Category:Green Business

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Today's a good time to go beyond old ways of thinking and shape new visions of our communities and our living planet

New Economy Movement
Money in Politics

Our Home Planet
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Face the Climate Crisis - Now
#ActNow, Before It's Too Late

An Epitomy of an Era

Yes, a symbol of an era, and now Blue Jeans can epitomize Generation Green Going Green in multiple ways. Let's take a moment, in passing, to consider 'Blue Jeans Going Green'.

An (unlocked/not behind a paywall) article from the Washington Post is illuminating...

Ten years ago, the Financial Times, an international media voice of big business, warned in bold headlines that capitalism was 'in danger'.

Today, in 2024, the warnings continue as the costs of 'business-as-usual' increase, as the productivity, international connectivity, trade and wealth increase... “The next five to 10 years is the most critical time to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. We think capitalism is in danger... We are going to be more aggressive because we have to.'” — “Capitalism is in Danger of Falling Apart”, Financial Times, July 27, 2014

Pension Funds Announce New Investment Strategies

September 8, 2015 / “David Blood and Al Gore Want to Reach the Next Generation” published by Institutional Investor

"The California State Teachers’ Retirement System [CalSTRS], the second-largest public pension fund in the U.S., with $191 billion in assets, was the first American institutional investor to invest in Generation.”

This was part of an oil/gas divestment campaign led by Ceres partner ... Jack Ehnes, CEO of CalSTRS, also serves on the board of Ceres.

In 2018, the Generation Investment fund reported progress in an April article published in the Financial Times -- Al Gore: Sustainability is History's Biggest Investment Opportunity.

“Generation lists large public sector investors among its clients, such as Calstrs, the $223bn Californian teachers’ pension plan, the $192bn New York State pension plan and the UK’s Environment Agency retirement fund. It also manages money for wealthy individuals but has stopped short of opening to retail investors. Almost all its assets are run in equity mandates, yet $1bn is invested in private equity.”

... (with) two investment funds – Global Equity and Asia Equity. The Global Equity fund is currently closed – there is a multi-year waiting list that is also currently closed. The minimum investment is $1 million and you need to be super-accredited. The fund seems to be targeted at institutional investors – not individuals. The Asia Equity fund is open but the same minimum requirements apply ($1M minimum).”


Designing & Building a Smart, Sustainable Future

Clean & Renewable, Not Energy Inefficient, Not Wasteful, Moving Past Planned Obsolesence

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Green Products @Home and @Work

Going Green
Day-by-Day, making a positive difference

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May 2016

Book Review / Excerpt

Is Capitalism a Threat to Democracy?

The idea that authoritarianism attracts workers harmed by the free market, which emerged when the Nazis were in power, has been making a comeback

“Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?” (Norton) by Robert Kutner blames authoritarianism on politicians entranced by the free market

Like Karl Polanyi, Robert Kuttner believes that free markets can be crueller than citizens will tolerate, inflicting a distress that he thinks is making us newly vulnerable to the fascist solution"

Reviewed by Caleb Crain in The New Yorker

Keywords: Karl Polanyi; laissez-faire; John Maynard Keynes; Bretton Woods Conference; Thomas Piketty; "The Populist Temptation"; Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan; Paul Volcker; "New Keynesianism"; "Washington Consensus"; "The China Shock"; "Why Liberalism Failed"

In Robert Kuttner’s telling, we were driven off the road after capitalists grabbed the steering wheel away from the Keynesians. The year 1973, in his opinion, marked “the end of the postwar social contract.” Politicians began snipping away restraints on investors and financiers, and the economy returned to spasming and sputtering. Between 1973 and 1992, per-capita income growth in the developed world fell to half of what it had been between 1950 and 1973. Income inequality rebounded. By 2010, the real median earnings of prime-age American workingmen were four per cent lower than they had been in 1970. American women’s earnings rose for a bit longer, as more women made their way into the workforce, but declined after 2000. And, as Polanyi would have predicted, faith in democracy slipped. Kuttner warns that support for right-wing extremists in Western Europe is even higher today than it was in the nineteen-thirties.

There is no shortage of villains in Kuttner’s narrative: financial deregulation; supply-side tax cuts; the decline of trade unions; the Democratic Party, which, by zigging left on identity politics and zagging right on economics, left conservative white working-class voters amenable to Donald Trump. Perhaps the most vexed issue Kuttner discusses, however, is trade policy—whether American workers should be protected against cheap foreign goods and labor.

