Pipeline Power Play: Kinder Morgan puts the Trans Mountain Expansion on Hold

On April 8th, Kinder Morgan (NYSE: KMI) and its Canadian subsidiary announced a suspension of work on its Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline (TME) until May 31 as resistance to the project comes to a head. The project, which would carry to market the glut of oil sands production in Alberta, is one of the few proposed pipeline megaprojects in Canada that remains underway. Despite this setback, the delay may not have a long-term negative impact on shareholder value. In our view, the suspension is not a capitulation but an ultimatum to push the Canadian government and the province of British Columbia (BC) to provide regulatory certainty for the project.

Commentary on New Department of Labor Guidance

On April 24th, the US Department of Labor (DOL) released a Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB), seeking to clarify how environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors should be considered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

(Possibly) a little less conversation and (definitely) a little more action, please

This blog originally appeared on GES International’s website and has been republished following Sustainaltyics’ acquisition of the company on 9 January 2019. See the press release for more information.

Battle over Western Sahara is moving into court rooms

This blog originally appeared on GES International’s website and has been republished following Sustainaltyics’ acquisition of the company on 9 January 2019. See the press release for more information.

Facebook’s New Era: The Regulatory Implications of the Cambridge Analytica Incident

The collection and monetization of users’ data is a core part of Facebook’s strategy. However, Cambridge Analytica’s (CA) unauthorized collection and exploitation of this data exposes both the breadth and complexity of the information it has on individuals as well as the insidious nature of the methods used to collect it.

Managing Portfolio Exposure to Firearms: What investor can do

The February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and the subsequent student protests and activism have reignited America’s debate over gun safety. Interestingly, the conversation has shifted to public pension investment in the firearms industry. As passive investors take a closer look at their holdings, some are asking what steps they can take to reduce their exposure firearms manufacturers and retailers.

Two interesting elections (and one not-so interesting) in emerging markets

This blog originally appeared on GES International’s website and has been republished following Sustainaltyics’ acquisition of the company on 9 January 2019. See the press release for more information.

Nuclear Weapons: The Next “No-Go” Area for Investors?

The start of 2018 brought two interesting developments to the responsible investing community. On January 11th, the Dutch 405 billion euro pension fund ABP announced that it will take steps to exclude nuclear weapons and tobacco companies from its investments. Within a week, Norges Bank declared the addition of five companies to the 870 billion euro Government Pension Fund Global exclusion list due to involvement with nuclear weapons.

Blockchain: A new ESG tool?

Significant developments in the use of blockchain have occurred over the past year with applications across finance, supply chain, and healthcare, to name a few. As institutions have developed and deployed market solutions, the technology has gained momentum (as we noted in our 10 for 2017 report). However, until its use becomes widespread, blockchain will remain conceptual for most people, much akin to describing the internet before it became ubiquitous. So, what is blockchain exactly and can it be used to advance sustainability management?

Emerging Markets in 2018

This blog originally appeared on GES International’s website and has been republished following Sustainaltyics’ acquisition of the company on 9 January 2019. See the press release for more information.

Real drivers behind the US nuclear arsenal expansion

This blog originally appeared on GES International’s website and has been republished following Sustainaltyics’ acquisition of the company on 9 January 2019. See the press release for more information.

Meltdown and Spectre: Exposing the Achilles’ Heel of Chips

In January 2018, technology website The Register reported on security flaws in microchips that make a range of devices, from PC computers to servers and smartphones, more susceptible to hacking and could enable unrestricted access to sensitive information, such as passwords. What will this mean for chip manufacturers and how will it affect the broader technology value chain?

How Can Investors Monitor Human Rights in High Risk Countries? The Case of LafargeHolcim

On 8 December 2017, senior executives and the former CEO of cement and construction company LafargeHolcim were formally charged with “financing a terrorist organisation” and “endangering the lives of others” by French prosecutors. The charges form part of the ongoing investigation into the company’s legacy operations in Syria. LafargeHolcim is accused of having funded terrorist groups, including the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS), which would make it complicit in human rights violations. As the company faces the full legal and reputational ramifications of these allegations, investors are asking how they can pro-actively identify and manage human rights-related risks in their portfolios.

The Opioid Crisis: What are the Risks for Companies?

Fox Sky Takeover: Why Content Governance Matters

The power of media companies to shape societal dialogue and act as gatekeepers of content is coming under increased scrutiny. This is starting to impact the industry as demonstrated in the challenges American media giant Twenty-First Century Fox (Fox) is facing in its proposed GBP 11.7 billion (USD 15 billion) takeover of UK broadcaster Sky plc.

Uber’s ESG Risks—is the new CEO up to the Challenge?

Uber, the ride hailing company, recently appointed Dara Khosrowshahi as CEO. His appointment comes in the wake of intensifying criticism of the company. Uber is accused of having a hostile workplace culture, mistreating its drivers and using software tools to evade regulators. What are the root causes of these issues, which Khosrowshahi will need to address if he wants to get the company back on track?

Wall Street Banks Face Mounting Shareholder Pressure to Address Gender Pay Gap

Gender diversity and equality are increasingly coming under the spotlight on Wall Street (see also The Fearless Girl Beckons). The 2017 proxy season was no different. Activist investors, such as Arjuna Capital and Pax World Management, actively targeted Wall Street banks, encouraging them to tackle the gender pay gap.

Are Subprime Auto Loans the Next Bubble?

Through the course of our research, we’ve seen a significant increase in media coverage surrounding the U.S. auto loan market. Headlines highlight an increase in delinquency and default rates, a prevalence of deep subprime auto loans, lower vehicle deliveries and higher inventories. Reminiscent of the financial crisis, many investors are asking whether this is the next bubble and what they can do to manage related ESG risks.

WannaCry: A Cybersecurity Wake Up Call

The recent Wanna, also called WannaCry, ransomware attack once again highlighted the importance of cybersecurity and protecting online data and systems. In our 10 for 2017 report, we argue that such attacks are likely to increase in frequency and intensity making it prudent for investors to integrate cybersecurity risk management into their investment decision making processes. Understanding these risks is crucial since most companies provide poor visibility into their ability to proactively manage such threats.

Fair Living Wages in the Garment Sector: The Case of Bangladesh

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the deadliest accident in the garment industry. On 24 April 2013, the collapse of the Rana Plaza Building in Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh resulted in the death of 1,200 workers and left several thousand injured. The tragedy was linked primarily to poor health and safety practices, but it also highlighted the intense wage pressure in Bangladesh’s garment industry. This issue is becoming more pressing with disputes over minimum wages having resulted in massive social unrest in December 2016 and January 2017.