Consideration of the climate crisis will be front and center in all of New Zealand's major policy decisions. The new rule means that any new proposal before the government that aims either to reduce emissions or has a collateral damage effect of raising emissions will need to go through a climate-impact assessment before it can be considered, according to The Guardian.
The coalition cabinet of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern already takes into account the effects the government's decisions will have on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community and gender equality.
Climate Change Minister James Shaw, also the co-leader of the Greens Party, said this goes one step further since it applies to all government decisions, not just new laws, according to Stuff in New Zealand.
"Ensuring ministers are aware of the implications a decision may have for New Zealand's future greenhouse gas emissions will be vital to ensuring we all playing our part in meeting the commitments we've made," said Shaw as Stuff reported.
Shaw spearheaded a zero-carbon bill that passed the parliament last month, making New Zealand one of the first countries to write its climate crisis targets into law. The law requires the country to produce net-zero emissions by 2050. The prime minister has made the climate crisis a top priority for her government and called it her generation's "nuclear free moment," as The Guardian reported.
"Decisions we take now and in the future about everything from the places we live, to how we get around, to public health, to how we relate to one another will be impacted one way or another by climate change," said Shaw in a statement, as The Guardian reported. "It's crucial therefore that when we're making big decisions climate change is at the forefront of our minds."
Shaw said that the Ministry for the Environment has developed a methodology to estimate emissions impacts, called the Climate Implications of Policy Assessment. The efficacy of its tool will be reviewed in mid-2020, according to The Guardian.
Shaw also noted that the new rule is part and parcel with a new framework for the next 30 years to reduce, similar to a series of bills 30 years ago that encouraged low inflation and low government debt, according to Stuff.
Touting the Climate Implications of Policy Assessment, Shaw said, "Government makes many decisions all the time. Many but not all of those decisions will have an affect on climate change. With infrastructure - you make a decision on a piece of infrastructure with a 30 or 40-year lifespan and you've suddenly locked in a certain emissions path. We want to be aware of that."
"It's crucial that when we're making big decisions, climate change is at the forefront of our minds," he added, as Stuff reported. "I'm delighted that we've developed a tool for the whole government to easily assess whether policies we're considering at Cabinet will increase or reduce the emissions that impact on New Zealanders' quality of life in decades to come."
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In recent decades, the education of girls around the world has increased dramatically. But climate change threatens to reverse some of that progress.
Extreme weather can increase poverty and force families to leave their homes.
In Bangladesh, for example, coastal flooding has forced many poor, rural people to migrate to Dhaka, a crowded megacity.
Saniye Gülser Corat is director of the division for gender equality at UNESCO, a UN agency. She says when families are forced to migrate, girls often take on additional responsibilities.
"They take care of their siblings. They take care of the disabled and the elderly. They are hired out as a help to others," she says. "So in most cases, even when education possibilities exist, girls are not usually the ones who can take advantage."
She says families struggling to survive may also encourage their teenage daughters to get married because "it is one less mouth to feed."
That tends to cut short their education, so she says climate change could be life-altering for women and girls around the globe.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Yale Climate Connections.
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The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
Today women and their allies celebrate International Women's Day. This year, the theme for the day—and the campaign that will run all year—is promoting a gender balanced world. "A balanced world is a better world," the day's organizers write. They are asking people around the world to take a picture of themselves making the #BallanceforBeter pose and post it on social medial to promote the cause of gender equality. Here is one example:
We believe in #BalanceforBetter: "I code to help leads towards greater transparency and sustainability of our ocean… https://t.co/qyJC6VUqXf— Global Fishing Watch (@Global Fishing Watch)1552057333.0
When it comes to the environment, a balanced world really does seem to be better. A 2016 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) review found that countries with more female members of parliament were more likely to ratify environmental treaties. In recent years, women of all ages and backgrounds have been at the forefront of fight to protect our common home. Here, then, are five female environmental leaders to celebrate this International Women's Day.
jayk7 / Moment / Getty Images
1. Greta Thunberg
When Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg decided to go on strike from school to protest lack of global action on climate change last August, she was just one person handing out flyers in front of the Swedish parliament. She has since inspired students from Australia to Brussels to join her weekly strikes as part of the #FridaysforFuture movement, building towards a worldwide strike on March 15.
The movement she inspired pushed European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to pledge a quarter of $1 trillion to fighting climate change over the next seven years.
"I realized no one is doing anything to prevent this from happening so then I have to do something," Thunberg told RollingStone of her decision to strike for climate action. "I can't vote, so this is one of the ways I can make my voice heard."
