business, according to the company, which has set a 2030 goal for 100 percent of the products it sells to have a preferred attribute. The standards cover a wide swath of operational concerns. There’s the fair and safe supply chains, which was mentioned earlier, along with chemicals management, animal welfare, diversity and inclusion, and climate and environmental stewardship. “What you see across the co-op is this real redoubling of our efforts, particularly around climate and racial equity,” said Matthew Thurston, director of sustainability at REI. “And we just simply feel that those are the two most important pressing existential challenges that the industry is facing.” One recent addition to REI’s Product Impact Standards is the requirement for partner companies to have an action plan for measuring their annual carbon footprint and reducing their carbon emissions in alignment with the recommendations of the United Nations and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Existing partners have until  the end of 2021 to share their action plan; new partners will have 18 months from REI’s first purchase order. “What you’ll continue to see us doing is really finding ways to lock arms with our partners who are really leaders in this space,” Thurston said. “[We] serve almost as the connective tissue to then lock arms with those who want to be part of that work and want to find ways to accelerate or catalyze their own sustainability journey and to move forward.” Related to the issue of diversity and inclusion, REI expects that all products marketed as “nude” be available in a range of tones and that brands establish creative controls that prevent cultural appropriation, which is when a person — or in this case, companies — adopts aspects of a culture that they don’t belong to.  “I think this is really important because I’ve seen a lot of companies take Indigenous art, and put it on their product, and it’s not cited or … the artist isn’t compensated,” said Victoria Rodríguez, outings leader at Latino Outdoors (LO), a Latinx-led organization that has been working since 2013 to create a national community of leaders in conservation and outdoor education. “I think that’s just such a big injustice, so the fact that [REI is] actually looking at that and making that a standard is something else that really excites me.”  In the process of updating its standards, REI consulted with more than a dozen nonprofits, advocates and ambassadors from across the outdoor industry and community, including LO, Venture Out and Minority Veterans of America . “I think [engaging with communities] is going to bring more power to these companies, in terms of reaching a wider demographic of folks,” Rodríguez said. “I do think it’s really important for them to be able to speak to us,” Rodríguez continued, noting that companies should also have people of color on staff. REI merchants use the standards to help them make purchasing decisions. “How those brands are showing up in terms of leadership in these spaces is really one of the factors in determining which brands we’re looking to really cultivate, to grow to partner with long term, which ones we may need to have some conversations with around seeing progression in areas where there are gaps,” Thurston said. He also noted that the standards help REI hold itself accountable to its own goals and commitments, “and that we have the data, the metrics to prove that we’re actually having an impact on the broader industry.”  One of the other standards Rodriguez said she is excited about is one related to inclusive marketing. By the end of this year, REI expects each of its brand partners to have guidelines in place that “ensure diverse and inclusive representation across race, age, gender identity/expression, body size and disability,” according to the standards document. Additionally it expects for the photography that the companies provide to REI meet these standards. “If I had seen that as a kid, I probably would have been involved in snow sports much sooner in my life. And I think it also empowers just everyone at a younger age to be able to see themselves as you know as a hiker, as an outdoors mountaineering person, as a snowboarder, as a skier,” said Rodríguez, who has a marketing background. “I think once we see ourselves in those positions, you’ll have more diversity in that area.” Topics Circular Economy Retail Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of REI Close Authorship

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Outdoor co-op REI nudges suppliers on climate and equity

