A Productive Nine Weeks!

Finish Line | Source: jayneandd on Flickr via CC BY 2.0 LicenceOn June 7th, I launched myself into a 9-week productivity challenge. The challenge was to complete 9 tasks in 9 weeks. I wasn’t sure that making the list would motivate me but I figured it would give me some goals for the summer. Last week marked the end of that 9 weeks, so I thought I’d take a moment to recap how I did.

  1. Get married with a minimal amount of stress. Result: DONE! I took her finger and I put a ring on it, on budget, in a sustainable way and with minimal stress as planned. It turned out to be one of the best days of my life!
  2. Finish the first draft of my thesis by mid-July. Result: DONE! It was a slog, but I finished my thesis on time, and now I defend today! Continue reading
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Ethical Mutual Funds – A Better Way to Invest?

The following is a condensed, less academic excerpt of a paper I recently wrote for my final graduate course. It also represents the completion of Task #3 on my 9-Week Productivity Challenge and the beginning of a series of posts here on Earth and Money related the social and environmental impacts of our investments. The series began unofficially two weeks ago with a look at an emerging type of investment vehicle, community bonds, and last week, introduced how we might be funding our own demise, and what corporate social responsibility represents.

In 1992, Michael Jantzi founded Jantzi Research Inc., an investment research firm created to monitor the social, environmental and governance performance of publicly traded Canadian companies. Jantzi used a best-of-sector approach to rank companies relative to each other and to industry best practices. The fundamental problem with such an approach is that a company only has to be better than their peers in order to achieve a high ranking. This can result in a company that is not by most definitions “socially responsible” being labelled as such only because their peers are even less socially responsible than they are.

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The Value of the Corporate Social Responsibility Label

Do Something Good Every Day | Source: HowardLake on Flickr via CC BY-SA 2.0 LicenceThe following is a condensed, less academic excerpt of a paper I recently wrote for my final graduate course. It also represents the completion of Task #3 on my 9-Week Productivity Challenge and the beginning of a series of posts here on Earth and Money related the social and environmental impacts of our investments. The series began unofficially two weeks ago with a look at an emerging type of investment vehicle, community bonds, and Monday, introduced how we might be funding our own demise.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a major buzzword in the corporate sector. It is generally defined as the integration of social, environmental and economic concerns into the values and operations of a company, in such a way that all three are given equal weighting. In a 2012 study conducted by Taiyuan Wang and Pratima Bansal at the University of Western Ontario, they defined a socially responsible corporation as one whose actions “further the social good, outstrip the firm’s economic goals, and go beyond the legal requirement”.  They also explored relationship between CSR, financial success, and long-term versus short-term corporate orientation. They found that corporate social responsibility activities tended to result in negative financial outcomes in the short-term, but that this negative outcome could be negated by long-term corporate orientation, and that such long-term outlook was positively correlated with financial success.

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