Today is #WomensDay. Today we honour sisterhood. Nowhere in the world today women and men are equal The more I read… https://t.co/DookR5qkoS— Greta Thunberg (@Greta Thunberg)1552025847.0
2. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseated long-time New York Democratic Representative Joe Crowley in a surprise primary victory last June, she became the Democrat with the most ambitious platform on fighting climate change. The Green New Deal she has championed since taking office has caught the public imagination, with early polls suggesting that 81 percent of U.S. voters support it. At least five 2020 Democratic presidential contenders have also endorsed the plan.
The resolution that Ocasio-Cortez co-sponsored with Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey calls for a 10 year program to transition the U.S.away from fossil fuels while providing green jobs and greater equality.
"This is really about providing justice for communities and just transitions for communities," Ocasio-Cortez said of the deal.
#GreenNewDeal sign spotting at this year’s St. Pat’s For All parade in Sunnyside! ☘️ 🌎 💚 https://t.co/W660uyMo8P— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1551637760.0
3. Isatou Ceesay
Isatou Ceesay has been called the Queen of Recycling in the Gambia because of her efforts to help women collect plastic pollution and transform it into items like bags and wallets that they can sell to raise money for themselves and their communities. She began her efforts in 1997 with a group of four women in her village of N'Jau who worked to educate their community about the importance of reusing plastic and not simply dumping it behind their homes. She learned how to upcycle plastic waste from a Peace Corps volunteer, and turned the recycling project into a revenue stream for women. You can buy their products at One Plastic Bag.
Ceesay also counted it as a victory when the government of the Gambia consulted her group on a plan to ban the import of plastic bags, which they did in 2015.
"Throughout the world, women carry an incredible responsibility; they are by nature the engine of human development. I love them so much," Ceesay told Climate Heroes. "Their commitment and their strength are unrivalled. We have fallen behind in our development in Africa by not including them."
How to Recycle Plastic Bags into Purses: Isatou Ceesay - Njau, Gambia www.youtube.com
4. Katharine Hayhoe
Katharine Hayhoe is a U.S. climate scientist who is committed to spreading accurate information about climate change. Not only did she help write the Fourth National Climate Assessment report that scared the Trump administration so much they tried burying it by releasing it Thanksgiving weekend, she also wasn't afraid to call out cable news for giving more airtime to climate deniers than actual scientists.
In a Twitter thread last November, she explained how she taped a segment for Anderson Cooper on the assessment that did not make the final cut, while an interview with Rick Santorum spreading disinformation did. CNN later told The Daily Beast that her segment was bumped for breaking news about Paul Manafort, but her thread, in which she pointed out other incidents in which cable news canceled on her last minute, raised important questions about how climate change is covered.
In the un-aired segment, which was posted online, Hayhoe had a clear comeback for deniers like President Donald Trump.
"Unfortunately, facts aren't optional," she said. "We can say we don't believe them, but they're still true."
Hayhoe's dedication to spreading climate information isn't limited to government reports or TV interviews. She also speaks to groups across the country and runs the PBS series Global Weirding, which explains the science to children.
Pacific Northwest, Alaska & The Islands | Global Weirding www.youtube.com
5. Christina Figueres
Christina Figueres is a Costa Rican diplomat and former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) whose efforts led to the passage of the historic Paris agreement to limit global warming to well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels, as Quartz reported.
It was a major achievement, but Figureres is also honest about the fact that there is more to be done. Her next initiative is Mission 2020, which seeks to mobilize the globe to reverse the rise of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
In a article for Pacific Standard Friday, Figueres said she was inspired to be hopeful about humanity's chances of meeting the Paris goals because of other women leaders like Thunberg and Ocasio-Cortez, as well as female scientists she met on a recent trip to Antarctica.
"I see in the women I met working on the Paris Agreement, in the women currently leading a new conversation on climate change in the public and political spheres, and in the women I met in Antarctica, an inbuilt, stubborn optimism that will allow us to prevail even when a task can seem insurmountable," she wrote.
Celebrating women and their leadership! #WomensDay https://t.co/Mjfflmm1l5 html— Christiana Figueres (@Christiana Figueres)1552062262.0
By Lucy Goodchild van Hilten
Three years into the Sustainable Development Goals—17 global goals set by the United Nations—many countries' policy makers are developing domestic legislation that will help them reach environmental targets, from cutting carbon emissions to improving clean water and sanitation. But when it comes to environmental research and action, weighing the options to reach policy decisions relies on personal experience and perspective as well as facts and evidence, and gender plays a major role.
