Posts Categorized: Consumer

Food Safety: Is Whole Foods Prepared?

On October 20, the Detroit Health Department announced an investigation into two cases of Hepatitis A potentially linked to Whole Foods’ stores. Whole Foods contacted the Detroit Health Department to report one of the cases, while the second case has not been definitively linked to Whole Foods. While we view the reporting of this incident to health officials as positive, we have concerns about the grocery chain’s food safety preparedness given its exposure to prepared/ready-to-eat food and its lack of food safety disclosure.

Evolving Lifecycles in an ESG Materiality Matrix

For most sectors, the likelihood of adverse ESG events and their potential financial impacts evolve through a lifecycle. ESG lifecycles determine the time it takes for a sustainability issue to become relevant to a sector as well as the magnitude of the financial impact. We believe the ability to anticipate ESG lifecycles can enhance the investment decision-making process.

Antibiotics and Animal Health: Recent Data Points Highlight an Accelerating Move

US markets moving away from antibiotics; our thesis remains intact. In our October 5, 2015, report Antibiotics and Animal Health: Value-Chain Implications in the US, we posited that consumer demand could push food supply chain companies to phase out antibiotics beyond the level required by FDA guidelines. We are seeing this play out as a… Read more »

Tracking our Thesis on Food Safety Opportunities: A Look at Neogen

As we discussed in our July 2016 report Food Safety: In a State of Transformation, the global food safety testing market is expanding. Our optimistic view on growth in food safety testing is supported by Neogen’s fourth quarter earnings release. Neogen is flagged in our report for having high exposure to the food safety theme.

Food Safety: In a State of Transformation

The food industry is undergoing a transformation as it addresses food safety risks in an increasingly global, complex supply chain. A number of highly publicized cases of foodborne illnesses and product recalls have occurred in recent years; these events highlight vulnerabilities in the food safety chain that present opportunities and risks for investors.

Regional and Sector Strategy: Monthly Update

Our earnings momentum metric has been refined. In addition, we have also introduced a methodology for weighting ESG factors in sectors and regions. These modifications have resulted in an unusually large number of changes in recommendations.

Global Earnings Synthesis: On Track for Modest Gains in 2016

Building on the recent analysis in our Regional and Sector Strategy: Monthly Update, we continue to embrace an outlook for just a single-digit increase in profits in 2016, which is in contrast to consensus estimates that imply a 21% gain in earnings.

Regional and Sector Strategy: Monthly Update

We remain Overweight Information Technology (largest weighting in Overweight North America region) and Consumer Discretionary (largest weighting in Japan, our other Overweight). We continue to avoid regions with heavy exposure to commodities, most notably Latin America (Underweight), South Africa and Russia (both ranked Neutral).

Global Earnings Synthesis

As a complement to our Regional and Sector Strategy: Monthly Update we introduce a new publication that will examine in detail the outlook for global earnings on a regular basis.

Regional and Sector Strategy: Monthly Update

We are becoming a little more cyclical once again. We are now upgrading the Industrials sector to Neutral from Underweight, largely reflecting improved valuation. We remain Neutral on the two sectors that are widely considered the most defensive: Consumer Staples and Health Care.

A Shifting ESG Materiality Matrix: What Has Mattered, What May Matter

As we continue our research on sustainability factors that play a role in market outcomes, we embrace a more nuanced view. ESG factors that impact different sectors are not static, and are determined by a wide range of lifecycles.

Antibiotics and Animal Health: California Raises the Bar

On October 10, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 27, a bill limiting the use of medically important antibiotics (MIA) in animal agriculture, thus going beyond federal policy as outlined by the FDA. This action increases our confidence in our thesis that the potential for more restrictive regulation (as seen with SB 27) and shifting consumer demand pose a risk to antibiotics sales for animal health companies.

Regional and Sector Strategy: Monthly Update

We are Underweight Energy, Materials, and Industrials. Our only Overweight is in Financials. We upgrade China and Russia to Neutral from Underweight.

Learning from History: How do Historical and Forecast Electricity Prices Connect?

