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Tuesday
Jan102012

Fighting For 'Clean Capitalism'

Toby Heaps takes an entrepreneurial approach to fostering corporate responsibility.

In 2002, Heaps, left, co-founded the quarterly Canadian magazine Corporate Knights, whose stated mission is “to humanize the marketplace.” Among its best known features are the annual lists Corporate Knights Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World and Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada, which recognize companies that practice what Heaps calls “clean capitalism."

Heaps has said, “Every one of the corporate citizens has black underwear, and we’re not going to pretend that they’re saints. There are no Mother Teresas here. But these are the best we’ve got.”

While serving as spokesman for Ralph Nader’s 2008 campaign for U.S. president, Heaps, 34, coordinated the Option 13 campaign to implement global carbon taxation. He has also spearheaded sustainable-energy business ventures in Canada and Africa.

In the introduction to 2011’s Best 50 Corporate Citizens report, Heaps outlines his vision for social change:

Many billion-dollar companies have already caught the scent of opportunity that lies in the clean capitalist economy. The next step is to refashion policy so it rewards those who lead the way on natural and social capital productivity. Get ready for business councils for clean capitalism, a parade of big businesses who take the policy bull by the horns to lead this change.

Heaps constantly adopts new ways to work toward change. In 2010 and 2011, Corporate Knights and the Energy Policy Institute of Canada held a series of roundtables to aid in the development of Canada’s energy strategy.

In November 2011, Heaps was promoted to CEO of the magazine’s parent company Corporate Knights Inc. His promotion was timed to the launch of Corporate Knights Capital, a division that produces and sells investment products derived from Corporate Knights’ published ranking data.

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Benjamin Kessler is an editor and writer for Ethics 360. He can be contacted here.

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This post is part of our series profiling global compliance leaders. Most appear on our sponsor Ethisphere’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics.

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