Posts Tagged: Article – Guest

Why “Attentiveness” Matters: A Cautionary Tale for Investors

Editor’s Note: The piece below by Uwe Gneiting, a Research and Policy Advisor for the Private Sector Department at Oxfam America, and originally published here on July 13, 2017, struck a chord with Cornerstone’s research team. In October 2016 we published Extractive Company Values, an in-depth report illustrating how mining companies’ “attentiveness” to material environmental… Read more »

The UN Has a Problem

Editor’s Note: Andrew MacLeod is a member of Cornerstone Capital Group’s Board of Directors. He is affiliated to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, and is the Chairman of Griffin Law, which is a law firm. He worked as an aid worker for the Red Cross in Yugoslavia and Rwanda in the… Read more »

Colorado Impact Report: Will Denver Become America’s First ‘Community Wealth’ City?

In cities across America, a new form of local economy is emerging. Many call this growing movement “Community Wealth Building,” a framework for economic development built on principles of democratizing wealth, broadening ownership over capital, leveraging existing institutional assets to benefit place, and preventing money from leaking out of our communities. The goal is to… Read more »

Colorado Impact Report: Blending Business & Philanthropy for Colorado’s Children

Since making one of the largest onshore oil discoveries in 1967, oil entrepreneur Sam Gary has been pioneering the idea that business and philanthropy can — and should — work together for those who need it most. Sam founded The Piton Foundation in 1976, yet he was equally committed to supporting the community through his… Read more »

Colorado Impact Report: Advancing Access to Opportunity in Metro Denver

As a community foundation, we listen regularly and deeply to the residents of our region, and base our goals and strategies on their input. Our core values of leadership, equity, inclusiveness, and accountability have guided our work for the past two decades. Our most recent comprehensive community listening process resulted in our current focus on… Read more »

Colorado Impact Report: SOIL–Slow Opportunities for Investing Locally

I often refer to slow money as “the CSA of investing.”  As with community supported agriculture, our efforts revolve around informal, direct relationships and shared risk.  Slow Money funding is flowing in a variety of ways in dozens of communities across the United States (and a few in Canada and France) — peer-to-peer lending, investment… Read more »

Colorado Impact Report: Impact Investing for Community Real Estate

Nonprofit real estate company Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) was established in 2003 with $10 million in cash and $7.5 million in real estate as an impact investment by the Gary Williams Energy Company (now Gary Community Investments, GCI).  With a long-standing commitment to Colorado’s underserved communities, GCI seeded ULC to “conserve” strategic urban properties for… Read more »

Colorado Impact Report: Supporting Communities with Patient and Flexible Capital

Zoma Capital was created in 2016 by Ben and Lucy Ana Walton to execute and manage the family’s investment activities. While we seek to generate best-in-class rates of financial return, we also strive to incorporate the family’s unyielding commitment to addressing some of society’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. Based in Denver, Zoma Capital… Read more »

Colorado Impact Report: Laying the Groundwork for a National Impact Investing Marketplace

Impact Finance Center (IFC), a nonprofit impact investing academic center founded in 2013 and based in Denver, believes that philanthropy is an investment and that every investment has an impact. IFC works with philanthropists and investors to understand those impacts on a broader scale and maximize the benefits of every deployment of capital. IFC uses… Read more »

Colorado Impact Report: Activating Investment through Donor-Advised Funds

Roughly $80 billion is currently held in donor-advised funds in the US.  We believe those funds should be aligned with the donor’s values and targeted impacts until they are ultimately given to their favorite charities.  Unlocking the donor-advised funds held by families in Colorado for impact investing will create a pool of capital that can… Read more »

Colorado Impact Report: Building a B Corp Ecosystem in Colorado

The B Corp community is currently made up of over 2,100 companies in 50 countries.  While each company is unique, they share one unifying goal: “Using Business as a Force for Good.”  In Colorado, the B Corp community has grown from around 30 in 2014 to close to 100 today.  Having such a strong concentration… Read more »

Colorado Impact Report: Boosting Entrepreneurship

For more than eight years, the Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute has filled a gap in services to low-income and disadvantaged entrepreneurs in Denver. Under-resourced individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong work ethic can build a business while creating jobs and prosperity for the community. RMMFI is the only Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in… Read more »

Colorado Impact Report: “Pay for Success” — A Promising Path to Impact

In 2013, Social Impact Solutions (SIS) formed with a mission of building out Colorado’s emerging Pay-for-Success (PFS), also known as Social Impact Bonds, field. Leveraging the growing interest in impact investing, SIS began working with governmental entities, investors, foundations and social programs to take promising programs to scale with new social finance strategies.  In the… Read more »

Colorado Impact Report: Can We Engage Impact Investors at the Community Level?