We believe that the rising electricity prices forecast by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) in their Annual Energy Outlook 2015 do not account for the dampening effect of rapidly declining renewable energy costs and low financing costs. In particular, rooftop solar should act as a cap on the price that utilities will be able to charge retail customers while falling wholesale solar prices, set at a fixed price for up to 20 years, could reduce wholesale electricity prices for the long term.

Uber: Red Light, Green Light

The decision by New York City to drop a proposed bill that would limit growth of for-hire vehicle (FHV) companies – such as Uber and Lyft – attracted significant media attention. Based on prior analysis, we reiterate our view that the status of providers (i.e., employees versus independent contractors) poses a greater risk to FHV companies…. Read more »

Scenario: What if electricity prices fell?

US electricity prices have steadily increased in nominal terms over the last five decades. However, using history as a guide, we observe two distinct periods of falling prices driven by technology and government subsidies. We believe that a confluence of factors could once again result in structurally lower prices – with potential impact to power market participants.

Dissecting the “Sharing Economy:” Business model opportunities and risks

Between Uber’s $50 billion valuation, Etsy’s IPO and the large venture capital infusions into Airbnb, the “sharing economy” is transitioning from a social movement to a large-scale commercial business model.

Regional and Sector Strategy: May Update

We are now underweight the most cyclically sensitive sectors: Industrials, Materials, Energy. While we upgrade the CEEMEA region to Neutral from Underweight — in large part because of an improved earnings outlook — this likely reflects a modest rebound in oil prices, which remain 40% below year-ago levels.

The Drought in California: The New Normal? What Investors Need to Know…

California’s drought poses a resource crisis on a scale that has not been seen in the US for several decades. Experts forecast the drought, now in its third year, will continue at least through 2016, and the lack of rain, combined with a record low water table beneath the Central Valley, may be a “new… Read more »

Updating the Global Equity Strategy Investment Clock

An Increasingly Cautious Near-Term Equity Outlook — Plotting our sector and regional equity recommendations on the face of an “investment clock” suggests an increasingly cautious near-term outlook for global equities. A Tilt Away from Cyclical Sectors and Regions — Last month, we tilted further from cyclical sectors and regions. As for sectors, we are underweight Energy and Materials, neutral Industrials. In terms of regions, we are underweight CEEMEA and Latin America.

Regional and Sector Strategy: April Update

We continue to have a defensive tilt in our regional recommendations, and are Underweight the commodity-rich regions of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) and Latin America …

Judges Announced for “Sustainable Games” Competition

Harvard Business School, Intel Education among Business and Entrepreneurial Leaders to Select Winner of $25,000 Prize Five global leaders from across business, the capital markets and academia have been selected as judges for “Sustainable Games:  The Business Model Challenge.”  The competition, which offers a $25,000 prize, is sponsored by Cornerstone Capital Inc., together with the Clinton… Read more »

The Economics of Automation: Quick Serve Restaurant Industry

Increasing cost pressure. Labor and food represent a significant portion of restaurants’ cost structure. While these inputs have been relatively predictable in the past, the twin threats of rising wages and increasingly volatile food prices suggest a more challenging environment ahead. It’s not clear that cost inflation can be consistently offset by raising menu prices, so companies are considering new strategies to protect margins . . .

Regional and Sector Strategy: March Update

Our regional strategy is unchanged. We continue to have a defensive tilt in our regional recommendations, and are Underweight the commodity-rich regions of CEEMEA and Latin America. Japan continues to be the top-ranked country. Over the past twelve months, share buybacks in Japan have been the largest of any country / region, the first time that country has been the global buyback leader since we launched the regional model in April 2014. We highlight changes in the Energy suggesting, perhaps, that stock prices in the sector have not fallen as fast as earnings estimates . . .

