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Report Report

Tomorrow's investment rules, circular business, social media and CSR

The Report Report is a monthly wrap-up of recent research on sustainable business and clean technology, produced by Corporate Eco Forum, a by-invitation membership organization comprised of large, global companies that demonstrate a serious commitment at the senior executive level to sustainability as a business strategy issue.

The Elephant in the Boardroom: Why Unchecked Consumption is Not an Option in Tomorrow’s Markets (World Resources Institute)

Offers recommendations to help companies advance internal discussions on the challenges of decoupling economic growth from resource use and environmental impacts to achieve long-term business success. The working paper also highlights key examples of companies reexamining their business models and getting traction with practices such as circular manufacturing and collaborative consumption.

The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure (U.S. Water Alliance)

Finds that closing the water infrastructure investment gap in the U.S. — currently $82 billion per year — would result in $220 billion in annual economic benefits and 1.3 million jobs annually. The report also finds that the economic implications of inaction are significant: a one-day disruption in water service would cost the U.S. economy $43.5 billion in sales and $22.5 billion in GDP, while an eight-day disruption could shrink the annual GDP by 1 percent.

Tomorrow’s Investment Rules  (EY)

Analyzes survey responses from 320 senior decision-makers at buy-side investment institutions worldwide to better understand their outlook on the value of integrated reporting in the private sector. The study finds that 92 percent of respondents believe that ESG issues — ranging from climate change to diversity to board effectiveness — have real and quantifiable impact over the long-term; more than 80 percent of respondents believe that generating sustainable returns over time requires a sharper focus on ESG factors. In addition, 91 percent of respondents find integrated reports useful when making an investment decision.

Circular Business Models for the Built Environment (ARUP and BAM)

Explores the financial, social and environmental benefits that circular business models could bring to the global construction industry. The report also reviews solutions to overcoming the challenges of adopting these models: the adoption of long-term design thinking; the role of technology and innovation; the adoption of new production and consumption models and collaboration throughout the supply chain and the lifecycle of a construction asset.

Aligning Values: Why corporate pension plans should mirror their sponsors (Principles for Responsible Investment and United Nations Global Compact)

Makes the case for companies to better align their corporate pension plans with their sustainability values and the associated benefits, such as improved investment performance and regulatory risk management. The report highlights case study examples from corporate pension plans and offers five steps a CEO could take to ensure the plan invests responsibly.

Trend Report: The Future of Sustainable Fashion (H&M Foundation and Accenture)

Identifies five megatrends driving sustainable innovation in the fashion industry based on an analysis of 3,000 applications submitted for the H&M Foundation’s 2017 Global Change Award: the sharing economy, digitalization, biodesign, re-selling and re-design and innovative recycling.

2017 State of the Electric Utility Survey Report (Utility Dive)

Analyzes survey responses from 600 electric utility professionals across the United States to better understand how the electric utility business will respond to shifting policy and market trends under the new administration. Key findings:

  • 52 percent of respondents expect a significant decrease in coal use in their utility’s power mix over the next decade, while just 4 percent believe it will increase moderately or significantly.
  • With the decline in coal, survey respondents believe the use of utility-scale solar (43 percent of respondents), distributed generation (50 percent), grid-scale energy storage (49 percent), and wind power (48 percent) moderately will increase over the next decade.
  • In terms of decarbonization policy, most respondents support some form of carbon regulation at the federal level; 25 percent of respondents do not want the federal government to pursue a policy of decarbonization.

The CSR Effect: Social Media Sentiment and the Impact on Brands (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and IBM)

Finds that promoting corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts online — social networking sites, blogs, news boards and discussion forums — positively boosts a company’s public image and could encourage consumers to write about their CSR efforts.

Power Forward 3.0: How the largest U.S. companies are capturing business value while addressing climate change (WWF, Ceres, Calvert Investments, and CDP)

Finds that 48 percent of Fortune 500 companies have at least one climate or clean energy target; 63 percent of Fortune 100 companies have set at least one clean energy target. The report also finds that 190 companies reported nearly $3.7 billion in savings from emission-reducing projects in 2016 alone.

Better Energy, Greater Prosperity  (Energy Transitions Commission)

Outlines four interdependent energy transition strategies that, if pursued simultaneously, could deliver the global emissions cuts needed to limit global warming to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius. The report finds that decarbonizing around 80 percent of power generation combined with extended electrification of transport, buildings and industry could deliver 50 percent of the emissions cuts needed to achieve the "well below" scenario by 2040.

Global Climate 500 Index (Asset Owners Disclosure Project)

Rates the world’s 500 largest asset owners based on their efforts to manage climate risk in their portfolios. The report finds that 60 percent of the world’s largest asset owners — and 50 percent of asset managers — are working to better manage climate risks and opportunities. However, the report finds that 63 percent of U.S. asset owners, with $4.5 trillion in total assets, are not taking action to address climate risks.

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