From the boardroom to Wall Street, ESG is crucial for financial resilience

February 18, 2021 by  
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From the boardroom to Wall Street, ESG is crucial for financial resilience Julia Travers Thu, 02/18/2021 – 00:45 The ongoing shift to center ESG is driven by multiple forces. Chief among them are a rising demand from the public for transparency and purpose in business and a growing awareness among corporations that sustainability is integral to financial health, according to participants at GreenBiz 21.  As diverse business stakeholders adjust to the climate crisis, social justice movements and a global pandemic, sustainable investing tactics are increasingly proven to benefit companies’ stability and profitability. In the first, COVID-stricken quarter of 2020, 89 percent of Morningstar’s ESG-screened indexes outperformed their broad market equivalents. And ESG-focused investment funds took in a record $347 billion in 2020. Among the many timely conversations during GreenBiz 21 were sessions that explored how boards can govern amid disruptive risks and the view of ESG from Wall Street. Both conversations framed ESG as crucial for financial survival and success. How boards can manage disruptive risk Two key takeaways from a discussion about board-level responsibility for ESG issues were that ESG fluency is an essential component of successful contemporary risk management for boards, and that, while boards have made some progress toward embracing sustainability principles within their purview, they still have a way to go. The speakers agreed more boards must recognize that ESG metrics and financial concerns are not disparate.  Veena Ramani, senior program director of capital market systems for Ceres, said “companies, particularly large companies, are really, really, really good risk managers. But the problem is, data out is only as good as data in — environmental and social issues are not being processed through the enterprise risk management systems, through scenario analysis. So obviously, the board is not going to get the analytics to make smart decisions. I hope people realize that they need to have a broader approach to risk management and broaden the scope of what goes up the board.”  I think the partnership with the CFO is incredibly important, the partnership with investor relations because sustainability goes to the heart of performance. To emerge from the pandemic and survive long term, ESG needs to be integrated into everything that a company is doing from a strategic and operational perspective, noted Douglas Chia, former executive director of The Conference Board ESG Center and now president of Soundboard Governance. Are boards ready to take on this task? Kathrin Winkler, a former CSO, CW Partners consultant and GreenBiz editor at large, asked, “Are boards ESG-literate?” “Largely, probably not,” responded D’Anne Hurd, independent trustee with Pax World Funds and former senior financial management executive at GTE and PepsiCo.  While Hurd has seen some progress in this regard, the first question she often receives from board members is, “What is ESG?” She said, “They better wake up,” mentioning that consumers, suppliers, employees and investors are pushing for greater ESG fluency and action.  Ramani said the Biden administration’s priorities will push ESG even further into the foreground. Both Hurd and Ramani pointed to a class offered by Ceres and Berkeley Law, “ESG: Navigating the Board’s Role,” as a relevant resource.  The view from Wall Street The importance of embracing the confluence of the ESG and financial realms is a trend Martina Cheung, president of S&P Global Market Intelligence and S&P Global, increasingly sees in her work. She noted in a GreenBiz 21 keynote interview: “Whether it’s climate risk, social equity governance and stronger representation from government … as we see that play out; the real effects of that on the markets, on companies’ performance, on sectors … our clients are turning to us and saying, ‘What information do you have that can help us as we have to make decisions, as we have to comply with regulations, as we look to raise capital?’” One important factor is the movement to standardize ESG reporting, according to Cheung. She thinks achieving a single set of standards is still a few years away but pointed to some promising convergences. Among them, the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation’s proposal to develop ESG standards is “critical,” Cheung said.  One way sustainability professionals inside big companies can help investors traverse the ESG path is by spending more time collaborating with their peers in the corporate finance function, she said. “I think the partnership with the CFO is incredibly important, the partnership with investor relations because sustainability goes to the heart of performance.”  Pull Quote I think the partnership with the CFO is incredibly important, the partnership with investor relations because sustainability goes to the heart of performance. Topics Finance & Investing Corporate Strategy ESG GreenBiz 21 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Collage based on Unsplash images

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From the boardroom to Wall Street, ESG is crucial for financial resilience