A solar-ready holiday home disappears into a Czech forest

April 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Green

When Czech architecture firm NEW HOW Architects was asked to design a holiday home in the Ore Mountains, it decided to craft a nature-inspired residence that would go against the trend of white-plaster houses in the area. Rather than design a house that stands out in the landscape, the architects opted for a darker facade so that the retreat — dubbed Weekend House Nové Hamry — would look “as if it has been swallowed up by the forest.” In addition to reducing the visual impact on the surroundings, the architects also aimed to minimize the structure’s environmental footprint. They installed connection points for solar panels and vertical wind turbines to help Weekend House Nové Hamry achieve energy self-sufficiency in the future. Completed this year, the Weekend House Nové Hamry takes inspiration from the surrounding spruce trees for its color palette and vertical form. “The design is based on the local nature and color, in which you can find all shades of gray,” the architects explained. “You can see gray in the shades of trees, in granite and basalt rocks, and even in the dark green needles and trunks of the local spruces, which are so typical of the forests of the Ore Mountains.” Related: This timber home weaves around pine trees for reduced site impact As a result, the architects wrapped the roof and most of the facade in durable, anthracite-colored aluminum cladding, which the firm said resembles oiled black wood. To manage heavy snow loads in winter, the angular home is topped with a steeply sloped roof. The architects likened the tall and asymmetrical form to a lookout tower and, inspired by that visual similarity, turned the topmost floor into a refuge with a studio, library and a square window that frames views of the treetops and sky. The sleeping areas, which accommodate up to 10 people, are located on the floor below. The ground floor is reserved for the living area, dining room and kitchen, all of which are arranged around a central wood-burning stove. Unlike the dark facade, the interiors are lined with light-toned timber and OSB panels. The load-bearing structure is constructed from cross-laminated timber panels. Although Weekend House Nové Hamry is currently used as a creative retreat, the clients plan to inhabit the home year-round in the future and will eventually power it entirely with wind and solar energy. + NEW HOW Architects Photography by Petr Polák via NEW HOW Architects

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A solar-ready holiday home disappears into a Czech forest

Charlotte McCurdy, Phillip Lim design carbon-neutral algae sequin dress

April 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Green

Sequins have long been a source of concern for environmentally conscious fashion designers. Made of tiny bits of shiny or translucent plastic, they are a significant contributor to ocean microplastics and fashion-derived plastic waste. Designers Charlotte McCurdy and Phillip Lim have created a couture dress made of algae sequins to address this very issue, proving that fashionable materials like sequins don’t have to come at a cost to the environment. Inspired by the different shades of green that occur in nature and the process of photosynthesis, the dress is made from layers of algae bioplastic sewn onto a base fabric made from biodegradable plant fibers. This base fabric is supplied by textile company PYRATES and is both an antiperspirant and thermoregulating material. The dress is entirely carbon-neutral and free from synthetic plastics or dyes. Related: Native Shoes’ Bloom collection is made of repurposed algae Charlotte McCurdy is an interdisciplinary designer based in New York who is passionate about using design to address global threats like climate change . McCurdy is known for her “After Ancient Sunlight” project, where she created a water-resistant raincoat from a material developed from algae that naturally sequesters carbon from the atmosphere. Phillip Lim is the recipient of several industry honors including the Fashion Group International’s Women’s Designer ‘Rising Star’ Award, the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear, the CFDA Swarovski Award for Menswear and the CFDA Award for Accessories Designer of the Year. He is the creative director and co-founder of 3.1 Phillip Lim. The dress is part of the One X One Project, a conscious design initiative organized by Slow Factory Foundation. The program pairs scientists with designers to create news ways to incorporate circularity, equitable design and regenerative technologies into the fashion industry. One X One is also partnered by Swarovski and the United Nations Office for Partnerships. + One X One Via Dezeen Images via Charlotte McCurdy

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Charlotte McCurdy, Phillip Lim design carbon-neutral algae sequin dress

Virtual Pollinator Park shows a future with or without pollinators

April 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

What will the world be like once pollinating insects, like the honeybee , are gone? Alternatively, what would happen if we allowed these important creatures to thrive? The European Commission’s Pollinator Park, designed by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, strives to answer these questions with a stark look at what the future could look like, for better or worse. Pollinator Park is a 30-minute, virtual experience that is interactive and engaging. Pollinator Park is an educational experience that showcases good practices in land use and how pollinators can be preserved. It promotes less monocultures and toxins in agriculture . The flourishing part of this digital universe could one day become reality, if we start building toward improving the planet, rather than taking away from it. Related: Urban Beehive Project creates a buzz around honeybee education Most people are aware of the plight of honeybees, but there are many pollinators worldwide that are facing a dangerous future. Butterflies, hummingbirds, ants, bats, beetles and ladybugs are all pollinators. And without them, the world becomes a very, very different place. Diversity among pollinators greatly influences the biodiversity of plants. Loss of this biodiversity threatens life everywhere on Earth. According to the UN, the rate of extinction among pollinators in 2020 was 100 to 1,000 times higher than normal. More than 90% of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators, and about 35% of all food we consume depends on insect pollination. When you do the math, you’ll realize there are some terrifying possibilities in the very near future. This is really the message at the heart of Pollinator Park. The project is designed with biophilic architecture that represents different parts of flowering plants and encourages the natural flow of visitors. Pollinator hotels are integrated into the structures because above all, this is their home. On-site greenhouses are made with light frames of cross-laminated timber and recycled and/or recyclable materials. Timber biodomes are covered with thermal and photovoltaic solar shields; the sun shields filter the sun’s rays to provide both light and shade for the plants and pollinators. Wind chimneys and wind turbines are also woven throughout the landscape. The wind chimneys use geothermal energy to keep the greenhouses cool or hot as needed. The park was created in collaboration with Vincent Callebaut Architectures as part of the EU Pollinators Initiative. It is hoped that this project will aid the ongoing European Green Deal, a series of efforts and innovations aimed at repairing nature. + Pollinator Park + Vincent Callebaut Architectures Images via Vincent Callebaut Architectures

