Agricultural Development

first_imgWhen Maria Moore learned that scholarships were available to attend the Future Leaders Forum sponsored by the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development (AIARD), she immediately applied.As a University of Georgia master’s degree student who will defend her thesis in food science and technology this fall, Moore is contemplating her next steps. The scholarship would allow her to attend both the forum and AIARD’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.Moore was disappointed to learn that she wasn’t selected to receive the scholarship, but just a few days later, she received good news — UGA alumnus Hiram Larew was providing funding for her to attend the conference.“AIARD is a wonderful organization for those who are professionally interested in international agriculture and rural development,” said Larew, who directed programs in sustainable development and food in countries around the globe prior to his retirement in 2015 as director of international programs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. “By attending this year’s conference, Maria had a chance to meet lots of folks who will be important to her in her upcoming career.”Reflecting on the two-and-a-half-day conference, Moore certainly agrees with Larew’s assessment.“This is a very tight-knit conference of only about 125 participants, so I was able to meet almost everyone,” Moore said. “In addition, all of the meals are included in the conference, so I had the opportunity to talk in-depth with a wide range of professionals.”Moore’s first evening was spent with students and young professionals at a career workshop led by representatives of the U.S. Agency for International Development; DAI, a 40-year-old, employee-owned global development company headquartered in Maryland; Devex, a company that focuses on connecting professionals with funding and career opportunities in international development; and Catholic Relief Services, which works with organizations around the world to help the poor and vulnerable overcome emergencies, earn a living through agriculture and access health care.“The panelists provided helpful job search information, like the importance of tailoring your resume,” Moore said. “But they also emphasized the importance of more young people entering the field of international agriculture. They described us as the future of sustainable crop production both within the United States and around the world.”Following that initial meeting, Moore had the opportunity to meet her benefactor and be introduced to many of those attending the conference.“Hiram knows everyone,” Moore said. “He took the opportunity to introduce me and two other students that he sponsored to everyone at the conference.”During the next two days, Moore heard speakers address all aspects of the conference’s theme of climate-smart agriculture, including Dawn Rittenhouse of DuPont, whose keynote address made the case for businesses’ embrace of climate-smart agriculture; panel discussions highlighting emerging research and innovation in the area of climate-smart practices; presentations of best practices by field practitioners; an address by Marc Sadler, the global lead at the World Bank; and a session focused on finding funding for promising projects.Moore also heard a summary of a 55-page AIARD white paper, emphasizing the importance of climate-smart sustainable agriculture to improve food security, to be delivered to Congress following the conference.“One of my favorite presentations was ‘Lightning Talks,’ where speakers had only five minutes and 20 slides to present their topic. They were fascinating to listen to and gave such great wrap-ups on subjects, like the role of insect protein in food and the importance of maintaining soil health,” Moore said. “It was a lot to take in, but I was doing my best to take notes on all of the presentations.”In reflecting on the conference, Moore said she gained personal insight into her own carbon footprint and learned how companies reduce their impacts on the climate.“The U.S. has the second-biggest carbon footprint of any country in the world, and we waste 40 to 50 percent of the food we produce,” she said. “I came away not only aware of what companies can do to change those numbers, but that there are things beyond recycling that I can do.”She also came away having met both fellow students and long-time professionals, and with some clarification of her own goals.“As far as my career, I want to determine what I’m looking for that will lead me on the path of working internationally,” she said.last_img read more

Leahy expands health care Web page

first_imgSen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) this week posted an expanded Web page on health care reform on his Senate website. The new feature offers Vermonters up-to-date information on health care reform plans currently before Congress and invites Vermonters to submit questions and comments to Leahy on each of the proposals. Leahy periodically will respond to comments, individuals own health care system experiences and questions submitted by Vermonters and will post highlights on the webpage.Vermonters can access this webpage at http://leahy.senate.gov/issues/health/VermontVoices.html(link is external)Leahy said, Over the past several months thousands of Vermonters have shared with me their personal experiences with our current health care system and their suggestions for improvements. This is a way to harness the Internet to expand that dialogue with Vermonters as the debate intensifies on health care reform plans that will soon be before Congress.Vermonters can visit the webpage at http://leahy.senate.gov/issues/health/VermontVoices.html(link is external) or email healthcare@leahy.senate.gov(link sends e-mail) to submit their comments, questions and stories.Source: Leahy’s office. (WEDNESDAY, August 12, 2009) —last_img read more

