Climate change, economy, environment, ESG, new economy, risk management, Socially Responsible Investing, SRI

David Hume, “State of Nature” and Climate Change

When you examine the behavior of corporations today you begin to wonder… Is there a moral philosophical underpinning to their behavior? What determines right and wrong? And in an age of anthropogenic climate change what is the responsibility of business to the larger society?

I decided to revisit the philosophy of David Hume and see if I could scrape together some clues to better understand what we are experiencing. Hume was an English philosopher in the 18th century. Along with John Locke, Hume wrote several treatises that became the foundation of philosophical thought in England, but also importantly, for the United States. Hume’s insights can be found in the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. As a result, his thinking played a crucial role in the development of business and industry, and the policies that supported their development.

To understand how government developed and the role it played in regulating behavior, Hume and others described an original condition (prior to government) he called the “State of Nature”.

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Climate change, environment, ESG, Socially Responsible Investing, SRI

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

People are becoming increasingly aware of the consequences of climate change. In October of 2018 the UN Panel on Climate Change stated we have 12 years to halt the growth of CO2 if we hope to avoid the worst possible consequences of global warming. (1)

This awareness has led to many projects that are working to effect change. Greta has raised the awareness of students and led to student walkouts on Friday’s to protest the inaction of adults on Climate. John Lui and others have organized eco-restoration camps to foster regenerative agriculture and to plant many more trees in degraded environments. Many foundations and pensions are pursuing divestment strategies from fossil fuel companies to reduce the capital available to produce carbon intensive projects. More people are turning to socially responsible investing as a way to have their own investments impact what the future will look like.

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economy, ESG, Socially Responsible Investing

In Memoriam, Alan Krueger

Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t easily shed tears. But I did on Monday March 18th, 2019. For over an hour I wept.

On this day it was announced that Alan Krueger, beloved Princeton economist, had passed away over the weekend. (1)

Michael Mckee of Bloomberg said “He was one of the nicest people in economics, always willing to sit down and explain concepts to you, to talk with you, it’s a real shock…” Peter Coy continued, “If he were just a nice guy it would be one thing, but he was also a deep scholar…” McKee explained, “There are a lot of economists doing important work, but Krueger really had an enormous impact on public policy outcomes.” All concurred, “It’s a tragedy.” (3)

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Climate change, environment, ESG, Socially Responsible Investing

First hand insights on Climate Change impacts in Bangladesh: An interview with Susmita Saha

This is a reprint of a 2016 interview.

I met Susmita Saha through Facebook. She liked a previous article I had written on the subject of climate change and I reached out to her to connect. Since then we message each other each day.

 

Knowing that the impacts of Climate Change will be hardest felt in places like Bangladesh I wanted to get her view of what is happening and how it affects her daily life. I asked her to start by describing her background, age, and upbringing.

 

“I am Susmita Saha. I live in Jhalakati, Barisal division, Bangladesh. I am 23. Currently I am a student of disaster management in Patuakhali Science & Technology University. I am studied in the science group. Originally I wanted to be a doctor to save lives & to serve the poor people in our community & help society… But I couldn’t… I then I decided to study in disaster management… It’s a challenging subject for me to obtain knowledge to mitigate the impacts of various hazards or disasters in our country….”

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diversity, economy, ESG, new economy, Socially Responsible Investing, SRI

Diversity Matters… Especially In Business

The economy is changing at a rapid pace. Companies in many sectors that have been pillars of the economy have fallen on hard times. Companies that were leaders in industrial America have seen their market cap fall by 2/3rds in the past year. Leaders in retail have closed hundreds of stores and laid off thousands of people. Even technology companies that started off strong in the past 10 years have suffered setbacks in the past year due to corporate governance issues.

 

As technology advances, the challenge for businesses to stay competitive becomes amplified. In the last 3 years, advances in robotics and AI (Artificial Intelligence) have significantly added to the bottom line of companies. That pace of change seems to be accelerating.

 

Learning how to deal with this change is a crucial issue for businesses.

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economy, ESG, new economy, protection, retirement

Women and Financial Security

In Iceland the government there recently passed a law making it illegal to pay women less than men.(1)

A recent study by Economic Policy Institute found that women earn 74 cents for every $1 earned by a man with similar education and experience. This wage gap has always existed and is disturbing in a society founded upon equality and justice. (2)

This wage gap has important implications for women and their financial security, especially during retirement.

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Climate change, economy, environment, ESG, new economy, retirement, Socially Responsible Investing, SRI

What is Socially Responsible Investing?

I have recently had several people ask me about SRI. What is it? Why does it matter?

The first thing to understand is SRI means different things to different people. Several years ago I attended a gathering of advisors focused on sustainability at the Bloomberg headquarters in NYC. I talked to many of the 300 attendees and what I found was every single person had a different interpretation of what SRI meant.

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