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Sustainability yearbook highlights responsible investment opportunities

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RobecoSAM, an investment specialist with a focus on sustainability, has published its 2014 sustainability yearbook, signalling which companies are in a position to create long-term shareholder value whilst still being ethical

The yearbook looks at the 2013 sustainability performance of various companies, and ranks them with gold, silver and bronze ratings – the top performing firm in each sector being named an industry leader. More than 800 companies from 59 industries and 39 countries participated in the assessment.

As the yearbook ranks companies from a wide variety of sectors, it includes industries that some investors may consider unethical, such as tobacco; casinos and gaming; coal and consumable fuel; and oil and gas.

All companies are ranked on criteria across three categories: economic, environmental and social. For example, in the oil and gas industry, this includes risk and crisis management, climate strategy and social impact on communities.

Some 52 companies located in the UK made it into the yearbook, with four – Anglo American, BG Group, British American Tobacco and J Sainsbury – being awarded the gold standard.

The best performing sector was found to be household products with an average sustainability score of 66%. The industry leader, Germany-based Henkel AG & Co, scored 82%. UK firm Reckitt Benckiser was given a silver award in the category.

Across all sectors, the top performing company was telecommunications firm KT Corp, based in South Korea. The company scored 94% against an average of 59% for its industry.

Michael Baldinger, CEO of RobecoSAM, noted that while sustainability reporting was now considered partially mandatory for most multinational companies, many still struggle to communicate how environmental and social governance factors affect the long-term financial performance of their business. He called on firms to encourage responsible investment by leading by example.

He said, “Companies still face many challenges in convincing investors to embrace sustainability as a means of generating shareholder value. I am confident we can change this. Starting with their own corporate pension funds, sustainability leaders are in an ideal position to encourage investors to integrate sustainability into their investment strategies.”

Further reading:

Demand for sustainable, responsible and ethical financial advice rises to 76%

Public sector workers let down by ‘dodgy pension investments’, say campaigners

Sustainable investment is about optimisation, not maximisation

Falling cost of solar to blame for European renewables investment drop

Climate change a long-term threat to investment, UN tells investors

Books & Films

Book Review: Ubernomics

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ubernomics

Step inside the next generation of economics, business strategy and investing.

In this radical business book, Barbara Gray makes it clear that all is not as it seems. Just when we think we know the rules of the road, we find we have hit the age of economic abundance—and surprises await.

Gray navigates us through this journey with great insight and acuity, sharing stories and case studies about a new breed of “rebel with a cause” companies such as Starbucks, LinkedIn, Airbnb, and Uber, whose founders relish disruption of the status quo. Taking us through the highlights of her research, Gray reveals her discovery of the next generation of business strategy for companies looking to create economic abundance and rise above the competition.

Barbara Gray is a former top-ranked sell-side equity analyst and the founder of Brady Capital Research Inc., a leading-edge research and strategy consulting firm. She has more than fifteen years of sell-side equity research experience in Canada and the United States covering a wide range of sectors. Barbara has a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from the University of British Columbia (1993) and earned her Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1997. She lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two sons.

Reviews

Ubernomics is über-needed by any organization that wants to be around in the next five years. Read it and you’ll be here for fifty–and more! Barbara Gray is half brilliant analyst and half seer. The result is a book that is both crystal clear and a crystal ball.”
–Joey Reiman, Chairman, BrightHouse and Managing Director, The Boston Consulting Group

“Barbara is one of the most astute and forward-looking analysts who covered lululemon. Ubernomics gave me a framework to think about the sharing economy capital structure and the value that can be gained from that.”
–Christine Day, CEO, Luvo (former CEO, lululemon)

“Barbara’s overall analysis centering on the three new values of advocacy, connection and collaboration is very powerful. And the examples, both of firms born in the new economy and others trying to adapt to it, are fascinating.”
–Jean-Claude Larreche, Professor of Marketing, INSEAD, and author of The Momentum Effect

 

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Books & Films

Book Review: Business as an Instrument for Societal Change

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business-instrument-societal-change

Business as an Instrument for Societal Change: In Conversation with the Dalai Lama is the result of two decades of research and dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other leaders in business, government, science and education. Author Sander Tideman, a lawyer and banker who has maintained a friendship with the Dalai Lama over all these years, presents a practical framework and methodology to develop a new kind of leadership – one fit to repurpose the business world and tackle escalating social, economic and environmental needs.

The Dalai Lama rarely speaks directly on the topics of business, leadership and economics. Yet in the dialogues recounted here, his wisdom – combined with key insights from business and public leaders – creates a unified shift towards a consciousness of interconnectedness, offering profound insights for practitioners and general readers alike.

Tideman unites the scientific worldviews of physics, neuroscience and economics with the positive psychology of human relationships, and ancient spiritual wisdom, to formulate practical business leadership solutions. At the heart of this book lies the journey to discover our shared purpose. This ignites new sources of value creation for the organisation, customers and society, which Tideman terms ‘triple value’.  We can achieve triple value by aligning societal and business needs, based on the fundamental reality of interconnection.

Business as an Instrument for Societal Change: In Conversation with the Dalai Lama is a readable and intelligent exploration of how leaders can actually help to shape a sustainable global economy by embracing innate human and humane behaviour. It is also Tideman’s fascinating personal journey, which brought him to question the underlying motivations and goals of business leadership and to seek a new paradigm for a more sustainable approach. Reflecting Tideman’s sharp perceptions and infused with the Dalai Lama’s unmistakable joy, this book has the power to change your way of thinking.

 

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