Business man meditating in Japanese garden

Conscious Capitalism In The News – September 2018

This month’s Conscious Capitalism in the News:  We are all impact investors, find out why, Japan’s Oji Group’s huge environmental platform, Conscious Capitalism is the new Capitalism 2.0, Corporate Social Responsibility ramps up on the Planet agenda, and more…

Sustainable Companies:  Spotlight on Japan’s Oji Group – Japan Times

Most paper companies consume trees for their products. Oji grows more trees than it uses. The 3rd largest paper company in the world has a huge environmental platform, partially due to recent changes in its focus.

The company is the biggest private forest owner in Japan with a total of 190,000 hectares of forest — roughly the size of Osaka Prefecture. – Yoshimasa Tanaka, Sustainable Management Office General Manager, Oji Group.

Oji has an additional 260,000 hectares of forests in other countries. 200,000 of them certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Oji understands that they must create the resources they use, else they will end up without them. But they have been busy in other areas, too.

A tree thinning experience in an Oji forest in Shizuoka Prefecture. | OJI HOLDINGS CORP

Image Source: Japan Times

Oji has also been offering the Oji Forest Nature School, a hands-on environmental education program for school children in five locations in Japan since 2004. – Kazu Ikeda, Public Relations and Investor Relations Department General Manager.

Through this program, children learn, almost  instinctively, that adequate maintenance helps preserve biodiversity in the forest.

Recently, Oji has even taken another step into the future by looking into the development of sustainable plastic substitutes. Oji is manufacturing various base paper for food products such as beverages, yogurt and ice cream, in addition to oil resistant packaging used by fast food restaurants.

Through these efforts, we would be able to contribute to global development, while proactively addressing environmental issues and strive towards the realization of a sustainable society – Oji Group Directors, Kiyotaka Shindo and Susumu Yajima.

For a broader perspective of Oji’s sustainable ventures, check out their R&D page and their latest company report.

Related:  A Radical, Practical Approach to Sustainable Investing

Social Impact Investing Cleans up Kansas City – The Kansas City Star

Kansas City’s urban core, having not yet recovered from the subprime mortgage crisis and decades of residents’ flights to the suburbs, has become overrun with vacant structures. Not only do these abandoned properties decrease property values, they also provide refuge for increasing criminal activities, and depress the spirits of those living near them.

But a new and innovative initiative to help reduce the number of vacant houses and improve the living conditions of Kansas City’s poorer citizens is helping by establishing a loan pool of almost $500,000 to provide short-term, market-rate loans to smaller contractors to rehab abandoned homes.

KCSIP, the Kansas City Social Investment Pool, is a partnership with Legal Aid of Western Missouri, which provides legal services to low-income people who cannot afford attorneys, and AltCap, a community development financial institution.

The fewer than 10 individuals who provided the seed money by investing in KCSIP understand the risk. They know that they might not receive a monetary return, or even get back their original investment.

But their motivation to invest was not strictly financial. They are seeking to make their returns by benefitting society at large first, and if they make money, even better.  Social impact investing is a growing trend that seeks to resolve social issues that government and traditional financial markets cannot seem to service.

Like a pebble dropped in a pond, this innovative loan pool will create ripples that spread along the streets and neighborhoods of the central city, providing safe and secure housing for more low-income residents and helping improve the lives of the city’s residents. – Jerry W. Venters, President of the Board of Trustees of Legal Aid of Western Missouri.

Related:  Forget Tree Huggers:  Investing in “What’s Next” is Investing for Good

Conscious Capitalism – Capitalism 2.0. Beyond Profits, Purpose is the New Goal – Media Planet

According to the UN, $23 trillion of the global $87 trillion financial assets under management (excluding Latin America and Africa) is already aligned to supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

India, the site of GSG’s Impact Summit in October 2018, already has multiple impact enterprises with greater than $1 billion revenues or valuation. These enterprises are replicable elsewhere in India and across global markets looking for impact. Here’s how the impact continuum brings us closer to Conscious Capitalism, or Capitalism 2.0.

  • Act to Avoid HarmResponsible investments act to avoid harm to their stakeholders, by, for example, decreasing their carbon footprint or paying appropriate wages. Managing environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks are the biggest part of this component.
  • Benefiting StakeholdersSustainable investments that benefit stakeholders, for example, by proactively upskilling their employees, or selling products that support good health or educational outcomes, are next in the impact continuum.
  • Catalyse SolutionsImpact investments are further along the impact continuum: they can also use their capabilities to catalyse solutions to pressing social or environmental problems — for example, by enabling an otherwise underserved population to achieve good health or educational outcomes, financial inclusion, or hiring and skilling formerly unemployed individuals.
We are already using humanity’s greatest invention – money – to heal the world’s social and environmental ills. We can invest in a future where no one lives in poverty and the planet thrives.Amit Bhatia CEO, The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG)

Related:  If You Have a Bank Account, You are Impact Banking

The Founder of WellWallet Explains How All of Us Are Already Impact Investors – WellWallet

Where we shop, how we spend, where we save, where we invest, and even who we pay our debts to, all have a huge amount of power. The founder of WellWallet, Sofia Rossato, wants to show how you can improve your finances, regardless of the state they are in now, while having a positive impact in your community and the environment. The WellWallet philosophy is to transform the money economy into a force for good, and make money management fun and accessible for everyone.

What is the WellWallet app and what makes it unique?

The WellWallet app is a friendly automated money assistant and financial tracker …with a heart. Like other personal financial management apps, the WellWallet app will give you hints for growing your money. It’s uniqueness lies in the way it provides personalized and actionable tips that show you how to grow your money with positive impact. Free yourself from debt, save, invest, and learn how to use your money as a force for good.

For many people, money can be at the same time boring and terrifying. What if we could make it fun and approachable?

How to Use Technology to Grow Your Money and Change Your World - A Podcast with WellWallet Founder Sofia Rossato

Join Sofia in this transformative interview as she shares what inspired her to createWellWallet. She discusses the WellWallet investment philosophy that people from all income levels can follow, and explains how you can use technology to both grow your money and create the world you want to live in. 

If you are interested in both improving your finances and the world around you, you don’t want to miss this podcast.

Related:  Start Impact Investing for as Little as $50, (And Get Another $50 for Free

Corporate Social Responsibility is Ramping Up the Green Agenda – Forbes

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as identified by John Elkington in 1994, incorporates the three legs of the triple bottom line also known as the three Ps of people, planet and profit.

Lately we are seeing that, as the impact of climate change is increasingly felt, the environmental part of CSR – planet  is becoming increasingly important. Some companies have begun to redefine their CSR policies to prioritize the environmental, which until just a few years ago was only considered a “nice to have,” giving annual reports a feel-good factor. For example:

But these kinds of measures are also beginning to extend beyond the economy and into policy. For example, C40 is a network of cities working to reduce emissions.

And this is a good thing because we truly are running out of time.

We need to move forward from the irresponsible idea of climate change as something that might happen in the distant future to understanding the gravity of the situation and the threat it poses. We face an emergency that requires all of us to act now, before it really is too late. – Enrique Dans, Professor of Information Systems, IE Business School in Madrid.

                                                                                                                                                    

Related:  Meet Three Pioneering Women in Impact Investing

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