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Weekly Briefing: October 9-13, 2023

Week of October 9, 2023

ESG Priorities Shape Portfolio Exclusions Amid Climate Concerns

  • Climate change is the top reason for excluding companies from investment portfolios, accounting for 40% of exclusions.

  • 17% of exclusions are due to concerns about companies involved in weapons manufacturing, while tobacco makes up 12%.

  • Financial institutions continue to consider ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) factors in their investment decisions, despite some political backlash.

  • Notable excluded companies include Poongsan Corporation, cited by 75 investors for controversial weapons manufacturing, and fossil fuel companies like Cenovus Energy, Suncor, and ExxonMobil, due to climate concerns.

  • Some investors are concerned about the financial risks associated with climate change, emphasizing the need for companies to transition to greener practices.


September Job Growth Surpasses Expectations, Raises Economic Questions

  • Strong U.S. job growth in September with the addition of 336,000 jobs, exceeding economist expectations.

  • The unemployment rate remains at 3.8 percent, reflecting a robust labor market.

  • 33 consecutive months of job growth, with upward revisions for July and August hiring figures.

  • Average hourly earnings rose by 0.2 percent from the previous month and 4.2 percent from September 2022, but wage gains were cooler than anticipated.

  • Rising wage gains and job growth may prompt the Federal Reserve to consider further interest rate increases to control inflation.

October 9, 2023

TRC Companies, Inc. (TRC), a Connecticut-based consulting, engineering, program and construction management firm, has acquired Advanced Civil Technologies (ACT), a California-based project management, highway design, water quality, and planning and project initiation firm for large-scale transportation projects. The acquisition strengthens TRC’s transportation offerings and expands their client reach throughout Southern California. Christopher Vincze, CEO of TRC, said of the transaction, “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act ushered in a renewed emphasis on addressing transportation in the U.S., and ACT will help us meet the needs in California with a focus on climate change, resilience and safety.”


October 9, 2023

DeSimone Consulting Engineering (DeSimone), a New York-based full-service engineering and construction consulting firm, has acquired Decipher, a United Kingdom-based construction consultancy firm. Decipher offers construction services including quantum and project advisory, quantity surveying, project planning, dispute resolution, expert testimony and training services. Following the acquisition, Decipher will operate as “Decipher, a DeSimone Company” and maintain their presence in Chesire and Manchester strengthening DeSimone’s Construction Consulting Services arm in the United Kingdom.


October 9, 2023

Qualus Corporation (Qualus), a Florida-based power consulting, engineering, and technical services firm, has acquired GridBright, a California-based provider of power utilities and renewable energy and storage, specializing in the implementation of outage management, advanced distribution management, distributed energy resource management and emergency management systems. The acquisition adds to Qualus’ wide range of energy transition technologies and services. Dr. Hisham Mahmoud, Chairman and CEO of Qualus, said of the transaction, “From our first meeting, it was clear that we share common values, cultures, a focus on quality and innovation, a passion to solve the complex challenges facing the power industry, and a commitment to continue to build a best-in-class environment for our people.”


October 10, 2023

Ardurra Group, Inc. (Ardurra), a Florida-based consulting and engineering services provider, has acquired Inwood Consulting Engineers, Inc. (Inwood), a Florida-based transportation and water engineering services firm. The acquisition of Inwood expands Ardurra’s service offerings and presence in Florida. President of Inwood, David Coleman, commented on the transaction, “The growth opportunity for our firm and staff attracted us to Ardurra, but their leadership and culture matched ours so well that we didn’t see where Inwood ended and Ardurra began.”


October 10, 2023

RDLR Architects, Inc. (RDLR), a Texas-based architectural firm, has acquired W [Squared] Architects (W [Squared]), a Texas-based design solutions firm serving multifamily, office, retail and hospitality clients across industries. The acquisition brings RDLR access to W [Squared]’s experienced team of architects who are experts in commercial design and expands its services into the private commercial market. Daniel Ortiz, Principal of RDLR, said of the transaction, “W [Squared] Architects aligns perfectly with RDLR Architects’ growth strategy, and we are thrilled to welcome them into the RDLR family. This strategic move not only strengthens our position in the industry but also allows us to better serve our clients by offering a wider range of services.”

VHBrecently partnered with the Georgia Institute of Technology Student Planning Association to celebrate Park(ing) Day in their downtown Atlanta campus. Park(ing) Day is a global, participatory project that repurposes curbside parking spaces by converting them into temporary parks and social spaces for the local community. The spaces created on Park(ing) Day serve as examples of safer, greener, and more equitable streets. VHB participated in the event by creating a social space where pedestrians could stop by and plant a seed to take home in a biodegradable container while learning how VHB integrates sustainability into their projects.


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