Mentoring picnic celebrates diversity

first_img November 15, 2004 Regular News Mentoring picnic celebrates diversity Mentoring picnic celebrates diversitycenter_img More than a fun picnic with finger-licking-good barbecue ribs and jerk chicken, the inaugural Minority Mentoring Picnic was a chance to celebrate and encourage diversity in the legal profession.The 400 or so judges, lawyers, law students, law school faculty, and Bar leaders who gathered at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines on October 2 were as diverse as the ethnic side dishes served.“It was just amazing to see Judge Fred Seraphin, the state’s only Haitian-American judge, flipping burgers and almost every student leaving with a smile and a mentor,” said Miami lawyer John Kozyak, credited as the catalyst for organizing the picnic.“Helping black law school students at the University of Miami has been my passion for several years.”As Kozyak describes it, the whole event to connect minority law school students with judges and lawyers willing to serve as mentors mushroomed from a UM event into a great success with participants coming from all around the state, including Florida Bar President-elect Alan Bookman who traveled from Pensacola.“The entire Bar leadership is committed to diversity, and it will be an ongoing goal in years to come to welcome more minorities into the profession and Bar leadership positions,” said Bar President Kelly Overstreet Johnson. “I applaud efforts such as this Minority Mentoring Picnic that provide opportunities to forge positive relationships with current and future minority members of the Bar.”Last year, St. Thomas University and Florida International University asked to be included, Kozyak said. The Florida Bar Equal Opportunities Law Section supported using this minority mentoring program for all minorities at all Florida law schools. Soon, the University of Florida, Florida State University, Nova Southeastern University, and Florida A&M University joined in, as well.“This picnic just took on a life of its own as numerous voluntary bar associations and bar leaders came forward,” Kozyak said.Local bar associations represented at the picnic included the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association, the Miami-Dade County Bar Association, the Cuban American Bar Association, the Caribbean Bar Association, the Hispanic American Bar Association, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr., Bar Association, the T.J. Reddick Bar Association, the Florida Women Lawyers Association, and the F. Malcolm Cunningham Bar Association.“The highlight of the picnic was networking. It was exceeded only by the wide variety of ethnic dishes and beverages on hand and in great supply.. . Simply delicious,” said Bar Board of Governors member Henry Latimer, who attended along with BOG colleagues Sharon Langer, Jennifer Coberly, and Frank Angones.Latimer said there was “a lot of energy in the air” and he “felt more excited than the students because of the level of enthusiasm they showed to be able to meet on such short notice and in such great numbers.”Latimer does a lot of mentoring at various law schools, and FSU is one of them.“chance, I got a call from some FSU students. I said, ‘the way, if you’re not doing anything, come to the picnic.’ And do you know, they came down in vans! They got together a little caravan. And I thought, ‘Wow! It looks like kids are just waiting for someone to reach out and help them.’”FSU law student Shakila Faqeeri left the picnic with both a full stomach and a full heart.“We are truly blessed to have lawyers who care about us and will take time to help us grow as future members of the legal profession,” she said.Latimer said the law students are already asking to do another minority mentoring picnic in January.“I always say, ‘If the kids want to do it, we will find a way of doing it.’”last_img read more

