From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]

http://www.altrushare.com/
http://www.goodcap.net/
http://www.investorscircle.net/
http://www.underdogventures.com/
http://www.svn.org/

DECADES, NOT QUARTERS
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/business/yourmoney/06fourth.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all

user+pass=re_print

Businesses Try to Make Money and Save the World
By STEPHANIE STROM  / May 6, 2007

ALTRUSHARE SECURITIES is a brokerage firm, engaged in the sort of
things you might expect of a Wall Street outfit, like buying and
selling stock, and providing research on companies. Unlike its peers,
however, the firm is majority-owned by two charities that each control
about one-third of it.

So is it a for-profit business? Or a nonprofit fund-raising machine?

In fact, like hundreds of new businesses starting up around the
country, it is both. Altrushare is an example of the emerging
convergence of for-profit money-making and nonprofit mission.

The practice is even creeping into corporate bluebloods like General
Electric, whose $12 billion Ecomagination business promotes its
products’ minimal environmental impact as well as their positive
impact on the bottom line.

“We’re a for-profit institutional brokerage, and we have to compete on
execution and commissions and do so with the same technology and
talent you would expect from a top-tier firm,” said Peter Drasher, a
founder of Altrushare, which is based in Bridgeport, Conn. “What makes
us different is our nonprofit ownership and our mission, which is to
support struggling communities with our profits.”

The nonprofit sector is also part of the movement. Motivated by
growing competition to attract donor dollars, charities are going
beyond longstanding practices. Some are adopting innovative investment
strategies or owning other ventures outright.

“I think what people are increasingly looking for, whether in the for-
profit or nonprofit sector, is how you harness the vitality and
promise of capitalism in a way that’s more fair to everyone,” said
Juliana Eades, the president of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund,
a nonprofit mortgage lender that has begun dabbling in other types of
financing.

The result is a small but budding practice – what some label the
fourth sector – composed of organizations driven by both social
purpose and financial promise that fall somewhere between traditional
companies and charities. The term “fourth sector” derives from the
fact that participants are creating hybrid organizations distinct from
those operating in the government, business and nonprofit sectors. But
because the types of participants vary widely and much of the activity
is nascent, no single name for what is occurring has gained broad
use.

“There’s a big movement out there that is not yet recognized as a
movement,” said R. Todd Johnson, a lawyer in San Francisco who is
working to create an online wiki to engage in the give and take of
information for what he calls “for-benefit corporations,” another name
for fourth-sector activities.

Consumers, employees, managers and – perhaps most important –
investors are driving the phenomenon.

“Young M.B.A. students are not satisfied with going to work for a
normal corporation because they are passionate to do good in the world
and do it in business,” Mr. Johnson said. “People of faith want
exactly the same thing, and there is a whole generation of people
who’ve become extraordinarily wealthy as a result of the technological
revolution and are now asking themselves if they can create change in
the world.”

Those desires are reflected in the growth of so-called sustainable
enterprise programs at the nation’s most prestigious business schools,
in the corporate marketing campaigns that emphasize social benefits
instead of mere sex appeal, and a blossoming of new investment
vehicles like Good Capital, Investors’ Circle, Underdog Ventures and
the Social Venture Network.

STILL, whatever participants call it, the fourth sector faces
challenges. Current legal and tax structures draw strict lines between
for-profits and nonprofits, and fiduciary obligations prevent asset
managers from making investments with any aim other than maximizing
profit. The social benefits that fourth-sector firms seek to unlock
are not easily quantified and often take decades, not quarters, to
attain.

“You run into fundamental problems in trying to grow good because
neither for-profit nor nonprofit is set up to do what new
entrepreneurs and others are trying to do – namely, harness the power
of private enterprise to create social benefit,” said Jay Coen
Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab, a start-up organization based in
Philadelphia that will develop what he calls “B corporations,” which
engage in fourth-sector pursuits.

