TBLI Weekly - May 24th 2022


TBLI Weekly - May 24th 2022

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Your weekly guide to Sustainable Investment


Hazel Henderson Lifetime Futurist and World Wide Syndicated Columnist “Goes Virtual” at 89

Hazel Henderson (1933-2022), D.Sc. Hon., FRSA, went virtual (her own words) on May 21, 2022.

The world lost a great champion for sustainability this week. I lost a dear friend. Hazel was always willing to help, share, inspire and support others. She always spoke her radical truth in a very civilized and polite way. I still remember when I visited her in Florida many years ago with Sam, when he was a very young boy. She was such a gracious
 host. I am very happy that we were able to do a TBLI Talk together last year. She was brilliant, as always. 
I will miss you dear Hazel, as will the impact community. You always showed that humanity and prosperity are not mutally exclusive. Thank you.
Robert Rubinstein

Author of nine books and hundreds of articles, with multiple Honorary Dr. of Science degrees, Henderson is best known as a syndicated worldwide columnist and lifelong futurist who 40 years ago forecasted the need for the current transition from the fossil fuel era to the 21stcentury green economy. Henderson, born in Britain, was a naturalized US citizen who shared the 1996 Global Citizen Award with Nobelist A. Perez Esquivel of Argentina. She was remarkably proud that in the 1970’s the Public Relations Society of America called her "the most dangerous woman in America."

Henderson's early prolific writing predicted the overhauling of conventional economic theory to take account of pollution, resource depletion and social costs ignored by company balance sheets and GDP, as described in her groundbreaking The Politics of the Solar Age (1981). As a result, Henderson was ostracized by the economics community as she famously reiterated "economics is a form of brain damage".

She co-founded Citizens for Clean Air in New York City in 1964, leading to the Air Pollution Index for weather broadcasts. Henderson was named Citizen of the Year by the New York County Medical Society in 1967 for her environmental leadership and was recognized by President Johnson on the signing of the Clean Air Act.

Her writings laid out the theoretical underpinnings for societies based on renewable resources, energy, materials efficiency, and social equity - beyond GDP. Her book, Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy(2007) won the Axiom Best Business Book Bronze Award in 2008. In 2004, Henderson founded Ethical Markets Media, LLC, (EthicalMarkets.com), producing the accessible and acclaimed TV series covering corporate social responsibility, ignored at the time by mainstream financial media. Ethical Markets Media will continue to operate from the Hazel Henderson and Alan F. Kay Library, which houses their 6000-volume collection and the Henderson and Kay archives.

Henderson survived her partner Alan F. Kay (1925-2016), Ph.D., internet pioneer and social entrepreneur. She is survived by her daughter Ali Cassidy, her son-in-law, Gary Cassidy and her grandson Brendan A. Cassidy.

Upcoming TBLI events


This week's featured TBLI event:


Other upcoming TBLI events



TBLI Virtual Happy Hour/Mixer

Friday, June 3rd - 17:00 - 18:30 CET

Join us for our monthly Networking and Mixer. Meet thought leaders, entrepreneurs and investors.

Click here to sign up.

Note: Signing up before the event will bring you into the virtual room, but the mixer wont go live until June 3rd, 17:00 CET

Shell consultant quits, accusing firm of ‘extreme harms’ to environment

Caroline Dennett tells staff in video she made decision because of ‘double-talk on climate’

A senior safety consultant has quit working with Shell after 11 years, accusing the fossil fuel producer in a bombshell public video of causing “extreme harms” to the environment. Caroline Dennett claimed Shell had a “disregard for climate change risks” and urged others in the oil and gas industry to “walk away while there’s still time”. The executive, who works for the independent agency Clout, ended her working relationship with Shell in an open letter to its executives and 1,400 employees. In an accompanying video, posted on LinkedIn, she said she had quit because of Shell’s “double-talk on climate”.

Dennett accused the oil and gas firm of “operating beyond the design limits of our planetary systems” and “not putting environmental safety before production”. She said: “Shell’s stated safety ambition is to ‘do no harm’ – ‘Goal Zero’, they call it – and it sounds honourable but they are completely failing on it. “They know that continued oil and gas extraction causes extreme harms, to our climate, to our environment and to people. And whatever they say, Shell is simply not winding down on fossil fuels.”

