Friday, March 09, 2007

Aligned investing by any other name

The March Issue of the Harvard Business Review has an article on "Competitive Advantage on a Warming Planet." It makes the case for why businesses - regardless of industry - need to be able to "...beat competitors in two areas: reducing exposure to climate-related risks and finding business opportunities within those risks." It features side-bars on "potential revenue drivers" and "cost drivers" from climate change. It has the requisite business magazine 2x2 chart for "plotting your climate competitiveness."

It is an argument to management that is precisely in line with this one:

"There are sets of qualitative management measures that look at how a company will succeed given the limits of our environmental resources – what economists euphemistically call a “carbon constrained economy” and what the rest of us ... call global warming. These measures have actually served as “searchlights” in finding companies that are leading the way on alternative fuels, clean technology, and sustainable business practices. The result – investors who use these screens have invested in Toyota, which has returned 10:1 on the dollar over the last decade, while Ford has remained flat, and GM is not doing so well. The result – a better bottom-line for the companies, a better return for investors."
That paragraph is from my comments on a panel about social investing. Qualitative management screens help investors find companies that manage their resources in line with economic and environmental realities. Warren Buffett, a better source of investment advice than I am, has said, "I never made a good investment with bad management." According to HBR, managing companies to be "climate competitive" is critical to corporate success going forward. As any ten year old could tell you, "like, duh."

No comments: