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The massive corporate pull-out from Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine is raising important questions about the nuance of ESG. Once upon a time, doing business in post-Soviet Russia was considered a social good in most cases.

Now, shareholders are urging corporations to flee and investors are looking elsewhere and those with ties to oil and gas in Russia are finding their ESG credentials questioned. As Harvard professor Robert Eccles recently put it, “Anything being labeled as green or ESG or sustainable based on industry exclusions is a values-based definition. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, as long as it’s clear what’s in and what’s out. Values are personal. They are also malleable as circumstances change.” 

 

How can investors keep up with what can seem like a moving ESG target? In our ongoing exploration of the values-based investing journey, the best answer we’ve seen is transparency. The more we know about how a company does business, and how that business affects people and the planet, the clearer our choices become.

 
 
 
 
FEARLESS FEATURE
 
 
 
 

Swedish executive Caroline Farbenger, who was recently named a partner and chair at investment firm Wellfleet, brings unique insights on workplace gender dynamics to her new role: she was already a CEO when she came out as transgender in 2018. “[Before I transitioned], diversity was more of a statistic for me,” she explained in a recent interview. “But now, having people who are diverse around me is much more meaningful. It empowers those affected, and as a business, we become much more effective if we learn to utilize the full potential of people who are different in certain ways.”

 
 
 
 
IMPACT INVESTING
 
 
 
 

Baby Bonds

Could a government-backed trust fund for each child help close the racial wealth gap? Dr. Darrick Hamilton, the economist who created the concept, thinks it can make rags-to-riches stories like his the rule rather than the exception.
 
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Women on Boards

The European Union is the latest governing body to push for better gender diversity on corporate boards. If pending legislation becomes law, firms listed on EU stock exchanges would have until 2027 to appoint women to at least 40% of non-executive director roles or 33% of all board jobs.
 
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INCLUSIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP
 
 
 
 

Credit for Black-Led Businesses

The Expanding Black Business Credit Network, made up of community development financial institutions (CDFIs), raised a $29 million Black Vision Fund to get more capital to Black-led small businesses.
 
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Building Ethical Startups

Could an “ethical advisory board” help early-stage tech companies avoid ESG pitfalls? One startup is testing out this philosophy.
 
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BEFORE YOU GO
 
 
 
 

Nothing But Net (Zero)

Seattle's new Climate Pledge Arena, the first professional sports venue with a net-zero carbon certification, was just named to Fast Company’s annual list of the most innovative companies.
 
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The Business of “Petfluencers”
From Grumpy Cat to Tika the Iggy, here’s how pet owners are monetizing their adorable animals — and how pet tech founders are keeping up.
 
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