Category: Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy

  • Sustainable Development Goals: Will The World Stick to Its New Year’s Resolutions?

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    Filed in Environment & Climate , Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy , on by Worldwatch Institute

    As those of us who struggle to keep our resolutions know, following through on a New Year’s commitment isn’t easy. This year, however, the world has big plans. Last September, at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015, 193 countries signed on to tackle 17 goals and meet 169 targets “to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want” and “to heal and secure our planet” by 2030. On January 1, 2016, these Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came into force. Will the world be able to stick to its New Year’s resolutions?

    Learning from the Past

    The SDGs were designed to overcome the shortcomings of their predecessors, the recently expired Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While these eight objectives to halve global poverty between 1990 and 2015 were praised by some for bringing a focus on human development factors—rather than pushing solely for economic growth—the agenda also was criticized for being difficult to implement equitably across countries and within communities.

    Shifting into Synergies

    Building on the concept that people and the planet are intimately interconnected, the earlier MDGs were expanded to include environmental and human rights issues. The UN’s 2030 Agenda recognizes the importance of “the link between sustainable development and other relevant ongoing processes in the economic, social and environmental ... Read More

  • 2016 Sustainable Investing Themes: ESG Integration, Climate Change and Inequality

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    Filed in Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy on by GreenMoney Journal

    Sustainable investing is gaining momentum and increasingly taking its place at the center of mainstream investment conversations. We believe we are at a critical moment of change where integrating environmental, social and governance considerations into quality investment strategies is not only considered acceptable as a part of sound investment management, but is viewed as core to prudent investing and value creation. Growing interest by individual and institutional investors is driving the financial services industry to create ever more numerous and rigorous investment tools. The focus is on utilizing top-drawer traditional investment techniques combined with ESG considerations to provide improved sustainable investing options for investors to consider. As this virtuous circle continues, we believe strong growth in sustainable investing will continue this coming year and beyond as this increasingly sought-after approach is utilized by mainstream investors.

    • Mainstream financial service firms and investors will increasingly look to integrate environmental, social and governance considerations.
    • Climate change will be a more central focus for investors than ever before. Climate change will crescendo as a topic in the news as nations and corporations make pledges leading up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.
    • Economic inclusion will become an increasingly important topic for investors – not just ... Read More
  • People, Planet, Profit: The Rise of Triple-Bottom-Line Businesses

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    Filed in Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy on by Worldwatch Institute

    Colleen Cordes’ State of the World 2014 chapter, “The Rise of Triple-Bottom-Line Businesses,” explores the role of ethical capitalism in the quest for sustainable economies.

    Entrepreneurs are beginning to challenge business as usual, infusing ethics into the notoriously ruthless corporate world.

    “Put simply, the conventional economic model—amoral capitalism—and the willingness of so many investors and consumers to tolerate it are two of the most challenging threats to preserving a livable human future,” writes Colleen Cordes, a Worldwatch Institute State of the World 2014 contributing author, public policy consultant and director of outreach and development for The Nature Institute of Ghent, New York.

    In the last few years, however, public restlessness has been growing as the environmental and social abuses of the conventional economic model are brought to light. And while activists and labor groups, investors and consumers, and national and international nonprofit groups are vying for more corporate transparency, corporations themselves are still the critical players in accelerating the urgently needed transition to sustainable economies.

    Read the entire article, originally published on the Worldwatch Institute blog: http://blogs.worldwatch.org/people-planet-profit-benefit-corporations-push-for-responsible-business

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  • Green or Greedy? Corporations’ Role in Global Sustainable Development

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    Filed in Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy on by Worldwatch Institute

    As national governments struggle to resolve pressing global challenges, corporations are positioning themselves within the United Nations framework as efficient players and crucial partners in international policy debates. But with their immense economic and political sway, can corporations contribute to development discussions without the “corporate capture” of governance?

    In the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2014: Governing for Sustainability, contributing author Lou Pingeot, policy adviser at the Global Policy Forum, explains the need for accountability and transparency as corporations join these critical discussion.

    Already, business groups—especially large multinational corporations—have become very active in post-2015 UN initiatives. And, not surprisingly, various business reports now present economic growth and a market-based approach, rather than government regulation, as univocal solutions for poverty reduction and economic development.

    “Making the business case for sustainable development may be seen as a pragmatic approach,” writes Pingeot. “This begs the question, however, of what to do when necessary efforts for the public good do not constitute a good investment for the private sector.”

    Read the entire article, originally published on the Worldwatch Institute blog: http://blogs.worldwatch.org/green-or-greedy-corporations-role-in-global-sustainable-development/

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  • Has China’s Economic Shift Really Ended the Commodity Super-cycle?

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    Filed in Energy , Environment & Climate , Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy , on by Worldwatch Institute

    The most recent economic “super-cycle,” a decades-long trend of rising commodity prices, has been influenced by the surging growth of China since the turn of this century. Now, as China begins its shift from an export-led growth model to a model based on internal investment and consumption, the super-cycle has slowed.

    The Worldwatch Institute’s Mark Konold, Caribbean Program Manager, and Jacqueline Espinal, intern with the Climate and Energy Program, state that despite this change, commodity prices experienced a notable drop in 2013 but remained high compared to historical averages, suggesting that the super-cycle may have been and continues to be driven by other substantial global factors.

    How deeply has China affected global energy markets and what factors, including environmental and energy factors, are currently playing a role in determining overall prices?

    Read the entire story, originally published on the Worldwatch Institute website (www.worldwatch.org): http://www.worldwatch.org/has-china%E2%80%99s-economic-shift-really-ended-commodity-super-cycle

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  • Global Economy Inches Upward as Environmental and Social Concerns Mount

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    Filed in Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy on by Worldwatch Institute

    New Worldwatch Institute analysis examines global economic trends and associated challenges

    Washington, D.C. — National progress is often measured almost exclusively by growth in the gross domestic product, or GDP. Yet as the global economy inches upward, actual social and environmental well-being lags. Alternative measures for gauging progress are needed to determine true prosperity, write Worldwatch’s Mark Konold and Climate and Jacqueline Espinal in the Institute’s latest Vital Signs analysis (bit.ly/VSOEcon).

    Growing economy. The global economy grew moderately (at 4.49 percent) in 2013, resulting in a total combined GDP of $87 trillion for all countries in the world. Emerging markets accounted for a large part of the growth (representing 50 percent of the total), as an affluent middle class formed and young workers migrated into cities, encouraging business investment in developing countries.

    Growing inequality. Even as the global economy picks up, however, social challenges continue to mount. According to the United Nations Development Programme, average household income inequality in recent decades has risen in both industrial and developing countries. One billion out of 7 billion people live below poverty levels and experience most acutely the dark side of development, such as global climate change, water depletion, food shortages, and biodiversity destruction.

    There also continued to be labor shortages, increased globalization, ... Read More

  • For Business Policy Change, You’re in Charge

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    Filed in Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy on by GreenMoney Journal

    Policy makers truly listen and care when businesses move past status-quo statements to show and tell how profit, sustainability and broad prosperity can be achieved simultaneously.

    Public policy is a critical strategy to transform the economy from the sometimes-damaging system it can be today. But if passionate, sustainably minded business leaders are not at the table, only the voices of legacy, profit-at all costs business lobbies will be heard. And our economy and society will suffer.

    Yes, the policy process can be frustrating and time-consuming, but so can business. Good leaders don’t let that stop them. They understand that public policy action takes the same skills business management does: Drive to improve, big-picture thinking, the ability to sell an idea, a long-term planning horizon, intelligent compromise and an accurate assessment of the cost vs. benefit of every decision.

    The business perspective matters – especially to policymakers. Get your voice heard by policymakers – it’s worth it. Tell your sustainable business success story, and advocate for the policies that will move our economy onto a sustainable footing. A lot of American business leaders will be doing the same thing, so you’ll be in good company.

    Read more from David Levine, Co-founder/CEO and Richard Eidlin, Public ... Read More

  • Why Monsanto Will Never Rule the Food World: The Three-Prong Movement That’s Stopping the Beast in Its Tracks

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    Filed in Agriculture & Food , Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity , Environment & Climate , Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy , on by Cliff

    by John Roulac, founder of Nutiva

    The issue of how we grow and process our food, while it’s always been important, is now a hot topic both at the kitchen table and on Wall Street. From the recent scandal about a chemical used in yoga mats being found in Subway bread to the rising awareness of GMOs and demands to label their presence in foods, the public is fast awakening to the need for safe, whole, natural nourishment.

    The elephant in the room is that agriculture, not transportation, is globally the greatest contributor to greenhouse gases—an issue that gets glossed over by Al Gore and 350.org alike. The media, whether in the recent New York Times food reportage or in the May 2014 National Geographic cover story on “The New Food Revolution,” all fail to mention the three most pressing food issues: the climate change connection; the vast subsidies to corn, soy, and wheat; and the massive increase in the use of Monsanto Roundup with its human health and ecosystem impacts.

    Central to the conversation are the questions How do we grow our food in a more sustainable way?and Who decides? Should America lead the world in turning over our heritage of ancestral seeds to Monsanto or DuPont for them ... Read More

  • Why Impact Investors Must Come To Terms With the Biological Bottom Line

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    Filed in Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity , Environment & Climate , Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy , on by Cliff
    Why Impact Investors Must Come To Terms With the Biological Bottom Line

    By Paul R. Ehrlich and M. C. Tobias, co-authors of “Hope on Earth”

    When Nicholas Stern released the ‘Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change’ (October 30, 2006) for the British government, it was already clear that global warming, weather anomalies and the consequences of unheeded business-as-usual greenhouse gas emission syndromes represented a huge challenge for portfolio management that had unambiguously put governments on notice. Despite continuing havoc amongst the participating nations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it had become clear that they should prepare for accelerating depletion of every major life-support system, and the corresponding societal chaos and economic loss which would result from escalating global temperatures and their impacts on climatic patterns and thus on biodiversity. Climate disruption presented new, but sobering opportunities; epiphanies regarding the true capacity of taxation to collectively cap the shadow now cast upon every financial market worldwide and on the future of civilization itself.

    More recently, in her essay for GreenMoney, “Building a Sustainable Global Economy,” Mindy Lubber, President of CERES, wrote, “This should alarm every investor looking for long-term value creation, because climate regulatory risks alone could cost ... Read More