The contours of the problem call to mind Polanyi’s account of enclosures in early-modern England. Half an hour with a supply-and-demand graph shows that free trade is better for every nation, developed or developing, no matter how much an individual businessperson might wish for a special tariff to protect her line of work. In a 2012 survey, eighty-five per cent of economists agreed that, in the long run, the boons of free trade “are much larger than any effects on employment.” But although free trade benefits a country over all, it almost always benefits some citizens more than—and even at the expense of—others. The proportion of low-skilled labor in America is smaller than in most countries that trade with America; economic theory therefore predicts that international trade will, on aggregate, make low-skilled workers in the United States worse off. The U.S. government has, since 1962, compensated workers laid off because of free trade, but the benefit has never been adequate; only four people were certified to receive it during its first decade. In a 2016 paper, “The China Shock,” the economists David H. Autor, David Dorn, and Gordon H. Hanson wrote that, for every additional hundred dollars of Chinese goods imported to an area, a manufacturing worker is likely to lose fifty-five dollars of income, while gaining only six dollars in government help.

In a laissez-faire utopia, dislodged workers would relocate or take jobs in other industries, but workers hurt by rivalry with China are doing neither. Maybe they don’t have the resources to move; maybe the flood of Chinese-made goods is so extensive that there are no unaffected manufacturing sectors for them to switch into. The authors of “The China Shock” calculate that, between 1999 and 2011, trade with China destroyed between two million and 2.4 million American jobs; Kuttner quotes even higher estimates. NAFTA, meanwhile, lowered the wage growth of American high-school dropouts in affected industries by sixteen percentage points.

In “Why Liberalism Failed” (Yale), the political scientist Patrick J. Deneen denounces the assumption that “increased purchasing power of cheap goods will compensate for the absence of economic security.”

Kuttner follows Polanyi in attacking free-market claims of mathematic purity. “Literally no nation has industrialized by relying on free markets,” he writes. In 1791, Alexander Hamilton recommended that America encourage new branches of manufacturing by taxing imports and subsidizing domestic production. Even Britain, the world’s first great champion of free trade, started off protectionist.

Kuttner believes that America stopped supporting its manufacturing sector partly because it got into the habit, during the Cold War, of rewarding foreign allies with access to American consumers, and eventually decided that exports of financial services, rather than of manufactured goods, would be the country’s future. Toward the end of the century, as American manufacturers saw the writing on the wall, they shifted production abroad.

Kuttner doesn’t give a full hearing to the usual reply by defenders of laissez-faire, which is that a transition from goods to services is inevitable in a maturing economy—that the efficiency of American manufacturing means that it would likely be shedding workers no matter what the government did. Even Eichengreen, a critic of globalization, notes, in “The Populist Temptation,” that, if you graph the share of the German workforce employed in manufacturing from 1970 to 2012, you see a steady, grim decline very similar to that of its American counterpart, despite the fact that Germany has long spent heavily on apprenticeship and vocational training. The industrial revolution created widely shared wealth almost magically at its dawn: when an unemployed farmworker took a job in a factory, his power to make things multiplied, along with his earning power, without his having to learn much. But, as factories grew more efficient, fewer workers were needed to run them. One study has attributed eighty-seven per cent of lost manufacturing jobs to improved productivity.

When a worker leaves a factory, her power to create wealth stops being multiplied. The only way to increase it again is through education—by teaching her to become a sommelier, say, or an anesthesiologist. But efficiency gains are notoriously harder to come by in service industries than in manufacturing ones. There are only so many leashes a dog walker can hold at one time. As a result, if an economy deindustrializes without securing a stable manufacturing core, its productivity may erode. The dynamic has caused stagnation in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, and there are signs of a comparable weakening of America’s earning power.

Meanwhile, in the factories that remain, machines have grown more complex; the few workers they employ need to be better educated, further widening the gap between educated and uneducated workers. Kuttner dismisses this labor-skills explanation for job loss as an “alibi” with “an insulting subtext”: “If your economic life has gone to hell, it’s your fault.” This is intemperate but, in Kuttner’s defense, he has been warning American politicians to protect manufacturing jobs since 1991, and has been enlisting Polanyi in the cause for at least as long. Moreover, he has a point: to talk about productivity-induced job loss when challenged to explain trade-induced job loss is to change the subject.

In any case, if one’s concern is populism, it may not matter whether jobs have been lost to trade competition or to automation. In areas where more industrial robots have been introduced, one analysis shows, voters were more likely to choose Trump in 2016. According to another analysis, if competition with Chinese imports had been somehow halved, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania would likely have chosen Hillary Clinton that year. Economic explanations like these have been challenged. In April, the political scientist Diana C. Mutz published a paper finding that Trump voters were no more likely than Clinton ones to have suffered a personal financial setback; she concluded that Trump’s victory was more likely caused by white anxiety about loss of status and social dominance. But it’s not surprising that Trump voters weren’t basing their decisions on their personal circumstances, because voters almost never do. And Mutz’s own results showed that the factors most likely to lead to a Trump vote included pessimism about the economy and preferring Trump’s position on China to Clinton’s. It may not be possible to untangle economic anxiety and a more tribal mind-set.