Dennett told the Guardian she “could not marry these conflicts with my conscience”, adding: “I could not carry that any longer, and I’m ready to deal with the consequences.” Shell was a “major client” of Dennett’s business, which specialises in evaluating safety procedures in high-risk industries including oil and gas production. She began working with Shell in the aftermath of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, which rocked the industry. “I can no longer work for a company that ignores all the alarms and dismisses the risks of climate change and ecological collapse,” she said. “Because, contrary to Shell’s public expressions around net zero, they are not winding down on oil and gas, but planning to explore and extract much more.”

Click here to read more & watch the video

Supply chain delays and steel costs are part of ‘perfect storm’ stalling renewable energy growth


Covid disruptions in China and rising costs are affecting supplies of solar panels and wind turbine parts, while domestic energy prices climb.

Supply chain delays from China and the soaring cost of steel and other materials are combining to slow the advance of renewable energy in Australia and elsewhere, a leading insurer and industry groups say.

The cost of steel for wind turbine blades had risen by 50% or more since the Covid pandemic’s start, even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted a scramble to accelerate the switch away from coal, oil and gas to clean energy alternatives, according to GCube, a global insurer of renewables that has recently opened its first Australian office in Sydney.

“You’ve almost got the perfect storm right now,” Fraser McLachlan, GCube’s chief executive said. “We’re seeing delays of six months at a minimum to get replacement parts and things like that coming out of China, sometimes more.”

Read full article 

Invest in agriculture for its critical role in food security and climate change

More than two billion photos were taken of dinner plates in 2020, at the advent of a global pandemic. Americans have always turned to their dinner tables when times get tough.

At this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, several panels will focus on agriculture and its importance for food security and its role as a climate solution.

We believe a harmonized roadmap and investments in transformative agriculture can translate into measurable results. When it comes to solutions for a net zero economy, farmers need to be part of the equation. Currently, targeted pilots are underway and tangible results and measurable outcomes are being gathered to support climate-smart investments.

Read full article

Why ESG reporting needs to balance ‘purpose with profit’ for real impact

  • ESG investing is increasingly viewed as a lever for delivering value in a turbulent world.
  • But there is a lack of transparency around reporting and companies aren't obliged to change their business practices.
  • Companies need to go well beyond environmental regulatory requirements and drive social impact.

The flow of capital towards ESG (environmental, social and governance) oriented funds has rapidly moved from a trickle to a deluge.

In the third quarter of 2021 global sustainable funds hit a record high of $3.9 trillion, more than doubling in less than 12 months. This trend reflects growing interest from private equity (PE) firms and some of their biggest investors in renewable energy and energy transition companies like battery makers, and to a lesser extent, emerging sectors like sustainable agriculture and recyclable/circular production.

Increasingly, ESG investing is seen as a lever for delivering value in a volatile world. With fuel prices rising to new heights, energy-efficient businesses, which are less dependent on raw materials, are likely to have a far more reliable cost base. Similarly, companies that can demonstrate sustainable supply chains and good human rights records are less vulnerable to environmental shocks or reputational damage.

Read full article

Summer Will Be Brutal On Wallets — And Hurtful To Decarbonization

It’s not yet Memorial Day, and temperatures across the Mid-Atlantic region are unrelenting. Expect those digits to rise even more over the summer months — not just there but throughout the United States. So says the North American Electric Reliability Council, which just released its 2022 Summer Reliability Assessment.

The council, known as NERC, oversees the electricity infrastructure. And while every summer has sweaty days, this one will require multiple showers a day. That means more electricity and water usage — commodities that may be in short supply.

Therein is the dilemma: the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is equally dire, saying that human-induced climate change leads to heatwaves, wildfires, and droughts. Indeed, the world will endure several climate hazards if it doesn’t limit its use of fossil fuels and prevent temperatures from increasing more than 1.5° Celsius or 2.7° Fahrenheit.

