Evidence is in: Green Policies Improve Economic Performance

tree with climate knowledge

Short-term thinkers who put quarterly profits above all else consistently argue that caring for the environment destroys business. They are wrong. The evidence keeps growing that planet (and people) friendly policies encourage economic growth while also forcing companies to increase their efficiency. It’s a win-win for businesses and the planet.

An Italian team of economists have concluded that by taxing companies, and individual behaviours, that damage the environment create great success for the planet and profits.

Green taxes, or taxes levied on businesses and individuals in order to promote environmentally friendly practices, had the largest impact on multifactor productivity, though De Santis and her colleagues wrote that green taxes need to be paired with complementary redistributive policies, such subsidies and grants for companies transitioning to environmentally friendly practices, in order to avoid damaging productivity.

“What is clear is that you have to face this increasing environmental policy stringency, and as a firm, probably the best is if you try to create this win-win solution so it’s passed through an improvement in technology,” De Santis said.

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Malaysia Stops Jailing Addicts, Helps Them Recover Instead

lighter and joint

Addiction is tough and it can happen to anyone. In Malaysia they are changing their drug laws to reflect this reality by providing rehab for users instead of locking them up in prison. Malaysia has tried the now-classic and irrefutably irrational “war on drugs” approach and found that it didn’t actually solve anything. Hopefully this current change in law within the country inspires others in the region to rethink their approach to this vital health care issue.

Home minister Hamzah Zainudin said the change of approach towards drug abusers and addicts – from prison sentences to rehabilitation and treatment programmes – will happen this year and would remove the stigma they carry in society, which looked negatively at abusers and drug addicts.

“Besides that, it will also facilitate their reintegration into the community and give them a second chance,” he said in conjunction with the 38th National Anti-Drugs Day on the National Anti-Drugs Agency’s (NADA) Facebook Live session today.

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UK: Uber Drivers are Employees not Individual Entrepreneurs

bus

Uber drivers in the UK will now get better treatment from Uber thanks to the courts ruling the company can’t as robustly exploit their drivers. The way drivers get gigs and subsequently paid by the company structurally mean the company has control all aspects of the process, which means the drivers are workers since they actually have no control over key aspects of the job. This is a blow against Uber which skirts the laws in multiple countries and this decision in the UK will resonant throughout the entire gig economy.

The court considered several elements in its judgement:

  • Uber set the fare which meant that they dictated how much drivers could earn
  • Uber set the contract terms and drivers had no say in them
  • Request for rides is constrained by Uber who can penalise drivers if they reject too many rides
  • Uber monitors a driver’s service through the star rating and has the capacity to terminate the relationship if after repeated warnings this does not improve

Looking at these and other factors, the court determined that drivers were in a position of subordination to Uber where the only way they could increase their earnings would be to work longer hours.

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Canadian Universities to Educate Business About Climate Change

Phramacy

A select group of universities across Canada have signed up to be part of a a new initiative to get long-term investors to care about climate change. The universities have endowment and pension funds that need to guarantee returns for decades (if not centuries) and thus have an obligation to plan ahead. That initiative is the new University Network for Investor Engagement (UNIE), and was founded with SHARE, an organization with a good track record of getting financial change. A world without catastrophic climate change is an easier one to make plans for, so let’s hope that UNIE helps decarbonize our economy by encouraging companies to care about the climate.

“These universities are showing leadership in addressing the climate crisis. Acting as investors, Canadian university pension plans and endowments can have a powerful influence on corporate behavior. Working together in one program amplifies each institution’s voice and leverages their power to bring about change,” said Kevin Thomas, Chief Executive Officer at SHARE.  

The UNIE initiative is focused both on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy. 

“The actions taken by institutional investors today will play a crucial role in determining how society fares in the face of climate change,” said Thomas.

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Highways Make Traffic Worse, Transit Improves Traffic

Regular readers of this site already know that highways are amongst the worst ways to move people effectively and also a way to ensure urban development is built to cater to cars instead of human beings. Yet, in Ontario the government wants to build a $6 billion highway to promote low-density car-based development and increase the region’s carbon output. The utterly incompetent Conservative party is set on destroying the efforts of environmentalists and farmers to conserve prime farming land.

Building a highway isn’t good. If you want to actually improve transportation in Ontario – or almost anywhere – build better public transit. Vox explores this concept in a recent video.

The concept of induced demand has been around since the 1960s — nearly as long as the inception of the federal highway system — and has been proven by several studies since. But it still hasn’t stemmed the tide of big, expensive highway infrastructure projects as a Band-Aid to congestion.

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