Even so, some mainstream companies say it makes sense to give the
emerging fourth sector serious consideration. Goldman Sachs, the Wall
Street investment bank, has a four-member research team that assesses
the environmental, social and management performance of companies in
the same way that more traditional colleagues analyze financial
performance.

Goldman’s efforts grew out of a report it produced in 2003 for the
United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative. It was asked to
come up with ways to measure corporate response to issues ranging from
gas emissions to employee health and safety practices and to determine
how they related to the companies’ financial performance.

To the firm’s surprise, investors began asking for the report, which
it had regarded as a one-time project, and requesting more of them. So
far, Goldman has produced similar reports on the media, mining, steel
and food and beverage industries. Each week, it sends out an e-mail
message on sustainable investing to about 400 contacts at 80
institutions worldwide.

“Integrating factors such as environmental impact and corporate
governance is an increasingly critical part of investment research,”
said Marc Fox, a research analyst at Goldman. “What began as a niche
market of socially responsible investors has expanded to mainstream
institutions such as pension funds and insurance companies who seek
long-term investment performance.”

In 1993, Mr. Coen Gilbert was a founder of And 1, a $200-million
footwear company based in Paoli, Pa., committed to enriching its
employees’ work lives while using its profits to support youth
development and educational programs.

Long before the Internet era, And 1 provided a gym, yoga classes and
other perks to its employees. It also required suppliers to avoid
engaging in sweatshop labor practices and hired an independent auditor
to monitor compliance. It contributed 5 percent of its profits to
charity, and gave money “even when there weren’t any profits,” Mr.
Coen Gilbert said.

And 1 was privately held and thus faced none of the pressure to
produce quarterly returns that confront public companies, yet it
struggled to maintain socially minded programs as it grew. Another
privately held company bought And 1 in 2005 and ended the employee
wellness programs and charitable activities.

“Under our corporate documents, we had a single fiduciary
responsibility, to maximize return for shareholders, and that’s how we
made the decision to sell the company,” Mr. Coen Gilbert says.

Legions of companies that have sought to occupy the middle ground
between nonprofit and for-profit have bowed to pressure to sell to
conglomerates, including Ben & Jerry’s (sold to Unilever) and the Body
Shop (now owned by L’Oréal). Others, most notably Patagonia, have
simply refused to sell or to go public.

Similar companies today are evolving in a different environment.
Investors, customers and consumers are developing a more holistic
approach and focusing on the longer term, attitudes that support
changes in the way business is done.

Companies themselves are beginning to understand that what appears to
be an expense today may in fact produce lucrative long-term benefits,
either by reducing costs or resulting in products and services that
can be sold. And investors are increasingly rewarding companies for
such actions.

“There are many motivations for this,” said Abby Joseph Cohen, Goldman
Sachs’s influential chief United States portfolio strategist.
“Companies are taking a broader view that allows them to see that a
cost today may reduce future liabilities, and the reduction of those
future liabilities in turn has a positive impact on their cost of
capital.”

Among major investors, perceptions of profit and value are changing,
too. For instance, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System,
the $162 billion pension fund, has taken a hard look at insurance
companies. It decided that companies in the industry were not paying
enough attention to climate change and thus were a riskier investment
than in the past, according to Jack Ehnes, the chief executive of the
fund.

“In the past, we’ve created this dichotomy between financial and
social, and investors have been ridiculed for placing too much
emphasis on social factors,” Mr. Ehnes said. “Maybe that bright line
test is really phony and in fact there has to be a commingling of
these factors in investment analysis. If you’re really going to be
thinking long term about a company’s profitability, you’ll need a
better tool kit for your analysis.”

The pension fund holds stakes in wind farms, solar panel manufacturers
and developers of low-income housing in its alternative-investments
portfolio, and it has assigned a team to assess the impact of factors
like environmental stewardship on risk and financial performance
across its portfolio.