Juxtapose this scenario next to the high prices that consumers worldwide are paying to heat their homes and fill up their cars. In the United States, natural gas has risen from $2 per million BTUs to nearly $9 for the same unit. Now that the gas is used to cool homes, demand — and prices — will remain high. At the same time, it is a Herculean task to build a pipeline. And in Europe, those prices hit $37 per million BTUs — caused by a confluence of events, including supply chain issues, poor energy planning, and wind energy deficits.

Can climate change and energy insecurity be reconciled? The solution is an artful path forward and not a case of throwing caution to the wind.

Read full article

China’s Wind Power Push Threatens US Strategic Interests

The war in Ukraine has jolted energy markets— driving oil and gas prices to their highest levels in over a decade and leaving governments scrambling to secure energy supplies. In the months since Russia’s invasion, policymakers have faced a hard truth: energy policy is security policy, and it has been neglected for far too long.

Government priorities feature prominently in discussions over the transition to renewable energy. Enthusiasm may abound for wind power, but if the United States is serious about its future, it must address critical supply chain disruptions and market-distorting foreign competition. Western companies will falter if these issues are not addressed while their state-supported Chinese competitors outperform them. The United States can expect major ramifications if Chinese companies further expand in this critical market.

Globally, wind turbine makers experienced heavy losses in Q1 of 2022 due to production costs and downward pressures on prices. GE Renewable Energy REGI -0.1%, Siemens Gamesa, and Vestas, which control 70% of the market outside China, all reported disappointing first quarter results.

Read full article

The SEC Goes After Greenwashing


Back in 2019 I proposed the Money Stuff S&P ESG Fund, “a mutual fund whose stated mission would be to invest in the 500 companies in the S&P 500 index with the best environmental, social and governance ratings judged by my proprietary rating system.” Because there are 500 companies in the S&P 500 index, the details of my rating system would not matter very much; all of the companies in the S&P 500 would get in, and the fund would exactly track the index. 1  The fund would just be an S&P 500 index fund. But it would have “ESG” in its name. This, I argued, would be good:

  1. People want exposure to the S&P 500 index with minimal tracking error. My fund would have lower tracking error than other ESG funds that use ESG criteria to pick stocks.
  2. People want low fees. ESG ratings systems can be expensive to implement, requiring detailed data and teams of analysts; my ratings system could be cheap to implement because, again, it would not actually do anything. 
  3. People like to invest in funds that have “ESG” in the name, and my fund, unlike other S&P 500 index funds, would have “ESG” in the name.

Since I wrote that, ESG investing has become an even bigger and more important industry. There have been various backlashes. One sort of backlash is along the lines of: No, ESG is bad. (And so various US politicians try to make it illegal for investors to consider environmental or social impact in making investments, etc.)

Read full article

Designing the Future of Sustainable Fashion

From fast fashion to luxury goods, apparel companies are getting serious—and seriously creative—about sustainability. Here are some of the most important innovations and initiatives greening the fashion industry.

For many consumers, the biggest contributor to their environmental footprint may not be their daily commutes or cross-country flights—it’s their wardrobe.

In fact, the apparel industry uses enough fresh water to quench the thirst of 5 million people a year, produces 20% of global wastewater and has a carbon intensity that exceeds aviation and shipping combined. It’s also a major contributor to microplastic pollution in soil and water.

Fashion’s social impact isn’t lost on consumers—particularly younger buyers representing a key demographic. Many are consciously buying fewer items of new clothing and embracing “thrifting” as a more sustainable alternative. At the same time, investors focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are also taking a closer look at the industry’s impact and, whether through engagement or exclusion, further incentivizing apparel makers to rethink how they make, market and dispose of their wares.

This puts the fashion industry in an interesting predicament: How to stay relevant to consumers clamoring for the latest styles while reducing the environmental and social impacts of clothing’s life cycle. “It isn’t an easy problem to solve,” says Jessica Alsford, Morgan Stanley’s Chief Sustainability Officer. 

Then again, the apparel industry is no stranger to reinvention—and now it’s applying that same ingenuity to a wide range of ESG innovations and initiatives. Here are five sustainable fashion trends Morgan Stanley Research analysts are following. 

Read full article

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