Towards Decent Jobs and Sustainable Business: the Long Road Ahead for Walmart

Walmart surprised the markets last week when it announced, along with its year-end results, a salary increase for 500,000 of its employees, raising company minimum wages to $9 per hour in April 2015 (bringing the average wage to $13) and $10 per hour beginning February 2016. The retail giant’s financial results were otherwise unremarkable, with… Read more »

A Closer Look at Alibaba’s Corporate Governance

The recent, apparently resolved conflict between Alibaba and the Chinese government agency SAIC over counterfeit goods raises questions about whether shareholders should have confidence in the future growth of the company. With a valuation of over 30 times earnings, the market is pricing in a high degree of conviction about the company’s future growth. In… Read more »

Regional and Sector Strategy: February Update

Our regional strategy is unchanged, even with a heightened focus on monetary policies and exchange rates in the past month driven, in part, by fears of deflation. We continue to have a defensive tilt in our regional recommendations, and are Underweight the commodity-rich regions of CEEMEA and Latin America. Our sector strategy is also unchanged and remains “less cyclical, more defensive.” We maintain our relatively defensive posture given pockets of economic weakness globally. We are Overweight Health Care in North America, the U.K. and Europe ex U.K. We are Underweight or Neutral Energy in the majority of regions….

Introducing the Global Equity Strategy Investment Clock

Developing a multi-class asset allocation model — that also incorporates Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors — is a lofty undertaking. In this report, we take a first step by introducing our global equity strategy “investment clock”, which helps flesh out the equity outlook implied by our sector and regional recommendations….

Harnessing ‘Sustainable Brand Power’

How does a brand stay true to its purpose?  And how does a company create an emotional connection with its stakeholders, employees and consumers? These were just a few of the questions addressed by Jostein Solheim, CEO of Ben & Jerry’s during a Roundtable session Nov. 19th on “Sustainable Brand Power” at Cornerstone Capital Group. … Read more »

SustainableShipping.mobi

Nils Anderson, the CEO of AP Moller Maersk, spoke at this month’s BSR Conference in New York City and articulated his company’s aspiration to be “Taking the lead in a world of change.”  This company represents the ultimate player in global trade. And, if one subscribes to the economic theory of comparative advantage, then the… Read more »

Water & Sanitation: Everybody Needs Them, Especially During a Crisis

“Readers, I selected this story–written by a colleague here at Oxfam–when I learned that the focus of October’s issue of The Journal of Sustainable Finance and Banking would be on food and nutrition. Although Oxfam has worked on food and hunger issues from our inception, far too few people recognize the significance that clean water… Read more »

7,000 Chemicals and Highly Sustainable

Red wine, it is believed, has many virtues, from antioxidants to its high levels of resveratrol to promoting weight-loss. However, the virtues of wine can quickly be undone by harmful chemicals, pesticides and fungicides that are found in many varietals today. Unless a wine is certified organic and biodynamic, the consumer can be exposed unknowingly… Read more »

Rise of the Corporate Wellness Officer

Co-authored by Melissa Musiker and Julie Jack   Nutrition has now entered the C-suite. Progressive food and beverage companies are demonstrating an increasingly sophisticated approach to managing health and wellness issues.  Facing a world of 9 billion people, the prism through which food and beverage companies view health and wellness has expanded to include the… Read more »

Eating Ourselves Thirsty

As the world’s consumers increasingly eat their way up a middle class ladder replete with growing portions of meat, dairy, cooking oils and fruits and vegetables, farmers find their jobs growing harder by the day. Facing ever-hotter temperatures, record-busting cycles of drought and flood and finite amounts of irrigation water, farmers have the unenviable task… Read more »

The Search for a Sustainable Cuisine

For several years, I’ve tried — with an astounding lack of success — to persuade the students studying at The Culinary Institute of America, that the houses of PhD biologists are not haunted. They contain no ghosts. But even if they did, they’d be benevolent ones like “Casper the Friendly Ghost,” or the “Ghost of… Read more »

Investing in Seafood is Smart for Business, People and Planet

Will Baird also contributed to this article.   Solving non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity is one of the biggest challenges facing sustainable financing. Two thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese,[1] and the cost of heart disease is projected to reach $818 billion by 2030.[2] Heart disease is the… Read more »

The Diabetes Challenge: The Unintended Health Consequences of Reformulating Food Products

Diabetes can be characterized as a new type of pandemic. It is probably the first pandemic to be mostly caused by our modern lifestyle: what and how much we eat and how much we exercise[1].  Historically, people over 65 years of age used to develop diabetes. Today, however, younger people tend to develop diabetes, especially… Read more »

A Closer Looks at GMOs

Are laws requiring the labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms (GMO) justified? Do consumers have a right to know what is in their food, or will the labels simply confuse the public?

