It's been exciting and also interesting to see the increased interest in ESGs this past year by governments, companies large and small, but most importantly - global financial institutions. A 2020 Trends Report showed an increase of over 40% in sustainable assets since 2018. For those who consistently stay on top of economic trends, seeing an area of investments grow so rapidly in such a short period of time must raise questions - well, it surely did for me.
After some digging and I learned that a vast majority of the ESG Market - particularly the market for ESG-focused exchange-traded funds, is primarily owned by a few big investors, rather than a larger group of individual investors. Possibly a ploy for "anchor tenants" vs a good old "grassroots campaign". Who knows. But it does make me wonder, whats the draw for these global, multi billion dollar asset managing organizations? What data and metrics are being used to determine the viability, growth and success of these large investments? Are analysts and leaders beginning to connect the dots on how the impacts from climate change affects long term economic feasibility? That would be my hope at least.
Whatever the reasons may be, this has lead to an increased conversations around ESG frameworks, regulations and overall how institutions, companies and multinationals are efficiently tracking their ESG data and evaluating the effectiveness of their reporting strategies. As of late, the methods have been across the board. New sustainable regulatory committees have been rolled out, there has been an introduction of a sustainability focused open source technology, some governments are even implementing mandatory reporting for large companies to go in effect 2022... though promising to see these rules, resources and boards arise, the question looming in my head is, how exactly will these resources align on a global standard.. and implement it consistently and reliably across the globe? I'll be taking some time to research more... Stay tuned
Lifestyle is simply the way in which we live
This idea is kept in mind, day in and day out
with every decision made
At a point in time the idea of social responsibility
became separate from our everyday choices
Separate from our jobs, removed from our lives
Something we repost for the world to see
But struggle to internalize as our identity
Jobs vs work; business then impact
If a choice can shape our life
What if we
Craft the style in doing so
Aligned with our interests
Aligned with our goals
Impact made through business, rather than in addition to it
Pursuing passion through work
Implementing through our jobs
Balancing our lives, fulfilling our dreams
Reflecting our values
congruent with the way in which we live
Being altruistic with our impact
Kenyan teen using poetry to teach people about HIV and polio.
I really enjoy poetry, so this story I found really touched my heart!
Kenya is one of the countries being affected most by HIV and polio. In the Western part of the country, about 25% of the people are impacted by the HIV virus.
Meshack (13) learned of the diseases that were severely impacting his community from his mother who works in health. Inspired by her and the stories of others, he uses poetry to give advice and motivate people to be more health conscious.
During school holidays, he volunteers at the health facility, giving talks to educate people on the importance of vaccinations, HIV testing, health screenings.
The majority of the people he speaks to are mothers because they play an important role in ensuring their children are healthy and immunized. About 36 million people are living with HIV around the world - 2 million of them are children under the age of 15. Meshack told BBC, he is determined to become a doctor so that he can continue to help those he sees suffering in Kenya.
In the world, Sub-Saharan Africa is hit the hardest by HIV with more than two-thirds of the world's population of people diagnosed with HIV living in that area. Kenya is one of the countries being affected most by HIV, polio and other infectious diseases.
About half of the world’s population lacks access to basic health information and services to prevent the spread of diseases. We all have a part to play in working to change this! Leadership and activism from individuals like Meshack to promote health education and access to services are needed to continue our global efforts. His efforts directly address the Sustainable Development Global Goal #3 Good Health & Well-being
Sources: Global Citizen, BBC News
Did you know?
On April 22, 1970, was the first ever Earth Day. The late Walter Cronkite, a CBS News correspondent, reported on protests, clean up efforts and calls to action from all over the USA. This broadcast aired the start off the modern environmental movement
Learning about this, it made me wonder how this all started got started in the first place? Where did this massive growth in “greenhouse effects” come from? How did that hole in the ozone layer ever get there again?
The sad truth is: Unintended Consequences
In the past 100 years humanity has progressed tremendously, but it is unfortunate that some of these inventions came with “fine prints” that were blindlessly skipped over as discoveries grew in popularity and made profound impacts on almost everything and every life around the world
One main issue that resulted, was the increase in greenhouse gases, now known as the Greenhouse Effect. This is simply when the atmosphere becomes really thick with gases and substances which traps the sun's warmth in the Earth’s lower atmosphere
So what are these gases and substances and how have they contributed to the Greenhouse Effect?
