Concerned Investors Push Corporations at Record Level in 2014

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This year investors filed a whopping 454 shareholder resolutions on social and environmental issues, up from 402 such resolutions filed last year. The 454 filings exceed the number of social and environmental resolutions ever filed in one year – clear testimony to the growth in shareholder action. As reported by the Sustainable Investments Institute, not only are the numbers of […]

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New Tool for Fossil Fuel Divestment

The Fossil Free Index tracks the stock market’s performance, minus the oil, gas, and coal industries.  Given the link between burning fossil fuels and global climate change, financial professionals are increasingly searching for investment opportunities that exclude oil, gas, and coal companies. Fossil-Free Indexes LLC (FFI), an environmental, social, and governance index and research company released its first broad American market fossil-free index last week. The announcement of the new index is a timely contribution to the growing fossil fuel company divestment movement across the country.  Market indices represent the value of an entire stock market at a single moment, and may be used to track changes over time. The Fossil-Free Index is based on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, omitting any fossil fuel companies identified by FFI’s “The Carbon Underground 200,” a proprietary list cataloguing some of the most carbon-intensive investment options. The release of the index, coming in the same week as the Rhodium Group’s “Risky Business” report on the broad economic effects of climate change, strengthens the message that a warming globe is most certainly not good for businesses. As rising temperatures and more intense weather events become commonplace, so do the risks of damage to critical infrastructure and natural resources. By seeking out opportunities for economic growth while minimizing the negative effects of greenhouse gas emissions (by decentivizing them altogether), investors can help shift focus away from climate- damaging fossil fuels, and towards efficient, clean, […]

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Light Weight = Heavy Impact

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Guest blog post and graphic by Allison Stewart of our Better Paper Project.  I was at a Sustainability in Packaging conference earlier this spring, and it hit home for me that we need better product and packaging development. If we develop products that have no further opportunity for re-use, then we are intentionally making unsustainable products and packages. If we […]

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Why a Central Banking System Doesn’t Work for Everyone

Green America’s Take Charge Program urges consumers to support smaller, local financial institutions in lieu of megabanks. Here are a few reasons why local banks and credit unions benefit smaller communities across the country.  Since the early 20th Century, The United States has relied heavily on its centralized banking system. Represented by the Federal Reserve and top-tier financial institutions, (such as Citi and Bank of America), a centralized system is one in which a single entity regulates a state’s currency, money supply, and interest rates. The Federal Reserve has many responsibilities, including regulating and supervising private banks, protecting the credit rights of consumers, and issuing the nation’s currency. The role of large, wealthy private banks is important in understanding how the central banking system works. The Fed is not controlled by the government, but rather by a group of governing board members who are often employees of private megabanks. Private banks give the board information related to their particular economic situation, and Federal Reserve policy is based on their suggestions. In turn, Federal Reserve policy largely influences to whom, and by how much banks should lend their money. The centralization of banking benefits wealth concentration and increases risks Research suggests that “high-ability entrepreneurs” tend to gravitate towards a central banking system. Essentially, wealthy individuals and institutions enjoy the connectedness that a centralized system offers. Pooling together the resources of powerful entrepreneurs, however, increases the risk of losing all of that […]

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Green America supports limiting carbon from new power plants

Today, I spoke at an EPA hearing in support of rulemaking to limit emissions from new power plants.  The rules would be an important first step in regulating power plants, the largest stationary source of carbon emissions in the U.S. The pro-coal lobby was at the hearing in full force, arguing that they could not implement technologies to mitigate carbon pollution from new coal plants that would meet the EPA’s limits.  Of course, these are the same industries that have been touting carbon capture and sequestration technology as a solution to lowering carbon emissions for years.  While Americans firmly support regulating carbon emissions, we are badly outspent in Washington. That’s why it’s essential that all Americans voice their support for carbon regulation.  You can take action with Green America online here:  http://action.greenamerica.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12768 Following are the comments I delivered to the EPA: Thank you for hosting this public hearing to receive comment from Americans on the important issue of regulating greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants. My name is Todd Larsen, and I serve as the corporate responsibility director of Green America, a national non-profit organization with 170,000 individual members and 3,500 business members nationwide.  Our green business network is the largest network of certified green business in the United States.  Green America is also a member of the American Sustainable Business Council, which represents over 150,000 businesses nationwide. On behalf of our members, Green America strongly supports the EPA’s […]

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Announcing: Companies for Safer Chemicals

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There’s now new, positive momentum to control toxic chemicals! A group of the country’s leading consumer brands, including members of Green America’s Green Business Network, have announced the formation of a new coalition to urge Congress to modernize the nation’s out-of-date and ineffective chemical safety laws. The new coalition, Companies for Safer Chemicals, will make a business argument for strong […]

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Green America supports the EPA in regulating power plants

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been hosting a listening tour across the country to gain feedback from citizens and organizations about proposed regulations of carbon emissions from existing power plants.  Green America has already supported the EPA’s proposal to regulate emissions from new power plants.  Now, the EPA is proposing to regulate existing power plants — a far greater source of carbon emissions in the US — particularly emissions from coal-fired plants. At a number of listening sessions, the coal industry has presented testimony that EPA regulations of coal-fired power plants will harm the U.S. economy.  However, all of the evidence demonstrates that the opposite is true.The continued reliance on coal as major source of electric power in the U.S. is harming our economy and preventing job growth. On behalf of Green America, I presented the following remarks at the listening session in Washington DC today. Thank you for hosting these listening sessions across the country to receive input from Americans on the important issue of regulating greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. My name is Todd Larsen, and I serve as the corporate responsibility director of Green America, a national non-profit organization with 170,000 individual members and 3,500 business members nationwide.  Our green business network is the largest network of certified green business in the United States.  Green America is also a member of the American Sustainable Business Council, which represents over 150,000 businesses nationwide. On behalf […]

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Climate Divestment Interview #2

The University Alumnus:  Kyuwon Kim(Interview conducted by Martha van Gelder, associate editor of the Green American magazine) “Universities are very sensitive to how they are portrayed.” Kyuwon Kim and two recent university graduates, Elysia Petrone and Yasmin Parodi, are attempting a unique method of pressuring universities to divest from fossil fuels. The three friends are asking Maclean’s Magazine, a current affairs publication that annually ranks Canadian universities, to add an “ethical investment” ranking to its report. Green America/Martha van Gelder: How did you get involved with the divestment movement? Kyuwon Kim: I met Elysia and Yasmin at a workshop in Toronto that was run by the Sierra Youth Coalition back in October. The three of us had a big interest in the divestment campaign because we came from different 350.org chapters, which inspired us to take action. Green America/Martha: How did you get the idea to use the universities’ rankings as a way to encourage them to take action? It is such a unique approach! Kim: At the end of each year, Maclean’s publish a universities issue in which it ranks Canadian universities based on class size, funding, reputation, student support, etc. Most Canadian high school students use it when they search for universities. I used it myself! We noticed that there was nothing that mentioned ethical investment, so we started a petition asking Maclean’s to include information in its university rankings that reference the ethicality of their endowments. Green […]

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