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The Rio + 10 interviews

John Bradin
Socially responsible investment (SRI)

 

How did the socially responsible investment (SRI) industry begin?

What would you like to talk about now?

How significant is the pool of money that's screened according to SRI principles in the USA, and is there a significant untapped potential for this to grow?

What about the way the World Bank works very closely with multinationals to create structural adjustment policies, and then people do a currency raid on a country like South Korea, causing massive bankruptcies which enables the multinationals to come in and buy up their companies at bargain basement prices?

Can regulatory frameworks put an end to that kind of practice? Do you think this is the desirable way of dealing with it?

Is the investing public powerful enough to get that kind of legislation passed?

Do you think the proposed Framework Convention on Corporate Accountability, which has been made by the NGOs here in Johannesburg, is a good idea?

Let's talk about security and military corporations. How important are weapons manufacturers to the US economy? Are US military planners and strategists beginning to redefine the concept of security, to include environmental and social problems overseas that lead to conflict and terrorism?

Hazel Henderson has been talking to me about the fact that most developing countries hold their foreign reserves in dollars or in other currencies like that. She's proposing to them that they, for starters, shift to the Euro, and that would create some changes in terms of American power.

Then there are other proposals like those made by Richard Douthwaite and FEASTA- the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability (www.feasta.org) in Ireland. He says that holding the foreign currency reserves in dollars is in effect a massive loan being given to the USA and to the other countries in whose currencies the foreign reserves are held in.

Richard Douthwaite also points out that in order to overcome the problem of the addiction to growth that's built-in to the current system - because the money supply is created through debt issued by the banks - there's a need to revert to the system where money is actually created by governments. FEASTA has interesting proposals in this regard for a two- or three-tier system with a global currency created by a new UN agency that would be used for foreign currency reserves, and then regional and national currencies issued by inter-governmental networks and national governments.

And what is the potential for the world's religious communities to become a really active force for sustainability in all its manifold expressions?

And a final question: do you know of any local authorities or governments starting to invest their money in ethcially-screened portfolios?


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