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“Reducing risk” rules over “More profits” PwC Survey Finds Majority of Investors Consider #Sustainability http://t.co/autZ8qpqsd

Kudos to the Alabama planning director working with climate deniers to help his state. Tough job #actonclimate http://t.co/VhH4584FKX

A MINING exec talking about sustainable license to operate, zero-waste, zero-harm. Asking the right questions http://t.co/RyrHOs4gAV

Vision! Revived Longitude Prize offers £10m to solve greatest scientific challenges/ http://t.co/vJmBI3GYAZ

Important & encouraging: Evangelicals in Florida working for climate change. http://t.co/PUDSyvWYwR

Some practical “where-to-invest-once-you-divest” suggestions. http://t.co/287G24Dk4W

My latest: The ‘CVS Effect’ in Action: Lessons from Chipotle’s #BurritosNotBullets CSR Win.  http://t.co/pX4ZDQSNEr

In Shell carbon bubble argument, Guardian rockyrex commenter reminds that fates can swiftly shift, a la asbestos litigation. http://t.co/fZ6D0g4SrC

Shell reassures investors that carbon bubble is not a biz risk. Want to ask the reinsurers about that? http://t.co/78nNhVduGv

Great article! Jeana Wirtenberg: How 9 leaders are building sustainable culture http://t.co/wS7gDBvYam

IMO, the open-carry folks weren’t there for burritos. My $.02 on #BurritosNotBullets  http://t.co/nClfM7qHW4

Andrew Winston at Fortune Green this week: In terms of climate change, “the cost of doing nothing is now. Not next year or next century.” –

10 Companies That Are Actually Listening to Customers. http://t.co/JJhLqcmRIP

Bottomless salad bowl in your own backyard! http://t.co/Y1uFyDkrsR

Leave the gun, enjoy my burrito. Thanks Chipotle for standing up for your customers’ peaceful enjoyment http://t.co/QpX9quD0Rl

TweetChat #fails….grats to Aman Singh for hosting productive collegial #sustybiz chats http://t.co/R7eRsWQTod

“Get to Yes” progress from Obamacare opponent shows change is possible for climate action. http://t.co/znAYTQpC8o

A poem that cleans the air—literally a breath of fresh air! http://t.co/uarkyxGjtD

“What everyone does when no one’s looking” Good MITsmr piece on corporate culture http://t.co/vn91PkjW20

Andrew Winston: How CEOs Can Save the World http://t.co/Gh2iQuWOd

Why plastic bags suck. Great global overview w/stats & links http://t.co/Fr5jugobnQ

Amazing New Yorker read, bringing sustainability convos into mainstream http://t.co/IiXuFaJkuQ

Important climate risk drum beat for summer’s Risky Business report from Next Generation  http://t.co/r7eRwApRqM

Great job from Greg Harman  on what the skeptics are dishing up next. http://t.co/7xQluh7MaO

Divestment empowerment will have ripple effects. Expect more empowered actions from citizens, like Rutgers students saying “no thanks” to Secretary Rice. http://t.co/T9a76aC7F5

Talking economics, opportunity cost and susty metrics. http://t.co/EdTBCsIo0P

Faith leadership joins for climate action “Blessed Tomorrow.”  http://t.co/kosdLZeXLl

When we get the money people on board, we’ve won. “Why don’t economists get climate change?”. http://t.co/BXU6dWJbcB

Good on McDonald’s for new sustainability plan. Now let’s talk about it. http://bit.ly/McDSusty

The changing tide pulls everything in its wake. Paddle with it. Stanford to divest $18B in coal. http://t.co/bWH5JoQqcT

Message in a bottle of our planet’s plastic burden at @5gyres plastic event. http://t.co/NFkEpajXih http://t.co/PcP0z0NEYT

