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McGill to accelerate reduction of investment carbon footprint – McGill – McGill Reporter

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At its meeting today, April 23, 2020, McGill University’s Board of Governors approved a series of impactful measures and timelines designed to accelerate the responsible decarbonisation of the McGill Investment Pool (MIP), a collection of more than 60 investment mandates and fund investments. These measures were recommended by the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR) to the University’s Board of Governors last week to operationalize the carbon footprint reduction of its endowment investments.

“Adopting a more carbon-conscious investment approach complements McGill’s far-reaching climate change and sustainability goals, including institution-wide efforts to achieve carbon neutrality across the University’s operations by 2040,” wrote Principal Suzanne Fortier and Board Chair Ram Panda in a message to the community.

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The implementation plan focuses on eight areas: decarbonisation, impact investing, screening, engagement, ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) integration, annual reporting, SRI (socially responsible investment) review, and institutional leadership.

McGill will remove investments from highly carbon intensive companies, in particular those in the fossil fuel industry, cement and steel producers, and coal and gas-fired power plants. This aggressive approach will translate in a 33 per cent reduction of carbon emissions of the University’s endowment public equity portfolio, relative to the MIP public equities benchmark. Based on the portfolio’s value as of September 30, 2019, these measures call for a reduction of its carbon emissions by 38 tons of CO2 per million dollars invested annually, compared to the 18-ton reduction from eliminating investments in the Carbon Underground 200™. This will curtail carbon emissions by more than twice what would be otherwise achieved by eliminating investments in the Carbon Underground 200™ alone.

The measures also call for a substantial increase in the portfolio’s impact investments by committing over $75 million of the MIP to renewable energy, clean technologies, energy efficiency, green building, pollution prevention, sustainable water and other low-carbon funds.

CAMSR’s full report is available online.

“By removing investments from highly carbon intensive companies, deepening our impact investments, and increasing the number of fund managers who practice socially responsible investing, McGill is taking impactful action to transition to more sustainable and environmentally conscious practices,” said Principal Fortier. “I would like to reiterate and thank the McGill community for its important role in helping the University strengthen its commitment to sustainability in all its activities.”

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On paying for big name coaches and questions about return on investment – Sportsnet.ca

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There are a few unequivocal truths about having a successful NHL team, and their acceptance within the game is mostly universal.

You cannot win it all without getting good goaltending, that’s one. It’s also accepted that a coach and his ideas have to mesh well with a roster – both stylistic and personality-wise – to have success. Winning teams are well-coached teams. Knowing these absolute truths, NHL teams are eager to take care of those pesky little issues without delay, and so often they deem it worth a big spend.

The Florida Panthers threw $10 million per season at Sergei Bobrovsky for seven years just to ensure they locked up one of those things. Only, the goaltending they’ve got for their money to date simply has not been worth that much. Bobrovsky was around a .900 save percentage the first couple years of the deal, though was above league average this season. Just because you desperately want a solution to a big problem doesn’t mean throwing big money at it is going to fix it.

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Similarly, the Toronto Maple Leafs were looking for a new coach when Mike Babcock was becoming available, and it was widely accepted he was one of the best coaches on the market. They threw some $50 million at him to get his services.

The Leafs had success, but I don’t think they had $50 million-worth given they didn’t get past the first round. It ended capitalized Not Awesome and the team then paid him to not work for them for years.

This is the problem that more than a half-dozen teams in the NHL are facing right now: They know they need a great head coach, and numerous head coaches are available. There are big names and known commodities among them, many of them in fact. But if you spend to get one of those, are you sure it’s making your team that much better, or would you just be throwing money at the idea of solving a problem?

The Philadelphia Flyers will pay $9 million for their head coach spot this season ($5 million to the now-fired Alain Vigneault). While the actual cost doesn’t matter to the team against the salary cap, they’ll be coached by John Tortorella (four years, $4 million) after they finished 15th in the Eastern Conference last season. That’s throwing real money at a problem to fix it.

Are they sure that huge financial commitment is going to be better than some of the other avenues available for a team that needs some rebuilding? Barry Trotz reportedly turned down $7 million from the Flyers, can a team that gets Trotz be sure they’re going to get significantly better results than any of the other coaches available out there? How many millions per year better is he than the best guys waiting in the wings in the AHL or as assistant coaches? (And if it’s one percent better, does anyone care about the cost when you just want the best guy?)

