Posts Categorized: Health & Nutrition

Food Safety: Is Whole Foods Prepared?

Salad Bar with fresh vegetables on ice Closeup

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.

Poultry Antibiotics in Emerging Markets: Should We Rethink Growth?

Chicken feed in a brown bag on a marble plate

Recent survey results indicate a move away from antibiotics in emerging market poultry production. Our read of the survey results is that investors should be cautious assuming that growth in emerging market poultry production will translate into similar growth in medicated feed additives.

Evolving Lifecycles in an ESG Materiality Matrix

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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

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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

set of of food colorants, food additives

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

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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

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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

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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

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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).

Tracking our Thesis on Nutritional Feed Additives

A group of baby chicks, standing under a warming light on a farm.

As we discussed in our October 5, 2015 report Antibiotics and Animal Health: Value-Chain Implications in the US, a confluence of regulatory action and heightened consumer awareness is exerting pressure on livestock producers to reassess their usage of antibiotics. Our optimistic view on specialty and nutritional feed additives is supported by Adisseo and Novozymes’ recent launch of a probiotics product.

Regional and Sector Strategy: Monthly Update

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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.

Antibiotics and Animal Health: California Raises the Bar

Concept of national healthcare system - California

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.

Updating the Global Equity Strategy Investment Clock

Clock_shutterstock_102563930. Vasilius

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.

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

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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: February Update

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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

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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 »

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

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“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

Courtesy of Chateau Maris

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

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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 »

The Search for a Sustainable Cuisine

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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

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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

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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

Experiment with green seedlings in the lab

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

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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

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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

Courtesy of Sky Vegetables

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 »

SustainableGames.com

People Planning in a Conference and Innovation Concept

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

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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 »

Ebola as a Challenge to Health and Investment

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The latest Ebola outbreak has killed at least 1,200 people and probably infected 3,000 to 4,000 more across several West African countries, making it the biggest on record. From an initial start in Guinea, the focus of this deadly virus has shifted to Liberia and Sierra Leone (with limited numbers in Nigeria and Senegal), devastating… Read more »

The 2014 El Niño: Disrupting the Climate for Business?

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Climate forecasters breathed a collective sigh of relief earlier this month as predictions of a “mega El Niño” on par with severe incidents that took place in 1997-98 were downgraded. Scientists now believe a more modest event will develop later this year and run through the winter of 2014/2015. Nonetheless, the revised “60-65% chance” forecast… 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 »

The Cornerstone Capital Strategy Update: Less Cyclical, More Defensive

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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 »

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 »

Open Hiring: A Culture of Training and Learning

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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 »

A Look at the Reynolds/Lorillard Deal: Ramifications for E-Cigarettes

Transaction Overview Reynolds American (ticker: RAI) announced an agreement to acquire Lorillard (LO) for $27.4 billion in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $68.88 per LO’s share (based on RAI’s closing price on 7/14/14).  As noted by Reynolds, this price represents a premium of about 40% to Lorillard’s stock price on February 28, 2014, which was… Read more »

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 »

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 »

Par for the Course?

Playing golf, ball on tee and golf club about to shot. Vintage,

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

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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 »

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 »

“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 »

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

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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 »

Cornerstone Roundtable Discussion on the Global Pharmaceuticals Industry

The “Biopharma” Industry The lines between the “pharmaceuticals” and “biotechnology” sectors are becoming increasingly blurred. With 35-40% of the earnings of global large cap pharmaceuticals companies coming from biologics, it is probably more accurate to refer to these companies as operating in the “biopharma” industry. Corporate governance has played a key role in the emergence… Read more »

E-Cigarettes. A Positive Disruption to the Market and Health or a Distraction?

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The introduction of e-cigarettes (e-cigs) has acutely disrupted the tobacco product/nicotine marketplace.  As of 2013, Citi estimates that just under half of the 42 million smokers in the US have tried an e-cig.  And, while e-cigs currently account for only 1% of overall US cigarette industry volumes, global e-cig sales have rapidly increased to $1… 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 »

Principles for Responsible Investment: Focus on Farmland

EXCERPT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE FEBRUARY 2014 EDITION. In April 2010, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Supachai Panitchpakdi said: “There is an urgent need to invest more in agriculture both to ensure food security and as the basis for long-term economic development.” To address these… 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 »

Food Policy & the Environmental Credit Crunch

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, November 2013, written by Paul Donovan, Managing Director and Global Economist at UBS Investment Bank, and Julie Hudson, Managing Director, SRI & Sustainability at UBS Investment Bank. The global economy is at a dangerous stage of human development. The (relative) cornucopia of plenty has bred… Read more »

China: The Elusive Market for US Technology Companies

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, November 2013, written by Nikos Theodosopoulos, Founder of NT Advisors LLC, a consulting and advisory firm for the Technology Industry. While China represents a large and rapidly growing market for US Technology companies, the path to success in this market has proven difficult and sometimes… Read more »