What we have here is a failure to communicate, proclaimed the Captain to justify beating Cool Hand Luke (1967). The Captain of Road Prison 36 also advised Luke that he’s wearing chains for his own good.

“Wish you’d stop being so good to me, Cap’n,” the coy prisoner (Paul Newman) replied.

A kinder, gentler business model. Its been the fervent objective of many a business and customers for some time. It’s a simple notion that business owners and operators intrinsically get: Do no harm to the market in which you conduct business.

It’s when we get into the weeds of communicating, or defining, just what that harm is and how it lays against the drivers of business that things sometimes go sideways.

Fear not. The publication you are holding is the great communicator. Herein we point out those things that are important, gently lifting the needed knowledge from the noise and distraction of the world’s chaos. There is a lot of dust out there.

I believe in simple. Distilling concepts down to the news you can use. It’s my own personal exercise in automation.

ESG—a category that itself has many names—is catching the attention of just about everyone. Whether you recognize it by environmental, social, governance (ESG), responsible investing (RI), sustainability, or the category formerly known as green, recent developments in the space stand to challenge businesses just coming out of last year’s pandemic storm.

ESG is fraught with challenges. The big three hurdles are communication, metrics and pay-off model.

One challenge is communicating the value of a given practice, in a clear and understandable way—like the nutrition label on your food.

We think we want it. We just don’t want the calories or trans fats.

Recently, policy shifts have culminated in a series of climate change, racial equity and social justice executive orders. The SEC is working on rules requiring ESG disclosures for publicly-held companies. The Labor Department now allows ESG considerations in retirement plan investments. Thirty-seven states and D.C. now permit for-profit public benefit or social purpose corporations that promote ESG values and other social benefits, and the list goes on. As with most things, desire is far ahead of the roadmap. The definitions of ESG, like its various naming conventions, are scattered, disparate and change by the day.

Organization will eventually follow, but how does a company operate in advance of clarity? Why now: Recent movement by large players in the apartment space, the financial success of energy management, and efficiencies from growing automation are drawing interest to green like never before. These compelling points of fiscal light behind green initiatives are effectively widening the market. Still, we must tackle the job of definitions and business expectations, and get to those values that build business.

That is, identify the most efficient business models behind the field of green dreams.

Count on us to sift through the noise and deliver to you the actionable data. It’s our known superpower.


Mary Nitschke, Publisher, Journal

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