Transforming Snacks for Foodies: Exo Bars and Runa Tea

The soft drinks and snacks markets are changing. Consumers are progressively turning towards healthier, and more sustainable alternatives. Three deep trends are behind this slow evolution: our greater understanding of how climate change affects water, energy and food systems; increased awareness of how our choices affect communities that produce food commodities; and growing health consciousness…. Read more »

The Future of Urban Agriculture in U.S. Cities

Co-authored by Viki Radden and Doug Lawrence   Today, the U.S. population is over 316 million.   In less than 40 years, the U.S. Census Bureau projects we’ll reach a national population of 450 million, a 42% increase.   Where is this population going to live?  The answer to that question appears relatively clear; the U.S. Census Bureau… Read more »

The Future of Food and Sustainability…A Call for Action

The current U.S. agriculture model is not sustainable.  It is losing more than one acre of farmland a minute to development and causes the erosion of four billion tons of topsoil per year. It accounts for 82% of fresh water use while our major water sources such as the Ogallala Aquifer, Lake Mead and the… Read more »

Market Summary: Overview

In a year of surprisingly muted market volatility, this month we saw risk assets tumble as investor concerns reached a decisive tipping point. Anxiety over a less accommodative Fed, the pace and sustainability of global economic growth, continued conflict in Ukraine, escalating violence in the Middle East, and even the Ebola crisis have investors fleeing… Read more »

SustainableGames.com

In an effort to ignite and support the efforts of the next generation of business leaders, and a form of capitalism that is based upon greater collaboration and transparency, we launch this initiative among the world’s students who will be essential drivers of sustainable innovation…This is a call to action for social entrepreneurship: “Sustainable Games:… Read more »

Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals — a Serious Health Risk for All, a Potential Opportunity for Business

In our daily lives we are constantly exposed to a large number of chemicals, affecting us and our health – without us even realising it.  These chemicals stem from a broad-range of products we use every day; plastic food containers, shower curtains, sunscreens, pesticides, furniture, toys, cosmetics and even the cash receipts or lottery tickets… Read more »

Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals — a Serious Health Risk for All, a Potential Opportunity for Business

This is an abstract from the September edition of The Cornerstone JSFB. Subscribers can read the full article here. In our daily lives we are constantly exposed to a large number of chemicals, affecting us and our health – without us even realising it.  These chemicals stem from a broad-range of products we use every… Read more »

Risk Mitigation — the Basis for Chemical Safety

This is an abstract from The Cornerstone JSFB’s September edition. Subscribers can read the full article here. Chemical safety, especially when it comes to our everyday consumer products, is a topic of increasing relevance for the public. Almost weekly, news about food being contaminated, poisonous toys due to use of lead paints or unhealthy indoor… Read more »

The Cornerstone Capital Strategy Update: Less Cyclical, More Defensive

We have updated the inputs to the Cornerstone Capital Sector Strategy Model in which we rank the ten GICs in the MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI). Figure 1 summarizes the most recent rankings. Figure 1:  Cornerstone Capital Global Markets Equity Strategy Model Sector Overview Relative to the previous rankings (published in the June edition… Read more »

Cornerstone Summary of “Earnings Guidance A White Paper from KKS Advisors & the Generation Foundation”

The fact of the matter is that capital markets have moved away from a long-term mindset and more towards a focus on short-term results. This trend has been well observed by market participants and academics alike, yet the question as to what will serve as a catalyst to reverse the trend remains. To this end, it’s worth highlighting a recently released white paper by The Generation Foundation and KKS Advisors focusing on the impact of regular Earnings Guidance. Thorough examination of the topic leads to the following conclusions….