The Community Wealth Building Network of Metro Denver (CWB) is a burgeoning network comprising individuals and organizations with a shared vision to change the economic paradigm in Metro Denver by focusing on building wealth in economically marginalized communities. The CWB Network got its start following a community wealth building conference held at the Anschutz Medical… Read more »

To Build a Better World, Build Resilience Among Youth

At Hetrick-Martin Institute, the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit service provider focused on serving LGBTQ youth, we know resilience when we see it. In the financial and risk industries, building resilience is about helping companies or governments achieve success in an ever-changing world of challenges. When it comes to building resilience among young people, the… Read more »

Proximity Ignites Change

To succeed, the UN Sustainable Development Goals must be clear, digestible, and emotionally resonant—and they must be known across every corner of the planet. To achieve this aspiration, we must not just lean on government, but also mobilize business. By harnessing the power of commerce towards achieving the goals, we will drive impact with brands, executives, corporations, employees, and ultimately consumers.

The Gender Equality Gap: A Problem Too Big to Tackle?

Closing the gender equality gap is among the priorities of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 5), along with end ending poverty and hunger, and ensuring quality education. In short, it is, has been, and will continue to be one of the most tremendous challenges of our times. What precedes this article is a… Read more »

Social Equity Investing Demands Greater Proximity Between Investors and Beneficiaries

There are financial and social costs to excluding the ultimate beneficiaries of investments. Not only is the process of engaging beneficiaries helpful in its ability to assure passage of regulatory hurdles, it also mitigates against costly mistakes that can be avoided by bringing beneficiaries into the impact investing process early and often.

Place-Based Impact Investing: How to Invest in Your Own Backyard

Interest in impact investing concepts that combine financial returns with a positive social or environmental impact have been growing in appeal.   What seems to be lacking is a model to encourage broad-based place-based impact investing across all asset classes.  For fiduciaries of place-based organizations’ funds, like those at community foundations, pension plans, endowments and many… Read more »

To “B” or Not to “B”: The Power of Corporate Form

Corporate form has the power to effect significant and desperately needed change. Corporate form serves as the very backbone of our society, shaping the actions of the most powerful institutions of our time (corporations) and providing the functional framework for the behavior of virtually all men and women who work around the world. Therefore, I believe that corporate form can be a very effective extra‑governmental tool for solving the crises.

Exploring the Challenges in Maritime Financing

What would happen if the traditional investors in maritime financing downsized their commitment to funding the construction or secondary sale and purchase of the ships that the global economy relies on for international trade? It could be reality, if the current apathy towards the industry continues and alternatives are not sought. In this article we explore the possibilities, including the role alternative finance may play.

Decision-making in a Context of Uncertainty – Why Investors Should Look at Forced Labor in Their Portfolios

Forced labor is a risk that can affect shareholders drastically, in light of increasing regulation, litigation, media and consumer attention. In order to make informed investment and active ownership decisions, investors need access to information on how well companies are addressing forced labor risks.

Exploring Ways to Close the ESG Info Gap: Perspective from Canada

A growing body of research confirms that investors around the world are incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into their investment decision-making. Adding to the evidence, a recent study of institutional investors in Canada found that investors do consider ESG issues when making investment decisions.

The Power—and Danger—of Suggestion

  There is ample evidence that our minds consistently distort our perception of the world when making decisions under uncertainty, even within our own constructs of reality. Distortion in perception can stem not only from differences in experience and education but also the necessary use of heuristic judgments. We use heuristics[1] — mental shortcuts that… Read more »

Responsible Innovation for Health Technology

Health is becoming personal, predictive, and preventive through advanced technologies – wearable devices, embedded sensors, artificially intelligent robots, and virtual reality headsets. A deluge of data and feedback generated by these technologies nudge consumers to engage in healthier activities, or are aggregated and analyzed for insights about diverse populations across geographies. Major technology companies are investing in solutions powered by “big data” that promise to improve the health of populations worldwide. The opportunities appear boundless.

Well-Being Is Taking Business for a Run

Beyond explicit sustainable investing, more and more stakeholders are expecting companies to marry purpose with profits and to do more good for society. When it comes to the betterment of human health, such as raising the state of physical, mental and social well-being, this responsibility looms large, and the inputs, outputs, and impacts may be difficult to pin down.

Sustainable Sweden: Innovation and Investments Grow a Small Giant in the North

The pacemaker, the three-point seatbelt and ultrasound—these life-altering inventions all originated in a country that 100 years ago was among Europe’s poorest. Today, Sweden is renowned for its culture of innovation, strong global brands, and a social system that encourages risk-taking and responsibility. For investors seeking to make tech and sustainable investments, as well as for corporations and funds seeking to raise capital from sustainability-focused institutional investors—Sweden is a natural first pick.

