The Business Roundtable’s statement of purpose, one year on

August 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on The Business Roundtable’s statement of purpose, one year on

The Business Roundtable’s statement of purpose, one year on Joel Makower Mon, 08/17/2020 – 02:11 When the Business Roundtable updated its  Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation a year ago this week, its members surely didn’t anticipate a global pandemic, a recession of historic proportions and a movement for racial justice becoming mainstream. Yet here we are, a year later, looking at a very different world than the one envisaged last August. Now that the business group’s statement has been stress-tested well beyond anyone’s expectations, it’s a good time to take a look at what difference it has made in its first 12 months. The short answer: It’s mostly business as usual. That’s an admittedly blunt and sweeping assessment of the state of corporate responsibility. While many companies have stepped up in some fashion to address the urgency of the moment, few have done so in ways that could help advance the kinds of long-term structural changes needed to ensure that the organization’s lofty statement has enduring impact. And some have neutered their stated commitments with actions that harm workers, communities and the environment. First, a refresher. The statement, signed by the chief executives of more than 180 large corporations, declared that business needs to move away from its shareholder-centric mission and advocate for “a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders.” In part, signatory companies committed to: compensate employees fairly, including through training and education, while fostering diversity and inclusion; deal fairly and ethically with suppliers; support “the communities in which we work” by respecting people, protecting the environment and “embracing sustainable practices across our businesses” and generate long-term value for shareholders, “who provide the capital that allows companies to invest, grow and innovate.” Not exactly radical statements, given that these commitments reflect much of the corporate sustainability agenda that has been decades in the making. These days, they represent society’s basic expectations of companies and their leaders. Still, the statement signaled a significant departure from the shareholders-at-all-costs orthodoxy of the past half-century, as articulated by the economist Milton Friedman. Fifty years ago next month, writing in the New York Times (PDF), Friedman argued that the social responsibility of business was to “increase profits.” And that anything businesspeople might do otherwise would be part of “the socialist view that political mechanisms, not market mechanisms, are the appropriate way to determine the allocation of scarce resources to alternative uses.” As I noted in a  2006 essay on the occasion of Friedman’s passing: We know better now. For example, we understand that ignoring environmental and social issues can be bad for business. Companies that pollute their local communities risk poisoning their customers. Ignoring the state of the local school system risks depleting the pool of qualified workers. Abusing workers risks higher turnover and training costs, not to mention greater difficulty attracting the most qualified candidates. The roundtable’s statement may have been a departure from the Friedman orthodoxy, but not as profoundly as some seem to think. For example, it acknowledged that “the free-market system is the best means of generating good jobs, a strong and sustainable economy, innovation, a healthy environment and economic opportunity for all.” In other words: Business knows best how to protect people and allocate resources. Somewhere, Professor Friedman must be smiling. When the Business Roundtable statement was announced, much of the immediate criticism wasn’t from those who disagreed with its goals, but rather those concerned how the commitments would be translated into action, how progress would be measured and how companies would be held accountable. Somewhere, Professor Friedman must be smiling. With good reason: Sustainable business still lacks universal definitions, metrics and accountability. Sure, there are ESG metrics, sustainability ratings and corporate rankings galore. And the pursuit of those can help move companies further faster. But not all companies strive to achieve high scores and rankings, probably because no one, internally or externally, is demanding that they do. And companies can fare well in these rankings even if they, say, extract oil or hire workers at minimum wages without benefits, among other things that are not likely considered “socially responsible” by some. Shareholders first So, what, exactly, has happened in the 12 months since the statement was made? I was hard-pressed to find any significant corporate actions that can be tied directly to the Business Roundtable’s doctrine. Maybe I’ll be surprised in the coming week, should companies or the roundtable itself use the one-year anniversary to assess progress or announce bold new initiatives. That doesn’t mean companies aren’t acting. Corporate initiatives have continued largely unhindered by the recession and pandemic,  as I’ve noted previously . And the George Floyd murder and all that followed has spurred companies to address a range of long-festering racial and social justice issues. But nearly all of those things would likely have happened without the Business Roundtable statement. At best the statement codified what hundreds of big companies are already doing. Moreover, under the laws of the state of Delaware, where 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies (and many smaller ones, including GreenBiz Group) are registered, corporate directors still have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of shareholders. The statement does not alter this reality. That means companies are still legally required to put shareholders first. To the extent that it provided a fig leaf that enabled CEOs to pursue business as usual — well, it was probably worse than doing nothing at all. And to the extent that corporate boards and executives have remained on the sidelines of such front-burner issues as voter disenfranchisement, criminal justice reform and climate change rather than advocating for policies to address these critical issues — well, that doesn’t necessarily line up with the Business Roundtable’s stated efforts to “ensure more inclusive prosperity.” Worse than nothing? In the end, the Business Roundtable’s statement was probably far less than it seemed. Companies were already on a path to address many of society’s pressing social and environmental ills, albeit incrementally. To the extent that the statement gave political cover to CEOs that had been reticent to jump in, great. To the extent that it provided a fig leaf that enabled CEOs to pursue business as usual — well, it was probably worse than doing nothing at all. There have been robust efforts for years among academics, NGOs, entrepreneurs and a handful of business executives aimed at reinventing capitalism and corporations. (Allen White, vice president and senior fellow at Tellus Institute, who directs its Program on Corporate Redesign, has written  several thoughtful pieces for GreenBiz on these topics.) Those conversations are extremely valuable, becoming more so every year, and are worthy of a much larger engagement. Ultimately, the power to effect structural change doesn’t necessarily reside in boardrooms, Wall Street or the corridors of political power. It is we, the people, in our roles as the very stakeholders the Business Roundtable’s statement aims to appease — customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders — who are best able to push companies to change, along with supporting the political influencers who understand that the reward systems for doing the wrong things need to be fixed. The Business Roundtable and its members no doubt understand that. But their 2019 statement is unlikely to lead us in that direction. Not without a full-court press from you and me. I invite you to  follow me on Twitter , subscribe to my Monday morning newsletter,  GreenBuzz , and listen to  GreenBiz 350 , my weekly podcast, co-hosted with Heather Clancy. Pull Quote Somewhere, Professor Friedman must be smiling. To the extent that it provided a fig leaf that enabled CEOs to pursue business as usual — well, it was probably worse than doing nothing at all. Topics Leadership Corporate Social Responsibility Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

