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Investment giant's move toward sustainability offers hope for climate activism: Don Pittis – CBC.ca

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One of the reasons people are worried climate change will be almost impossible to stop is that pumping carbon into the atmosphere is simply way too profitable.

Even as new reports yesterday from NASA and the British weather service showed climate change had created the hottest decade in history, according to the traditional rules of capitalism, if companies make fortunes from digging coal and building pipelines, then nothing is going to stop them.

With so much money at stake, not only do shareholders and employees get onside, but governments may often be persuaded to actively back increased carbon output, even when they have evidence it will ultimately damage the local and global economy.

That’s why this week’s announcement by BlackRock — often described as the world’s richest money manager, with about $10 trillion to invest (no, the T is not a mistake) — is both surprising and encouraging.

All just talk

Although it is easy for climate activists to insist BlackRock has not gone far enough, the moves it has made — seen partly as a response to outrage that the company’s previous green talk was just that, talk — appear to offer evidence that business can be swayed by public pressure.

The news is especially interesting because, while global in scope, BlackRock is a U.S. company — a country where the Trump administration seems to be doing everything it can to stand in the way of climate action, from defanging the Environmental Protection Agency to withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.

Australia’s government supports increased coal production from places like the western coalfields in New South Wales, though recent bushfires in the state have caused widespread devastation, with many pointing the blame at a changing climate. (David Gray/Reuters)

That is not the way things are supposed to work, and according to people like energy economist Mark Jaccard, it is governments that must be forced by public pressure to take the lead on climate change.

“You need to get climate-sincere politicians in there; you have to be able to identify them and you have to keep them there,” Jaccard said in a recent interview. “And it turns out with something like climate change, that’s really difficult.”

Jaccard is the kind of guy who supports anything that works to solve the climate problem, but, as he contends in his book The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success, we must not depend on the motive of profit.  

Because of the low cost and high commercial efficiency of continuing to use fossil fuels, the only effective climate action entails voters forcing governments to change the rules.

BlackRock and coal

While most climate advocates say that remains true, BlackRock’s moves to cut investments in companies that earn more than 25 per cent of their revenue from fossil fuels, get out of coal, and require companies in which it invests to reveal their level of climate risk (sometimes called climate transparency) seem to belie the idea that corporations have no morals.

Many commentators scoff at that idea, including Ian McGugan, who writes in The Globe and Mail that “BlackRock’s Green Investing Strategy is Not a Moral Awakening.” Like many others, however, he concedes that huge protests specifically naming the company have likely influenced its change in focus.

It may be that coal is simply a bad investment today. But the fact that “the world’s most powerful investor” says so too makes it harder to ignore.

And while it is easy to say that green credentials are just an exercise in public relations, expressions of public morality, such as the campaign against blood diamonds, have had a real business impact.

As with all moral questions, the argument over whether business leaders are merely parroting a growing public anxiety to earn greater respect applies just as well to the rest of us. On the other hand, companies are not just machines. They are organizations made up of people, some of whom worry about the world their children and grandchildren will inherit.

And even in giant corporations, opinions on climate change matter. 

Also this week, James Murdoch, son of global media mogul Rupert Murdoch (and a company board member), made global headlines when he criticized News Corporation’s influential media outlets for promoting climate denial during Australia’s recent fires.

A BlackRock executive rings the opening bell above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange last summer. The company wields enormous clout in the U.S. financial community. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

BlackRock’s new position on climate is no reason for activists to stop worrying; as Jaccard insists, government rules and public pressure remain crucial. 

And as the company has outlined, one of the reasons to begin adjusting its portfolio now is that a groundswell of public and (some) government support for climate action means climate-unfriendly businesses will no longer be good investments.

For a company investing for the future, that matters.

“Awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance,” said BlackRock CEO Larry Fink in a letter to company executives.

Yesterday, the World Economic Forum, whose annual Davos gathering of the very rich and powerful which begins next week, released its latest annual risk report, titled 15 Years of Risk: From Economic Collapse to Planetary Devastation. Four of the Top 5 worries delineated by the world’s business and political elite had to do with climate.

In the past, the activist group BlackRock’s Big Problem have accused the investment giant of being “the biggest driver of climate chaos you’ve never heard of.”

And while it remains to be seen whether the company’s efforts will truly make a difference, at the very least, its latest move means a lot more people now have heard of them.


Follow Don on Twitter @don_pittis

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You can invest in this local property for as little as $1 | Urbanized – Daily Hive

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It’s no secret — real estate is not nearly as accessible as it was for our parents and even our grandparents. Especially in Vancouver, the price of ownership is high, and for many millennials, owning property or a piece of real estate is unattainable. 

According to a study done by Generation Squeeze, young Canadians in Vancouver need to save for 27 years in order to have enough money for a proper down payment — that’s more than five times as long as our parents.