Even with John Tortorella signing with the Flyers and Bruce Cassidy signing with the Vegas Golden Knights, there are still numerous big names floating about:

• Jay Woodcroft

• Mike Babcock

• Barry Trotz

• Joel Quenneville

• Paul Maurice

• Alain Vigneault

• Claude Julien

• Dave Tippett

• Rick Tocchet

• Travis Green

You could go on here, depending who you consider “name” coaches. There’s many available.

The question I’m asking is: How much extra value does an established coach give you over a first time, or younger coach? I say “established” coach, some may say “recycled,” and I think there’s real merit for teams in trying to figure out who’s a legitimately good NHL coach who keeps getting jobs because of that (everyone gets fired), and who keeps getting them simply because they’ve had them before?

In my experience with veteran coaches, the real upside is they generally know how to command a team with confidence. Not in the dictatorial sense, but they have an established idea of what they want to do, and they better stick to it than developing coaches who may still be forming some opinions.

Let some complain about that as rigidity, it’s the clarity that helps players. For guys like Tortorella, players knowing what’s expected of them is most of what you’re paying for. Hustle or don’t play, there’s not much room for debate there. The reason I think a guy like Tortorella gets hired, is a GM probably has doubts about the consistent effort of some of his most important players.

This is purely speculative, but I doubt John Tortorella gets hired if Darryl Sutter doesn’t have great success with the Calgary Flames this season. Many saw what Sutter did – he took a team that many questioned in terms of results vs. roster – and got the most out of everyone. The team had a great regular season and won a playoff round.

Can’t you see Chuck Fletcher seeing his roster, which he may like more than the results reflected, and hoping to get some sort of similar bounceback? Don’t you think he recognizes if that bounceback doesn’t come quick, he’s the next to go? In that case, is that why you spend for Torts?

The contrast here, is a big “name” but unestablished coach in Martin St. Louis, who gets a year less and a million less per season (at three years, $3 million per season) than Tortorella in Montreal. To me that speaks to expectations. The Montreal Canadiens are allowing St. Louis to find his voice as a coach along with his players, to grow and hopefully put them in a position where they have to pay him more after a couple of seasons that reflect growth from his best players and himself.

There’s also young coaches who’ve had success in the league. The Sheldon Keefe-led Leafs have been good for years (still without playoff success, of course), Jay Woodcroft had success with the Oilers in his limited time there, and Jared Bednar, who was a “first time NHL coach” has seen the Avalanche through to the Cup Final in his sixth season with the group.

Hell, Jon Cooper started with the Lightning as a new coach and is now the league’s longest tenured guy. They’ve been OK too, as I recall. Those teams were rewarded for not just hiring the next available “name.”

So this is the debate GMs around the league face this off-season. Do you want to make a splash, and if you do it, how sure are you that you’re getting a “name” who’s going to do more for your team than a new guy? How sure are you that the money you’re throwing at a career coach is being well-spent?

In my experience, there’s a ceiling on the contributions of a coach. I believe they make a huge difference, maybe helping you win five or six extra games as a great coach, and maybe an awful one costs you five or six. That’s a massive swing between a good and bad coach if that guess is remotely accurate, but at the same time, there’s only so much a guy can do with a good or bad roster. Which is why numbers like $7 million in the case of Trotz strike me as pretty wild.

It’s true that established coaches are more likely to keep your team from the “bad” coach side of things, and to keep you at least level. But trying to figure out who’s coaching up their teams those extra wins takes careful scrutiny and large samples to figure out, and frankly, I’m not sure NHL teams are always the best at figuring that part out. Sometimes I think because of that the decision to go with a “name” is the safe move, and in hockey, consistently making the safe hires tends to keep you employed in the game, which is the goal for many.

The names are there this off-season, and the up-and-comers are lurking too. The most important off-season decision for these teams is deciding which direction they want to go with their leadership, and how much better they believe the expensive, established coaches can make their groups.