Healthy Food: Not Just for New Year’s Anymore

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The owner of Maggie’s Raw Love Café, Maggie Fils-Aime, lost a little wind in her sails when her head chef bolted for a new gig four years ago.Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fils-Aime already considered herself a good cook, but churning out raw diet food for a small eatery still developing its clientele would be a different beast altogether.Transitioning to raw food—or uncooked products, usually vegetables and fruits—is more than a shift in diet, it’s a spiritual awakening for many, a life-altering decision and complete transformation that changes everything about how a person analyzes what they allow into their body.Chris Margulies, owner of Massapequa’s Organic Corner, making an organic pressed juice called “Essential Red.”Fils-Aime, who’d emigrated to the United States more than three decades ago, received the crucial boost of confidence she so needed to salvage her business when a friend encouraged her to cook the meals herself. That friend, who has since passed, purchased Fils-Aime a dehydrator—a common tool for “raw” cooking—and the cafe owner soon started concocting her own delicious organic food: tuna, lasagna and eggplant gumbo. She now gets help from her daughter Sheiva Gourdain, who also works at the cafe. Both mom and daughter have adopted a mostly vegetarian and vegan diet for themselves as well.“I think ultimately our goal here was to be able to provide the community a place that they could go to connect, whether it was with their mind or body or spirit, with no judgment,” Gourdain tells the Press.Maggie’s Raw Love Café could easily get overshadowed in Rockville Centre, a village with no shortage of popular eateries and haunts. But after eight years, the café continues to serve a dedicated customer base that is still growing. Customers have travelled from as far away as Connecticut and Boston to experience the wealth of flavors that bursts from the new dishes, which mimic “normal” food (tuna fish is replaced with almonds or cashews and seaweed is added to create a fishy flavor; lasagna noodles are actually sliced zucchini).“There’s nothing healthy in this town,” Fils-Aime remembers thinking before opening the eatery. “There’s bars and a bunch of greasy food.”Healthy eateries are slowly popping up across Long Island and—dare we say—hitting the mainstream. People are constantly looking for healthy choices and it’s not unusual to see people change their eating habits—or at least try to—on Jan. 1, though most are dreadfully unsuccessful. According to a Scranton University poll released in 2012, only 46 percent of people maintained their New Year’s Resolutions through the first six months of the year.A photo of Maggie Raw Love Cafe’s falafel with parsley salad.It’s not just the raw diet that people are yearning for. A healthy salad, wrap or sandwich will suffice as long as they can cut fatty and unhealthy foods out of their diet. Eateries specializing in fresh and healthy choices are all around, offering a wide variety of dishes.Maggie’s Raw Love Cafe has transformed into a raw food hub for LI’s organic food lovers. This dish, sweet potato pasta, decorated with fresh tomoatoes, gushes with flavor.[/caption]Take Gourmet Grill 5 in Mineola, for example. Inside this cozy brick eatery adjacent to the Mineola train station anyone can feed their craving for a healthy meal by picking up a chopped salad or a low-calorie wrap. It also just recently started offering gluten-free bread, burger rolls and wraps, which became an instant hit thanks to customers with gluten allergies spreading the word to others who can’t—or just choose not to—have gluten in their diet.Gourmet Grill sells on average 50 to 100 salads each day. Mondays and Tuesdays are especially busy days for chopped salads, which feature any handful of choices from its menu of more than a dozen toppings—from beets, cauliflower and kidney beans to roasted peppers, shredded carrots and sunflower seeds. The early week health-food rush is most likely due to overindulging during the weekend, surmises Gourmet Grill’s owner, Vincent Pepitone.Maggie’s Raw Love Cafe has transformed into a raw food hub for LI’s organic food lovers. This dish, sweet potato pasta, decorated with fresh tomoatoes, gushes with flavor.Pepitone receives near-daily deliveries of fresh produce from local markets and tries his best to make even historically unhealthy food, such as cheeseburgers, as healthy as possible. The beef is 98-percent Angus, and the burger is char-grilled—so the fat melts off, but the juice never stops swimming inside the meat. Even the chicken is free of antibiotics and hormones, he says.“I think it’s really just caring about the food,” Pepitone says of his success throughout nine years in Mineola. “It’s what I would want to eat.”In Massapequa, 42-year-old Chris Margulies follows a similar philosophy as Maggie’s Raw Love Café. He started Organic Corner nearly three years ago with the goal of selling healthy goods—hot and cold food by order, vegan and vegetarian options, vitamin supplements and produce—and serving up a juice bar because of a feeling that the “South Shore is just neglected when it comes to health,” he says.Margulies, a child athlete who played hockey in college, could be easily mistaken for a nutritionist or a doctor (though he doesn’t profess to be) the way he talks about alkaline diets, acidity, the digestive process and how juicing—drinking vegetable-based liquids (which he offers) to replace regular meals for a certain time period—“recalibrates” the palate and puts the body at full-digestive rest for the first time since childhood. Cut out dairy and red meat entirely, he says, and “you’re 100-percent healthier.” Don’t get him started on sugar.In a short time, Organic Corner, with its Starbucks-esque seating and comfortable work area, has become a popular place where like-minded people gather to share stories about their lifestyle changes, Margulies included.“Health is like oxygen,” he says. “You don’t know how important it is until you lose it.”Operating a health-food market or restaurant is inherently risky because of the cost of producing healthy options. But Margulies says he’s 100-percent committed to the cause and believes more people are re-assessing how they want to live their lives.Yes, he laments, it will cost customers more to eat healthy. But to him, it’s a worthwhile investment.“Have you ever seen a bill when you get sick?” he asks.last_img read more