The study also noted that even though COVID-19 has tempered the housing market, the housing affordability crisis will still be in full swing when the pandemic is over. Pre-COVID, more than half of the people under 30 living in Canada’s major cities spent 30% to 50% of their monthly paycheques on rent. Not only does this leave very little room to save for things, such as a down payment, but now that the pandemic has hit, this percentage has increased for many. 

This is why addy, a real estate crowdfunding platform, is making investing in real estate more accessible by reducing barriers to entry. And all it takes is $1.

45604 Airport Rd, Chilliwack/addy

So how does addy do it? 

It’s impossible to cut the high costs of the market. Instead, the company’s mission is to redefine what it means to be a homeowner, while providing younger investment seekers with a new avenue into the game. 

First, addy does their due diligence by scoping out the properties with the most potential to provide the highest return on investment (ROI). Once these properties have been identified and approved by the executive team, investment committee, and Board of Directors, they’re broken down into investment units starting at $1. 

On launch day, addy releases the property on their platform, and qualified members have the opportunity to purchase as many shares in the property as they desire. Investors who have bought in on a specific property can make money from rental income in the form of distributions or as a lump sum when the property is finally sold.

45604 Airport Rd, Chilliwack/addy

The first property launched by addy is located in Vancouver’s charming Trout Lake neighbourhood; it was sold out to 305 investors, the lowest investment being $1 and the largest being $95,000. 

This crowdfunding investment model reduces (but doesn’t eliminate) the overall risk, while giving millennials and Gen Zs an opportunity to get some skin in the game at a price point they’re able to afford. It also means investors aren’t responsible for managing tenants and other logistics associated with the property.

If you’re already getting out your pocketbook, addy is launching its next investment opportunity (only available to BC residents over 19 years of age) on August 11, 2020, with a minimum investment of $1 and a maximum investment of $1,500. 

This commercial property is a free-standing building with more than 2,100 sq ft of retail space located in the heart of Chilliwack, BC, on the southwest corner of Airport Road and Yale Road. Currently, the space is occupied by Starbucks and features a drive-thru plus 12 owned parking stalls. 

According to addy, the estimated timeline for return on your investment of this property is approximately five years. Any appreciation will be paid out at the end of the term, and investors can expect annual distributions from any excess cash flow.

If you’re interested in investing in this Chilliwack property or staying up-to-date on addy’s next property announcements, sign up for a free addy account wallet so you’re ready to invest when the right property comes along.

This content was created by Hive Labs in partnership with a sponsor

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More cash, less buzz for 2020 investment bank interns – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Elizabeth Howcroft

LONDON (Reuters) – Buzzing trading floors, classrooms and networking drinks have been replaced by online projects, ‘hackathons’ and fitness sessions for the class of 2020 investment banking interns.

Goldman Sachs , Morgan Stanley , Barclays , JP Morgan , UBS , RBC and Citi have all held internships virtually this year as they adapt to the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Schmoozing with executives and fellow interns has been via virtual coffees and quizzes, while Goldman Sachs laid on Zoom networking lunches, hackathons and fitness and cooking classes.

“We couldn’t have big parties or anything like that but we did work with a music start-up – there was a battle of the bands competition where the interns could vote,” Helena Sharpe, JP Morgan’s head of campus recruiting for EMEA, said.

Although many of the highly sought after schemes were cut to 5 weeks from the usual 8 or 10, most interns lucky enough to secure a place still received full pay while working from home.

Investment bank interns in London are usually paid around 10,000 pounds ($13,034) for a 10-week programme, financial careers website efinancialcareers.co.uk estimates.

Such internships offer the potential to kick start lucrative banking careers, but have come under scrutiny in the past for the long hours some students work in their effort to impress.

“Some of them probably still work relatively long days because they want to make a good impression and do the best they can on their projects,” Sharpe said.

How well virtual internships work-out is being closely watched by banks assessing the long-term future of remote working, particularly for new joiners, with Barclays and RBC considering keeping some elements for future programmes.

Banks have supplied the necessary kit for working from home. Goldman Sachs, which had around 380 interns in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), even sent electricity generators to those who needed them. “It’s one big experiment, but it feels great and the feedback’s been very positive,” Rob Ager, head of programmatic talent acquisition at Barclays, adding that although “authenticity” could get lost in the virtual world, working from home had created a more collaborative culture.

‘BUZZ AND VIBE’

There are limitations to the work banks can offer this year, with interns at JP Morgan working on case studies and projects rather than on placements within teams, while Morgan Stanley offered business simulations and work-related projects.

At Barclays, there were two weeks of classroom learning, and while some parts involved a real-life teacher others required watching videos on an online portal.

“You can’t really get the full buzz and vibe of the trading floor in a virtual setting, which is a bit disappointing,” an intern at one firm who asked not to be named said.

“I don’t think you get the true feel of work when you’re working from home and for me personally it would be easier to network in person and get to know people more genuinely.”

But working virtually has made interns less competitive with each other and more willing to help, the intern said, adding they were able to call each other to ask questions.