Update on Golf Industry

As we proceed through earnings season, our concerns (read our “Par for the Course” article published in the June edition of The Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking) about demographic secular headwinds is starting to play out.  Our thesis, which began with near-term overhangs in the golf value-chain, are coming to fruition. First, as of… Read more »

Confirmation Bias in the Investment Process

The ancient Greek historian, Thucydides, wrote, “It is a habit of mankind . . . to use sovereign reason to thrust aside what they do not fancy.” The phenomenon to which he speaks manifests itself in all walks of life, from politics to religion and investing. Today, this concept is termed “confirmation bias” and refers to the tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses….

How Purpose-Driven Programs Can Solve the Employee Engagement Problem

The ripple effect of Gallup’s recent research on the State of the Workplace continues to widen. Their report basically indicted companies globally for their inattention to criticality of an engaged and motivated employee base. Based on their research, only 13% of employees worldwide are actively engaged in their work. For the U.S. alone, they assert,… Read more »

Open Hiring: A Culture of Training and Learning

Greyston celebrated its 32nd Anniversary this year and we are extremely proud of our heritage as a pioneering social enterprise. Over these past thirty-two years the concepts of social entrepreneurship, conscious capitalism and environmental sustainability have become common terminology in many business and political circles. What has not changed is the inability for individuals with… Read more »

Top Sports, Media & Entertainment Brands: A Focus on ESG Metrics

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION Since 2009, Bloomberg has been uploading key corporate ESG metrics to its database from companies’ own financial and sustainability reports. They have over 800 data points – 10 to 12 are considered key ESG metrics for all companies to disclose to the capital markets.  Sustainability… Read more »

Embracing the New Market Opportunity: LGBT+A

The traditional courting of the “gay market” ignores a much larger market opportunity. LGBT friends and family i.e. Allies, are showing their support not only as citizens, but also as consumers — making purchasing decisions that align with their views on LGBT equality. The latest estimates (2012) put the total buying power of the adult LGBT population at nearly $800B. When you add Allies, that number is far greater. This is the “LGBT+A” market.

Principles of Responsible Gaming

A Chinese proverb says, “If you must play, decide upon three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.” Unfortunately, in not heeding this advice, some casual gamblers find themselves grappling with gambling addiction. Partly because of the well-documented adverse effects of compulsive gambling, a subset of ethics-based investors exclude gaming companies, along with other “sin stocks,” from their investment universe…

Fantasy Sports – Business Versus Social Implications

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  Fantasy sports is big business. A fanatic fan base and highly desirable demographic has turned it into a $3 billion industry in just the U.S. and Canada, growing over 12% annually.  The fantasy sports phenomenon caught fire with the advent… Read more »

Sports Analytics for the Masses

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  Professional tennis players now sparring on Centre Court at Wimbledon have likely scrutinized every part of their game – from stance, to serving strength to baseline maneuvers — with a team of coaches at the ready. But what of the… Read more »

Governance & the NFL

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION. In sports, fixing the game is the ultimate sin, and all sports leagues work hard to prevent contests from being decided by anything other than the skill and the effort of the players and coaches. No sport survives for long if it does not make the delight of its fans its central purpose…

Feeding Fans Sustainably

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  When we think about sustainability in the context of the fan experience we take a holistic view of our opportunity and responsibility – from the restaurants supporting the sports events to the ingredients provided by our supply chain.  In doing… Read more »

The Power of Sports: From the Field to the Business World

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  As you bring your daughter to her sports clinics this weekend, to Tae Kwon Do or swimming or soccer, or wherever else her passion lies, celebrate. She’s not just playing. She’s not just exercising. She’s actually building critical life skills, such… Read more »

The Spin on Spin-Offs

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  Time Warner Inc. completed the spin-off of Time Inc. earlier this month. Likewise, CBS Corp. announced that it would split off its remaining shares in CBS Outdoor Americas Inc. It’s clear that tax-free spin-offs continue to be popular transactions for… Read more »

A Focus on India

The outlook for Indian equities likely remains supportive. GDP is a key driver of corporate profits in India and, as noted, GDP estimates have started to trend up. Moreover, given current low capacity utilization rates and margins near historic lows, a modest improvement in profit margins could result in a meaningful boost to earnings. In terms of valuation, the Indian market is currently trading at around 15x one year forward earnings, which is in line with historical averages.