So what impact could the gender balance be having on these decisions, and therefore the future of our planet? Potentially quite a significant one.
Although it's tempting to assume that such important decisions are made based on objective evidence, a new study conducted by a team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the International Labour Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, reveals that gender has an impact throughout the process. According to the researchers' groundbreaking systematic analysis of gender differences in views across a range of political areas, female economists are more likely to support environmental policies than their male counterparts.
"When you make the argument that men and women should be at the table when policy is being debated and developed, you're assuming they have different views on things, but it hadn't been tested," said Prof. Ann Mari May of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who led the survey of economists across 18 European countries. "Gender had never been looked at; we did it because we were curious."
On Environment, the Two Dominant Genders Think Differently
While the impact of the two most prominent genders on environmental leanings in the policy context might not have been investigated until now, there have been many studies on the differences between primarily cisgender men and women when it comes to the environmental attitudes in general.
In 2014, researchers from the University of Melbourne found a significant link between gender and environmental identity, showing that women are more likely to strive for environmental protection. This, say the researchers, is in line with even earlier results, such as a 1996 study published in the journal Environment and Behavior exploring five hypotheses that explain why women appear to be more environmentally conscious than men.
In 1999, a team of researchers from New Zealand analyzed data from a survey of U.S. homeowners and showed that women are more environmentally concerned than men. Furthermore, women have been shown to have a smaller carbon footprint than men. Moreover, a review of a decade of studies like these shows that women have stronger environmental attitudes and behaviors than men, across age and geographical boundaries.
If the impact of gender on environmental attitudes and behaviors is so strong, it stands to reason that this would be true at work as well as at home, regardless of women's socially prescribed roles. It's tempting to imagine people working in certain professions, like economists for example, to be immune to subjectivity. In reality, their perspectives have a major impact on their opinions, and therefore their decisions.
"There's a notion that economists and scientists are doing their work outside of a cultural environment, and it shouldn't matter who's doing the study," May said. "But in reality, we know your experience in life presents you with a different lens through which you view the world."
If this holds true, then researchers have a lot more to investigate: To date, there have been no such studies on genders that fall outside the two most dominant genders on the spectrum. What might the results look like for transgender people or genderqueer people? Does sexual orientation impact the findings? Perhaps future studies will give us a deeper understanding of the full impact of gender and sexual orientation on policy development.
Are Women Economists More Likely to Support Environmental Policy?
In 2018, May and her colleagues Mary G. McGarvey and David Kucera published a large survey of U.S. economists that didn't show any statistically significant differences in cisgender men's and women's views on policy issues. Still, they weren't convinced that they asked enough questions, so they went into greater detail when they did a similar survey of economists in Europe.
"We interviewed economists from 18 [European Union (EU)] countries working in universities and offering Ph.D. programs in economics," May explained. "We asked a wide range of policy questions and after controlling for things like country and region, where they earned their Ph.D. and when, we tested the results to see if there were differences in their views in five different areas. The results show differences in all five areas, specifically in the area of environmental economics."
They asked participants a range of specific environmental policy questions, such as, Should the EU ban Arctic drilling? Are carbon trading schemes appropriate for reducing carbon emissions? In general, women were either neutral about, or agreed that more should be done, whereas men mostly disagreed that more should be done. The biggest gap the researchers identified was on the question of whether the EU should continue its ban on planting genetically modified crops, with women supporting the ban.
For May, the significant difference in attitudes toward environmental policy was perhaps more unexpected than differences in other areas. "We have a group of questions that focuses on gender and equal opportunities; women were more likely to believe women's opportunities were not equal to men's, whereas men were more likely to disagree or be neutral. You could say this is due directly to experience—women experience the world differently, hence they have a different view on opportunity. It's a more interesting question to think about something like the environment."
Is Environmental Awareness a More "Feminine" Trait?
The bigger question is what's behind these differences. Last year, Aaron R. Brough of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University and James E.B. Wilkie of Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame carried out seven experiments with 2,000 participants from the US and China, showing a psychological link between eco-friendliness and perceptions of "femininity." Writing in Scientific American, they explained:
Due to this 'green-feminine stereotype,' both men and women judged eco-friendly products, behaviors, and consumers as more feminine than their non-green counterparts. In one experiment, participants of both sexes described an individual who brought a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store as more feminine than someone who used a plastic bag—regardless of whether the shopper was a male or female. In another experiment, participants perceived themselves to be more feminine after recalling a time when they did something good versus bad for the environment.