Love Obama’s climate plan, needs more business.  http://t.co/02yFV91z5I

DEP hosting Northeastern climate change prep conference. http://t.co/IAxJn59rbo

More “consumers speak, brands respond” action | Teen spurs Pepsi & Coke to dump flame retardant chemical. http://t.co/TzvA0sx2dD

Refreshingly transparent talk from UK KFC’s CSR exec 1. KFC doesn’t market 2 kids in the UK. 2. “KFC is a treat.” https://t.co/uwJgy0Yy04

Unilever’s ‘Help A Child Reach 5’ campaign reports that child diarrhea rate are plummeting. http://t.co/5yuZbk2tpA

Getting Sustainability solutions to scale is going to take a lot of money.

But at present, the investor community is not placing their bets on Sustainability-driven companies.

That’s a disconnect to me, because the business case for doing so is solid. Research  shows that businesses that make Environmental, Social and Governance (commonly known as ESG) factors part of their strategy do just as well in the marketplace. Sometimes even better.

The research borne this out in 2011, and it’s still true today.

Via Harvard Business School http://www.hbs.edu:

The Impact of a Corporate Culture of Sustainability on Corporate Behavior and Performance

Finally, we provide evidence that High Sustainability companies significantly outperform their counterparts over the long-term, both in terms of stock market and accounting performance. The outperformance is stronger in sectors where the customers are individual consumers instead of companies, companies compete on the basis of brands and reputations, and products significantly depend upon extracting large amounts of natural resources.

So why isn’t the investor community on board?

Cary Krosinsky’s work is all about understanding and bridging this gap between investors and sustainability. And, approaches for getting money flowing towards positive sustainability investments.

I heard Cary and Steve Viederman speak Mar. 4 on Getting Investors Engaged in Sustainability at the Bard MBA Sustainable Business Series.

Cary is Executive Director of the Network for Sustainable Financial Markets, and teaches Sustainability & Investing at Columbia University and University of Maryland.  Previously, he was senior vice president for Trucost, a company that helps organizations measure their environmental impacts. He’s also an author of Evolutions in Sustainable Investing: Strategies, Funds and Thought Leadership (Wiley Finance).

First, the bad news.

Status quo is strong.  The people who make investment decisions have deeply entrenched beliefs and behaviors about how to make money.  Monolithicly so. Cary’s company, the Network for Sustainable Financial Markets, just released research that finds only 1% of global assets under management overall are managed by investors looking at sustainability.

Via sustainablefinancialmarkets.net:

NSFM White Paper – The State of Ownership (the real size of SRI Assets + the Systemic Nature of Equity Ownership)

1%.

So at least we know where we stand. Now on to changing it.

Cary suggested a positive investing mindset to work with the status quo rather than against it. This means focusing on adding Sustainability-minded assets to a portfolio–what’s possible–rather than focusing on what we shouldn’t buy.   As an example, he mentioned Bill McKibben’s 350.org college endowment fossil fuel divestment campaign. Instead of lobbying to cull  fossil fuel-related investments from university endowments, a positive approach would be to add a percentage of Sustainability-focused investments to a university’s investment portfolio.

I’m really taken with this concept because it has significant potential to create change from the top-down. It’s really the simplest idea in the world. Put our energies towards finding sustainable solutions instead of stamping out fires. It takes more time and energy to say, “What should we do?” instead of “Stop that,” true, but these are conversations worth having. Taking the time it takes, takes less time.

I’m all in for the “and also” top-down, bottom-up, sideways innovating systemic solutions that keep us away from the brink of a 2 degrees-hotter planet. I believe in the scientific consensus about our world becoming fundamentally less hospitable to human life if we don’t.

Putting all issues of money aside, as climate change realities become the new normal (resource scarcities, extreme drought, rising sea levels), business and investors have real skin in fixing things.  If we don’t come up with cures for our environmental and energy problems, there’s not going to be a world in which to invest money.

Many thanks to the Bard MBA program for the chance to hear about Cary’s research and contributions to the Sustainable Investing field.