The Power of Responsibility – Making Sense of the UN Global Compact

The United Nations Global Compact is the world’s largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative. Currently it has more than 8,000 business participants from more than 145 countries. Participants are required to support ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. 

The Monetization of Misery

On December 18, 2015, the eve of the Christmas holidays, the University of California announced that it was withdrawing roughly $30 million worth of its investments in private prison companies. U of C was not the first institution of higher learning to do so; Columbia University had divested itself of all of its shares in the private prison industry the previous June. In both cases, the Trustees’ decision to divest came after months of pressure from black student groups. By their action, Columbia and the University of California joined corporations like General Electric, Scopia Capital…

Investing Together: Creating Investment Opportunities for Generation Selfie

This last July, over 500 young adults, representing an estimated wealth of $750 billion, gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York as part of the Nexus Global Youth Summit to discuss social entrepreneurship. They did not send their wealth or philanthropy advisors, but instead chose to spend three summer days cooped up in conference rooms to learn how to better use their capital and business acumen to make the world a better place.

Unlocking the Closet: The Economic Imperatives Driving Multinationals to Create LGBT-Inclusive Workplaces

Forward-looking multinational corporations understand that they need to create inclusive work environments in order to recruit and retain top talent, and stay competitive in the global marketplace. But they face a significant hurdle to doing so globally: Many countries still host significant levels of societal discrimination against LGBT people. Discrimination creates hugely significant negative impacts on economies.

What the Investment Sector Can Learn from the Agility of Veterans

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Leaders create order out of chaos. This ability to calm the storm can be seen across professions and functions, but it is acutely observed in military men and women leaders. Key to managing through ambiguity is learning agility. In fact, today learning agility is often seen as the No. 1 predictor of leadership success, more accurate than IQ, EQ (emotional intelligence), education level, or even leadership competencies.

“Legitimacy” in the Banking Sector – Revisited

In January 2015, we published a report introducing a framework to enable analysis of the “legitimacy” of an institution by understanding its relationships with stakeholders. We used the banking sector as our test case given the recency of the Global Financial Crisis, but the framework can be applied to any industry or institution. Given this edition’s focus on “Order and Chaos,” we felt it would be relevant to revisit our previous work. This article is an excerpt from the report.

Philanthropy, Markets and Transparency

Part private, part public, philanthropic foundations live in a twilight world in which their desire to have impact while keeping a low profile increasingly collides with growing public expectations for transparency. How this tension is negotiated will be crucial to the future of how private wealth contributes to the public good in America and around the world.

Ordering the Unknown

Order and chaos – given the choice, humans would usually choose order. Sure, we love to explore, but as we do so we also love to categorize, to organize, to create boxes and silos of knowledge. M.C. Escher summarized these tendencies by noting, “We adore chaos because we love to produce order.”

Placement Power: How Tesco Is Helping Curb Customers’ Sweet Tooth

We are facing major global health challenges that have potential consequences for shoppers and for retail companies. The obesity issue, which is forecast to get worse, is already contributing to high rates of chronic conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Consumers are actively looking for supermarkets to take a lead in helping them live healthier lives, and external stakeholders expect us to play a role as well.

Novo Nordisk: Rethinking the Challenge of Diabetes

Almost 100 years ago, Novo Nordisk set out on a journey to change diabetes. Today we supply close to half the world’s insulin and are the largest private investor in the research of diabetes, including the search for a cure for type 1 diabetes. Our founders could hardly have envisioned the company we are today, but neither could they have grasped the way diabetes would turn into one of the 21st century’s most pressing public health challenges.

A Vision for Innovative Health Care Delivery

We face a unique opportunity in growth markets today, a by-product of the profound demographic shifts occurring at the confluence of a growing middle class, urbanization, ongoing challenges in battling infectious diseases and the rise in non-communicable diseases. These shifts are driving the need for substantial investment in infrastructure and innovation to enable the delivery of quality healthcare that is both accessible and affordable.

How Life Insurers Can Support Healthy Living

A natural alignment exists between consumer health and longevity and the goals of the life insurance industry.  In fact, life insurers have been strong proponents of healthy living and disease prevention for more than 100 years.  After all, longer, healthier lives are in everyone’s best interest; individuals who live longer support the financial goals of life insurers and can lead to a society that’s more productive.

Healthy Heart Africa: A Business Plan for Tackling Non-Communicable Diseases

AstraZeneca launched Healthy Heart Africa in October 2014 to support the governments of Africa in their effort to reduce the burden of heart disease – specifically hypertension. In doing so we recognized that we could not achieve our mission solely by increasing access to high-quality medicines through an in-kind contribution program. Instead, we approached it as a market-creating effort, one which would strengthen local healthcare systems, help build our own capabilities and, most importantly, benefit patients.