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Volkswagen closes $2.6 billion investment in self-driving startup Argo AI – Yahoo Canada Finance

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Volkswagen closes $2.6 billion investment in self-driving startup Argo AIVolkswagen closes $2.6 billion investment in self-driving startup Argo AI
Signage at a Volkswagen dealership is seen in London, Britain

(Reuters) – German automaker Volkswagen AG <VOWG_p.DE> has closed its $2.6 billion investment in Argo AI, the Pittsburgh-based self-driving startup disclosed in a blog post on Tuesday.

Argo, founded in 2016 by Bryan Salesky and Peter Rander, is now jointly controlled by VW and Ford Motor Co, which made an initial investment in Argo shortly after it was founded.

Details of the VW investment, which does not include an agreement to purchase $500 million worth of Argo stock from Ford, was announced last July.

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VW’s agreement includes the transfer to Argo of its Munich-based Autonomous Intelligent Driving unit, which boosts Argo’s employment to more than 1,000, according to Salesky.

Last week, VW disclosed that its supervisory board had approved several projects in a multibillion-dollar alliance with Ford that also was announced last July.

Ford created Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC in 2018, pledging to invest $4 billion until 2023 and had sought outside investors to help share the spiraling cost of developing autonomous vehicles.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Alberta government must invest in tech sector now: Edmonton Global – Global News

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As Alberta’s economy continues to take a beating because of COVID-19 shut-downs and the staggering drop in oil prices, a group working to attract more investment to the Edmonton region is calling on the Jason Kenney government to make major investments in digital infrastructure immediately.


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Edmonton Global, said its Road to Recovery: Resiliency stimulus plan released this month, has outlined how to prepare Alberta, post-pandemic, and ease the shock of businesses struggling right now.

“We do see a lot of our core sectors hardest hit,” Lynette Tremblay, vice president of strategy and innovation at Edmonton Global, said. “But we do see a path forward for them and some hope in the future.

“Not only do we need to act fast, we also need to be willing to make significant investments.”

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Edmonton Global said the key to compete in the new reality is having the ability to innovate with new technology in every sector. The group pointed to oil and gas playing a major part in developing geothermal and hydrogen technology.

“There’s a lot that we have to offer and we see those as opportunities right now,” Tremblay said.


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Edmonton Global said Alberta and Canada had not been focused enough on technology adoption like artificial intelligence and 5G (fifth-generation) cellular wireless communication.

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“We think now is the time to change that,” Tremblay said.

“We talk to international site selectors on a regular basis and they’ve told us that it’s an expectation that metro regions are well-equipped with broadband.”






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Tremblay added, “if they’re not, then they’re not in consideration for investment.”

In a statement, the Alberta government said 5G investment falls under the federal government and said it had made a significant $54 million dollar investment in tech start-ups.

Justin Brattinga, press secretary to the minister of economic development, trade and tourism, said, as part of budget 2020, $42 million was committed to artificial intelligence and machine learning, which included supports for the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute and funding to the University of Alberta.

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“We believe in supporting the tech sector,” Brattinga said.

“Our government’s upcoming investment and growth strategy will focus on attracting investment to the tech sector.”

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Brattinga said $200 million committed for innovation and research would develop talent and grow sectors and attract investment.

One of the other recommendations to the province is to allocate $6.5 million to applied pharmaceutical innovation and coordinating a network of chemical labs and suppliers.


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Edmonton Global said it would allow Alberta to scale up and manufacture high-priority drugs.

Home-grown companies that have had to look for support south of the border have also urged the Alberta government to chart a new economic path.

Aris MD recently pitched its technology to NASA, telling the NASA iTech team 3-D diagnostic imaging could speed up COVID-19 drug trials.


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Chandra Devam, CEO of Aris MD, said Edmonton-based companies aren’t getting enough interest from government and more programs are needed to support local tech companies.

“We’re being utilized across the border,” Devam said.

“I really wanted to be a sole-based Canadian company, but the support wasn’t here for me.”

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It worked out for Aris MD, which Devam said is now working with NASA, but she said local start-up companies are coming up with solutions for COVID-19 and other problems that could have made-in-Alberta solutions.

“I see tech companies being essential to building the Alberta economy after COVID-19,” Devam said. “We’re a renewable resource and one worth investing in.”


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Edmonton Global said it shared its economic recovery blueprint with the province and has continued to seek out advice from its network of more than 70 partners, which include economists, academic institutions and chambers of commerce.

“We’re ready to help the government with its implementation plan.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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