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Bloomberg Businessweek published a report this week outlining the problem with ESG investing. It’s a lengthy analysis with lots of facts and figures, so I thought it would be worthwhile to summarize its major findings.

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Meet MSCI: the ESG matchmaker

MSCI is the world’s premier ratings company for environmental, social and governance (ESG) designations. It’s the ESG equivalent of Moody’s for insurance ratings.

MSCI has become the de-facto standard for smacking “sustainable” on any investment fund. The impact of sustainable investing has suffered as a result.

What’s the problem with MSCI ESG ratings?

According to Bloomberg’s report, MSCI ratings don’t accurately measure the impact of a company on the Earth. Rather, their ratings measure the impact of the Earth on a company.

It’s a powerful distinction that has damning effects on the real-world impact of ESG ratings. And it’s a method that MSCI openly boasts as a logical indication for relevant stakeholders.… Read the rest

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If you want to decarbonize the economy, carbon offsets don't work. Here's why.

Despite doubling in price the last 18 months, carbon offset prices are cheap (relative to the cost of reducing emissions). Carbon offsets should and will be much more expensive. For now, because they're so cheap, carbon credits act more like a marketing tool than a social good.

The little secret?

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The scoop: Supply chains must respond to increasing demand for climate action. Key talking points: People can see the potential effects of climate change in places like the Rhine River in Europe and Texas with its winter energy crisis.Rising ocean temperatures are pushing lobsters north and making it harder for these creatures to reproduce, harming the seafood industry in the Northeast.In response to consumers and investors, automakers are transitioning to electric vehicles, even for the most popular models.The effects will worsen if governments and the private sector don’t act quickly. Droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, and other storms will get stronger and cause further damage to industries, the environment, and the supply chain. Dig deeper → 5 min
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Global economic hotbeds with fast-growing populations in Africa face the highest climate risk than any other region in the world. Cities like Kampala in Uganda, Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, and Lagos in Nigeria face the challenges of a population boom plagued by drought or crop failure. Dig deeper → 3 min
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The scoop: New construction needs to prioritize sustainable practices to prevent an energy crisis in the future. Real estate investors are starting to take notice.

Facts and figures:

Bottom line: Investors are and will always be driven by returns. But the private sector is starting to realize the necessary risk assessment and tax burdens associated with energy-sucking real estate. Green building is the future.

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In a literal sense, sustainability is about creating a system of permanence. When determining if something is sustainable, you're asking: is this project, product or service a replicable component of a system that can last forever? Sustainable cryptocurrencies do not exist within that framework.

But most things are not sustainable. In this period of growth centered around sustainable systems, it is more worthwhile to focus on what projects are building the future and how they are framing themselves to fit within the mold of a more sustainable future.

Here are 10 cryptocurrencies I think are trying to be more sustainable.

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Busy? Try the speed read.

The scoop: Overpopulation is a myth... because Jack Ma and Elon Musk said so. On a more serious note, a population collapse is more likely than an overpopulated planet.

Some talking points for the dinner table:

  1. Overcrowded cities ≠ overcrowded planet. The entire world population can fit in the state of Texas with the same population density as Manhattan.
  2. Lopsided populations will inevitably occur in modern advanced nations. That means young workers will be unable to support aging populations, causing natural population declines.
  3. 'Malthusian traps' refer to inevitable food shortages as populations grow. Either Malthus was right and some of us go hungry (as in we don't need to artificially halt population growth), or he's wrong and the population keeps growing sustainably through innovation.

Bottom line: The Earth has plenty to offer for 9 billion mouths. And a sustained population decline due to lower fertility rates is already becoming a realistic outcome. We just need to spread out more.

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Busy? Try the speed.

The scoop: Biking connects billions of people from around the world. It can be a great tool to reduce personal carbon footprints too. But not all bike companies focus on ethics and sustainability.

The manufacturing problem: Since the 2000s, most bikes are manufactured in Asia, where workers’ rights are less transparent. It is difficult to track worker conditions in these parts of the world.

Steel requires energy: Metal itself can be sustainable, but certain forms of steel require lots of energy to extrapolate. It is important to look for sustainably-sourced steel.

Read below for a full list of ethical bike manufacturers.

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The scoop: NFTs went mainstream. Now more people are starting to realize Ethereum has a sustainable energy problem. There is a solution.

Not all blockchains are the same: Bitcoin uses about 1% of the world’s electricity. Ethereum is the second largest coin and runs on a similar model as Bitcoin. Neither are energy efficient.

Still, blockchain technology as a whole operates under many different consensus algorithms. Bitcoin and Ethereum’s proof-of-work model is just one version.

Sustainable proposals: Convert mining facilities to use more renewable forms of energy. That’s a good place to start.

More effectively, big coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum can operate using a proof-of-stake model to be more sustainable. This would allow fewer nodes (computers) to validate transactions on the public ledger and increase the energy efficiency of their blockchains.

Finally, emerging coins should look to more efficient consensus algos like Ripple as a model for sustainable crypto. That would propel the industry forward.

Bottom line: Progress is happening. There are existing solutions. The blockchain industry just needs a little nudge to do better.

Dig deeper → 3 min

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