EMM Spring Gathering Focuses on Opportunities Others Are Missing

Rosalinda Sanquiche, Partner and Executive Director, ethical markets media

Ethical Markets® Media hosted the Finding Ethical Alpha Conference in St. Augustine, FL, May 12-13, 2014. Designed with Stuart Williams of Endobility, the focus was on guiding the world’s significant asset allocators to use environmental and humanitarian risk/return metrics and screens across 100% of their portfolios.

Co-chaired by sustainability pioneers Hazel Henderson, president of Ethical Markets®, and Lawrence Bloom, co-founder and chairman of B.e Energy, the conference gathered leading experts across sustainability stakeholder groups to implement projects to reach, teach and inform asset managers.

The highlight of the event was Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist for NASA, who engaged and inspired attendees with his presentation “Green and Renewable Energy: An Embarrassment of Riches.” Bushnell listed but didn’t dwell on the challenges faced by the world, many a result of climate change. Instead, he listed opportunity upon opportunity to use renewable energy to meet global needs a thousand times over. Projects range from the theoretical to those ready for market right now. In a later session, he focused on the 10,000 varieties of halophytes, salt-loving plants, as a renewable resource that depends on what the globe has in abundance: 97% salt water, 44% “wasteland” and the Sun, and as an immediate and viable option to ameliorate climate change, provide energy and food. From his presentations, combined with the network of other presenters and attendees, within a week a project proposal was presented to the government of Aruba.

Other highlights included Hazel Henderson’s presentation on the Green Transition Scoreboard®, tracking over $5.3 trillion in private investments in the ever growing green economy. Henderson explained how there is no dearth of opportunities for asset managers to shift from stranded assets to long-term growth in fossil-free portfolios. Hank Patton introduced Intergenerational Finance™, a method for today’s investors to fund new business opportunities for valuable — but currently not merchantable — long-term outcomes.

Katherine Collins, author of The Nature of Investing, presented an illuminating view of finance when seen as a subset of Nature and using Nature’s best guiding principles. Garvin Jabusch of Green Alpha Advisors, fund manager for the Sierra Club, presented the language he has found to resonate with asset managers, as did Mariana Bozesan, principal of Aqal Capital in Germany, using an Integral Investing approach.

The conference lived up to the promise of providing leading edge solutions. Perhaps most out-of-the-box, Edgar Cahn presented Time Banking as a way to restore how we value labor. Among his many examples of Time Banking in action, Cahn described how elementary and college-age students alike are sharing their skills in return for computers and even tuition assistance. Martin Ping, executive director of Hawthorne Valley, and Pearl Johnson, founder of The Willow School, presented other creative innovations in education to reach the next generation of investors.

Hazel Henderson moderated three half-hour TV programs now in post-production: Making Ethical Investing The New Normal with Mariana Bozesan and Garvin Jabusch; Investing In Desert-Greening with Dennis Bushnell and Carl Hodges,founder and chairman, The Seawater Foundation; and Rating The Rating Agencies with Lawrence Bloom and Claudine Schneider, president of Solar Alliance, Congresswoman, US House of Representatives (R-RI),1980-1990.

Whether Hazel Henderson’s daily updates on www.ethicalmarkets.com or retreats focused on transforming finance, upon which Finding Ethical Alpha built, Ethical Markets® provides the media and discussion venue for the good news that the green transition is happening.

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To read more about the conference: Finding Ethical Alpha by G. Benjamin Bingham, CEO and Founder, 3Sisters Sustainable Management