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2014 Environmental Finance Innovation Summit (White Paper)

October 14, 2014 Comments off

2014 Environmental Finance Innovation Summit (PDF)
Source: Goldman Sachs

The underlying thesis for investing in solutions that benefit the environment is increasingly compelling, given the macro trends of a rapidly growing population and increased urbanization, the social pressures to more effectively manage the environmental spillovers that come with growth, and the security imperatives of protecting against extreme weather. At the same time, capital flow into environmentally beneficial opportunities is often constrained by uncertainties around public policy, budgetary challenges, and the natural fits and starts of nascent technologies. In response to the opportunities and challenges, a number of innovative financing mechanisms and capital markets solutions are being deployed to scale-up investments in clean technology, energy efficiency, water and green infrastructure solutions.

To raise awareness about these developments and to facilitate dialogue, Goldman Sachs hosted the Environmental Finance Innovation Summit on February 13, 2014. The Summit coincided with the powerful nor’easter Pax, which underscored the importance of the topic at hand. With a group of nearly 200 participants, the Summit provided a forum to discuss emerging innovative financing vehicles, identify obstacles and solutions to scaling up these financing mechanisms, offer policy input, and foster partnerships to drive further progress.

The following paper summarizes key takeaways from the summit.

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Making the Atom Work for the Environment; New IAEA Publication Explains How Nuclear Techniques Support Sustainable Development

October 13, 2014 Comments off

Making the Atom Work for the Environment; New IAEA Publication Explains How Nuclear Techniques Support Sustainable Development
Source: International Atomic Energy Agency

Environmental degradation is a major development challenge for many of the IAEA’s Member States, affecting local, national, regional and global communities. Nuclear techniques can play an important role in addressing such challenges, contributing to sustainable development and environmental protection. A new IAEA publication, The Atom, the Environment and Sustainable Development, describes how nuclear-related technologies, such as isotopic analysis, can be used to monitor and understand environmental processes. Ultimately, such technologies advance innovative medical treatment methods, increase food security and help manage scarce natural resources.

CFOs and Sustainability: Shaping their roles in an evolving environment

September 26, 2014 Comments off

CFOs and Sustainability: Shaping their roles in an evolving environment
Source: Deloitte

Deloitte’s new whitepaper, CFOs and Sustainability: Shaping their roles in an evolving environment, reveals numerous trends in the environmental, health, safety, and social impacts of the enterprise:

  • CFOs are becoming more involved in setting and executing sustainability strategy.
  • The impact of sustainability on key financial decisions has increased in M&A, capital allocation, and capital raising.
  • Compliance with new energy efficiency and carbon regulations remain areas of high concern.

Many additional insights may be found in the whitepaper, which summarizes Deloitte’s most-recent survey; puts the findings in context with similar surveys from prior years; and provides Deloitte’s analysis and suggestions regarding potential action steps.

In addition, the paper can enhance a CFO’s understanding of his or her role in sustainability by providing a window on the sustainability activities of peers and competitors.

Chief Sustainability Officers: Who Are They and What Do They Do?

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Chief Sustainability Officers: Who Are They and What Do They Do? (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

While a number of studies document that organizations go through numerous stages as they increase their commitment to sustainability over time, we know little about the role of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) in this process. Using survey and interview data we analyze how a CSO’s authority and responsibilities differ across organizations that are in different stages of sustainability commitment. We document increasing organizational authority of the CSO as organizations increase their commitment to sustainability moving from the Compliance to the Efficiency and then to the Innovation stage. However, we also document a decentralization of decision rights from the CSO to different functions, largely driven by sustainability strategies becoming more idiosyncratic at the Innovation stage. The study concludes with a discussion of practices that CSOs argue to accelerate the commitment of organizations to sustainability.

McKinsey on Sustainability & Resource Productivity — Issue 2, Summer 2014

August 14, 2014 Comments off

McKinsey on Sustainability & Resource Productivity — Issue 2, Summer 2014
Source: McKinsey & Company

Articles in this issue

McKinsey on Sustainability & Resource Productivity—Introduction
In this second issue of McKinsey on Sustainability & Resource Productivity, we seek to establish the value of sustainability and to demonstrate how these opportunities can (and are) being captured in a range of industries.

Profits with purpose: How organizing for sustainability can benefit the bottom line
Becoming a sustainability leader requires big changes, but the effort is worth it—in both environmental and economic terms.

The human factor: Amassing troops for the ’resource revolution‘
Companies on the front lines of the resource revolution need to implement creative talent-management strategies.

Riding the resource wave: How extractive companies can succeed in the new resource era
With economic and social expectations rising in resource-rich countries, extractive companies must rethink how they do business.

Brave new world: Myths and realities of clean technologies
Don’t be fooled by high-profile setbacks. The cleantech sector is gaining steam—with less and less regulatory assistance.

Unconventional wisdom: Fracturing enters a new era
Faced with change on a scale not seen in decades, companies must alter their business plans to accommodate unconventionals or else risk irrelevance.

The disruptive potential of solar power
As costs fall, the importance of solar power to senior executives is rising.

Bioenergy in Europe: A new beginning—or the end of the road?
Bioenergy faces challenges in Europe, but there is reason to believe it can make a comeback.

CEOs and Consumers Disconnected on Sustainable Products and Services, Says Accenture, Havas Media report

July 16, 2014 Comments off

CEOs and Consumers Disconnected on Sustainable Products and Services, Says Accenture, Havas Media report
Source: Accenture

Only a third of consumers regularly consider sustainability in their purchasing decisions, according to a global study by Accenture (ACN: NYSE) and Havas Media RE:PURPOSE, which reveals the reasons for the disconnect between business and consumer expectations of sustainable products and services.

The report, “From Marketing to Mattering”, is based on a survey of 30,000 consumers in 20 countries. The study was commissioned in response and as a companion to the UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study on Sustainability, published in 2013, in which two thirds of CEOs admitted that business is not doing enough to address sustainability challenges, similar to the 73 percent of consumers in the latest research that say businesses are failing to take care of the planet and society.

The two studies reveal that, although CEOs see engagement with consumers as the most important single factor motivating them to accelerate progress on sustainability, they are often out of step with what motivates consumers to buy sustainable products and services. 81 percent of CEOs believe that their company’s reputation for sustainability is important to consumers, but the new research shows that less than one-quarter (23 percent) of consumers report that they regularly seek information on the sustainability performance of the brands whose products they purchase.

As result of the disconnect on the importance of a company’s sustainable reputation, only 32 percent of consumers say they ‘often’ or ‘always’ consider sustainability in their purchasing decisions.

Sustainability goes mainstream: Insights into investor views

July 4, 2014 Comments off

Sustainability goes mainstream: Insights into investor views
Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

What do investors think about sustainability issues? Do these issues factor into investment strategies and practices? Will they in the future?

Four in five investors responding to our survey said they considered these concepts in one or more investment contexts in the past year. And about 85% expect to consider them three years from now. But investors are not happy with corporate reporting about sustainability—they’re still not getting the information they’re looking for. Investors want to be a part of the sustainability dialogue. And they want direct engagement with the companies in which they invest.

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