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Food for Thought: What's your take on ESG and the responsibility of investing in the “right thing?”

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Last night, Bloomberg LP (Bloomberg Opinion) published a piece on ESG investing and what could potentially go wrong, using the great state of Ohio as an example.

For those of you that may not know about the impact of Ohio on the manufacturing world, you have to understand that it was once a heavy industrial territory that gave life to sectors that involved steel, energy and transportation. Over the years, big businesses had either dried up, moved away or began outsourcing their needs to other areas, both domestic and foreign. The once major hub for manufacturing became known as the “Rust Belt” in the ‘80s as factories completely shifted abroad.

The social impact of this was catastrophic.

What were once flourishing big towns and cities became dirty, run-down ghost towns in many situations — where crime would run rampant, a heroin and opium epidemic would take place, mass cases of mesothelioma and cancer would infect former workers and residents, and the ongoing turmoil associated with getting big businesses to move back into the area — and keeping them there — would plague decision-makers.

As for this Bloomberg article, it was a pretty good piece. 

You know, I really hate to say this and hope I don’t open up a can of worms, but there are a lot of companies that are more passionate about the paycheck and the taxes they’ll save than the people that support them — the local communities, the workers, the youth and future generations that haven’t even set foot on this land yet…

And that’s not right.

The S in ESG stands for “Social” — and there’s a certain responsibility for companies that fall into this category — quite bluntly, they need to care about their people. There shouldn’t be any question as to whether cutting corners will be lucrative if “the people” are being put in harm’s way — whether economically, mentally, emotionally or — Lord forbid — physically. 

Not only this, but there are, unfortunately, some investors, financiers and grant writers who should somewhat be held accountable for this as well. Businesses can’t make shady moves without the capital to back them. As Bloomberg puts it, socially-responsible capitalism should actually improve society. 

The inability to fully regulate certain ESG practices (in particular the social aspect), globally, allows this cycle to continue. There’s also a lack of standard regulations in place which is another contributor.

Interestingly enough, Ohio is getting its second wind (so to speak). Some are calling it the new “unofficial” EV capital of the world. And, the good thing is that many of the companies that are moving into that region really do represent what being ESG stands for. There are a lot of initiatives that promote clean energy, fuels and technologies. In fact, it seems that through various initiatives, the people are taking back their state!

And that’s always a good thing. 

When investing in brands that claim to uphold ESG standards, we should be paying attention to what it is that we are actually funding. It’s more than just the company. It’s about the people we are indirectly serving — because through any investment, we are part of that outcome, and we must decide: “Is that outcome best for the greater picture?”

That’s one thing I love about sustainable businesses – that’s why we’re a sustainable business. Sure, there will always be some type of necessary evil out there. But, what are you doing about it? What are you doing to tackle the issues and to operate with integrity? 

If you haven’t done so already, I implore you to check out our Terravis Energy solutions (https://www.goterravis.com). This is not meant to be a sale — our products don’t even come out until Spring. You may want to consider investing in a truly socially and environmentally-conscious organization, however, and that is most certainly us.

Our solar and hydrogen energy solutions, I believe, are key in creating a truly emissions-free future. Unlike other charging solutions, we don’t rely on the grid for power — which means those things that we power won’t have to either. 

We care about the environment. We care about the health of our consumers. And, we most certainly care about the future of this planet. 

SO, FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

What’s your take on this? How do you feel about businesses that claim to be ESG-friendly but really don’t uphold any of the characteristics of what it means to be ESG — but still claim to engage in certain initiatives in the name of “ESG?”

How do you feel about those that blindly support irresponsible initiatives that could potentially leave future generations to “foot the bill,” whether through their health, lack of economic opportunity or even the ability to breathe fresh air, drink clean water? 

What do you feel should be done for those areas that, despite the troubles they’re facing, would have still thrived had the rug not been pulled out from under them and their ability to co-exist among other large industrial hubs around the U.S.? Do you think there should be some type of retribution? 

Let’s take this yet a step further: “What’s your take on “cause” vs. “the bottom line?”

Sound off down below! 

REFERENCE:

What’s Wrong With ESG Investing as Explained Through the Medium of Ohio (Tracy Alloway):

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-11-16/what-s-wrong-with-esg-investing-as-explained-through-the-medium-of-ohio

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