Another study pointed to personality, suggesting that the differences are down to traits like empathy and what scientists call "social dominance orientation" (SDO)—a measure of our preference for hierarchy. The New Zealand-based researchers tracked 4,381 primarily cisgender participants' values over one year, concluding that "women tended to display higher levels of environmental values because they were higher in empathy and lower in SDO, while men displayed lower levels of environmental values because they were lower in empathy and higher in SDO."
The Political Impact of the Gender Imbalance
When it comes to policy, cisgender men and women have different ways of talking about environmental issues, too. Earlier this year, researchers from Pennsylvania State University published a study showing that climate change policy arguments focusing on science and business are attributed more to men, whereas those focusing on ethics and environmental justice are attributed more to women. Reflecting previous research on the causes behind general gender differences in attitudes, they also found that "[m]en … tend to attribute negative feminine traits to other men who use ethics and environmental justice arguments."
These differences pose a major problem when we consider the gender imbalance in politics. "If women were involved in policy, we might see different studies being done and different policy recommendations," May said.
According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the U.S. ranked 104th globally for women in government in 2017, with just 20 percent of representatives in Congress being women. In Europe, there are currently between 29 and 37 percent of women in national and regional parliaments and governments, local assemblies, the European Parliament and the European Commission—all below the gender balance zone of 40 to 60 percent women.
"Right now, given the lack of gender balance in economics, it isn't such good news for the environment," May told Truthout. "The direction of change is slow, but there is movement toward democratization and including women in the policy process. There clearly needs to be more awareness and emphasis on the importance of including women and other disenfranchised groups in the policy process, and even the research aspect of it."
The team is now preparing to publish a second study with U.S. economists to see whether primarily cisgender men and women really do agree or whether there are gender-related differences in their attitudes to environmental policy.
Organizations like the European Institute for Gender Equality are pushing for a better gender balance to support policy, summarizing a recent publication on the subject this way:
Equal participation of women and men in politics is an important condition for effective democracy and good governance. Apart from strengthening and enhancing the democratic system, the participation of more women in political decision-making has many positive effects on society that can help improve the lives of women and men. Benefits include more equitable societies and inclusive governance, higher standards of living, positive development in education, health and infrastructure, and a decrease in political corruption.
Given the findings of May and her team—and the decades of research showing how differently men and women think about the environment—protecting the future of our planet ought to be added to this list.
This article was produced by Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute.
by Rebecca Adamson
The McKinsey Global Institute's report, The Power of Parity: How Advancing Women's Equality Can Add $12 Trillion to Global Growth, concluded that, "Gender inequality is not only a pressing moral and social issue but also a critical economic challenge. If women … do not achieve their full economic potential, the global economy will suffer."
The report identified three elements that are essential for achieving the full potential of gender parity: gender equality in society, economic development and a shift in attitudes. According to the report, 95 percent of company CEOs are still male and of the 22,000 global firms that were reviewed, 60 percent failed to have any women on their boards.
Facing this disparity head on the Intentional Endowments Network (IEN) held the first webinar on Gender Lens Investing: The Business Case, Opportunities and Action. Gender Lens Investing is defined as "the integration of gender into investment analysis" and it makes a strong business case for more female CEOs. Panelists, Kathleen McQuiggan at Pax World and Julianne Zimmerman at Reinventure Capital, shared research on the business case for investing in women. The conclusion was that the case for gender investing has never been stronger and that companies where women are better represented in leadership simply perform better.
At the same time, both the IEN webinar and McKinsey report point to evidence of persistent misconceptions about women founders and leaders, along with significant discriminations and market inefficiencies connected to gender and race. Over the past six years, researchers and experts in the tech industry have begun to consider the effects of this gender bias.
Ninety percent of tech employees are men and at the senior levels men account for 96 percent. Of the women entering the tech industry, 56 percent leave citing that they were pushed out by sexism and of the 6,517 companies receiving venture funding from 2011 to 2013, only 2.7 percent had women for CEOs.
As such, gender lens investing is crucial for breaking through the glass ceiling in these companies, but it's not just within the rank and file of the tech industry that women face discrimination. As McKinsey points out, gender parity requires a shift in attitudes and here again the tech industry offers no better place to see cultural attitudes towards women than on the Internet.
Across websites and social media, gender discrimination exists along a spectrum of illicit sexual surveillance, creep shots extortion, doxxing, stalking, malicious impersonation, threats and rape videos. Misogyny on Twitter, a report by Demos found that over a six-week period more than 6 million instances of the word "slut" or "whore" were used in English on Twitter. Of these tweets, 20 percent were deemed to be threatening.