Here is the original post:
The Business Roundtable’s statement of purpose, one year on

Italy’s Relaunch Decree helps homeowners install solar photovoltaic systems for free

May 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Italy’s Relaunch Decree helps homeowners install solar photovoltaic systems for free

Italy has been hit hard by COVID-19 and is attempting to jump-start its economy through the Relaunch Decree, a revitalization package of 55 billion euros ($60 billion) that Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and his cabinet passed earlier this month. The stimulus includes tax breaks for clean energy projects and renovations; Italian homeowners are offered free rooftop installations of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems through the Relaunch Decree. To help Italy recover from the coronavirus-induced recession, incentives — like tax credits for homeowners pivoting toward energy efficient home improvement projects — are offered. According to Ernst & Young’s Global Tax News , “Individuals can offset 110% of qualified building renovation and energy efficiency costs incurred between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2021 against their tax liabilities in five equal installments (up to certain thresholds).” Related: First home solar pavement installed on a driveway PV Magazine explained that the bonus is “for building-renovation projects from 65% to 110% and a jump in support for PV installations and storage systems associated with such renovation projects, from 50% of costs to 110%.” Any solar photovoltaic installations for the next year-and-a-half will be subsidized. Only a few weeks ago, Green Tech Media warned that Italy’s subsidy-free solar sector had stalled due to the pandemic, placing many projects on hold. While the solar industry is no stranger to vicissitude cycles, the pandemic added unexpected variables. “For the sector, the Relaunch Decree is certainly a great opportunity for the spread of photovoltaics on the roofs of Italian homes,” said Paolo Rocco Viscontini, president of PV association Italia Solare. Italy’s investment incentives for solar should come as no surprise, since Statista describes Italy as “the leading country worldwide for electricity consumption covered by solar PV.” Since the early 2000s, Italy has been a strong proponent of solar installations. In 2017, it unveiled its National Energy Strategy — a 10-year plan to decarbonize, expand renewable energy and promote energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. As of early 2020, Italy is second only to Germany in the photovoltaic sector, with solar power as the country’s preferred renewable energy source. In 2019, Italy had a 69% increase in solar photovoltaic installations compared to 2018. That growth was deemed “the most substantial recorded in Italy” by PV Europe with a grand total of 56,590 new solar power system installations in 2019, of which 50,653 were residential. While COVID-19 dampened photovoltaic growth for Italy’s first quarter of 2020, many nonetheless hope that the Relaunch Decree’s incentives can support a swift restart of the solar PV sector. Tom Heggarty, principal solar analyst for global energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, said , “Solar [projects are] pretty quick to develop and construct. So once we start to see restrictions lifted, the industry should, theoretically, be in a good place to bounce back quite quickly.” Via EY Global Tax News , PV Magazine , Green Tech Media , Statista and PV Europe Image via Giorgio Trovato