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Virtual Pollinator Park shows a future with or without pollinators

When it comes to climate investment funds, diverse management is imperative

April 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

When it comes to climate investment funds, diverse management is imperative Marilyn Waite Tue, 04/13/2021 – 02:00 The engine behind green business is the same as any business: capital. And while social, human and natural capital are all critical, financial capital is the one form that systemically fails the companies and leaders working on the most impactful solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals. Venture capitalists decide who gets to be a billionaire and what solutions reach billions in market penetration. Real asset investors choose what critical infrastructure is built, where it’s built and who benefits from it. Fixed-income investors are able to drive how much of the bond market is green, or better yet, which bonds adhere to the 17 Principles of Environmental Justice . Public equity asset managers drive what kinds of companies are valuable and thus have the capital to grow, to what industries retirement savings flow by default and what companies can achieve a scale that affords them outsized political and policy influence. Needless to say, investment managers and financial advisers are powerful. And as is the case with many axes of power, financial professionals across asset classes are disproportionately male and white. In a 2019 study , the U.S. National Academy of Sciences found evidence of racial bias in the investment decisions of asset allocators, including rating white-led funds more favorably than Black-led funds at similar strong performance levels. Granular, industry-wide data is hard to come by — even after the national awakening brought by the Me Too and Black Lives Matter movements. In 2020, when the Diverse Asset Managers Initiative (DAMI) surveyed the 30 largest U.S. investment consulting firms to gain insights into gender and racial representation, only 16 responded . Here’s what we do know: in the United States, partners in venture capital firms are only 4.1 percent female , with those women being 67 percent white, 16 percent East Asian, 7.7 percent South Asian, 4.8 percent Black and 3.5 percent Latinx. Mutual fund, hedge fund, private equity and real estate fund managers are collectively 98.7 percent white male-led. ESG funds, including those focused on climate change mitigation, do not fare better. According to a 2019 survey , white staff represents 79 percent of the employees of U.S. SRI/ESG mutual funds. It’s important to increase the asset allocation in women- and BIPOC-led climate funds because they are acutely concerned and engaged in climate-related financial risks and impacts, they are the ones disproportionately affected by and thus uniquely positioned to make wise investment decisions in solving climate change, and they are key sources for driving innovation. A recent survey by PRI illustrated that globally, women are more engaged on climate-related issues than men, especially for people 35 and older. Another recent study by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that Black and Hispanic communities in the U.S. are also more concerned and willing to engage on climate issues than white communities. Using six categories, ranging from “Alarmed” (most concerned about climate change and most supportive of climate policies) to “Dismissive” (reject the reality and threat of climate change and oppose taking action), they found that Hispanics/Latinos (69 percent) and African Americans (57 percent) are more likely to be “Alarmed” or “Concerned” about global warming than white Americans (49 percent), as well as more willing to join a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce climate change. This heightened concern logically would lead women and BIPOC fund managers to perform climate-related diligence on investment deals and have a climate-forward approach to their portfolio. Climate change makes virtually all aspects of the economy and society, especially existing inequalities, worse. Climate impacts, including heatwaves, droughts, rising sea levels and extreme flooding, disproportionately affect women and people of color. Yet, due to their local knowledge and leadership in climate change solutions, such as sustainable resource management , and their responsiveness to community and consumer needs, women and people of color are uniquely essential in