I'm glad you asked! They are
Ever heard of Freon? In the late 1920s, the components that were used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems with highly flammable, explosive and POISONOUS causing many deaths in households! Manufacturers of these systems sought for an effective, non-toxic, non-flammable substitute. An engineer and chemist named Thomas Midgley Jr developed this compound, the first CFC, calling it Freon! CFCs/Freon went on to be used in items like refrigerators, asthma inhalers, aerosol spray cans, just to name a few.
Interesting story: During a demonstration for the American Chemical Society in 1930, Midgley confidently demonstrated all these properties by inhaling a breath of the gas and using it to blow out a candle.
It was not until the 1970s, over 40 years later, two scientists Mario Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland predicted that chlorine atoms, produced by the decomposition of CFCs, acted as an ongoing catalyst for the destruction of the ozone.
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Carbon dioxide is released naturally through breathing and volcanic eruptions - you’re probably thinking, you know this, it’s a minor but important part of the atmosphere! The problem is, through human activities like deforestation, changes in land use, and the increase of burning fossil fuels for energy and producing other items. We have increased atmospheric CO2 concentration by more than a third since the Industrial Revolution began.
Here’s a fact:
Conventional plastic is made from fossil fuels. So not only does plastic pollute oceans, kill wildlife, and take at least 1,000 year to decompose. The creation of it is contributing to the increase in greenhouse gases!
In comparison to CO2, methane is a far more active greenhouse gas but fortunately is much less abundant in the atmosphere (kind of good thing). This gas is produced both naturally and through human activities - some of which have increased dramatically in the past 100 years:
Another powerful greenhouse gas, 300 times more powerful than CO2. The process that removes nitrous oxide from the atmosphere also depletes ozone. Nitrous Oxide is in fertilize and is produced from inefficient farming - which has also increased to meet the demands of the growing population.
Before this (not going to lie), I did not know Water Vapor was a greenhouse gas!! I am discussing this one last but it is certainly not the least: Water Vapor is the MOST abundant greenhouse gas (95%) and more importantly, it acts as a feedback to the climate.
As the Earth's atmosphere warms, water vapor increases which directly increases humidity, the possibility of clouds and precipitation. What’s so bad? It’s more than bad hair days - water vapor traps heat in the air, making it a critical component of climate change.
As we celebrate Earth Day and continue forth in 2019, I hope you keep these facts in mind. There have been changes in our climate and weather patterns over the past 100 years and learning about how our lifestyles have changed in that time period, we can see the direct correlation between the two.
Most of these changes in our lifestyle were done with good intention!! But unfortunately, they have had unintended consequences. (As mentioned, plastic makes an impact from its creation (burning fossil fuels) to its disposal (taking at least 1000 years to decompose)).
So if you’re a skeptic that the atmosphere is being impacted and climate has or is changing, Id hope that you at least begin to take into consideration the products and waste that we have accumulated in this time as well, that is directly impacting the environment in which we live.
I know, this effort is not going to be easy, people don’t like change - but every little bit of consideration counts. Forty-nine (49) years later, we are still pushing for cleaner practices to live sustainably in our environment. I hope today, you begin to think about how you can make a change in your life, to live more sustainable for our future and the greater good!
TedX: Leyla Acaroglu
Iowa State University
Today, I cracked open one of my favorite reads. This book is titled “I am because you are” by Jacob Lief. It has a loving foreword from Archbishop Desmond Tutu which ends with this excerpt from “No Future without Forgiveness”
Jacob’s story in creating the Ubuntu Education Fund (Now, Ubuntu Pathways) is quite incredible, it is one that I think back to whenever I remind myself of my WHY
Ubuntu, when translated, is more than a word, it's a concept, an idea, a belief: I exist because you exist; our humanity is bound; by looking beyond our superficial differences we will find our sameness
Developing communities and making a positive impact is more than just giving to those who do not have. It is realizing that our well-being is tied to theirs. It is more than donations, it's about transforming the system, giving people access to resources, enabling and encouraging others to use them to improve their lives.
Lifting another up, will not tear you down.