Go here to see the original:
Italy’s Relaunch Decree helps homeowners install solar photovoltaic systems for free

Italy’s Relaunch Decree helps homeowners install solar photovoltaic systems for free

May 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Italy’s Relaunch Decree helps homeowners install solar photovoltaic systems for free

Italy has been hit hard by COVID-19 and is attempting to jump-start its economy through the Relaunch Decree, a revitalization package of 55 billion euros ($60 billion) that Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and his cabinet passed earlier this month. The stimulus includes tax breaks for clean energy projects and renovations; Italian homeowners are offered free rooftop installations of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems through the Relaunch Decree. To help Italy recover from the coronavirus-induced recession, incentives — like tax credits for homeowners pivoting toward energy efficient home improvement projects — are offered. According to Ernst & Young’s Global Tax News , “Individuals can offset 110% of qualified building renovation and energy efficiency costs incurred between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2021 against their tax liabilities in five equal installments (up to certain thresholds).” Related: First home solar pavement installed on a driveway PV Magazine explained that the bonus is “for building-renovation projects from 65% to 110% and a jump in support for PV installations and storage systems associated with such renovation projects, from 50% of costs to 110%.” Any solar photovoltaic installations for the next year-and-a-half will be subsidized. Only a few weeks ago, Green Tech Media warned that Italy’s subsidy-free solar sector had stalled due to the pandemic, placing many projects on hold. While the solar industry is no stranger to vicissitude cycles, the pandemic added unexpected variables. “For the sector, the Relaunch Decree is certainly a great opportunity for the spread of photovoltaics on the roofs of Italian homes,” said Paolo Rocco Viscontini, president of PV association Italia Solare. Italy’s investment incentives for solar should come as no surprise, since Statista describes Italy as “the leading country worldwide for electricity consumption covered by solar PV.” Since the early 2000s, Italy has been a strong proponent of solar installations. In 2017, it unveiled its National Energy Strategy — a 10-year plan to decarbonize, expand renewable energy and promote energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. As of early 2020, Italy is second only to Germany in the photovoltaic sector, with solar power as the country’s preferred renewable energy source. In 2019, Italy had a 69% increase in solar photovoltaic installations compared to 2018. That growth was deemed “the most substantial recorded in Italy” by PV Europe with a grand total of 56,590 new solar power system installations in 2019, of which 50,653 were residential. While COVID-19 dampened photovoltaic growth for Italy’s first quarter of 2020, many nonetheless hope that the Relaunch Decree’s incentives can support a swift restart of the solar PV sector. Tom Heggarty, principal solar analyst for global energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, said , “Solar [projects are] pretty quick to develop and construct. So once we start to see restrictions lifted, the industry should, theoretically, be in a good place to bounce back quite quickly.” Via EY Global Tax News , PV Magazine , Green Tech Media , Statista and PV Europe Image via Giorgio Trovato

View original post here:
Italy’s Relaunch Decree helps homeowners install solar photovoltaic systems for free

An abandoned Chinese village is reborn as an interactive art destination

May 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on An abandoned Chinese village is reborn as an interactive art destination