Funds like the teachers’ pension fund are big clients of Wall Street
firms, as are many of the wealthy individuals who are looking for
opportunities in the fourth sector. By and large, however, investors
like those are not looking to invest in companies like the Farmers
Diner in Quechee, Vt. – which tend to be extremely risky, no matter
how well intentioned they may be.

“Companies like us have no conventional road map to follow in building
our businesses and thus are greeted with a lot of skepticism,” said
Tod Murphy, who founded the diner nine years ago.

Farmers Diner is aiming to build a new food sourcing and distribution
model. About 65 percent of its budget for food ingredients is spent
within 70 miles of the restaurant, and it tries to educate local
farmers about new business practices. The goal is to create a network
of four restaurants served by a central kitchen that draws most of its
ingredients from the local market.

Making the model work has been difficult, though. The diner’s original
location, in Barre, Vt., was too small to generate the revenue needed
to cover expenses. Banks would not back the venture, and Mr. Murphy’s
angel investor, a money manager named Cathy Berry, eventually was
tapped out.

The diner closed for a year, reopening in a much larger space in
Quechee. Mr. Murphy says that it is on track to have more than $1
million in revenue this year, and that another person has promised to
make an investment if the diner can demonstrate consistent
profitability.

For her part, Ms. Berry remains enthusiastic about enterprises like
the diner; she is on the board of Investors’ Circle, one of many
organizations working to link investors to hybrid companies.

“What we are constantly coming up against is our tax laws and our
culture,” Ms. Berry said. “The whole fabric of society wants us to
make money on one side and do good with it on the other. What we’re
saying is: What if we did both things at once?”

She and others argue that current laws, tax structures and definitions
of fiduciary responsibility encourage companies to shift costs onto
society. “We have created cheap food by investing in huge agricultural
conglomerates – but is it really cheap?” she asks. “No. Look at the
pesticides those businesses use and then look at the cleanup costs to
society. Look at the health costs.”

Ms. Berry, Mr. Murphy and others like them want tax breaks to offer
incentives that compensate businesses for absorbing the social costs
of their activities.

“We want social responsibility to be completely embedded in everything
we do, not something that occurs as a sort of sideline,” said Heerad
Sabeti, co-founder of TransForms, a company started in 2005 in
Raleigh, N.C., that makes removable wall decorations. “It has to be an
integral part of our business.”

Mr. Sabeti says he is tired of advisers who tell him to run TransForms
as a purely commercial venture and to simply direct a portion of its
profits after the fact to a foundation for distribution to good
causes. “What good does that do if I’m using plastic for my packaging
and helping to contribute to job losses by manufacturing in China?” he
asks.

Mr. Sabeti and his wife, Maja Palej, the chief executive, chose to
manufacture their products in the United States rather than in China,
despite the higher labor costs, to support jobs here. They also hired
a nonprofit group that offers training, education and employment to
disabled people to handle packaging.

TransForms, with revenues of almost $2 million, has financially
succeeded, its owners say, in part because it landed a steady client:
Bed Bath & Beyond, the housewares company. Thanks to that relationship
and new ones with QVC and Target Online, TransForms has not needed
outside investors. But Mr. Sabeti knows that he needs such backing to
gain credibility, and he is hoping to attract one or two angel
investors to supply $1 million or more in capital.

HE worries, however, that bringing in investors will force him to
compromise his commitment to his principles. “I don’t know that as a
for-benefit company, you’re going to spin off the kind of returns
venture capital demands, or that you’d want to,” he said.

That’s the reason fourth-sector financiers are so important to the
growing movement; they’re willing to invest patient capital that
supports businesses that produce both profit and social benefits. For
instance, the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, a 23-year-old
nonprofit organization that was one of the first to develop resident-
owned mobile home parks, has branched out into a form of venture
capital.

In many ways, the loan fund operates under even greater fiduciary
constraints than mainstream investment managers. Nonprofits are risk-
averse, given their role as stewards of charitable donations, and
their tax-exempt status limits what they can do in operating a
business.