Health, Happiness, Performance: Formula for Success

A wealth of evidence points to the fact that the health and happiness — and, in turn, motivation — of a company’s workforce have a direct correlation with its performance. The holistic range of programs offered at Unilever were inspired by our company mission to help people look good, feel good and get more out of life. This sentiment applies to our employees as much as it does to our customers and consumers.

Doing Right, While Doing Well: The SDG Opportunity

For more than a decade, the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) harmonized, energized, and expanded the first collaborative agenda to help the world’s most vulnerable populations. While unfinished business remains, the MDGs succeeded in spurring governments and the private sector to donate billions of dollars, and to cooperate along with civil society in ways that could not have been imagined just a few years earlier. Now the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), launched this year by world leaders, offer business a more comprehensive array of new ways to “do right, while doing well.”

A Model for Collaboration

Twenty five years ago, McDonald’s and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) worked together to develop a groundbreaking model for industry and nongovernmental organization collaboration. It was the first partnership between an environmental group and a Fortune 500 company in an era when environmental and business interests were typically not aligned. The focus was not on philanthropy, the traditional model at the time; rather, the focus was on improving business practices.

Transforming Tobacco

The negative health effects of smoking are top of mind when society looks at Philip Morris International (PMI). For us, this translates into a societal mandate to transform our business by developing and offering to adult smokers an innovative range of alternative tobacco and nicotine products that have the potential to reduce risks for smokers and in turn reduce population harm compared to continued smoking. We refer to these revolutionary products as “Reduced Risk Products” (RRPs).

“Wellness:” More than Healthcare Dollars Saved

At KKR, we focus on improving a company’s operations and enhancing its value over a number of years. A longer time horizon allows us to look beyond quarterly earnings and instead focus on long-term value creation. Using this approach, we work to identify multiple ways to enhance a business. Workplace wellness is an evolving area of focus for us with multiple benefits for companies – and the communities where they operate.

American Voices on Health & Wellness

A man in North Carolina said: “Health care is a human right. Companies should not cut corners on this aspect.”

A woman in Idaho said: “Most companies now hire workers part time so they don’t have to provide insurance.”

A woman in Pennsylvania said: “When firms were required to provide health insurance to full-time employees, they cut the hours of full-time employees so they became part-timers. That was manipulative.”

The Paradox of Incentive Insensitivity

“Fanatic.” Just having read that word, I can probably guess the unflattering image going through your minds. Winston Churchill offered a slightly more benign portrait, “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” If that’s our working definition then anyone who’s ever been trapped in a conversation with me has learned the hard way that I’m a fanatic. And I am. Proudly.

Thinking Differently About Weather-Related Catastrophes

  Laural Warren joined Swiss Re’s Financial Risk Management team in 2007 from ABN AMRO.  At Swiss Re, she was responsible for assessing credit risk to banks and financial institutions. In 2014 she transferred to Qualitative Risk Management, evaluating potential reputational risk posed by new transactions, sensitive business risk outreach in the Americas, support and… Read more »

What’s Often Missing in a Healthy C-Suite is… Health and Resilience

In the past few years, there has been an explosion and evolution of corporate titles, which I believe reflects the fact that companies are facing new challenges– from sustainability and greater supply chain transparency to data/privacy – and need to be clear both to internal staff and external partners that they are elevating these issues and taking them seriously. But health remains absent from the rank of C-Suite titles.

Government Transparency Measures: Addressing the “S” in ESG

A recent survey by The Economist found that 71% of 853 top executives believe their companies’ responsibility to protect human rights extends beyond compliance with labor laws. Yet, similar companies have few Key Performance Indicators that correlate with how they address forced labor in their supply chains. A recent survey by CERES found that only 40% of 600 top companies had a policy that explicitly prohibits suppliers from using forced labor.

Seeding a Resilient Future

Agricultural innovation is needed to enable production of not only more, but also better-quality and more nutritious, food. Crops need to become stronger while planted in increasingly harsh conditions such as soil degradation, salinization, and drought. The big difference between the advances of the last century and today’s challenge is that the new solutions need to be resilient: able to thrive in this new environment

Boosting Returns, Boosting Resilience

A hot topic these days on university campuses and among capital endowment managers for cultural and philanthropic organizations is whether or not to divest from fossil fuel companies. While this is a good way to express an opinion about an institution’s values, it will not necessarily contribute to the kind of change that would be a much better expression of those values.

Of Chore Wars and Talent Wars

While pop culture is full of stories of couples fighting over chores, most business leaders think these battles have nothing to do with work. Yet, who does what at home profoundly affects who can do what at work. Understanding that link is vital to fostering a work environment where everyone can thrive.

A Measure of Health

Since the introduction of the triple bottom line into business language, one of the most obvious so-called non-financial factors has largely been disregarded by stakeholders, including investors. That factor is the health of employees. Fortunately, things have changed.