Socially Responsible Investment Involvement May Help Lessen Environment Impact of Relaxed California Environmental Restrictions
Involvement in a genuine socially responsible investment today is crucial more than ever as California mulls over relaxing its 40-year old landmark environment laws. The state’s said law is known to be one of the strictest in the U.S. and the world.
According to a New York Times article by Adam Nagourney, businesses in California put down their competitors by threatening them with environmental lawsuits. Labor unions also often resort to “greenmail,” which basically involves threatening businesses to “press for repeated environmental review on pending projects as a way of winning favorable contract provisions.”
Bob Huff, the Senate Republican leader believes that it’s being misused and that it’s hurting business growth in the Golden State. He adds, “The original purpose, which was protecting the environment or at least looking at the impacts and mitigating them, has been treated pretty roughshod.”
Some green advocates are open to changes. Ann Notthoff, California advocacy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council believes that it could bring “some meaningful reform” if the development community does not espouse an overreaching “gut it or nothing” mindset on the issue. Since the environmental movement has swept across the state in the late 1960s, businesses and conservationists had been battling over the extent of the state’s involvement in such matters.
The New York Times article noted the significance of the struggle as California has “vast tracts of mountain, forests, and stunning seashore.” The state is also home to Nine of the 59 national parks. Leaders of big industries has finally caught on social investment business awareness.
According to Huffington Post’s Mitchell Kutney, this is due to the continuous expansion of the investment culture. At present, more and more investors are beginning to focus on what Kutney calls as the triple bottom line: social, environment, and profit. He also believes that philanthropy will continue to be an essential catalyst in unlocking the potential of impact investing.
From events like the G8 Social Investment Forum, the advent of social and environmental impact metrics and the success of ethical investment consultancies such as the Britain-based Emerald Knight Consultants, a company that focuses on green projects, it is evident that while profit is still a principal motivator when it comes to investments, success also means giving back to society and the environment.
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