So, in 2002, when the loan fund wanted to keep alive Bortech, a tiny
machine-tools company in Keene, N.H., to preserve jobs, it used an
investment structure that combined aspects of equity without giving
the fund outright ownership of Bortech. When a founder wanted to sell
the company, the loan fund provided a local buyer with a $500,000, 10-
year loan at 9 percent interest; the buyer agreed that the fund would
also be paid a percentage of Bortech’s revenues for the next five
years.

“Our goal in making this investment was to keep the company from
leaving the region, and if we structured the deal to give us a piece
of the equity, all we would really be doing was delaying the
inevitable because it would have to be sold if we were to realize that
value,” says John Hamilton, who oversees the loan fund’s venture
financing.

To foster socially minded business practices, the fund also gave the
company’s new owner, Leo White, revenue-sharing rebates for reducing
Bortech’s environmental impact or for broadly engaging employees in
its business.

Today, the loan fund’s investment has been replaced by bank financing,
Mr. White’s business has thrived, and Bortech now has 14 employees,
twice the number it had when the loan fund first jumped in. The loan
fund itself is tapping a source of capital that many fourth-sector
participants would like to see become more available to hybrid
businesses – so-called program-related investment.

Most common program-related investments, or P.R.I.’s, are low-interest
loans that foundations provide to nonprofits. The Ford Foundation,
which helped pioneer the concept in the late 1960s, has some $170
million in assets sunk into program-related investments in 99
nonprofit groups, including the loan fund.

Ford’s average loan is $2 million, far larger than its average grant,
and such investments help nonprofits establish a credit and repayment
history that can help them get bank financing in the future.

Investors and others are pushing to expand the use of such loans,
perhaps through changes to the tax code that would make them available
to businesses as well as nonprofits. Foundations, however, would
likely be wary of extending the reach of P.R.I.’s, because they can be
risky. For instance, many of the roughly 15 percent of P.R.I.’s that
the Ford Foundation has written off went to for-profit businesses run
by nonprofits rather than for the operation of the nonprofits, the
foundation says.

DESPITE the potential pitfalls, business relationships between for-
profit and nonprofit players are increasing. Mr. Drasher, Altrushare’s
founder, has even commissioned a study of the phenomenon because he
was surprised by how many nonprofits have a piece of for-profit
businesses.

During a 20-year career as a trader on Wall Street, he grew to
appreciate the power that capital markets had to foster and build
emerging markets around the world. “I really did see what this
industry has done for regional emerging markets, which have become a
legitimate and desirable asset class, and I started asking myself,
‘Why aren’t we doing the same thing for our own emerging markets, our
underserved communities?’ ” Mr. Drasher said.

Many pension funds invest in low-income housing development and other
types of real estate in poor neighborhoods, “but communities are about
more than real estate,” he said. “You’re not going to change people’s
lives by giving them low-income housing alone,” he added. “They need
job opportunities and education.”

Altrushare has created a mentoring and jobs program with the New York
Institute of Finance for college students. The goal is to put each
student in the program into a paid internship at a Wall Street firm.

Could Altrushare or any other budding hybrid become another G.E.?
Perhaps the better question is whether G.E. and other corporate titans
could themselves become hybrids.

Shortly after Jeffrey R. Immelt took the helm at G.E., he traveled
around the world talking to customers, who asked for energy-efficient
technologies, says Peter O’Toole, a G.E. spokesman.

Mr. Immelt committed $1 billion toward research and development that
would reduce the environmental impact of its products – leading to the
unveiling in 2005 of Ecomagination, a unit that sells products like
the GE90-115B aircraft engine.

“Each year, a fleet of 16 twin-engine aircraft powered by GE90-115B
engines will emit 141,000 fewer tons of greenhouse gas emissions than
if it used the competing airframe requiring four engines,” the
division’s Web site says. “That equals the carbon dioxide absorbed by
35,000 acres of forest, an area twice the size of Manhattan.”
Ecomagination products make up more than 7 percent of G.E.’s sales and
are expected to produce $20 billion by 2010.

