Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gore Gets Involved in Green Investing

I continue to be excited about the potential for green and socially responsible investing. While it may seem counter-intuitive to enlist the help of the business world in combating problems that are often of their own making, I actually believe that this approach will be more effective in achieving real, sustainable change then grass roots efforts or policy changes. That is not to undermine the importance of the latter two, not in the least! But if we really want to impact the world in a meaningful and tangible manner, we need to go after the "big guns," in the arena's of energy, manufacturing, transportation, etc.

In an NPR interview yesterday Al Gore discussed a new alliance he is forming with a venture capital firm based in California. They will seek to invest in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and other green opportunities. Gore makes a very important point when he notes that "We've now reached the stage where this shift is going to happen with or without new government policies. ... The business sector is ahead of the policy maker community in recognizing this shift toward a low-carbon economy has to take place." This development, while clearly profit driven, is exciting.

Capitalism and the drive for profits clearly has many, many shortfalls when it comes to social justice and sustainable living. However, if we reach a point that it becomes profitable curb pollution, develop renewable energy, engage in ethical business practices, etc, the impact on the world will be staggering. Indeed, it now seems plausible that the industrial revolution will be followed by a sustainable living revolution!

What do you think? Can the power of the profit hungry business world be harnessed to do good for our planet and its people?