With 1 billion people estimated to be living in Chinese cities in 2050, China is seeing hundreds of thousands of its rural villages abandoned. In a bid to bring renewed life to one of its 102 abandoned villages, the Government of Jinxi tapped Dutch firm NEXT Architects to sustainably revitalize the ancient village of Dafang. Created in collaboration with IVEM (Dutch Institute for Cultural Heritage and Marketing), Smartland (landscape design), Total Design (graphic design) and numerous Dutch and Chinese artists, the recently completed Holland-Dafang Creative Village transformed a dilapidated village into a new hub for the arts. Spanning an area of 43,000 square meters, the Holland-Dafang Creative Village serves as an inspiring model of rural revitalization achieved by a multidisciplinary team of Chinese and Dutch architects. Led by the design strategy “adapt to newness,” the entire village of Dafang has been renewed with three main strategies: thoughtful restoration of the architecture and landscape; the construction of new public facilities; and the re-programming of spaces through art and activity. Related: MAD reactivates an abandoned Japanese tunnel using surreal immersive art Although Dafang has over 900 years of history, years of neglect has led to its deterioration. The architects restored the historical architecture with new materials, such as the use of glass roof tiles on the roofs of old houses and the resurrection of an ancient irrigation system with a new, natural helophyte filter for water purification . New construction was also added, including a sculptural watchtower — a throwback to the defense structure popularly used in ancient times — with a twisting form loosely resembling a giant Chinese “dragon column”. The team also included a new camphor tree-inspired public hall set on the former site of a courtyard building that had been destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. The designers also gave the restored landscape and architecture new purposes, from rehabbing old buildings into a new village museum to the creation of a library and artist studios. “Rural revitalization is one of China’s key future developments,” said John van de Water, partner of NEXT Architects in Beijing. “We believe this asks for the design of balance between old and new, living and visiting, history and future.”  + NEXT Architects Images via NEXT Architects

See original here:
An abandoned Chinese village is reborn as an interactive art destination

Puerto Rico could be without electricity for months due to Hurricane Maria

September 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Puerto Rico could be without electricity for months due to Hurricane Maria

When Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico last Saturday with 155mph winds, hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed and the entire island was left in a total blackout. After a natural disaster such as this, residents would usually go about their lives and pick up the pieces along the way. Not this time. Due to the island’s poor infrastructure, economic woes and the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, it could be months before millions of people have access to electricity again. It wasn’t hard for Hurricane Maria to wipe out the entire island’s electricity because the power grid has been in poor shape for years. Whereas most power plants are 18-years-old, those belonging to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) — the island’s sole power supplier to 1.5 million people — are 44 years old, on average.  In July of this year, PREPA filed for bankruptcy and called its own system “degraded and unsafe.” In a fiscal plan released this year, it added that “years of under-investment have led to severe degradation of infrastructure.” The electricity outage was also caused by Puerto Rico’s grim economic situation. The island has yet to emerge from a recession that has lasted over a decade. With an unemployment rate of 11 percent, the government entered into a process similar to bankruptcy protection earlier this May. TIME reports that its debt load is currently in excess of $70 billion. Related: Explosion of color takes over an abandoned Puerto Rican factory As a result of weakening infrastructure, financial problems and the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria, restoring the island’s power will be a lengthy, tiresome process. Governor Russello told CNN , “It depends on the damage to the infrastructure. I’m afraid it’s probably going to be severe. If it is … we’re looking at months as opposed to weeks or days.” Hurricane Irma , which skirted the north part of the island earlier this month, is also to blame. At the time, over 1 million users in Puerto Rico lost power. The day before Maria slammed into the island, 70,000 people were still without power, reports CNBC . To solve this tragedy, Rep. Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon brought up the issue of electric supply with Brock Long, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). She said, “We were asking him to have more resources in terms of electrical teams that can help us out to solve the situation and recover the infrastructure of the power grid on the island,” she said. “That is going to be the main issue.” Rossello has also asked President Trump to declare Puerto Rico a disaster zone. On Monday, Trump made an emergency declaration for the island, which enabled FEMA to coordinate relief efforts. However, only a “major disaster” declaration would ensure the territory receives an increase in federal resources and programs for affected areas to recover. Vox reports that even if Congress agrees to provide extra relief, funds would only be of limited help in this situation. Via TIME , Vox, CNN, CNBC Images via ABC 7 Chicago ,  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See original here: 
Puerto Rico could be without electricity for months due to Hurricane Maria

Nouvelle AOM wins competition to give Paris’ Tour Montparnasse a massive green makeover

September 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Nouvelle AOM wins competition to give Paris’ Tour Montparnasse a massive green makeover