Trump Administration Removes Scientist in Charge of Assessing Climate Change

first_imgA biased or diminished climate assessment would have wide-ranging implications.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – WASHINGTON — The White House has removed the scientist responsible for the National Climate Assessment, the federal government’s premier contribution to climate knowledge and the foundation for regulations to combat global warming, in what critics interpreted as the latest sign that the Trump administration intends to use its remaining months in office to continue impeding climate science and policy.Michael Kuperberg, executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which produces the climate assessment, was told Friday that he would no longer lead that organization, people with knowledge of the situation said.- Advertisement – Mr. Ebell, whose organization has championed the appointment of Dr. Legates and others who question the established science of climate change, said the intention is for him to lead the program while continuing to hold his position at NOAA. “It might be a short-term appointment,” Mr. Ebell said, given the election of President-elect Biden, who has said he will embrace aggressive efforts to tackle climate change.“If he only directs it for two months and a week, then he may not get very far, but let’s see what can get done in two months. Maybe the next administration will throw it all away, but maybe some changes will be adopted, who knows,” Mr. Ebell said. Marc Morano, a prominent denier of established climate change science, cheered the departure of Mr. Kuperberg and said he expects Mr. Legates to be named. “The Trump administration is ‘listening to the science’ by clearing out the anti-science promoters of extreme climate scenarios. These moves are long, long overdue,” he said.Dr. Legates did not respond to a request for comment.Federal employees, who asked not be identified because they were concerned about retaliation from the White House, said they worried that the administration’s goal in removing Dr. Kuperberg was to make it easier to pick authors for the report who also question the severity of climate change. Those who have publicly attacked climate science, like Mr. Ebell and Mr. Morano, said that is the goal.While the incoming Biden administration could reverse those decisions, doing so would slow down the production of the climate assessment. The next edition, which was supposed to be released by 2022, has already been pushed back to 2023.Dr. Kuperberg’s removal isn’t the only example of the Trump administration taking steps that could impede climate policy in its final months. Mr. Chatterjee, a Republican who was demoted Friday as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, had recently drawn White House ire. He had supported a series of proposals that would expand use of large-scale battery storage in power grid, thus encouraging the use of wind and solar power, while allowing electric utilities to charge a user fee for power generated from coal and natural gas, which would discourage the use of those fossil fuels.Like the findings of the National Climate Assessment, the moves by Mr. Chatterjee were at odds with Mr. Trump’s policies, which have been aimed at aggressively increasing the use of coal and other fossil fuels, chiefly by reducing regulations. The White House replaced Mr. Chatterjee as chairman of the panel with another member of the commission, James Danly, who has opposed efforts to promote renewable power. In a message to colleagues, Dr. Kuperberg said he was returning to his previous job at the Department of Energy. He was removed from the list of staff on the research program’s website on Monday.- Advertisement – “It is 100 percent retribution,” said Mr. Chatterjee in a telephone interview, of the White House move to demote him from his chairmanship. “This validates my independence and integrity. I’m going to hold my head up high.”A White House spokesman, Judd Deere, said that the White House would not comment on personnel matters. Mr. Chatterjee will remain on the five-member commission, and said he intends to serve out his current term, which ends in June.Rachel Licker, a senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, criticized the actions of Trump administration officials. “Even in their final days, they are continuing to attempt to bury the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change.” It could be used in court to bolster the positions of fossil fuel companies being sued for climate damages. It could counter congressional efforts to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it contributes to global warming. Dr. Kuperberg did not respond to requests for comment. The Global Change Research Program reports to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Asked why Dr. Kuperberg had been removed from the role, Kristina Baum, a spokeswoman for that office, said on Monday that “we do not comment on personnel matters.”Dr. Kuperberg’s dismissal appears to be the latest setback in the Trump administration for the National Climate Assessment, a report from 13 federal agencies and outside scientists that the government is required by law to produce every four years. The most recent report, in 2018, found that climate change poses an imminent and dire threat to the United States and its economy. Dr. Michael KuperbergCredit… According to two people close to the administration, he is expected to be replaced by David Legates, a deputy assistant secretary at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who previously worked closely with climate change denial groups.Dr. Kuperberg’s departure comes amid a broader effort, in the aftermath of Mr. Trump’s defeat last week by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., to remove officials who have fallen afoul of the White House. Also on Friday, Neil Chatterjee, head of the agency that regulates the nation’s utility markets, was demoted by the White House, after he publicly supported the use of renewable power. And, ultimately, it could weaken what is known as the “endangerment finding,” a 2009 scientific finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that said carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions pose a threat to human health and therefore are subject to government regulation. Undercutting that finding could make it more difficult to fight climate change under the terms of the Clean Air Act.The agency most involved in that report is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the country’s premier climate science agency. In September, the White House installed at NOAA new political staff who have questioned the science of climate change. People familiar with the administration’s strategy said the aim was to use NOAA’s influence to undercut the National Climate Assessment.“They’re trying to just do a takeover of all this stuff so they can control the National Climate Assessment thinking,” said Judith Curry, a former chairwoman of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in an interview Monday.One of the new political hires was Dr. Legates, a professor at the University of Delaware’s geography department and now a deputy administrator at NOAA who has worked closely for years with climate denial groups and has argued that carbon dioxide “is plant food and not a pollutant.” Dr. Legates is now being considered to take Dr. Kuperberg’s position as head of the Global Change Research Program, according to two people including Myron Ebell, a director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a former member of Mr. Trump’s transition team. David Legates during a 2008 conference appearance. Credit…Kevin Dietsch/UPI Photo, via Alamylast_img read more