solving climate change. [ Marilyn Waite is a featured mainstage speaker this week during GreenFin 21 . ] In the United States, race is the No. 1 indicator for the placement of toxic facilities, including climate-polluting ones. This reality also means that Black and brown financial leaders have on-the-ground knowledge of transitioning from dirty to clean and the types and structures of investments that will bring retail and institutional investors risk-adjusted returns. Knowledge and information, including local knowledge, are core to what investors use to outperform peers, indices and allocator expectations. For example, HSBC’s investment policy states, “We look to deliver quality and value through a robust risk management framework that leverages our global capabilities and local knowledge to drive better investment decisions across a wide range of investment strategies.” Lastly, diversity drives innovation. Study after study shows diversity, including gender and racial diversity, leads to a better return on investment, return on equity and revenues. As Katherine Phillips put it , “Diversity jolts us into cognitive action in ways that homogeneity simply does not.” In investment, why pay for an asset management firm if you can just buy every stock in the market and fare the same? Why pay venture capital fees if you can just, as the industry says, “spray and pray” in a suite of startups as an angel investor? Part of the value proposition of fund managers is that their investment teams have specialized knowledge and perform the diligence that the asset owner or allocator does not have or cannot otherwise implement. Climate investing is no exception. Given climate change is such a pervasive and entrenched problem, it will take novel thinking and new investment approaches, which will be missing without such gender and racial diversity. One hypothesis that VC Include (VCI) will start to test this year is if and how diverse-led climate funds lead to diverse green business ownership, leadership and workforce opportunities in climate-impacted communities. To that end, VCI is launching a Diverse Climate Fund Manager initiative to engage and financially support women and BIPOC emerging managers that are addressing climate change in their strategy. Why aren’t asset owners allocating capital to women- and BIPOC-led climate funds? As Rachel Robasciotti of Adasina Social Capital states , “The problem lies in how the asset manager evaluation process exacerbates existing inequities in financial services, while also failing to account for real impact and diversity outcomes.” These barriers include needing to have at least $200 million in assets under management, or AUM (which starts with personal wealth that women and BIPOC leaders seldom hold), a three-year track record and laborious questionnaires (some with over 1,000 questions). Although it’s important to not conflate emerging managers with diverse managers (not all diverse managers are new and vice versa), women- and BIPOC-led funds are disproportionately newer and may not meet the three-year track record threshold. For example, 73 percent of women-led asset management firms were founded in the last five years. The Due Diligence 2.0 Commitment outlines nine ways forward for a more equitable asset allocation and investment sector, as follows: consider track record alternatives; expand what it means to work together; reassess AUM as a risk metric; respect BIPOC time; contextualize fees, including historically unrecognized risks; be willing to go first; offer transparency about remaining hurdles; and provide detailed feedback. There is a generic diverse asset manager directory run by Emerging Manager Monthly , providing information on minority, women, veteran and disabled-owned firms where you can filter by asset class/investment strategy. Hannah Davis of Techstars and I put together this list of women and BIPOC climate fund investment advisers and asset managers. This list is primarily intended to help retail and institutional asset owners allocate capital to diverse-led climate-friendly funds. Other uses include syndicating with women- and BIPOC-led funds and finding diverse investors for a company’s growth. To add to the list, please fill out this form. Topics Finance & Investing Social Justice Diversity and Inclusion GreenFin 21 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Fizkes Close Authorship

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When it comes to climate investment funds, diverse management is imperative

