Next week on February 8, 2018, The Investment Integration Project (TIIP) and Morningstar will co-host an event that explores the ways in which investors can go beyond daily portfolio management activities like ESG integration and impact measurement and reporting and seek to influence the broader environmental, societal, and financial systems within which they operate.
Carole Laible, CEO of Domini Impact Investments will be speaking about our company’s pioneering work on systems-level issues and stability. Domini is focused on the influence investors can have on systems beyond their portfolio through our Environmental Societal Financial Systems Initiative, working to evaluate and increase Domini’s systems-level impact. The publication of a report on this work in slated for the first quarter of 2018.
The event will take place at Morningstar's headquarters at 22 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602, and will begin at 8:30am (registration opens at 8:00am) and will conclude by noon that day. The event will serve to launch their new joint report on the Roadmap to Measuring the Effectiveness of System-Level Investing Approaches, written by William Burckart, Steve Lydenberg, and Jessica Ziegler of TIIP.
In addition to remarks by Carole Laible, confirmed speakers include Craig Pfeiffer, the President & CEO of Money Management Institute, Jon Hale, the Head of Sustainability Research at Morningstar and Anna Snider, the Head of Due Diligence, Global Wealth and Investment Management CIO Office at Bank of America, among others.
As this year’s catastrophic hurricane season has demonstrated, climate change is affecting where and how humans live. Warmer oceans and air are causing more destructive hurricanes like Hurricane Irma, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Across the US, homes and communities are facing climate threats, from intensified and prolonged wildfires in California to dramatic coastline erosion in New Jersey.
In developing countries, where populations may rely directly on their surroundings, the impact of climate change is particularly direct and dire. Natural disasters can force whole populations to move. We can already see communities pushed out due to more gradual changes, like drought or excessive heat, lack of resources or opportunities and the human conflicts that these pressures cause. The humanitarian crises in Syria and Yemen were exacerbated by drought and an unprecedented tropical cyclone, respectively.
The scale of climate change-induced migration will likely be huge, yet defining who qualifies as a climate migrant and for their movement has barely begun. To help improve the climate migration dialogue Domini hosted an event during NYC Climate Week 2017 that brought together art, science, and our community.
An exhibition of 22 works by the photojournalist and filmmaker Ed Kashi offered glimpses into the human effects and causes of climate change the world over. A member of VII Photo Agency, Kashi is recognized for his complex imagery and compelling rendering of the human condition.
The keynote talk was given by Alex de Sherbinin, associate director for science applications at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), within the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Dr. de Sherbinin is a geographer with a focus on climate change vulnerability mapping and climate change-induced migration. His full remarks and slides can be found below. The night was an exciting opportunity for our community to connect and consider this complicated problem and the people it affects.
Read more about climate migration: http://climatemigration.org.uk/
Watch the full remarks here:
As a nation of immigrants, we sure spend a lot of time worrying about whether immigrants make good Americans. As the daughter of an immigrant, I find myself quite personally fascinated by the discussion. My father didn’t come to America for opportunity; he came because he had married an American. He also came because he had a vision of “the land of freedom” and wanted to be a part of it. America had just liberated his country from the Fascists, something he had fought for his entire young life, since he had the misfortune of being the son of a prominent Socialist.
My parents met in an odd sort of way. After World War II, the American government sent thousands of volunteers to rebuild Europe. My mother was one. There she met Italian volunteers who were trying to save street orphans by attempting to locate relatives who might take them in.
One of the Italian volunteers spoke English, and eventually my mother brought him to America as her husband. Italians and Italian Americans were not much liked at the time. There were nasty words used to describe us, and my father could not seem to get a job except from his own kinsmen. He tried importing pasta from Italy, but although it was cheaper than American pasta, Americans found it too chewy for their taste. Yet during my own lifetime, I have seen the visceral disgust that so many New Englanders felt toward Italian Americans completely fall away. And I have seen them come to love Italian-made pasta.
What are the elements that cause the distrust of an ethnic group to emerge and then fade? Can it still happen? The current group that is most central to the debate is the Hispanic population. They represent the big new constituency. Are Hispanics too overwhelmingly different to fit in America? They come for freedom. Freedom from random tyranny and poverty will allow them to prosper and raise families. We understand that, but we also want them to be like us.
The Immigration Restriction League was founded in 1894 by people who opposed the influx of “undesirable immigrants” who were coming from southern and eastern Europe. My mother’s grandfather, a very fine man in most ways, was one of them. He felt that the new types of immigrants were threatening the American way of life and especially the high wage scale that we Americans enjoyed. He wrote articles about it and was published widely.
His last point, wages, is a tough one. Arguably, if we completely ran out of workers, it seems that we’d be forced, as a nation, to do a better job of bringing those who are currently shut out into the mainstream. I’m not so sure. It is true that during the last few years of President Clinton’s administration, unemployment was so low (4.1 percent in 1999) that the papers ran stories of new jobs for the mentally disabled or recently incarcerated. But if you look at the segregated figures, each worker demographic group (Hispanic, black, elderly, teen) improved, but the harder-hit remained the harderhit. We did not see the gap between college-educated males and teenagers narrow, for instance. So worker scarcity does not seem to lead to a fairer distribution of jobs. Meanwhile, most studies indicate that the new immigrant taxpayers support our social security systems, and their purchases fuel our economic growth.
So really, nothing is new in the debate over immigration. We still fear otherness, we still fear a new language, and we still fear job or wage loss. This time is not different. The reasons for opposing a path to citizenship have not changed. The actual movement from alien cluster to mainstream citizen has not changed. The acceptance—even celebration—of the ethnicity of our own family’s past continues to be appreciated, not abhorred, by our neighbors, but only after a generation or two.
In the end, for me it comes down to the gut. My father was a good man. In spite of a certain amount of prejudice, he made a living, became admired by friends and neighbors, built a modest business (cooking eggplants), and left a mark on the world. His simple factory created jobs and taxpayers; his values were key to shaping mine. His life would have been good, very good, if he had stayed in Italy, but America was a shining beacon of something more than a good life: freedom. That is what he craved, and what he found. Should we now deny this to others? I think not.