I gave a webinar and then, I felt terrible. Here’s why…

Last week I prepared and gave a Webinar on how to find the best funds to reduce the risks related to the impacts of climate change, and I felt terrible about it. It wasn’t because it didn’t go well – I got decent, even good feedback on it, but I still felt terrible and wasn’t too sure why.

A big part of it was that the timeline was definitely too short for me to know the exact message I wanted to be giving. I thought I was responding to individual investor needs, but people are looking for direction in this space, and I don’t want to misguide them. I recently read a quote that said, “Life is too dangerous not to be fully truthful and too short not to love fully“. I realized that I had these doubts about whether I was speaking the full truth.

That’s why I felt terrible.

I said in the webinar something that resonates with many: “the next 20 years in capital markets will not be anything like the last 20 years“. I’ve been very consumed lately by a United Nations study I recently came across that put a dollar value to natural capital and found that none of the 20 top impact-region sectors* in the world would have been profitable if the price for natural capital were actually paid. The investment world, finance world and the big business world are more often than not mortgaging the future of the earth to produce short term profits for a few. I am among those. I come from a reasonably well off family, and have enjoyed many privileges that most people don’t.

I need to talk about returns. Realistic returns. I’ve always been uncomfortable with the responsible investment industry discourse that returns are equal or superior to traditional investment returns, and that the whole argument is made on a narrow ‘business case for’ responsible investment. The responsible investment and sustainability industries are perpetuating a lie of sorts because they are still doing things without full information, without full cost accounting. The truth is, profit that is subsidized by natural capital is destroying the very security we seek in our retirement and in the value we want to pass on to our children and their children. We all have to dramatically change our expectations around returns and accept notions of slow money with lower returns…

But that’s such an unsexy message — how can we make that fun, playful, enjoyable???

I don’t have all the answers. I’m still asking myself so many questions. This is a young field, and there is a lot of uncertainty. I recognize that I am wanting an ideal right away, and that for this aspiration to be realized, it needs to happen one step at a time.

Tell me what you think. Ideally we can have this discussion in a open space so that many can participate, so please use the comments section below.

P.S. For all of you who wrote to me asking if the French language Webinar that I gave would be available in replay, the answer is no. I’ll do better. We’ll be in touch after the school March break.


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