No taxes for the wealthy

The U.S. federal corporate income tax rate of oil giant Exxon Mobil in 2009 was effectively zero. And its profits were far from low. In 2008, it was the world’s most profitable company; in 2009, it made $19 billion in profits.

What will it take to wake up the United States to a system that is collapsing? Republicans want to cut every single program that either helps the environment or society and give that money to those that already have enough. Will concentrating more money in the hands of fewer build a stronger, wiser, smarter, more balanced society and economy? I doubt it. Wake up.

Its’ the media and education. Stupid

I am constantly surprised and still shocked that after all the years and all the effort by thousands of people trying to anchor sustainability in the business community, executives still need convincing. Recently, I visited one of the leading strategy consultants to catch up with the head of sustainable practice. It was encouraging to see that serious effort had gone into packaging the value and profitability offering. One could see that serious resources had been allocated. What disturbed me that he mentioned that senior management doesn’t really see the opportunity.

How large an elephant needs to fall on their heads before they actually understand their own self interest?

What is blocking or preventing business accepting the obvious? I think the real problem resides with ignorance. Ignorance stems from lack of information and education, both of which can be tracked to the media and educational system. If we look at most of the media, and the financial publication, in particular, it is quite amazing how little attention is given to the money flows in ESG and Impact Investing. Just take a look at the amount of money that has been committed to investments with high environmental impact, as well as a social impact:

ESG growth (public equity), including core(portfolio screening) and engagement went from Euros 187 billion, in 2003 to Euros 5.000 billion in 2009, according to Eurosif. In the private sector, total investment for green investments reached $ 1667, between 2007-2010. This included corporate commitments (R&D), smart grid commitments, cleantech vc, ipo and m&a, green real estate, and renewable energy. In the public sector, the stimulus package, committed $ 1100 billion to social (health, education) and environmental (water, rail, energy) to the private sector. This should have been front page news, and hardly got any attention. How is that possible?

I used to teach at a ranked mba a course on sustainable finance. The course was considered a bee keeping course. Cute, but not important. After all these years, we still see few universities offering a comprehensive program on sustainabilty and fewer still on sustainable finance. This can often be traced to a laziness, and turf wars. If one new program comes in and then another goes out. Yet, sustainability where the jobs are and will be, both in the financial sector and the non-financial sector.

As long as media and education keep the door locked on sustainabilty, and then cement the door, and then barricade the door with trucks and barbed wire, progress will be measured in microns. Educators and journalists. Get out of your ghetto, and do your job!

Call For Speakers, Sponsors, TBLI CONFERENCE™ ASIA 2010

TBLI CONFERENCE™ is the largest comprehensive learning and networking event on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Investment on a yearly basis in Asia and Europe.

We are now accepting presentation proposals and sponsorship commitments for TBLI CONFERENCE™ ASIA 2010 on May 27-28, at the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so, Tokyo, Japan. The first Lead Sponsors have already announced their cooperation, being Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Co. Ltd., Robeco Group and SAM Group. We are happy to inform you that Silverbirch Associates K.K. will be our organizing partner and 3iG – The International Interfaith Investment Group and ASrIA – Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia – will be our network partners.

Your proposal must be received on January 31, 2010 to be considered. We are again anticipating a substantial number of submissions, so kindly send in time. Please note that if you register before March 1st, you will receive a 25% Early Bird Discount. To register now, please click on this link.

If you would like to be a Speaker, please click on this link to send a proposal that meets the above criteria in English.
In case you would like to be a (corporate) Sponsor of TBLI CONFERENCE™ ASIA 2010, please click on this link. Remember to read all the presentation rules, benefits, and criteria.

Please note: If you choose to sponsor TBLI CONFERENCE™ ASIA as well as EUROPE 2010, you will be provided with a 10% discount.