Casting about for a Polanyi-style countermovement to temper the ruthlessness of laissez-faire, Kuttner doesn’t rule out tariffs. They’re economically inefficient, but so are unions, and, for a follower of Polanyi, efficiency isn’t the only consideration. A decision about a nation’s economic life, the Harvard economist Dani Rodrik writes, in “Straight Talk on Trade” (Princeton), “may entail trading off competing social objectives—such as stability versus innovation—or making distributional choices”; that is, deciding who gains at whose expense. Such a decision should therefore be made by elected politicians rather than by economists.

Basically there are two solutions,” Polanyi wrote in 1935. “The extension of the democratic principle from politics to economics, or the abolition of the democratic ‘political sphere’ altogether.” In other words, socialism or fascism. The choice may not be so stark, however. During America’s golden age of full employment, the economy came, in structural terms, as close as it ever has to socialism, but it remained capitalist at its core, despite the government’s restraining hand. The result was that workers shared directly in the country’s growing wealth, whereas today proposals for fostering greater financial equality hinge on taxing winners in order to fund programs that compensate losers. Such redistributive measures, Kuttner observes, are only “second bests.” They don’t do much for social cohesion: winners resent the loss of earnings; losers, the loss of dignity.

Can we return to an equality in workers’ primary incomes rather than to one brought about by secondary redistribution? In a recent essay for the journal Democracy, the Roosevelt Institute fellow Jennifer Harris recommends reimagining international trade as an engine for this rather than as an obstacle to it. When negotiating trade deals, for instance, governments could make going to bat for multinationals conditional on their agreeing to, say, pay their workers a higher fraction of what they pay executives.

Failing that, we’d be better off with redistributive programs that are universal—parental leave, national health care—rather than targeted. Benefits available to everyone help people without making them feel like charity cases. Kuttner reports great things from Scandinavia, where governments support workers directly—through wage subsidies, retraining sabbaticals, and temporary public jobs—rather than by constraining employers’ power to fire people. “We won’t protect jobs,” Sweden’s labor minister recently told the Times.

“But we will protect workers.”

GreenPolicy360: Advocating for Diversified Business with Green Values and Goals

Every Business, Every Supply Chain

Are you thinking and acting to make your supply chain green?

Be Climate Resilient

A company is only as good — and as protected — as its suppliers.

Forward-looking companies are engaging suppliers around health, safety, and environmental issues,

The Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan teaches changes that improve supply chain partners’ climate resilience...

Consider the Hannover Principles of Design

Review McDonough's "Design, Ecology, Ethics and the Making of Things", a "Centennial Sermon" delivered in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine , NYC, February 7, 1993

"Cradle-to-cradle" design ... developing green principles of sustainable practices "affirming life" on our home planet, envisiong green eco-nomics.

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Sustainable Business

Business and Investing for sustainable economics, social & progressive causes
Business for Social Responsibility --
Social Venture Network --

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New Economy Movement

Green Marketing
Going Green

Natural Capital

Time for a Price on Carbon
Environmental full-cost accounting

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"New Economics", Concepts and Strategies

Communities and companies, non-profit and for-profit

Green Best Practices -- Smart Growth

Small-, medium- and large-businesses (SMBs)

Navigating through tides and all seas, winds and calm, storms and fair running

Changing, Competing, Charting a Successful Course

Green Best Business Practices

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Venturing into a Sustainable Future

Planet Citizen Action

The Commons

Acting with Short-term Objectives and Acting for the Common, Long-term Good

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Envisioning "The Commons"

Out-in-Front Politics

New Economics, People and the Planet

Sojourner: Reclaiming the Commons

Democracy Collaborative

Reclaiming the Commons

Next System Project

Community-wealth generation focus:

Community Wealth Cities
Community Wealth InfoGraphics
Community Wealth Interviews
Community Wealth Map
Community Wealth Videos

Community business strategies:

Anchor Institutions
The Cleveland Model
Community Development Corporations (CDCs)
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)
Land Trusts (CLTs)
Cooperatives (Co-ops)
Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)
Green Economy
Individual Wealth Building
Individual Wealth Preservation
Local Food Systems
Municipal Enterprise
New State & Local Policies
Outside the U.S.
Program Related Investments
Reclaiming the Commons
Social Enterprise
Responsible Investing
State Asset Building Initiatives
State and Local Investments
Transit Oriented Development
University & Community Partnerships
Worker Cooperatives



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Pages in category "Green Business"

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Media in category "Green Business"

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