Can conscious capitalism heal the planet?

Here at Earthworm, we have seen over the years the failure of capitalism under current economic thinking.

When business is tethered by the blinkered metrics of growth and profit, management is bound to veer off to the right. Couple that with the probability that power corrupts and it’s pretty easy to see why our global resources have been stripped. The rich may have trillions but what use those digits on your bank balance in a climate apocalypse?

Conscious capitalism is not really complicated, or at least we choose not to make it too complicated. Our simple approach is to change the measure of our success. As an impact investor, every investment we make works for the environment just as much as achieving a return for our investors. Both can exist happily alongside each other and we’ve proved it. The appetite for investors – both institutional and private – to switch to green initiatives is growing at a pace. Thanks to Extinction Rebellion, we can expect that flow to surge. What they have achieved in a couple of weeks is nothing short of amazing; the media is now actually (finally) reporting on climate destruction. We bow down to you all.

They even managed to knock Brexit off the top slot – oh blissful respite. Given politicians’ feckless handling of that monumentally important matter, hopes for decisive legislation on climate are, understandably, right up there with Boris getting a decent haircut. Question: Are politicians powerless or just useless? Answers on a postcard…

Without that government policy on regulation and restructuring to rein in exploitative corporate power, it is also understandable to feel pretty helpless and hopeless. The media, for all their reporting on the climate emergency, still seem to place the burden of responsibility back on us, the consumers. We can and do recycle, and buy environmentally-friendly goods where possible. But there’s still that gnawing sensation of doubt. Are we really making a difference?

There is hope. We must start changing society – not just our consumer habits, but our business habits. And it must become the new norm very soon. The paths keep leading back to private enterprise – to us and companies like us who consider circularity throughout every part of the business, even if at a small scale. All the companies we invest in share our outlook on ethical business and the environment. They join our community to help each other by sharing knowledge and best practice, creating a circular economy wherever possible.

It’s a win-win approach; we come together not only to do ‘good’ business, but our cumulative strength reduces risk and bolsters those returns for our investors. So, if you’re a cleantech company with a great idea, come and talk to us. Our investee companies are a wide mix in power, waste, food and the built environment. We are as happy backing composting facilities as AI and blockchain. We are a natural fit for scale-up businesses, helping them achieve their potential and to become the backbone of the new, fit-for-purpose circular economy – one with conscience.

By investing in environmental initiatives, through green bonds for example, you can make a much bigger difference than acting alone. We see it as a multiplier effect. By joining with us (or indeed any genuine green fund) you can realise a far greater impact. Your £100 or £1,000 combines with many others to become a powerful business accelerator.

And when we say £100 or £1,000, we mean it too. Impact investing is not just for the 1%. We can all get involved without needing to risk too much of our hard-earned cash. We make sure that every investor, whatever the size of their investment, has the same protection. For example, with our Environmental Bonds, your money is secured on an equal-first basis over the assets being developed. Please be aware though, your capital is at risk. As with all investment, we recommend talking options through with your independent financial adviser. If Bonds are not for you, you can still take a stand and challenge your bank on where your savings and ISAs are invested. Simply diverting from traditional investment to green would have a huge impact.

Yes, your capital is at risk. But so is the planet. So, we all are.

Kate

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