When it comes to climate investment funds, diverse management is imperative

April 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

When it comes to climate investment funds, diverse management is imperative Marilyn Waite Tue, 04/13/2021 – 02:00 The engine behind green business is the same as any business: capital. And while social, human and natural capital are all critical, financial capital is the one form that systemically fails the companies and leaders working on the most impactful solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals. Venture capitalists decide who gets to be a billionaire and what solutions reach billions in market penetration. Real asset investors choose what critical infrastructure is built, where it’s built and who benefits from it. Fixed-income investors are able to drive how much of the bond market is green, or better yet, which bonds adhere to the 17 Principles of Environmental Justice . Public equity asset managers drive what kinds of companies are valuable and thus have the capital to grow, to what industries retirement savings flow by default and what companies can achieve a scale that affords them outsized political and policy influence. Needless to say, investment managers and financial advisers are powerful. And as is the case with many axes of power, financial professionals across asset classes are disproportionately male and white. In a 2019 study , the U.S. National Academy of Sciences found evidence of racial bias in the investment decisions of asset allocators, including rating white-led funds more favorably than Black-led funds at similar strong performance levels. Granular, industry-wide data is hard to come by — even after the national awakening brought by the Me Too and Black Lives Matter movements. In 2020, when the Diverse Asset Managers Initiative (DAMI) surveyed the 30 largest U.S. investment consulting firms to gain insights into gender and racial representation, only 16 responded . Here’s what we do know: in the United States, partners in venture capital firms are only 4.1 percent female , with those women being 67 percent white, 16 percent East Asian, 7.7 percent South Asian, 4.8 percent Black and 3.5 percent Latinx. Mutual fund, hedge fund, private equity and real estate fund managers are collectively 98.7 percent white male-led. ESG funds, including those focused on climate change mitigation, do not fare better. According to a 2019 survey , white staff represents 79 percent of the employees of U.S. SRI/ESG mutual funds. It’s important to increase the asset allocation in women- and BIPOC-led climate funds because they are acutely concerned and engaged in climate-related financial risks and impacts, they are the ones disproportionately affected by and thus uniquely positioned to make wise investment decisions in solving climate change, and they are key sources for driving innovation. A recent survey by PRI illustrated that globally, women are more engaged on climate-related issues than men, especially for people 35 and older. Another recent study by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that Black and Hispanic communities in the U.S. are also more concerned and willing to engage on climate issues than white communities. Using six categories, ranging from “Alarmed” (most concerned about climate change and most supportive of climate policies) to “Dismissive” (reject the reality and threat of climate change and oppose taking action), they found that Hispanics/Latinos (69 percent) and African Americans (57 percent) are more likely to be “Alarmed” or “Concerned” about global warming than white Americans (49 percent), as well as more willing to join a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce climate change. This heightened concern logically would lead women and BIPOC fund managers to perform climate-related diligence on investment deals and have a climate-forward approach to their portfolio. Climate change makes virtually all aspects of the economy and society, especially existing inequalities, worse. Climate impacts, including heatwaves, droughts, rising sea levels and extreme flooding, disproportionately affect women and people of color. Yet, due to their local knowledge and leadership in climate change solutions, such as sustainable resource management , and their responsiveness to community and consumer needs, women and people of color are uniquely essential