‘Reducing carbon emissions is serious business,’ says Canadian activist and entrepreneur Toby Heaps. ‘For policymakers and companies to take serious action on climate change, investors need to send a clear message sustainability is important to them.’ But how do you make investors care about sustainability?
An urgent and difficult question; and also the one that drives so much of Toby Heaps’ work. As chief executive officer of Corporate Knights, a Toronto-based media and research company he co-founded in 2002, Heaps has made it his mission to push companies and institutions to adopt more environmentally responsible practices. One of his tools is the quarterly called Corporate Knights.
In his own words, ‘Corporate Knights is a bit of a crazy experiment to see if getting the right information into the right people’s hands will start to make a difference and if people will start to make better decisions.’ One of the magazine’s key strategies in shaping corporate culture is it’s ranking of the world’s 100 most sustainable companies. Since its development in 2005, the method of rating and separating the ‘good’ businesses from the ‘bad’ has only grown to become more influential. Of his company’s philosophy, Heaps maintains that, ‘Business has to be a part of the solution. And we have an editorial approach that looks into that — the good, bad and the ugly.’
Today, Corporate Knights is also known as a lobby group and a platform for such initiatives as the Council for Clean Capitalism.
Heaps also holds positions on the Sustainability Accounting Standards Advisory Board and the University of Toronto’s Environment and Finance Committee. He is a director at Ashoka Canada, and has been published in the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Globe and more.