But G.E. also promotes the engine’s ability to help the customer’s
bottom line by increasing fuel efficiency. “This wasn’t something we
did to make ourselves feel good,” Mr. O’Toole says. “It has a real
business rationale.”

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
http://www.ashoka.org/
http://www.changemakers.net/
http://www.socialedge.org/
http://www.change.org/

GOLDMAN SACHS
http://www2.goldmansachs.com/insight/research/reports/docs/Strategy-091906-NM-TG2.pdf

http://www.socialfunds.com/news/article.cgi/article1826.html
Spreading SRI: Goldman Sachs Adds Its Own Twist in Social and Environmental Assessment

by William Baue

As socially responsible investment strategies migrate into the
mainstream, mainstream analysts apply social and environmental
considerations in innovative ways.

SocialFunds.com — Socially responsible investing (SRI) is showing
signs of being memetic–in other words, spreading like a cultural
virus. Specifically, traditional “mainstream” investors are starting
to integrate social and environmental considerations into fundamental
analysis of companies. Take, for example, Goldman Sachs (ticker: GS),
self-described as “one of the oldest and largest investment banking
firms,” which recently issued a report to its clients entitled Global
Energy: Sustainable Investing in the Energy Sector. Judging from this
report, SRI strategies seem to be catching.

GS inaugurated its own assessment of issues typically associated with
SRI with its February 2004 launch of the Goldman Sachs Energy
Environment and Social (GSEES) Index, assessing 30 social and
environmental criteria in the global energy sector. It subsequently
expanded coverage with its Environment, Social and Governance (ESG)
Index, increasing the number of criteria to 42 while adding a
corporate governance category.

“We believe that this template will be applicable across most
industries because it captures the full spectrum of a company’s
interaction with the four key pillars: the economy; the industry in
which it operates; society, from employees to partners, consumers, and
counterparties; and the environment, in terms of resources consumed,
emitted, and produced,” state GS Analysts Anthony Ling, Sarah Forrest,
Andrew Baird, and Matthew Lanstone in the report. “We believe
excellence is a habit and that companies with superior environmental
and social management are likely to be more successful in operating
projects in the new world.”

The tome-like 164-page report demonstrates how GS applies its
sustainable investing strategies to the global energy sector. The
report finds GSEES leaders financially outperforming their peers by 12
percent since the index launch. It also finds strong financial
performance by energy companies exposed to so-called “new legacy
assets”–the largest oil and gas fields as defined by reserves that
will drive the future of the industry over the next 20 years.
Significantly, the report finds a strong correlation between strong
ESG performance, exposure to new legacy assets (GS identified the top
50 such projects in June 2003 and the top 100 in January 2005), and
financial performance.

“Companies that screened as both GSEES leaders and Top 50 winners have
outperformed their peers by 24 percent on average since February
2004,” the report states. “Laggards on both measures have
underperformed by an average of five percent.”

Assessing the convergence of ESG performance, exposure to new legacy
assets, and financial performance, the GS report identifies six
leading companies: BG (BRG), BP (BP), ExxonMobil (XOM), Petrobras
(PBR), Statoil (STO), and TOTAL (TOT). Up-and-coming companies with
“potential for improvement on a sustainability investing basis”
include BHP Billiton (BHP), Chevron (CVX), ConocoPhillips (COP), and
Marathon (MRO). Companies that have shown “disappointing performance
compared with their peers on either absolute ESG scores or Top 100
performance, or on their momentum over the last two years” include
Amerada Hess (AHC), ENI (ENI), Occidental (OXY), and Shell (RD).