Njabulo Ndlovu and Vusimuzi Sihlangu’s were given a science project by their teacher to create a unique product. Like true innovators, these teens decided to create a solution for a problem constantly faced by communities throughout South Africa - a reliable light source!
Njabulo and Vusimuzi live in the township of Rantanda where there is no reliable supply of electricity. The boys found this to be a hindrance, getting in the way of their study time.
“The lack of reliable supply of electricity has always been a problem that makes it very hard to study,” Sihlangu told Global Citizen. “It makes it hard to study, which is worrisome.”
They decided to create the Lighting Bag! A school bag that could generate its own light so students could study. The teens spent a week creating their product. They fit a bag with a xenon light from a car and connected it to a car battery to keeps the light running even when there isn't any access to electricity. It’s made with recycled material so it doesn’t create any waste, it’s relatively cheap to produce, and turns batteries into a source of light.
“Users can take it wherever they need it. The lack of reliable supply of electricity has always been a problem that makes it very hard to study, which is worrisome. ” says Sihlangu who, along with Ndlovu.
Sihlangu wants to use innovation to solve multiple problems, however, he’s already investigating ways to make the Lighting Bag solar-powered.
These teenagers' invention supports the Global Goals, Goal #4: Quality Education and Goal #9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure.
Background on Electricity in South Africa:
Eskom is South Africa’s public electricity utility. To prevent a nationwide blackout and total collapse of the power grid, as a last resort solution when there may be insufficient power generation to match demand, Eskom uses load shedding as a balancing scale. Load shedding is when the power is cut to “blocks” of municipalities according to a published schedule.
UK Government awards £2.6 million to 12 LGBT organizations to tackle some of the biggest issues facing LGBT people!
Who else thinks everyone should have the same opportunity and access to education, healthcare, employment and personal safety??
This is a true CALL TO ACTION!
As one of her first acts as the new Minister for Women and Equalities, Rt. Hon. Penny Mordaunt published the LGBT Action Plan that spells out over 75 commitments that will be implemented to help cut discrimination and improve the lives of LGBT* people!
“We want to strip away the barriers that hold people back so that everyone can go as far as their hard work and talent can take them.”
In July 2017, the UK Government launched a national survey of LGBT people asking questions about their experiences living in the UK and their ability to access public services with ease. The survey was a success, receiving over 100k responses - becoming the largest national survey of its kind IN THE WORLD!
Based on the results, te government has committed to taking bold action, establishing a LGBT Implementation Fund to deliver the commitments to the plan.
Recently, they awarded £2.6 million to be shared into three categories:
Grant funding will also be offered to voluntary and community groups to support LGBT community initiatives across England including annual Pride events
This Action Plan directly addresses the Sustainable Development Goal #3 Good Health & Well-being and Goal #5 Gender Equality
*When I say ‘LGBT people’ I mean anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or who has another minority sexual orientation or gender identity, or who are intersex*
Who else thinks it’s time to redefine beauty?
Fact: 6 out of 10 girls stop doing what they love because they feel bad about how they look
Today I came across the Dove Self-Esteem Project!
It has a mission to help young people overcome body image issues and fulfill their potential by building positive body confidence and self-esteem.
"..we believe no young person should be held back from reaching their full potential. However, low body confidence and anxieties over appearance keep young people from being their best selves, affecting their health, friendships, and even performance at school."
The project has developed tools with world renowned body image experts and leading universities to create confidence building workshops and other educational activities for mentors and youth leaders.
So far, they have reached more than 29 million young people across 140 countries! Their goal is to reach 40 million young people by 2020 and 100 million by 2025.
Unilever is using their platform to break barriers through the @Dove brand by investing in positive social impact!
The Global SDG Awards is pleased to announce Unilever as a winners of its inaugural competition for Goal #3: Good Health & Well-being. The Awards are designed to celebrate private-sector leadership in the advancement of United Nations 2030 Agenda, also known as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For more information, check out the Dove Self-Esteem Project at:
Growing up we’d play all sorts of games that would predict our future. I’m pretty sure MASH said I’d be living in a Parisian mansion, touring the world as a famous singer, married at 25 to my 3rd grade crush, with 3 dogs, and a red corvette. Let’s not even get into what the paper fortune teller told me..