Death toll from suspected cases keeps rising, reaching at least 3,833

first_imgWhile President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo promised in April to ramp up coronavirus testing to 10,000 tests per day, government data show that only 6,340 tests were conducted on Wednesday, and the maximum number of daily tests was 7,111 on April 12. A mere 2,562 people were tested on Monday.The President has called on residents to make peace and “coexist” with the virus in a “new normal” situation.“Living in peace does not mean we are giving up, but we are adapting,” he said on Friday.“The transition toward a new normal by reopening the economy should be based on measurable indicators with scientifically valid and transparent data,” Irma said in a statement made available on Sunday. The group also raised concerns about crowds forming at airports, shopping centers and a fast food outlet, indicating that many people did not heed government instructions about continued physical distancing.”The government has to be well prepared and prioritize public health before reopening the economy,” the statement said. The government should not rush into easing restrictions in the country’s COVID-19 red zones, as the number of deaths suspected to have been caused by the coronavirus has risen to more than 3,800, a civil society group says.Lapor COVID-19, which consists of several civil groups, reported that fatalities among suspected COVID-19 cases in 18 provinces of Indonesia numbered 3,833 as of May 15, based on information gleaned from the websites of regional administrations—provinces, regencies and municipalities. Combined with the 1,242 deaths among confirmed cases as of May 20, the total number of deaths was at least 5,075.On May 13, another volunteer group, KawalCovid-19, recorded 3,180 deaths of patients suspected to have COVID-19, consisting of 3,091 patients under surveillance (PDP) and 90 people under monitoring (ODP). That data comes from the COVID-19 websites of 16 of the 34 country’s provinces. The group has since updated the data to show that, as of May 16, 18 provinces in Indonesia had reported 3,657 deaths among PDP and ODP cases. Topics :center_img Not all provinces revealed the death toll among suspected cases. Bali, for example, does not provide such data.Lapor COVID-19 spokesperson Irma Hidayana said the government with its official death toll was underreporting cases and should instead follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest guidance on including deaths among suspected cases.Since April 11, the WHO defines a COVID-19 death as any death resulting from a clinically compatible illness in a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19. Based on that definition, the cumulative death toll of people who had or may have had the virus should be included in the COVID-19 death figure.“The situation shows that the limited number of tests and delays in the process might cause people with suspected COVID-19 to die even before they get tested,” Irma added.last_img read more

