Nature always extracts justice


This article (A Needed Antidote to the Worst of Commodity Culture) conjures up both beautiful and terrifying images. The sheer folly of our abuse of the environment MUST resonate with those whose obsession has been personal wealth and power. I was reminded of the book by Joseph Tainter “The Collapse of Complex Societies”…change has gotta come:

Defy nature and it obliterates the human species. The more we divorce ourselves from nature, the more we permit the natural world to be exploited and polluted by corporations for profit, the more estranged we become from the essence of life. Corporate systems, which grow our food and ship it across country in trucks, which drill deep into the ocean to extract diminishing fossil fuels and send container ships to bring us piles of electronics and cloths from China, have created fragile, unsustainable man-made infrastructures that will collapse.

Corporations have, at the same time, destroyed sustainable local communities. We do not know how to grow our own food. We do not know how to make our own clothes. We are helpless appendages of the corporate state. We are fooled by virtual mirages into mistaking the busy, corporate hives of human activity and the salacious images and gossip that clog our minds as real. The natural world, the real world, on which our life depends, is walled off from view as it is systematically slaughtered. The oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico is one assault. There are thousands more, including the coal-burning power plants dumping gases into our atmosphere that are largely unseen. Left unchecked, this arrogant defiance of nature will kill us.

“We have reached a point at which we must either consciously desire and choose and determine the future of the Earth or submit to such an involvement in our destructiveness that the Earth, and ourselves with it, must certainly be destroyed,” writer-poet Wendell Barry warns. “And we have come to this at a time when it is hard, if not impossible, to foresee a future that is not terrifying.”

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, is a senior fellow at the Nation Institute. He writes a regular column for TruthDig every Monday. His latest book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

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CEO’s recognising BENEFITS of sustainability


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CEO’s seem to spend a lot of time participating in surveys. This may not come as a surprise to some!

Perhaps, talking about sustainability is part of their therapy to help deal with the “trauma” associated with contemplating consultancy-sponsored questions relating to the, apparently, numerous strains of a growing complexity pandemic!? I DO wonder how many [CEO’s or consultants] have recognised the relationship between the two? Irrespective we should ALL be grateful that both are now on the agenda.

The vast majority of CEOs believe that sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their business, and they want investors to more accurately value sustainability in their long-term investments, according to a new survey by Accenture and the UN Global Compact.

The survey involved 766 CEOs and top executives, including face-to-face interviews with over 50 of the world’s foremost business executives.

This new research found that:

  • 93 percent of the CEOs polled believe that sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their business.
  • 86 percent want investors to better price sustainability issues into valuations.
  • CEOs are addressing sustainability issues in new ways.  For instance, 58 percent of survey respondents cited the consumer among their most important stakeholders, even above employees (45 percent) and governments (39 percent).
  • 91 percent of those polled said that their company would be employing new technologies and innovation to help meet sustainability goals over the next five years.
  • Partnerships and collaboration are increasingly important. 78 percent of survey respondents feel that companies should engage in industry collaborations and multi-stakeholder partnerships to address sustainability goals.

In 2006, the UN launched the Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative (PRI), a $20 trillion effort developed to persuade mainstream investors to better integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into valuations and investment processes. At a major UN Summit in New York City last week, Donald MacDonald, PRI Chairman urged investors to ‘push further’ despite recent progress.

“Time and again investors have seen how ESG issues can affect investment performance and there is now a critical mass of institutional investors who know that good management of these issues is an  important factor in for the  long-term financial success of their investments.  I expect the next decade to be an age of responsibility for capital markets,” he said. “If a company has poor corporate governance or persists with bad environmental management then it can, and should, affect the long-term valuation of the company. The truth is that’s still a relatively new concept for many investors, but there are now leaders in mainstream markets that have developed the tools and models to integrate sustainability and who can push the global capital markets beyond the tipping point on sustainability.”

The 60-page report, titled A New Era of Sustainability, is available here.

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