in solving climate change. [ Marilyn Waite is a featured mainstage speaker this week during GreenFin 21 . ] In the United States, race is the No. 1 indicator for the placement of toxic facilities, including climate-polluting ones. This reality also means that Black and brown financial leaders have on-the-ground knowledge of transitioning from dirty to clean and the types and structures of investments that will bring retail and institutional investors risk-adjusted returns. Knowledge and information, including local knowledge, are core to what investors use to outperform peers, indices and allocator expectations. For example, HSBC’s investment policy states, “We look to deliver quality and value through a robust risk management framework that leverages our global capabilities and local knowledge to drive better investment decisions across a wide range of investment strategies.” Lastly, diversity drives innovation. Study after study shows diversity, including gender and racial diversity, leads to a better return on investment, return on equity and revenues. As Katherine Phillips put it , “Diversity jolts us into cognitive action in ways that homogeneity simply does not.” In investment, why pay for an asset management firm if you can just buy every stock in the market and fare the same? Why pay venture capital fees if you can just, as the industry says, “spray and pray” in a suite of startups as an angel investor? Part of the value proposition of fund managers is that their investment teams have specialized knowledge and perform the diligence that the asset owner or allocator does not have or cannot otherwise implement. Climate investing is no exception. Given climate change is such a pervasive and entrenched problem, it will take novel thinking and new investment approaches, which will be missing without such gender and racial diversity. One hypothesis that VC Include (VCI) will start to test this year is if and how diverse-led climate funds lead to diverse green business ownership, leadership and workforce opportunities in climate-impacted communities. To that end, VCI is launching a Diverse Climate Fund Manager initiative to engage and financially support women and BIPOC emerging managers that are addressing climate change in their strategy. Why aren’t asset owners allocating capital to women- and BIPOC-led climate funds? As Rachel Robasciotti of Adasina Social Capital states , “The problem lies in how the asset manager evaluation process exacerbates existing inequities in financial services, while also failing to account for real impact and diversity outcomes.” These barriers include needing to have at least $200 million in assets under management, or AUM (which starts with personal wealth that women and BIPOC leaders seldom hold), a three-year track record and laborious questionnaires (some with over 1,000 questions). Although it’s important to not conflate emerging managers with diverse managers (not all diverse managers are new and vice versa), women- and BIPOC-led funds are disproportionately newer and may not meet the three-year track record threshold. For example, 73 percent of women-led asset management firms were founded in the last five years. The Due Diligence 2.0 Commitment outlines nine ways forward for a more equitable asset allocation and investment sector, as follows: consider track record alternatives; expand what it means to work together; reassess AUM as a risk metric; respect BIPOC time; contextualize fees, including historically unrecognized risks; be willing to go first; offer transparency about remaining hurdles; and provide detailed feedback. There is a generic diverse asset manager directory run by Emerging Manager Monthly , providing information on minority, women, veteran and disabled-owned firms where you can filter by asset class/investment strategy. Hannah Davis of Techstars and I put together this list of women and BIPOC climate fund investment advisers and asset managers. This list is primarily intended to help retail and institutional asset owners allocate capital to diverse-led climate-friendly funds. Other uses include syndicating with women- and BIPOC-led funds and finding diverse investors for a company’s growth. To add to the list, please fill out this form. Topics Finance & Investing Social Justice Diversity and Inclusion GreenFin 21 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Fizkes Close Authorship