Citi has guaranteed all of its around 200 London interns a graduate job offer for 2021 so long as they meet the minimum requirements, easing the competitive dynamic.

For staff supervising the programmes, the virtual internship is not without challenges.

“I have to describe things over email and stuff or get on Zoom calls and all of these things that are just easier if it’s done live,” an associate at a U.S. investment bank said.

And while it is harder to monitor interns remotely, banks say they do their best to ensure hours are kept in check.

“We do encourage them to have a good work life balance and take regular breaks,” JP Morgan’s Sharpe said.

($1 = 0.7672 pounds)

(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Additional reporting by Imani Moise in New York; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Alexander Smith)

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Blackhawk Provides update on Its Investment in California-Based Licensed Cannabis Producer SAC Pharma Partners Inc; Announces Shares for Debt Settlement and Grants Stock Options – TheNewswire.ca

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Vancouver, British Columbia – TheNewswireAugust 11, 2020 – Blackhawk Growth Corp. (CSE:BLR) (CNSX:BLR.CN) (Frankfurt:0JJ) US (OTC:BLRZF) (the “Company” or “Blackhawk“), is pleased to provide an update on its investment in SAC Pharma Partners Inc. (“SAC Pharma“). SAC Pharma operates a facility for the licensed production of cannabis in California. Utilizing its state of the art 15,000 square foot facility in Sacramento, SAC Pharma has been actively producing products and has provided the following information and outlook for the future.

Q1 (January – March 2020) Profit and Loss Statement

From January of 2020 to March of 2020, Sac Pharma had gross revenue of US$276,863.09 and net income of US$115,489.67. These figures are unaudited and were provided to Blackhawk by Sac Pharma’s management team.

During the first quarter, SAC Pharma was able to outfit its facility with new C02 equipment and expand on its IP and inventory assets such as cultivation equipment and clone and mother plants that will have an exponential value as SAC Pharma continues to expand.

Blackhawk Integration and Next Steps

Blackhawk is excited to deploy its industry contacts and current assets to assist in the development of SAC Pharma.

SAC Pharma is looking to realize the benefits in its optimized facility for the following quarters, seek additional opportunities to acquire second generation production facilities, and/or cultivation management contracts. SAC Pharma’s management team has been looking at additional opportunities to participate in outdoor/greenhouse projects and also potential distributor acquisitions in order to control the wholesale supply chain.

“We are extremely excited to have closed this acquisition and to be working with Fred and his team at Blackhawk” says Corey Travis, founder of SAC Pharma. “We have been working tirelessly over the past three years to get SAC to this point. The fact that all our product is spoken for and demand continues to exceed our expectation is something I am very excited about showcasing over the next year. Our team has a very aggressive and strategic go-forward plan over the next twelve months and we look forward to achieving these goals and expanding SAC into a substantial State-wide brand.”

“We are thrilled at how well Sac Pharma has integrated into Blackhawk” said Frederick Pels, CEO of Blackhawk. “We have a goal of seeking not only revenue but profitability for our shareholders and we have reached exactly that with our team at SAC Pharma. They have a top notch and in demand product. With a reasonably low cost to produce it’s only natural that we put resources into action and expand this proven and profitable business model throughout the fifth largest economy in the world. I look forward to keeping shareholders updated with the forward momentum we have with this initiative.”

Shares for Debt Settlement

Blackhawk has entered into debt settlement agreements with two arm’s-length creditors to settle an aggregate of $240,000 in debt for services provided by the creditors to the Company.

In final settlement and satisfaction of the debt in connection with the services, the Company has issued to the creditors an aggregate of 12,000,000 common shares at a deemed issue price of $0.02 per share.

All shares issued in connection with the debt settlement are subject to a statutory hold period of four months plus a day from the date of issuance in accordance with applicable securities legislation.

Stock Option Grant

In addition, the Company has granted an aggregate of 10,000,000 incentive stock options to certain directors, officers and consultants of the Company under its incentive stock option plan. The options vest quarterly over the next twelve months and are exercisable at a price of $0.05 for a period of 24 months.

For further information please contact:

Frederick Pels, Chief Executive Officer

(403)-991-7737

fred@blackhawkgrowth.com

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statement

All statements in this press release, other than statements of historical fact, are “forward-looking information” with respect to the Company within the meaning of applicable securities laws, including with respect to the business activities of SAC Pharma. The Company provides forward-looking statements for the purpose of conveying information about current expectations and plans relating to the future and readers are cautioned that such statements may not be appropriate for other purposes. By its nature, this information is subject to inherent risks and uncertainties that may be general or specific and which give rise to the possibility that expectations, forecasts, predictions, projections or conclusions will not prove to be accurate, that assumptions may not be correct and that objectives, strategic goals and priorities will not be achieved. These risks and uncertainties include but are not limited those identified and reported in the Company’s public filings under the Company’s SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise unless required by law.

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