Originally filed under "controversial humor," the social media companies recognize such postings can be overt efforts to silence women, but so far, the sanctity of free speech is taking precedence over freedom for women to engage in online communities. At the same time, "When it comes to copyright and intellectual property interests, companies are highly responsive. But violence against women frequently gets a lukewarm response until it becomes an issue of bad press," stated Catherine Buni and Soraya Chemaly in 2014.
At the annual SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing last November, a panel was held for the very first time on The Truth About Violence Against Women and Gender Inequality. Jamia Wilson, executive director of Women, Action and the Media, recounted how a group of women were able to elevate the online violence against women to "an issue of bad press." Advertisements for Dove, iTunes, Finn Air and others were appearing on live pages with names like "I kill bitches like you," "I Love the Rape Van" and many others with worse titles.
Thus Women, Action and the Media and other feminists launched a campaign directed at the advertisers, asking, "Were these values a reflection of the company's values?" The advertisers responded immediately and the social media companies followed. Pat Zerega, senior director of shareholder advocacy at Mercy Investments, shared how teaming with feminist stakeholders led to using shareholder advocacy as the means for increasing corporate accountability and awareness of extractives, trucking, hotels and other industries in the forefront of violence against women. Check out Mercy Investments' groundbreaking effort: Truckers Against Trafficking.
Perhaps the extractive industries might not set out to perpetuate violence against women, but it certainly is a widespread by-product of how they do business. Take the tragic scene of conflict, environmental destruction and violence against women that is playing out under a national media spotlight at the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) site in North Dakota. The Bakken region of North Dakota started experiencing its oil boom back 2010. The rapid oil development brought an influx of cash and thousands of oil workers living in "man camps" with time and money on their hands.
The rates for murders, aggravated assaults and robberies have tripled and rates for sex crimes, forcible rape, prostitution and sex trafficking have increased by 20.2 percent, according to Kathleen Finn, scholar in residence at the American Indian Law Clinic University of Colorado. The response by the state of North Dakota to protect the women and children from the escalating oil-induced violence has been to allocate $100,000 over a five-year period for the victims. The response by the state of North Dakota to the company building DAPL, Energy Transfer Partners, has been to allocate more than $23 million over a five-month period for the law enforcement, National Guard and security forces to protect company equipment.
The fight against DAPL has implications beyond the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. It is a fight for everyone who wants clean air, clean water and gender equality. As governments increasingly prove incapable or unwilling to protect these things, citizens are turning to the market and the market is responding. Thanks to DAPL, social responsibility is on every ESG (environmental, social and governance) investor's radar.
As of this writing, a coalition of more than 150 investors representing more than $1.3 trillion in assets under management called on banks financing DAPL to address or support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's request to reroute the pipeline and avoid their treaty territory. Lead investor Boston Common Asset Management was joined by Storebrand Asset Management and Calvert Research and Management along with CalPERS and the comptroller of the city of New York in a statement about reputational and potential financial risks for banks with ties to DAPL. The investors are concerned banks may be implicated in conflict and controversies related to the pipeline and could face long-term brand and reputational damage resulting from consumer boycotts and possible legal liability.
Within the investment community, ESG investing is mainstreaming at an unprecedented rate. Considerable progress quantifying environmental risks and building them into the business model has been made. For example Carbon Tracker provides "financial and regulatory analysis to ensure that the risk premium associated with fossil fuels is correctly priced." The emergence of unburnable carbon, stranded assets, wasted capital and fossil fuel risk premium has equipped investors with a wealth of tools to integrate environment into their decisions. Likewise, governance is also making progress. evidenced by the creation of many funds and indices designed around CEO pay, board diversity, etc.
Social, on the other hand, has not made as much progress. While investors are able to easily assess companies based on women represented on boards, equal pay, etc., there are few if any tools for investors to gauge how companies are addressing violence against women in their operations and supply chains. Complicit in the lack of progress is the fact that the Securities and Exchange Commission does not require corporations to report on community relations or human rights, due to their perceived lack of material relevance, so they fail to disclose what could be deemed material social risks and social costs and corporate accountability to the victims.
But the times, they are changing. ESG investing is mainstreaming at an accelerated rate. To stay true to our original purpose—creating a better world through the market—we must create the tools, methodologies and social metrics to achieve relevance with the female half of our stakeholders.
Rebecca Adamson, an Indigenous economist, is founder and president of First Peoples Worldwide.
Reposted with permission from our media associate GreenMoney.