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Business leadership in society

BlackRock’s Larry Fink Redefines the Rules of the Game for Business

For the last 47 years, since September 1970, financial markets have been guided by the maxim articulated by Milton Friedman on the “rules of the game” for business. “There is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.” On January 18th this maxim was overturned by the CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest institutional investor. In his letter to CEOs, Larry Fink said, “Society…

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Fighting climate change with active engagement

With a stroke of his pen, President Donald Trump took a major step toward eliminating his predecessor’s landmark climate policy — the Clean Power Plan. Unveiled by President Obama in August 2015, the plan sought to fight global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Now, under President Trump, the plan and other environmental policies are in more danger than ever. Some investors might be tempted to approach this new normal by reinvesting in oil and gas. But thus far, the reaction has been more muted. Read more in Pensions&Investments.

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Business Leadership Tackling Big Challenges

Education, housing, healthcare, and transportation. These are the four top challenges the Alliance for Business Leadership attempted to solve during last Monday’s Leader Lab. The conference was the first in a series of convenings of progressive civic and business leaders set on finding solutions to the key issues effecting cities throughout Massachusetts. High Meadows Institute staff and a board member participated in the brainstorming sessions on all four challenges and found the following recurring themes emerged from the discussions. Increasing business participation in tackling these challenges is crucial. Governments and communities cannot do it alone. Business would benefit financially from improvements…

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Can Sustainability Help Companies Outperform?

In recent years, the perception that companies that integrate sustainability in their corporate strategy and operations will do so at the cost of financial performance has finally been put to rest.  As a recent study by mainstream investment advisory firm RBC Asset Managers concludes, investors “can pursue a program of socially responsible investing with the expectation that investment returns will be similar to traditional investment options.” The real challenge in attracting mainstream investor interest in sustainability, however, is not to simply prove that sustainability is not a drag on financial performance, but rather that it enables companies to financially outperform…

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