Trump administration disregards border wall’s environmental impact

December 30, 2020 by  
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An environmental row rages on as the Trump administration races against time to complete its target 450 miles of the border wall along the American-Mexico border. At the beginning of 2020, the Trump administration vowed to meet this goal within the year. In a last-ditch effort to deliver the promise, workers across 37 different construction sites along the border rush to meet the deadline. While workers erect the bollard steel wall, environmental conservationists and other groups voice frustration over how these reckless actions fail to consider nature. According to Kate Scott, Executive Director and President of the Madrean Archipelago Wildlife Centre, the construction disrupts the natural migration of wildlife and birds. “I feel great pain in my heart,” Scott said while speaking to CNN. “It’s like driving a stake through my heart because the river should be allowed to be, and not have this monstrosity. This wall of shame.” Like several other conservationists, Scott has been at the border watching and documenting the harm the process causes to wildlife . She watched as construction workers erected steel bollards at the San Pedro River, which flows from Mexico to the United States. Her frustration with the process is that it hampers the free migration of birds and other animals across the river and natural terrain. According to the  National Audubon Society of Arizona , about 40% of all bird species in North America spend some part of their lives on the San Pedro River. Due to the construction process, most of the birds and other animals have been pushed away from their natural habitat and travel pathway.  Despite the project’s effects on wildlife and nature, Customs and Border Protection insists the project meets environmental requirements. The organization claims the project has been analyzed and measures have been put in place to reduce environmental impacts. In contrast to these denials, conservationists have already collected enough evidence to show the project’s negative effects on wildlife. At the start of the construction in 2019, a non-profit organization, Wildlands Network, put up cameras in the San Bernardino Valley to monitor the project’s impact on wildlife migration. According to Myles Traphagen, Wildlands Network borderlands program coordinator, all  migrations across the border stopped dead  at the end of the second week of December. All hopes now rest on incoming President Joe Biden to put an end to the Trump administration’s reckless actions. Although Biden promised not to continue with wall construction , conservationists want the wall pulled down entirely, especially in areas where it affects wildlife. + CNN Image via Ted Eytan

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Trump administration disregards border wall’s environmental impact

Bright and airy Sycamore tiny house hits the market for $90k

December 30, 2020 by  
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Wichita-based tiny house builder Made Relative recently unveiled its fourth custom home — Sycamore, a 320-square-foot dwelling that’s now available for $90,000. Crafted by cousins Reid and Kale, the new tiny home features natural timbers throughout the design in addition to an abundance of natural light and an open layout. The home also comes partially furnished with custom built-ins, select lighting and custom furniture pieces. Named after the use of sycamore in the interior, the Sycamore tiny house includes a mix of timber types from the tongue-and-groove cedar siding on the exterior to the engineered and waterproof hickory tongue-and-groove floors found in the living area. The warm timber palette is complemented with copper accents peppered throughout, such as the two copper bar stools that pull up to the sycamore bar and custom copper railings for the loft spaces. Related: The prefab Tiny Tetra House in Bali is made of recycled waste For a bright and airy feel, Made Relative wrapped the interior with white shiplap and birch and inserted 11 windows that let in daylight and open up for natural ventilation. At the heart of the home is the kitchen, which features a 2-inch thick elm countertop and a 30-inch, full-size gas range. The bar and dining space sit opposite the kitchen. On one end of the home is the bathroom tucked behind a custom wood herringbone door and on the other is the living room. This living space is organized around an elm entertainment center and includes a custom peach-colored velvet couch that can be easily converted into a bed. To maximize storage, the designers integrated three large cabinets into a switchback staircase that leads up to the main loft, an 80-square-foot elevated space with dimmable overhead LEDs and enough space for storage and a queen-sized mattress. A ladder leads up to the secondary, 32-square-foot loft that can be used as another sleeping space or for storage. + Made Relative Images via Made Relative

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Bright and airy Sycamore tiny house hits the market for $90k

LEED Certification for Your Home

February 21, 2020 by  
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They say home is where the heart is. Unfortunately, many … The post LEED Certification for Your Home appeared first on Earth911.com.

