Companies Hold Trillions in Subprime Carbon Assets: Al Gore
In 2007, banks and other asset owners held mispriced subprime mortgages on their books. Today, according to Al Gore, companies are holding "trillions of dollars in subprime carbon assets."
By Imogen Rose-Smith
TO THEIR DISMAY, Al Gore and David Blood have watched some institutional investors, money managers, corporations and analysts show dwindling interest in sustainability. The former vice president of the U.S. and the ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management want to reenergize the debate while theres still time.
Heading into 2007, Gore recalls, asset owners and other capital markets participants were increasingly coming around to the idea that long-term investors should care about ESG matters those related to the environment, social responsibility and corporate governance. But the stress and uncertainty of the worldwide economic collapse left many investors and corporations fixated on immediate concerns. We came to believe that in the aftermath of the global crisis, momentum had slowed, Gore tells Institutional Investor.
Ironically, what Gore and Blood call unhealthy capitalism, including short-term behavior by investors and company management, and misalignment of interests between companies and owners, helped trigger the crisis. Because a sustainable approach to capital markets and investing seeks to avoid such calamities, the case for it has never been stronger.
Last month, as part of an effort to bring attention back to the issue, Gore and Blood published a white paper called Sustainable Capitalism through the foundation established by their firm, Generation Investment Management. The pair founded London-based Generation in 2004 to practice what they preach. Their fundamentally focused shop aims to prove that sustainable investing not only works but can be a superior way of managing money.
In its paper the Generation Foundation defines sustainable capitalism....