Obviously, what distinguishes GS’s methodology in this report from
typical SRI approaches is the additional consideration of exposure to
new legacy assets, while the ESG Index covers similar if not identical
territory to most SRI research. The ESG Index ranks companies (based
on information from their own disclosures) in five categories:
environment, environmental and social management, social, corporate
governance, and investment for the future. Interestingly, new legacy
assets are not completely divorced from but rather intersect with ESG
considerations.

For example, the investment for the future category assesses community
investment.

“Investment in local communities is more important for the industry
than it was ten years ago as companies develop reserves in politically
riskier countries,” states the report. “We have categorized around 50
percent of the industry’s new legacy assets in very high risk
countries, where company investment in education and health is a key
part of the stability of the local economy.”

GS’s Top 100 Projects, which assesses exposure to new legacy assets,
factors in political risk (as measured by the Transparency
International Corruption Perceptions Index) in the countries where new
reserves are located.

“As production in mature fields has declined to be replaced by the
newer, high-risk barrels, so the risk profile of the industry’s
production looks set to return to levels not seen since the mid
1970s,” the energy report states. “Over 90 percent of companies in our
coverage universe look set to see an increase in the country risk of
their production.”

Corruption assessment circles back to the ESG Index, which addresses
it in the social category.

“Companies in the industry have moved to eliminate corruption through
their codes of business conduct, reporting corruption incidents among
employees, membership of EITI [the Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative spearheaded by British Prime Minister Tony Blair], and
disclosing tax payments to individual governments,” states the report.
“We view this as crucial to their long-run success and
competitiveness.”

The spreading of cultural viruses can affect not only recipients but
also transmitters, as notions and ideas mutate as they proliferate.
Just as the traditional investment community stands to gain from
incorporating social and environmental considerations into their
analyses, so too does the SRI community stand to gain by observing how
the fundamental analyst community innovates as it integrates SRI.

TRUE COST
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_cost_accounting

Full cost accounting (FCA) generally refers to the process of
collecting and presenting information (costs as well as advantages)
for each proposed alternative when a decision is necessary. A synonym,
true cost accounting (TCA) is also often used. Experts consider both
terms problematic as definitions of “true” and “full” are inherently
subjective. See green economics for more on these problems.

Basis of triple bottom line

Since costs and advantages are usually considered in terms of
environmental, economical and social impacts, full or true cost
efforts are collectively called the “triple bottom line”. A large
number of standards now exist in this area including Ecological
Footprint, eco-labels, and the United Nations International Council
for Local Environmental Initiatives approach to Triple Bottom Line
using the ecoBudget metric. The International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) has several accredited standards useful in FCA
or TCA including ISO 14064 for greenhouse gases, the ISO 8000 series
for corporate social responsibility, and the ISO 19011 standard for
audits including all these.

Because of this evolution of terminology in public sector use
especially, the term full-cost accounting is now more commonly used in
management accounting, e.g. infrastructure management and finance. Use
of the terms FCA or TCA usually indicate relatively conservative
extensions of current management practices, and incremental
improvements to GAAP to deal with waste output or resource input.

These have the advantage of avoiding the more contentious questions of
social cost.

Full cost accounting embodies several key concepts that distinguish it
from standard accounting techniques. The following list highlights the
basic tenets of FCA.

Accounting for costs rather than outlays
Accounting for hidden costs and externalities
Accounting for overhead and indirect costs
Accounting for past and future outlays
Accounting for costs according to lifecycle of the product

http://www.sehn.org/tcc.html

True Cost Clearinghouse

Here you will find articles and reports documenting the economic,
health, and social costs of pollution, worker exposures, and resource
exploitation, as well as the underreported benefits of remediation and
precautionary policies.

Both quantitative economic analyses and qualitative value analyses are
included, but our emphasis is on cost of pollution rather than
resource valuation.

http://www.sehn.org/tcclinks.html

Center for the Applied Study of Economics and the Environment
http://www.case-and-e.org/aboutus.php
A brand-new effort in economic analysis and practice, CASE&E is
seeking to organize economists to work with environmental groups. The
initial agenda includes:

the creation of internships, summer training institutes, and
dissertation support, in order to encourage graduate students and
young researchers to relate their professional work to the needs of
environmental advocates;
a web-based directory of economists open to collaboration with
environmental groups; and
the development of task forces of economists to produce analyses
supporting active environmental protection.