Nouvelle AOM has just been chosen to transform Paris’ historic Tour Montparnasse into beacon of sustainability for the City of Light. The winning design envisions a contemporary green makeover for the 40-year-old skyscraper – including a new transparent shell cladding and forests in the sky that will improve air quality in and around the tower. The 689-foot Tour Montparnasse was completed in 1973, and it was France’s tallest skyscraper until 2011. There is a lot of history (and controversy) behind the tower, so its redesign had to pay respect to its revered past while re-establish its position as a modern landmark in the city. Related: Holland’s first Vertical Forest to rise with 10,000 air-purifying plant s “This was a huge challenge, as the Tower isn’t like any other,” the jury explained. “Nouvelle AOM’s project perfectly captures the spirit of the 21st century, giving the Tower a multifaceted identity revolving around attractive, innovative new uses. The Tower will breathe new life into the Montparnasse neighbourhood.” The winning design, which beat out submissions from OMA, MAD and Studio Gang, was a collaboration between three Paris-based firms: Franklin Azzi Architecture , Chartier Dalix Architectes and Hardel et le Behan Architectes . The old opaque cladding will be replaced by a transparent facade that will “glow” at night. Multiple floors throughout the tower – including the large conservatory rooftop – will be planted with lush vegetated forests and hanging gardens that will improve air quality both within and outside the skyscraper. The architects explain that the design concept was inspired by the need to create a contemporary skyscraper that will become a beacon of the city’s commitment to sustainability . “When we took up the challenge of this exciting competition, our focus was on revealing the beauty of the Tour Montparnasse from the inside out. We achieved this by incorporating radically new uses and crafting a complete sustainable ‘green’ makeover of the facade. The aim is to make the Tower an icon of the 21st century energy revolution,” explains Nouvelle AOM. Construction on the €300 million project is expected to begin in 2019 and it’s slated for completion in time for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. + Nouvelle AOM Via Archdaily Images via Nouvelle AOM

Original post:
Nouvelle AOM wins competition to give Paris’ Tour Montparnasse a massive green makeover

World Bank’s Twose: Inclusive economy must bridge tech, jobs

September 22, 2015 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on World Bank’s Twose: Inclusive economy must bridge tech, jobs

How a hangover from the recession, entrenched global employment disparities and the looming specter of digitization affect unsustainable development.

Read the original:
World Bank’s Twose: Inclusive economy must bridge tech, jobs

More Bikes Were Sold Than Cars Last Year in 23 European Countries!

October 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on More Bikes Were Sold Than Cars Last Year in 23 European Countries!

Bicycle photo from Shutterstock The bicycle and the automobile were invented in Germany, so the European love affair with both modes of transportation goes back a long time. However last year bike sales actually overtook car sales in 23 of the 27 European Union member states. (New car registrations weren’t available for Cyprus and Malta, and car sales topped bike sales in Belgium and Luxembourg). In Italy, bikes outsold cars for the time since World War II, and in Spain bike sales topped the transportation charts for the first time ever. Read the rest of More Bikes Were Sold Than Cars Last Year in 23 European Countries! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bicycles , bike sales , bike-friendly policies , car sales , cars , european union , italy , recession , romania        

See the original post here: 
More Bikes Were Sold Than Cars Last Year in 23 European Countries!

LA’s Biggest Apartment Project Since the Recession Breaks Ground

June 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on LA’s Biggest Apartment Project Since the Recession Breaks Ground

The largest apartment building since the beginning of the Great Recession has broken ground in Los Angeles , promising to reinvigorate the Koreatown neighborhood. The Vermont is a two-tower, mixed-use behemoth that will contain 464 apartments and plenty of retail. Besides the size the other notable features, we really like is the green space wrapping through the project, adding some relief to the concrete jungle that is LA. Read the rest of LA’s Biggest Apartment Project Since the Recession Breaks Ground Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Koreatown , LA apartment , LA housing , LA retail , LA’s biggest apartment , urban density

More:
LA’s Biggest Apartment Project Since the Recession Breaks Ground

US Has a “Recessionary Hangover” According to Greenbiz 2012 Report

January 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on US Has a “Recessionary Hangover” According to Greenbiz 2012 Report

Greenbiz.com recently released their free, downloadable “State of Green Business 2012″ report and some of the statistics are quite surprising. The report begins by explaining the stalemate on green progress by saying that “…sustainable business is suffering a recessionary hangover.” The study goes on to look at 20 key indicators, such as organic agriculture, e-waste , and  toxic emissions, to determine whether US businesses are “swimming”, “sinking”, or “treading water”. With only 80% of the indicators getting a “Tread” or “Sink” rating, this is a big wake up call that most big companies are not doing their part to make progress towards a sustainable future. Read the rest of US Has a “Recessionary Hangover” According to Greenbiz 2012 Report Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: corporations , Eco , green , green business , green economics , green report , greenbiz , greenbiz report 2012 , ratings , recession , state of green business 2012 , state of the industry , statistics , Sustainable , united states

View post: 
US Has a “Recessionary Hangover” According to Greenbiz 2012 Report

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 13204 access attempts in the last 7 days.