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When it comes to climate investment funds, diverse management is imperative

Here’s how companies should prepare for new human rights regulations

April 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Here’s how companies should prepare for new human rights regulations Alice Pease Tue, 04/13/2021 – 01:30 This article originally was published in the BSR Insight . Governments are increasingly scrutinizing human trafficking and forced labor abuses in private sector operations. In addition to the moral imperative to address these abuses, businesses should be on alert given the significant disruptions in supply chains that government regulation may cause, resulting in potential economic, legal and/or reputational harm. Apparel, food and beverage, technology and financial services companies in particular should closely monitor and prepare for global regulatory developments.  1. Companies should expect more active involvement from civil society organizations in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Withhold Release Order process The situation: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has used Withhold Release Orders (WRO) to suspend the importation of goods at a U.S. port of entry when the agency has reasonable evidence of the use of forced labor in the manufacturing or production of a good entering the U.S. supply chain. The onus is then on the importer to demonstrate to the U.S. government that the good was not made with forced labor. In the last two years, the CBP has ramped up its use of this enforcement tool, issuing 13 WROs across multiple industries in 2020 alone. While the CBP has welcomed the public to submit information on merchandise that could be considered for a WRO, there has been limited visibility on submissions until now. In February, anti-trafficking organization Liberty Shared submitted two petitions to the CBP concerning the use of forced labor in the supply chains of the apparel industry in Leicester, U.K. and of Boohoo, PLC.  What business can do: Companies which have identified forced labor as a supply chain risk should be conducting ongoing human rights due diligence to identify, assess and mitigate potential or actual risks of forced labor, engage in meaningful dialogue with rights-holders and ensure their grievance mechanisms are working. 2. Companies should prepare for increased regulation and withholding of products sourced or manufactured in Xinjiang, China The situation: Reports have described the mass internment and surveillance of over a million ethnic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, China. News sources detail how Uyghurs and other minorities are being forced to work in factories that produce raw materials and goods which are shipped throughout China and around the world. Reports also have documented the capital provided to Chinese technology companies by financial institutions and private equity firms to support the mass surveillance of Muslim minorities. Industries implicated in these reports include food and beverage buyers, pharmaceutical companies, apparel brands and technology and renewable energy companies. In response to these findings, the U.S. , Canada  and U.K . have published advisories for companies doing business in or with links to Xinjiang. The U.S. also has passed a Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, issued sanctions and banned the entry of goods allegedly produced by forced labor in Xinjiang. The EU is considering implementing sanctions as well.   What business can do: Companies should map business activities and business relationships with suppliers, customers and end users of products in China and conduct due diligence on business relationships to ensure that they are not working with entities involved in aiding human rights abuses. With business challenges related to Xinjiang unlikely to disappear in the short term, companies should work with third parties such as NGOs, industry associations and business associations to better understand the human rights situation, and they also should craft and pilot traceability measures in collaboration with peers. See guidance from the CBP on best practices here .  3. Companies should begin planning for more stringent modern slavery disclosure requirements The situation: In response to calls from business leaders, civil society and legislators to strengthen the U.K. Modern Slavery Act, the U.K. government in September announced proposals that would require businesses to report against each of the six reporting areas and would make approval and sign-off requirements more stringent. In September, the New South Wales government signaled its intent to enact a Modern Slavery Act (NSW MSA), which would include a provision to require more entities across Australia to submit a modern slavery statement by lowering the national reporting threshold from $76 million to $38 million. In addition, the NSW government indicated its position to levy financial penalties for breaches of the Act. A modern slavery disclosure bill also was introduced to Canada’s Senate in October. While sharing similarities with Australia, California and the U.K.’s disclosure legislation, Canada’s bill could be the first to allow personal liability for directors and officers for non-compliance.  What business can do: Businesses subjected to the U.K. Modern Slavery Act should be prepared to report against the proposed requirements. Companies that are not captured under an existing legislative scheme should at minimum understand where human trafficking risks may be present in their supply chain and proactively take prevention measures. As more governments enact modern slavery acts, more robust legislation on supply chain due diligence is on the horizon .  4. Companies should be aware of heightened scrutiny of illicit financial flows linked to human trafficking The situation: There have been some signals suggesting that companies with weak compliance systems to capture proceeds associated with human trafficking may be the subject of future attention by government authorities. For example, in July, Deutsche Bank was fined $150 million by the New York State Department of Financial Services for failing to maintain an effective and compliant anti-money laundering program related to client Jeffrey Epstein, his sex trafficking enterprise and correspondent banks. In September, Australia’s financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC, reached a $1 billion settlement agreement with Westpac Banking Corporation for facilitating transactions that enabled child exploitation in the Philippines. What business can do: Financial institutions should integrate indicators of human trafficking into their compliance systems to capture financial flows that may be connected to human trafficking. In addition to facing fines, financial institutions face potential criminal liability through the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act and U.K. Criminal Finances Bill. Financial institutions should assess their links to human trafficking and forced labor holistically through their lending portfolios, core business operations, platform and business relationships. Guidance from the FAST initiative and FinCEN on identifying and reporting human trafficking may be a good start. Contributors Shubha Chandra Mark P. Lagon Topics Human Rights Policy & Politics Supply Chain Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Businesses should be on alert given the significant disruptions in supply chains that government regulation may cause. Shutterstock Jimmy Tran Close Authorship

