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Revealed: the companies doing the most to combat climate change

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Revealed: the companies doing the most to combat climate change
Source: CDP

A new global index based on companies that exhibit leadership through action to mitigate climate change outperforms The Bloomberg World Index by 9.6%. So finds analysis released today by CDP, an international NGO that drives sustainable economies.

The research is published in The A List: The CDP Climate Performance Leadership Index 2014, which has been created at the request of 767 investors who represent more than a third of the world’s invested capital.

Information provided by nearly 2,000 listed companies has been independently assessed against CDP’s widely-respected scoring methodology and ranked accordingly.

187 businesses from around the world, including BMW AG, Centrica, Samsung Electronics and Unilever, demonstrate a superior approach to climate change mitigation. Awarded an A grade for their performance, they earn a position on the first global ranking of corporate efforts to mitigate climate change. Collectively the climate performance leaders have reduced their total (absolute) emissions by 33 million metric tons in the past reporting year, equivalent to turning London’s car owners into cyclists for two and a half years.

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Familiar Franchises Top Gamers’ Wish Lists for Holiday 2014

October 21, 2014 Comments off

Familiar Franchises Top Gamers’ Wish Lists for Holiday 2014
Source: Nielsen

Fall is here, and the falling temperatures remind us that the holidays are fast approaching! So what are topping people’s wish lists this year? For gamers, it depends on the device.

“Destiny” recently took the gaming world by storm when it was released last month, and now it tops the list of the most coveted games on the PS4. Meanwhile, perennial crowd-pleaser “Call of Duty” holds the top spot for Xbox One with “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” and “The Sims 4,” the new entry to one of the biggest franchises of PC gaming in recent years, tops the list for computer gamers. The two new versions of Nintendo’s popular fighting franchise “Super Smash Bros.” top the lists for Wii U and 3DS. Finally, the building block empire of “Minecraft” tops the list of titles for Vita.

The No. 1 coveted games illustrate a trend we see among the top 10 anticipated games across devices: People like what they know. Apart from “Destiny,” the only other new properties in the top 10 for any of the six platforms examined were “Watch Dogs,” the fifth most anticipated title on Wii U (the title released earlier this year for PCs and PS and Xbox platforms, but is releasing in November for Wii U), and “Freedom Wars,” the sixth most coveted title on Vita. Even “Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed” (the third most wanted Vita game) is technically a sequel, though the original title released only in Japan.

The 10 Riskiest Industries of 2014-2015

October 21, 2014 Comments off

The 10 Riskiest Industries of 2014-2015
Source: IBISWorld

The weakened economy has challenged the recovery of many industries over the past few years. While several operators are slowly starting to recover, certain industries are not convalescing as swiftly and have experienced increased risk. Industry risk measures the relative likelihood that an investor or creditor would receive a negative return on an investment in a particular industry over12 to 18 months. The risk rating for each industry is calculated based on an analysis of an industry’s structural risk, growth risk and sensitivity risk. IBISWorld’s risk scores are based on a scale of one to nine, with a score of one representing the lowest risk and nine representing the highest.

IBISWorld’s 10 riskiest industries are listed below. With the exception of the Corn Farming industry (which is undergoing short-term difficulties), all of these industries are in a state of long-term decline. Some may be able to re-invent themselves, despite very difficult internal and external operating conditions. While every industry is subject to a certain level of risk, these 10 industries will encounter the most difficult operating environments.

Canada’s Top Entrepreneurial Cities, 2014

October 21, 2014 Comments off

Canada’s Top Entrepreneurial Cities, 2014
Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Historically, and for a variety of reasons, CFIB has found entrepreneurial characteristics to be strongest in Canada’s prairie cities and the urban areas that ring large urban cores. What they have in common is ‘newness’—the prairie economies have only been developed in the past 150 years or so. Only a few generations separate today’s urban prairie residents from their entrepreneurial forbearers. Similarly, suburban entrepreneurs sought the benefits of urban markets already in place, but found outlying areas more conducive to the structure and cost of doing business.

One often sees higher entrepreneurial activity in resource regions as well–although economies there can suffer from wider boom and bust business cycles. Favourable resource development conditions will attract businesses seeking to service increased activity—and, when conditions deteriorate, a strong base of experienced business owners often becomes the primary pillar of community support.

Among major centres, Canada’s overall top-ranked entrepreneurial communities in 2014 fit all these main characteristics. The combined communities of Airdrie, Rocky View, Cochrane and Chestermere that ring around Calgary’s periphery takes the top score of 70.8 out of a possible 100. This area also received the top score in 2012 and 2013. Periphery communities around Edmonton (which include Strathcona County, St. Albert, Parkland, Spruce Grove, Leduc and other smaller municipalities) climbs to second spot. Saskatoon slipped back a little, but still held its place above Saskatchewan’s other major city Regina. Kelowna is not far behind in fifth spot.

Among mid-sized urban areas, the prairie region is also still well represented, including Lloydminster, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie and Red Deer. Here, the obvious common element is the resource sector, which has offered many new entrepreneurial and development opportunities. Medicine Hat is another Alberta community in the top 10, as are Camrose and Brooks, which are new to the study this year. Another newcomer, Collingwood, is Ontario’s representative in the group, while Thetford Mines and Saint-Georges takes Quebec’s top spots.

Critiquing US Health Care

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Critiquing US Health Care
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

Critics of US health care usually begin by noting that this country spends a much greater share of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care than any other country but lags in life expectancy at birth. This critique implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) assumes that there should be a positive correlation between health care expenditures and life expectancy. Such an assumption is fully justified for low-income countries with minimal health care; additional care and financial resources usually have substantial favorable effects on life expectancy.

In theory, this positive relationship should continue at all levels of income, albeit with possible diminishing returns. In practice, however, many nonmedical determinants of health can vary across developed countries, possibly confounding a simple 1-to-1 relationship between health care expenditures and life expectancy. As an empirical matter, the assumption of a positive correlation is not supported by comparisons across developed countries or within the United States across states.

New report: US metros set to out-perform, led by Portland & San Jose

October 14, 2014 Comments off

New report: US metros set to out-perform, led by Portland & San Jose
Source: Oxford Economics

All of the 7 leading metros in the Pacific region look set to outperform the national economy, reflecting in part the importance of high-technology manufacturing and the information sector to many of them, plus softer factors such as quality of life

The four weakest of our top 30 metros are, perhaps predictably, to be found in the Midwest, where the weight of legacy industries means that Cleveland and Detroit manage to grow by just 1.8% and 1.7% annually in the 2014-18 period. It’s poor comfort that in Europe, those would be average performances for large metros.

There’s also the ever-present matter of risk, with international dangers making it possible that economic growth will be more troubled than we assume. However, under most scenarios it still seems right to expect leading metros to comfortably out-perform the national average growth rate, almost whatever that might be.

The Best Government Websites for 2014

October 10, 2014 Comments off

The Best Government Websites for 2014
Source: Government Technology

The state of Hawaii, the city of Washington, D.C., and Oakland County, Mich., are home to the best government websites in the nation. These sites topped the 2014 Best of the Web awards, a joint project of Government Technology and e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government, which highlights the public sector’s evolving capabilities on the Web. Winners were announced Oct. 7.

In three categories – state, city and county – nearly 300 government websites were judged on their innovative qualities, usefulness, and efficiency and economy. A panel comprising last year’s winners, former government officials and executives from the Center for Digital Government selected websites that tried new things, while remaining functional. See below what made the winners win and who placed in the top 10 for each category.

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