The Role of Media in India’s Election Outcome

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  The failings of India’s media during this election are symptoms of deeper ailments.  Most media companies are family owned.  Their decisions are driven more by personal and historical animosities, or agendas, than by long-term business strategies.  Those few that are… Read more »

Let’s Dance: The Virtuous Cycle of Creativity

Mom and Dad would be proud. It only took 24 years from when I received my Bachelor of Music degree to locate the convergence between fine arts and sustainable finance. Sustainable practices in entertainment and media are perhaps not as obviously critical as they might be in extractive industries, food services, or manufacturing. What is… Read more »

Business of CSR and Sustainability in India

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION.  Four years ago, a good friend and a very senior government colleague here in India, Pravir Kumar, asked me to weigh the prospects of getting into the area of CSR. Given that his thoughts and ideas were way ahead of… Read more »

Par for the Course?

The modern game of golf has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 15th-century Scotland, and its fans are some of the most ardent of any sport. Ironically, it is golf’s deep-rooted traditions that have left it struggling to adapt to structural shifts, and the industry is now facing declining interest in many… Read more »

Introducing Cornerstone Capital Global Sector Strategy

In this note, we introduce the Cornerstone Capital Global Sector Strategy Model.  The model ranks the 10 GICS in the MSCI All Country World Index.  As discussed in detail below, the model employs a quantitative multi-factor methodology to generate sector recommendations based on proprietary measures of valuation and earnings.  The Cornerstone Capital model also takes… Read more »

PIP’n Good

I’ve been on a mission for close to half my life — to figure out how best to steer individuals toward more socially mindful daily life choices. Because really, from the coffee you brew in the morning to the way you get to work, your everyday decisions have an impact — on the environment, on… Read more »

Warby Parker

At the heart of any successful entrepreneur is the ability to identify and meet a market need. In some cases, meeting this need is premised on the introduction of an original, innovative product while in others it is about improving the process by which it is produced and delivered. The latter appears to be the case in the eyewear industry where startup Warby Parker is aiming to provide consumers with “high quality eyewear at a fraction of the price.”

The Cornerstone Capital Regional Strategy Update

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION In the April edition of The Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking we introduced the Cornerstone Capital Regional Strategy Model. This month there is no change in our regional weightings. We provide a quick update by region. Michael Geraghty is the… Read more »

Fans, Flavors and Failure: Innovation from Cow to Cone

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION. How do you measure success in your company’s innovation strategy? Ben & Jerry’s strives to create engagement, stories that are willingly shared and essentially present products that fans don’t want to live without, summarized in two words: “Flavor excitement.” Success, then, can… Read more »

Going Deep: Measurement Systems at the Product Level

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION. In a world of big data, radical transparency for corporations and sustainability reporting on the rise, we should see a major shift in how businesses are tackling the most intractable environmental and social issues, as well as a rapid pace of progress… Read more »

Reimagining Impact, Reimaging ROI

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION. Co-authored by Bob Harrison, CEO and Bulbul Gupta, Head of Market-Based Approaches at the Clinton Global Initiative If we care about meeting the economic, social, and environmental demands of the 21st century, and growing consumer demand for responsible products, then we need to… Read more »

“I Bought the Farm!”

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION Whether it was it for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation or the Open Space Institute, I had been buying and selling land to preserve it in perpetuity for historic preservation, habitat protection and recreational use. The work was non-adversarial, amply funded… Read more »

PIP’n Good

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION I’ve been on a mission for close to half my life — to figure out how best to steer individuals toward more socially mindful daily life choices. Because really, from the coffee you brew in the morning to the way you get… Read more »

Where Angels Fear to Tread: Entrepreneurs Rush In, But Investors Don’t

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION Co-Authored by Robert D. Lamb and Sadika Hameed, Program on Crisis, Conflict and Cooperation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies A teenage girl sews some clothes and sells them to a vendor at the local market, grows her business, and eventually… Read more »

MingJian (消费明鉴), Testing for Safe Quality Products in China

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION The life of a consumer in China is akin to walking blind through a minefield; always fearful that your next purchase may contain hidden dangers. If you enter the words “product safety China” into Google, it will return more than 150 million… Read more »