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LEED Certification for Your Home

Survey shows most adults prefer volunteering at local parks and recreation areas

November 4, 2019 by  
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A recent National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) poll revealed that four in five adults (80 percent) look to their local parks and recreation areas for family-friendly, community-focused volunteer opportunities. This is welcomed news, because parks and recreational areas are vital to the health, resilience and vibrancy of communities. Communities deserve wonderful parks, and individuals can make that a reality through volunteer work. The poll was part of the NRPA’s Park Pulse series that gauges the public’s opinion on parks and recreation. Findings showed that the top three volunteer activities include collecting litter along park trails, planting trees within parks and raking leaves for composting. The survey found millennials were the most likely to volunteer, followed by Gen Xers then baby boomers. Related: Trailhead Ambassador Program enhances hiking in Oregon “Park and recreation agencies are a great place to volunteer and give back to the community,” said Kevin Roth, NRPA vice president of professional development, research and technology. “Volunteering at your local park is a win-win occasion. Not only are you giving your parks a much-needed hand, you are able to reap the many benefits of parks, including a connection to nature and physical activity.” To enhance communities, there are two main volunteer-driven NRPA initiatives on volunteering and donating to parks: the Parks Build Community (PBC) and the Heart Your Park Day Service programs. The Parks Build Community (PBC) initiative emphasizes the transformative value of parks. A couple of ways PBC does this is by restoring existing parks or building new ones from scratch with the help of volunteers. Meanwhile, the Heart Your Park Day Service provides a hands-on, corporate volunteering program that brings volunteers outdoors, away from the walls of the office, to boost company morale and employee engagement. The NRPA is a leading nonprofit devoted to advancing public parks and recreation with the help of local volunteers. The NRPA focuses on conservation , health and wellness. + NRPA Image via Virginia State Parks

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Survey shows most adults prefer volunteering at local parks and recreation areas

6 Ideas for an Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day with Heart

February 7, 2018 by  
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Valentine’s Day has become overrun with consumerism. Nearly disposable gifts … The post 6 Ideas for an Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day with Heart appeared first on Earth911.com.

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This light-filled tiny house is made almost entirely of reclaimed wood

November 9, 2017 by  
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Proving that repurposed materials can be used to create gorgeous design, this 26-foot-long Legacy tiny home is made almost entirely from reclaimed wood . New Hampshire-based builders Wood & Heart designed the house with a compact yet sophisticated living area enhanced by an abundance of natural light thanks to three large skylights. From the exterior to the interior, the tiny space was designed to offer all of the comforts of a “regular” home. The structure is clad in cedar wood siding that contrasts nicely with Shou Sugi Ban -style charred cedar trim, giving the home a nice rustic feel. Related: The minimalist Yoshino Cedar House was built entirely out of locally-sourced timber Wood accents line the interior – including black walnut and African mahogany counter tops, 3? solid hardwood oak flooring, floating black walnut shelves and a wooden dining table. Covering the space is a ceiling made entirely from rough-sawn planks of reclaimed timber. Three large skylights and 13 Andersen windows provide the space with plenty of natural light . The living space is warm and comfy, with a sleeping loft and full-size pull-out sofa for guests. The kitchen, although compact, has enough space to make a nice meal with a four-burner stovetop and a 24-inch ceramic farmhouse sink. Of course, ample storage space is found throughout the home. Wooden planks cover the length of the interior’s flooring until the bathroom, where honeycomb geometric tiles take over. The bathroom was also built with a reclaimed accent wall. The Legacy, which can be hauled on any standard trailer, is currently on sale for $85,000 including all of the furniture, appliances and decor. + Wood & Heart Building Co. Via New Atlas Images via Wood & Heart Building Co.

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This light-filled tiny house is made almost entirely of reclaimed wood

Waste Reduction Is A Resource Too

May 5, 2016 by  
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In 1999, a group of individuals came together to create something new. With waste reduction at the forefront, this collaborative spirit and innovative process would come to embody the heart of what eventually became known as The Resource Depot….

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Waste Reduction Is A Resource Too

Self-sustaining Arcology Tower would bring urban agriculture to the heart of Hong Kong

March 8, 2016 by  
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Self-sustaining Arcology Tower would bring urban agriculture to the heart of Hong Kong

On the ground at the greenest Super Bowl ever

February 6, 2016 by  
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From Super Bowl City in the heart of San Francisco, it’s game on for sustainability efforts.

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On the ground at the greenest Super Bowl ever

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