Governor Wolf Statement on PASSHE and APSCUF Contract Agreement

first_img October 21, 2016 Governor Wolf Statement on PASSHE and APSCUF Contract Agreement Press Release,  Statement Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf released the following statement on the contract agreement reached between the State System and APSCUF:“Throughout this process, and during my conversations with both sides, the students and families were my focus. Coming to a final agreement was challenging, and it took a lot of effort from everyone involved, but I appreciate PASSHE and APSCUF coming together to reach a final agreement on a contract that is fair for professors and university faculty and the State System.“We all agree that the higher education of our students is a top priority, and I am thrilled that today students can go back to class and professors can teach them.“I will continue my fight for greater investment in higher education and affordability for Pennsylvania families. We must ensure that we all work together to strengthen the State System financially – after years of underfunding – while providing our professors and students with the resources necessary to train a future workforce to compete in the modern economy.”Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolfcenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Lowset stunner sets Wishart sales benchmark

first_imgThe home at 35 Eaton Place, Wishart, sold under the hammer.A LOWSET family home in Wishart has set a street record after selling under the hammer for $1.256 million. The property at 35 Eaton Place sold on May 20. Marketing agent Kosma Comino, of LJ Hooker Sunnybank Hills, said the auction attracted seven registered bidders, with six actively vying for the property. “The opening bid was $800,000 and it got to $1 million very quickly,” Mr Comino said. “From $1.1 million it was between three families and from $1.2 million there were just two families left. “It was a phenomenal auction and that price — $1.256 million — was the highest price for a lowset home on a block under 1000sq m in Wishart and the surrounding suburbs.”More from newsCrowd expected as mega estate goes under the hammer7 Aug 2020Hard work, resourcefulness and $17k bring old Ipswich home back to life20 Apr 2020The home at 35 Eaton Place, Wishart.Mr Comino said the new owners were a young Gold Coast couple who planned to move to Wishart. Mr Comino said he knew the well-presented home would attract plenty of interest but he had no idea how popular it would be. “We had about 200 people through the property during the four-week campaign,” he said. “Buyers loved that it was close to the motorway — you could be in the city in 12 minutes — and in a great school catchment. “The home was built incredibly well and even though it was on a big block, the property was low-maintenance. It ticked all the boxes for young couples in the area.” According to CoreLogic, the median house price in Wishart has grown 32.6 per cent in the past three years to sit at $726,800.“The market in Wishart is very strong,” Mr Comino said.last_img read more