Introducing Cornerstone Capital Global Sector Strategy

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION We introduce the Cornerstone Capital Global Sector Strategy Model which ranks the 10 GICS in the MSCI All Country World Index. The model employs a quantitative multi-factor methodology to generate sector recommendations based on proprietary measures of valuation and earnings and incorporates… Read more »

Smoke & Mirrors: The E-Cigarette Conference Call Highlights

Recent announcements by the Food and Drug Administration to regulate e-cigarettes are significant for the future of the $1.2 billion industry, not just because of the material impact of future regulations, but also because of the impact of the public debate and media discourse on the topic.  The FDA’s focus is on banning sales to… Read more »

Introducing Cornerstone Capital Global Markets Regional Equity Strategy Model

In this note, we introduce the Cornerstone Capital Global Markets Regional Equity Strategy Model.  As discussed in detail below, the model employs a quantitative multi-factor methodology to generate regional recommendations based on proprietary measures of valuation and earnings.  The Cornerstone Capital model also takes into account corporate governance metrics by region.  We will be updating… Read more »

Transportation Facilities Focus on Sustainability at Billion Dollar Scale

EXCERPT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE APRIL 2014 EDITION. When we commute and travel, do we think about the long-term sustainability of the facilities we use? Does it matter that these buildings are efficient and provide healthy environments? Up until now, we have considered multi-modal transit facilities as positive infrastructure since… Read more »

Supply Chain Ethics & Design: Sustainability Becomes Fashionable with Indigenous Fair Trace Tool™

EXCERPT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MARCH 2014 EDITION. Fashionistas can now see beyond clothing labels for the first time with the Fair Trace Tool™ developed by fair trade fashion company INDIGENOUS. This new tool, in the form of a QR code on hang tags, offers transparency throughout the garment’s supply… Read more »

Sustainable Fashion Design — Could Green be the New Black?

EXCERPT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MARCH 2014 EDITION. Although March may mean St. Patrick’s Day, that’s not the only reason some apparel companies are hoping you’ll be wearing more “green.”  While child labor and other social concerns have been on the radar screen for a while now, apparel/footwear companies are now… Read more »

Biomimicry: Turning to Nature’s R&D Department to Increase Productivity

Mature economies have witnessed steadily declining productivity growth since the late ‘90s. Greater efficiencies in major emerging economies have been an offsetting factor, but they, too, are now seeing productivity growth decelerate. The challenge we’re now faced with is not only putting capital to work, but accelerating the flow of capital to innovative, sustainable businesses that in aggregate will help reverse this alarming productivity trend.

Rausch Chocolate

Unbeknownst to many consumers, the supply chain that facilitates the delivery of those delectable heart-shaped chocolates is facing significant challenges. Should these challenges go unresolved, the future of chocolate may not be so sweet. The large majority of cocao is grown on small family farms that often use unsophisticated, labor-intensive farming practices. Poor yields are demonstrative of poor or inexistent educational systems and inadequate knowledge of modern farming techniques.

Nestlé: Leading Company in Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation

EXCERPT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE FEBRUARY 2014 EDITION. Climate change is integrated into our company-wide risk management processes and in 2013 we further strengthened their commitment to lowering GHG emissions associated with the production and distribution of our products. Nestlé also commits to designing products that help consumers lower their… Read more »

Purecircle: Stevia Replacing Nutritive Sweeteners with PureCircle Stevia to Make a Positive Impact on Carbon

EXCERPT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE FEBRUARY 2014 EDITION. It is our vision to lead the global expansion of stevia as the next mass volume natural sweetener and encourage healthier diets through the supply of natural ingredients to the global food and beverage industry.  And it is our mission to scale… Read more »

Next Generation Brazilian Consumers Focusing on Sustainable Actions

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, December 2013, written by Gustavo Piras Oliveira, LatAm Director of Research and Consumer Analyst, UBS. Consumers are becoming highly alert to socially responsible and sustainable actions. Consumers want things that are meaningful for their lives. Sustainable actions should drive demand and profitable growth in Brazil…. Read more »