Our newsletter, to be delivered twice monthly, will explore pertinent issues related to smart technology, clean energy and sustainable agriculture. Our goal is to keep a finger on the pulse of industry trends and how they relate to Novus’s goals and success.
How ESG got a boost from COVID
To say the COVID-19 pandemic was a disrupter would be an understatement. Businesses faced myriad challenges, ranging from issues with supply chain to operational pivots to addressing burnout and childcare shortages. For many companies, this was a wakeup call toward addressing systemic shortcomings and, as Forbes reports, paving the way toward adopting ESG values and implementing major changes. Here’s what businesses should know:
Preparedness is huge now. Honestly, who wasn’t caught off guard? The realities of COVID’s urgency means businesses leaders are now aware they must prepare to respond quickly to challenges that might arise while continuing to adapt in ways that promote growth. This heightened vigilance means companies must be aware of the environmental problems that could arise and how to mitigate risks to their operations.
A wholistic approach to operations is vital. Players at both the board level and the management level have seen major changes to their rules of engagement. To grow in this environment, companies must take a focused, systemic approach to understanding their place within their ecosystem and society.
You can’t discount full transparency. This is the time to really leverage numbers. Stakeholders expect not only openness but authenticity, which means companies must show they can walk the talk. Data-driven transparency is going to lead to increased satisfaction on both personal and professional levels.
Now is a prime time to decarbonize the supply chain. The pandemic exposed just how vulnerable supply chains are to disruption. As companies rebuild these networks, they have an opportunity to up their impact by taking climate concerns into consideration as they shore up their end-to-end value chains.
In Other News
BlackRock gives voting power to investors
BlackRock recently announced it will shift voting responsibility for $2 trillion in shares — that’s about 40% of its $5 trillion index fund business — to investors. The move could lead to increased shareholder engagement among those who view investments as advocacy.
The idea that nature provides valuable services — and that we can assign a monetary value to them — is somewhat new, and it will be interesting to see how natural assets perform on the New York Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, startups are looking for new ways to harness the powers of nature to solve modern problems. Pluton Biosciences, which is examining the ways various microbes can be used in biotech, just raised $6.6 million in seed funding.
Just warming up
Nobody likes to see mold in their homes, but other fungi might be appealing. The UK-based startup Biohm makes insulation from mycelium, the roots that connect mushrooms to one another. Not only does it outperform foam insulation, but it’s completely biodegradable. This is noteworthy because most housing materials are not recyclable, and in the U.S. the construction industry produces twice the trash as all other waste sources.
The most luxurious alt fuel
The alternative fuels at your nearest gas station seem so pedestrian when you find out what England’s Prince Charles uses to fill up his vintage Aston Martin. The engine has been modified to run on E85, a blend of 85% bioethanol and 15% unleaded gasoline. But while most E85 is made with corn ethanol, the future king’s car is powered by “surplus English white wine and whey from the cheese process.” Cheers!