SwissRe’s $130bn benchmark change ‘most meaningful’ step in ESG shift

first_imgSwissRe is implementing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) benchmarks across its entire $130bn investment portfolio, with the switching process due to be completed in the third quarter of this year. Last year SwissRe moved to adopt ESG-based benchmarks for its actively managed credit and equity portfolios. A spokeswoman for the company said it was around 90% through the shift for the whole portfolio.Guido Fürer, group chief investment officer at Swiss Re, said adopting broad-based ESG benchmarks “has been the most meaningful and strategic step in our journey to integrate ESG considerations into the investment process”.“These benchmarks represent a suitable tool to achieve the desired investment behaviour and set the right measurement both from a performance and ESG perspective,” he added. The indices it selected were based on MSCI’s ESG methodology. It is using the MSCI ESG index family for equities and the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI Corporate Sustainability index family for fixed income. SwissRe carried out analysis that it said demonstrated corporate bond portfolios constructed from companies with higher ESG ratings showed a better risk-adjusted return.The same applied to equities, but not in all local markets to the same extent, the reinsurer added.It acknowledged that a shift to ESG benchmarks would entail a smaller investment universe, but said that over the long-term such moves would motivate excluded companies to further incorporate ESG considerations in their business approach and expand and improve disclosure.“ESG factors will have an impact on company valuation and cost of capital, and as such become an integral part of financial analysis,” it said. For actively managed portfolios, portfolio managers are allowed to invest a small percentage in off-benchmark investments with additional ESG rating restrictions based on their own ESG assessment, SwissRe said.SwissRe’s announcement comes after Japan’s Government Investment Pension Fund earlier this week announced it will track three ESG indices for around ¥1trn (€7.8bn) of Japanese equity investments.Impediments to wider ESG take-up SwissRe said it was convinced that taking ESG criteria into account made economic sense and reduced downside risks – especially for long-term investors.However, ESG integration was not yet part of the standard investment approach, the reinsurer said. One key reason for this was a lack of industry standards for responsible investing. SwissRe cited a survey from the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association in which 84% of 647 respondents took this view.“Having a more standardised responsible investing market environment with a generally agreed set of best practices provides clear guidance to investors and reduces investment barriers,” said SwissRe. “Enabling a systematic and consistent integration of ESG considerations requires clear definitions, standards and methodologies.”Short-termism in company investment analysis was another hurdle to wider adoption of ESG integration, as ESG factors materialise over a longer-term horizon, noted SwissRe.In an update on its initiative about ESG and credit risk analysis earlier this week, the Principles for Responsible Investment said the time horizon over which ESG factors are deemed material was one of the points where there was the most disconnect between credit rating agencies and investors.SwissRe also said there was a lack of suitable ESG-related investment products, with traditional benchmarks, especially for fixed income, not including ESG approaches in their security selection.Benchmarks that did consider ESG factors were often skewed toward a specific theme, such as carbon footprint reduction, it added.Overall, according to SwissRe, “much of the available information and recommendations related to ESG investing remain on a rather theoretical level and are not sufficiently concrete for long-term institutional investors”.“Well-defined and more detailed guidance is needed to help the investor base become comfortable with ESG integration and to support an industry shift towards longer-term and more sustainable investing,” it said. “From a macro-prudential perspective, standard setters have to adjust quickly and provide an appropriate framework around the disclosure and regulation of responsible investing.”last_img read more

Inside RSL Art Union’s latest Gold Coast prize home

first_imgRSL Art Union, which funds support services for veterans and their families, has invested significantly in the beachside location on the southern Coast and will continue to do so in 2020.RSL Art Union general manager Tracey Bishop said Palm Beach was the ultimate prize-home location, as it would continue to deliver benefits long after the initial win.“Palm Beach has seen exponential growth of late, including growth in the median apartment price by 6.4 per cent since 2014, making this a valuable asset to win whether you’re looking to live, rent or sell,” Ms Bishop said. MORE NEWS: Vacant waterfront block hits Coast market for the first time in 40 years You could own an apartment in the One Palm Beach complex. Picture: Supplied MORE NEWS: House’s cool feature will get the adrenaline pumping More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa9 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day ago“The research shows that this apartment will only grow in value for one lucky winner, with its spectacular views and the increasing lifestyle amenity popping up in Palm Beach.“RSL Art Union sees the value in the area as we know our customers love it – in fact almost half, four of our 10 RSL Art Union properties in 2020, are situated in Palm Beach.”Draw 372 closes January 21, with the winner drawn on January 29. The luxury kitchen in RSL Art Union’s latest prize home in One Palm Beach complex. Enjoy this view? Art Union’s latest prize home is in Palm Beach in the One Palm Beach complex. Picture: Suppliedcenter_img RSL Art Union’s latest prize home is in Palm Beach in the One Palm Beach complex. Picture: Supplied.A $5 outlay could score a lucky winner a $2.3 million beachfront apartment on the Gold Coast.RSL Art Union’s latest prize home is in Palm Beach and comes with $350,000 in gold.Situated in the One Palm Beach complex, the four-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment features eco-friendly features and direct beach access. Make a splash in the pool. Picture: Suppliedlast_img read more