ZINIO logo

Corporate Knights

Summer 2021

Providing information empowering markets to foster a better world. Corporate Knights produces editorial at the intersection of business and society, with news and analysis about sustainability and corporate sustainability rankings

Corporate Knights
€ 3,55(Incl. btw)
€ 14,20(Incl. btw)
4 Edities

in deze editie

3 min

NATURAL GAS NO TRANSITION FUEL I object strongly to your article by Max Fawcett [“Was cancelling Keystone the catalyst Calgary didn’t know it needed”]. Fawcett writes cheerily about replacing coal-generated electricity with gas. If successful, that will entrench gas-generated GHGs for 20 to 30 years, long past when we must be done with gas, too. The article does not mention the science that shows that gas is as bad a producer of GHGs as coal. There is a myth that gas is some kind of transitional fuel, but it is actually an entrenchment weapon, dooming us to years more of GHG emissions. The damage will be paid for by our children and grandchildren. —Ian D. Brown, Victoria, B.C. CK: Thanks, Ian. You make an important point. There’s no room in the carbon budget…

4 min
time for business to lead us to sunnier days

We grew up in the late ’80s associating corporations with Exxon Valdez, going to bed at night scared that every minute a football field of rainforest was being slaughtered. We grew up hearing how corporations were screwing up the world – our future. My university classmate and tennis nemesis Paul Fengler and I decided there had to be a better way. As we wrote in our first editor’s note on the release of our inaugural Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada, “Corporations don’t exist in a vacuum: we as citizens are their lifeblood. Our ignorance and complacency does not grant permission to corporations to destroy the world – it necessitates it.” We joked that our legal budget didn’t permit a ranking of the worst companies in Canada, so we took a stab…

3 min
corporate knights

May was a rough month for oil companies. It started when the agency that was created to defend fossil-fuel security made a game-changing proclamation: that winning the fight against climate change means no more oil, gas or coal deposits should bedeveloped beyond projects already committed as of 2021. “There is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net zero pathway,” the International Energy Agency’s landmark report declared on May 17. To limit the long-term rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C, it said governments and industry must wean themselves off fossil fuels ASAP, push for energy efficiency in all walks of life, and invest trillions in renewable energy. Coming from the Paris-based IEA, an intergovernmental body founded in the wake of the 1973/74 OPEC oil embargo to assure global…

2 min
big meat pulls from big oil’s playbook to delay climate action

Producers of meat and dairy products love to talk about their commitment to health. But whose health are they really promoting? A new study from New York University says top international food producers are lagging behind industries that are actively trying to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Worse, the researchers say, U.S.-based agro-giants have spent hundreds of millions campaigning against climate action and obscuring the role meat and dairy play in damaging the planet. It’s enough to make you switch to bean burgers. The study, The Climate Responsibilities of Industrial Meat and Dairy Producers, in the journal Climatic Change, contends that animal agriculture generates 14.5% of all humancaused GHG emissions. The researchers examined the records of 35 major producers and found that only five, as of last summer, had joined other big emitters…

3 min
will energy-intensive bitcoin become the next stranded asset?

“Running bitcoin,” tweeted cryptocurrency pioneer Hal Finney in January 2009. A few days later, he received the first 10 Bitcoins ever traded. Finney loved the idea of a secure, anonymous digital token free of national controls. But two weeks later he returned to Twitter to warn of a bug in the system: “Thinking about how to reduce CO2 emissions from a widespread Bitcoin implementation.” Twelve years later, the world is coming to grips with the eco-disaster that is Bitcoin. The currency backstops an alternative global payment system, with the value of a single Bitcoin hitting $79,000 in mid-April, up from $10,000 in January 2020. But Bitcoins are intangible units of value created by networks of supercomputers, and the environmental impact of running these machines equals the carbon footprint of a mid-range…

3 min
how to stop industry’s plastic boom

Flexible, lightweight and low-cost, plastics are the building block of the modern economy, with their use growing 20-fold in the past 50 years. But plastic’s ascendance comes with high costs and heavy burdens: the World Economic Forum predicts that by 2050, at current growth rates, there will be more waste plastic in the oceans (by tonnage) than fish. Consumers and governments are fighting back, demanding higher recycling rates and bans on single-use plastics. In the way, however, are many of the world’s biggest fossil-fuel companies, hoping that increased plastics production will make up for shrinking oil demand as the transportation sectors shift to electric power. According to energy think tank Carbon Tracker, the U.S. petrochemical industry has invested $97 billion in new petrochemical capacity over the past decade, and was planning…