Fact of the matter is, I don't have any of those things.. and it's perfectly okay!
Quite frankly, my idea of success has changed drastically.
I was recently talking to a friend that said he feels he is 4 years behind where he’s supposed to be. If you know me, I kindly made a face, thought about it for a second and asked, “How would you know that?”. He said had a vision of his life when he was younger and believed that where he was now, was behind where he should be.
(Hey, don’t judge, I’m sure you had an “idea” of where your life would be today as well.)
So I told him “You are, where you are”, then in typical Kris fashion, we dove into what that meant!
Flip the script:
I am, where I am:
He began to compare it to “You are right where you’re supposed to be” - which made us think, that gives us the impression that no matter what we do, we will always end up “where we are supposed to be”, which could be a daunting perspective…
Like seriously, after allll that, THIS is where I am supposed to be? (haha)
We were always asked, what we wanted to be when we grew up. The plan was to simply dream something up, drop a quarter (tuition) in a magic gumball machine (college/university) and hope for a miracle (entry level job making 50k). Well, that didn't happen *shrugs* - can I get my quarter back?.
We need to shift perspective. “Yes, this is where I am today; where can I be tomorrow? Next week? Next month?”
Forward thinking, growth mindset!
Think less about the profession, and more about the problem you want to solve. Each “block” poses a challenge, what are you going to do to solve it? It's not a roadblock preventing you from moving forward! Figure out how to create your dreams and find the appropriate steps to achieve them.
We all have dreams and we all have goals, but the timeline in which achieving those is to happen is impossible to predict. There’s no benefit in getting bogged down, comparing ourselves to others who are on a completely different path from you. Be proud of yourself! I’m proud of you.
Now that we’ve come to the end, let’s think: In order to get there, what do I need to do now?
Take your mark.. Andddd, GO!
Why are we afraid to speak?
The stage frightens me
Stepping foot on the stage, mic in hand
I open my mouth and panic strikes, vocal cords frozen,
Cheeks blushed red, sweat beading on my forehead
Hands shaking, at a loss for words
My thoughts tossed around like papers in a windstorm
I have something worth saying,
So, what... happened?
The public won't appreciate me speaking
As my teacher explains the lesson
I’m embarrassed to say that I’m confused
To shy to raise my hand and ask a question
Afraid to seem idiotic for not understanding why
Oh, now there goes my classmate,
He lifted his hand, and spoke my mind
My curiosity wasn't alone, the simply teacher replied
Now he seems like a curious and intelligent guy
So, why couldn't I?
The talk is too small
I barely know this person, I have no clue where to begin
Should I say something, possibly talk about the weather
Today we did have to pull out sweaters, to shield us from the chill
of this wind that I wish would blow my awkwardness away
Why did I come here?
She’s from Dallas, I like to skate
She works in marketing, I can’t really relate
The pause in conversation drives my nerves through the roof!
Maybe we should just sit in silence
Spare us the embarrassment
Growing up, I would have each one of these conversations in my head. Presenting in front of an audience would make me tremble, I would battle with my own mind debating if I should take the initiative to speak in class or ask a questions, small talk and networking left me feeling like I had nothing of importance to say.
I knew there was an outgoing soul inside of me, waiting to be freed. I knew who she was, we spoke daily, she was the “true me”. When I moved to a new country, I made the decision to break out of my shell, I wanted to reinvent my image. Stepping out of my comfort zone, *lights, camera, action* “Presenting: The New ME”
I quickly realized, it was not that easy. I found myself pretending to be what I thought others wanted to see. My actions felt unnatural, topics of conversation were more controversial than insightful. I was not being me. I was so quick to be seen, to become popular. I did not take the time to build the confidence within myself, rather I created a persona of confidence based off everyone else.
Each one of us has to take the time to find our voice. Individually plunging into the sea of self discovery. Who knows what treasures you will find that form the thoughts of the unique being you are. The fact is, we all have messages to be heard. Don’t shy away from the story you have to tell. As you open up to the world, you’ll expand the perception the world has of you.
As your world grows, your confidence grows, and your story grows.
So ask those questions, voice your opinions, be awkward, but most importantly, step on that stage: breathe and speak.