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Here’s how companies should prepare for new human rights regulations

Celebrating Earth Day — even during quarantine

April 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Celebrating Earth Day — even during quarantine Deven Patten Tue, 04/13/2021 – 00:05 This Earth Day, you might be thinking, “Hey, there’s a pandemic. Let’s sit this one out.” Probably no one would blame you. But journey back with me to last year, at the beginning of COVID-19, when the roads were clear and the air was pristine. If you were like me, it might have been the very first time you saw your city not wrapped in smog. That vision of what our earth could be inspired me, and if it inspired you, too, then don’t sit this one out: Make this Earth Day a chance to level up your commitment to our gorgeous planet. Without access to office recycle bins and other on-site programs, this is a perfect time to foster new habits with your employees that they can use at home. Here are a few tips to make this Earth Day engaging and transformational and instill lasting habits with your employees, even if life looks a bit different right now: Educate As many employees are accustomed to living their work lives online, this is the perfect time to develop trainings and virtual events around sustainability. At Young Living, we have developed several internal trainings to help educate employees about how to properly sort and recycle materials common in neighborhood recycling programs. These interactive trainings helped to define what is collected in mixed waste, metal, glass and organic recycling bins and where employees should place different materials. These trainings also help employees to understand that “wish-cycling” — throwing items in the recycle bin when unsure and hoping they will be recycled — is actually very harmful to the recycling process. You’ll likely find your employees will welcome a break from thinking about calendars and tasks to hear ways they can incorporate the values of Earth Day every day. These virtual events should be fun and light-hearted and useful. Even something like a virtual training on how to repair clothing and other items around the house to increase their longevity is useful. Reuse Encourage employees to adopt reusables into their lifestyles and boost morale while doing so with fun rewards such as branded gifts — from water bottles to shopping bags. Providing employees with a sustainable gift is a fun way to get employees more involved while at home. Some departments at Young Living have adopted reusable notebooks that allow the user to transform their notes into a PDF and erase the page once it is full. You can consider holding sustainability-themed contests, such as who can recycle the most soda cans or which family can throw away the least amount of waste during a week or who’s found the most creative way to reuse a non-recycling item. We also have contactless recycling at our headquarters, so employees can drop off even hard-to-recycle items such as batteries. Move Your employees can’t meet together in person, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take advantage of this day. Encourage them to get out and enjoy nature or try something new and start a compost bin. Give them gift cards to a local nursery to plant native plants that help pollinators or start a plogging (picking up litter while jogging) Slack channel where your employees can show off their cleanup adventures. At Young Living, we also give employees one floating PTO day per year to use on a day of their choosing for performing service in their communities. We encourage employees to find activities that restore the environment or help to protect it. Employees have performed a variety of services, including planting trees in parks, communities and other areas of the state, cleaning up trails and parks, removing invasive species and other restoration projects.  We’ve created a Global Stewards team internally to engage and brainstorm with passionate employees on topics of sustainability. The team is open to any that are interested and is used as a platform to proof ideas, look for new opportunities, survey opinions and share information. If your C-suite is still hesitant about making a concerted effort to become greener, real change isn’t likely to occur. Change has to begin at the top. If you have to, map initiatives back to the bottom line. Incorporating environmental sustainability projects makes sense from every angle, from cost to risk mitigation to reducing turnover and increasing loyalty. If your C-suite doesn’t know where to start, there are many organizations that can help. Utah, for example, has a Sustainability Business Coalition, where many competing businesses join together to work toward a common goal. That short experience I had at the beginning of the pandemic seeing what our environment could be like really changed me. I want clean air. I want to see the mountains not covered in smog. I want insects and cooler temperatures and healthier food. If companies take the lead, that could become a reality. Amid the tragic circumstances, this time away from normalcy is a gift in that it has given us a chance to reevaluate ourselves and reimagine the possibility of a future with a clean earth. Topics Corporate Strategy Employee Engagement Earth Day Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Young Living employees volunteer at one of the company’s lavender farms prior to the pandemic.

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Celebrating Earth Day — even during quarantine

Calpine Energy Solutions

April 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Calpine Energy Solutions taylor flores Mon, 04/12/2021 – 16:25

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Calpine Energy Solutions

The Next Frontier: Engaging Employees In Sustainability

April 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Green

The Next Frontier: Engaging Employees In Sustainability Date/Time: April 27, 2021 (1-2PM ET / 10-11AM PT) As corporations of all sizes increase sustainability commitments and take decisive action on climate change, some companies have begun engaging their employees in corporate-sponsored sustainability initiatives.  These initiatives can directly reduce employee carbon emissions and can also have many indirect benefits, including increasing overall employee engagement and satisfaction scores. Recent examples of new employee sustainability initiatives include: community solar projects, tree-planting initiatives, incentives for installing electric heat pumps, rideshare programs; and regenerative agriculture. In this webcast, you will learn how sustainability leaders at Microsoft, Akamai and Common Energy have implemented these programs successfully, including: Senior stakeholder engagement, Contracting, Communications strategy, Employee follow-up, and Measuring results Moderator: Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, GreenBiz Speakers:  Richard Keiser, CEO & Founder, Common Energy Holly Beale, Senior Program Manager, Community Environmental Sustainability, Microsoft Courtney Hadden, Senior Program Manager, Corporate Sustainability, Akamai If you can’t tune in live, please register and we will email you a link to access the archived webcast footage and resources, available to you on-demand after the webcast. taylor flores Mon, 04/12/2021 – 14:28 Joel Makower Chairman & Executive Editor GreenBiz Group @makower Richard Keiser CEO & Founder Common Energy @mycommonenergy Holly Beale Senior Program Manager, Community Environmental Sustainability Microsoft Courtney Hadden Senior Program Manager, Corporate Sustainability Akamai gbz_webcast_date Tue, 04/27/2021 – 10:00 – Tue, 04/27/2021 – 11:00

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The Next Frontier: Engaging Employees In Sustainability

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