Helping companies and investors navigate the new normal FOR protecting people, planet and profits.
BUILDING A MORE SUSTAINABLE, INCLUSIVE, AND EQUITABLE world.
2021:THE GREAT RESET FOR CAPITALISM AND COMMERCE
BUSINESS AS UNUSUAL: TRANSFORMING CAPITAL MARKETS AND BUSINESS PRACTICES FOR A BETTER AND SUSTAINABLE WORLD.
2021 CALL TO ACTION
We are living in a massive bubble of hubris, seemingly focusing on 'small' issues when we need to address 'big root-cause issues' because our vision for the future is obscured by the fog of false hopes.
We have been fooled into thinking that our current unprecedented biological imbalance between what we are able to consume sustainably versus what we are now consuming unsustainably is a problem for others to solve, to be dealt with later, where unsustainable consumption is secondary to other salient issues.
Ensuring sustainable consumption should be at the forefront of our concerns.
If we are a millionaire, we blame the billionaires. If we have one house we want several houses. Enough never seems enough to satisfy the human consumption appetite to acquire more stuff. The human quest for more resources seems insatiable.
And we clearly don't currently measure, price or otherwise distinguish between consumption that is sustainable or unsustainable. We are in a fog, blinded by the damaging false-promises and the myopia of economic prosperity through capitalism - regardless of the cost to others or future generations.
We are now living the tragedy of the commons and have blinders on for what truly matters most.
Climate change, while of course real, urgent and critically important, is not the most pressing environmental issue of our time. We have been misled and misdirected largely by those with wealth and privilege . It is apolitical, but rather it is simple math. Too many people consuming too many resources is unsustainable.
We need an urgent wake up call to restore balance between an exploding human population that requires more 'stuff' (e.g., planetary resources than ever before per capita). Simply put, there are now too many people on the planet to sustain life over the next century as each new person requires significantly more natural resources then the previous generation. More stuff for each new person while the measures of economic vitality do not take any of these societal or environmental issues into account.
We are ignoring planetary limits and boundaries. And while focusing on climate change abatement may give us a warm and fuzzy feeling, we need to recognize that this is not the core issue. The core issue is global human population explosion coupled with increased needs of each new person on the planet to consume more planetary resources then is sustainable.
Put another way, the only way to address the root cause of climate change is to reduce global population levels by 20% in the next 20 years and to keep per capita human consumption at a level of 1970. This will, in turn, ameliorate and address climate change. Technological advancements are not a panacea.
Here's some concrete steps that we can all take to turn the tide.
ADDRESS THE BIG 5 SUSTAINABILITY TRUTHS
1. Recycling of plastics is a fraud. A huge lie. Most of the current so-called recycled plastic ends up in the ocean. Stop purchasing plastic because it cannot be recycled effectively or efficiently and likely never will be.
2. Human population growth needs to be curbed and quickly. Unsustainable population growth has been ignored in the sustainability and environmental movement largely because of a profound fear of the business of organized religion.
3. We need a new measure of economic wellness and well-being. GDP counts a tree cut down as an economic gain. What's needed is SGDP - Sustainable Gross Domestic Product.
4. Executive Compensation needs to come back down to earth. CEOs get paid way too much to destroy the planet. This is not offset by the guilt most CEOs feel in their later years when they give back a small fraction of what they have taken from society and the planet. Bill Gates is terrific but he is the exception as most wealthy men give their money away to their family versus addressing societal and environmental imperative. An inheritance tax should be increased.
5. We need to fundamentally revisit our tax policies. Share buybacks should be taxed at > 20%. Share buybacks are WMD for sustainable finance. What's more, tax policy needs to capture the destructive value of mergers & acquisitions. What happens in an M&A is that the shareholders get paid a massive reward mostly in exchange for layoffs and cost-cutting as the the larger entity gobbles up the smaller target. The top management gets paid well, but the workers mostly suffer.
KEY IMPERATIVES FOR 2021
1. Put on the global sustainability and environmental movement radar better measures of the impacts of unsustainable population growth. The current research on this is antiquated. Unchecked human population growth issues should be the focal point, not ducked and dodged because it could upset fervent religious fanatics. The Christian faith is so far behind the times on these issues.
2. Increase corporate board and senior management diversity. Corporate America is still to male, pale and stale and this needs to change quickly. A new hub of diversity information for all publicly traded companies should be created and funded as a public good.
3. Revamp the tax structure to curb share buybacks and tax merger and acquisitions at a significant rate. Implement a wealth and consumption tax. The tax rates in the US use to be 70% and now far to many individuals and corporations pay zero taxes. It's currently unfair and unjust.
4. Mandate that all corporate lobbying expenditures be publicly disclosed. Shine a bright light on corporate lobbying expenditures in forms.
5. Increase biodiversity conservation efforts. Locking up critically important land from future development in perpetuity should be front of mind, especially forests and ocean habitat that can have a discernible positive impact on climate change mitigation.