by Alan Moore on 14th September 2018
Yesterday I was in Zurich to interview the President of the ethical Asset Management Co. responsABility. We were in the pump room of an old brewery. Somewhat fitting to discuss capital flows of money, and what is required in creating the necessary conditions of a restorative economy – for all. in today’s world.
The chairs were interesting as each one, and there were a few, has been donated by a leader who has made an important decision sitting in that chair. Nice.
I asked Reto about the responsABility philosophy that shapes how it operates in the world.
Sometimes people say to me that beauty is for the small things only. That it can’t scale, but I look up at the night sky and I only see a vast and infinite array of beauty twinkling back at me. Beauty is about life, a life well lived, it’s about creating the necessary conditions to create more life that is worthwhile, and enduringly so. It’s also about generosity, and compassion, without these things we are less as individuals and as the name we go by homo sapiens.
Beauty, as the architect Alison Brooks said to me, is part of our humanity; there is no one who doesn’t want to live a beautiful life, have beautiful relationships or beautiful experiences. Or, as the Nobel prize winning scientist Frank Wilczek said, “Having tasted beauty at the heart of the world, we hunger for more.”
Today we face many challenges as to how we live, and prosper. We need to bring greater purpose, and a more restorative economic framework to enable people to thrive. Everywhere. To do that we need money, and we need investors to make this reality. But not all investors are the same, many see the maximum financial return at any cost, as the only way to do business. That is the cost to people’s health and wellbeing, the destruction of the natural environment.
Today some of us seem to have lost sight of the civilising values that make life worthwhile, the value of community, the value of locality, the value of of compassion, and collective generosity. On and on it goes until, the only value left is money.
So on my quest in which I ask; what does it mean to be a Beautiful Business? I wanted to talk to people that are engaged with scale, placing financial capital in places that can really make a differences to the lves of millions of people. I am curious to know is there a way to see the world and invest for outcomes which are not exploitative of either people or the planet we currently exist on? Can we invest in the stuff that nourishes and sustains us like energy, and food, and done in such a way they are redistributive, restorative. Enabling people to simply live better lives? Whichever way you want to cut the cake.
That is why my quest has taken me to Reto Schnarwiler, President of responsABility Investments. Who as they say do things a little differently.
In fact I wondered whether responsAbility is the Luke Skywalker of investing?
I also wanted to know. How beauty shapes our decision processes? How does a beautiful business yield high financial returns and still be ethical? And How does beauty scale?
We talked time based investing, values based investing, built upon a set of values that changes the decisions a company makes.
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