.

Adbusters True Cost Economics
http://adbusters.org/metas/eco/truecosteconomics/

A student action campaign to “revolutionize economics before our
planet is destroyed. We need a new economic paradigm – one that is
open, holistic, and human scale – and this website offers a blueprint
for getting there. Prepare yourself with some background information
about economics in the Old paradigm and New paradigm sections then
roll up your sleeves and launch into action on your campus. The
economic revolution begins with jamming Economics departments. It ends
with an entirely new way to measure progress.”

.

Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
http://www.aere.org/index.html

“AERE was established as a means of exchanging ideas, stimulating
research, and promoting graduate training in resource and
environmental economics.”

See especially the Research page http://www.aere.org/resources/research.html
for databases and bibliographies on resource valuation.

.

Csrwire
http://www.csrwire.com/about

“CSRwire is the leading source of corporate social responsibility and
sustainability news, reports and information. CSRwire members are
companies and NGOs, agencies and organizations interested in
communicating their corporate citizenship, sustainability, and
socially responsible initiatives to a global audience through
CSRwire’s syndication network and weekly News Alerts. CSRwire content
covers issues of Diversity, Philanthropy, Socially Responsible
Investing (SRI) Environment, Human Rights, Workplace Issues, Business
Ethics, Community Development and Corporate Governance.”

.

International Society for Ecological Economists
http://www.ecoeco.org/index.php

“ISEE facilitates understanding between economists and ecologists and
the integration of their thinking into a trans-discipline aimed at
developing a sustainable world.”

See especially the Ecological Economics Encyclopedia
http://www.ecoeco.org/publica/encyc.htm

.

Investor Environmental Health Network
http://www.iehn.org/?q=node/5

“As managers and investors seeking sustainable long-term returns from
our investments, we are working to ensure the companies we invest in
are taking appropriate steps to reduce risks associated with the toxic
chemicals used in their products. They should also take advantage of
the strategic market opportunities that are emerging as governments,
businesses, and consumers demand safer, less toxic products. We
believe companies need to keep investors fully informed of these risks
and rewards.”

.

Redefining Progress
http://www.rprogress.org/

“The nation’s leading policy institute dedicated to smart economics,
Redefining Progress develops solutions that help people, protect the
environment, and grow the economy.”

See especially the Sustainability Indicators Program, which “provides
communities, public officials, and business leaders with analytical
tools and educational programs that help protect our environment and
promote a more equitable and just society. RP conducts independent
research to support sustainability campaigns of our partners and
provides sustainability analysis services for municipal, non-profit,
business, and educational clients.”

.

Rocky Mountain Institute
http://www.rmi.org/

“Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is an independent, entrepreneurial,
nonprofit organization. We foster the efficient and restorative use of
resources to make the world secure, just, prosperous, and life-
sustaining.

“Our staff shows businesses, communities, individuals, and governments
how to create more wealth and employment, protect and enhance natural
and human capital, increase profit and competitive advantage, and
enjoy many other benefits-largely by doing what they do far more
efficiently.”

RMI’s library contains many economic valuation studies on water,
energy, and other topics.

.

WorldChanging.com
http://www.worldchanging.com/about/

WorldChanging.com “works from a simple premise: that the tools, models
and ideas for building a better future lie all around us. That plenty
of people are working on tools for change, but the fields in which
they work remain unconnected. That the motive, means and opportunity
for profound positive change are already present. That another world
is not just possible, it’s here. We only need to put the pieces
together.”

See especially WorldChanging’s continuing series on ecosystem goods
and services, a primer on resource valuation and ecological economics.