Sustainability Means Justice

Our job at Green Alpha is asset management, not punditry. Yet, if we don’t say something right now, that makes us another part of the problem, among those who remain silent in the face of injustice. We’ll keep it short.

First, we believe there’s a fundamental flaw in any system that treats people differently because of how much pigment they have in their skin; it’s hard for us to understand how this can still be a source of hate and division in 2020. What we can understand is that we believe a fair and safe civilization should work to the benefit of the 100%. The threats we collectively face are too great for us to be factionalized, so we’re out of time for tribalism. We do understand there can no longer be a zero-sum world of “us” vs. “them,” we’re entered the time of mandatory positive-sum collaboration; there’s just the one, large “us.” 

To any African-American, Latinx, Indigenous American or other persecuted group that may be among our clients and subscribers that read this, what we can say is that yes, we are white people, and so we have no idea what the lived experience of anybody else might be. But we understand the horror about the murder of George Floyd and so many others is finally becoming apparent to white and privileged America, although that is arriving decades, and even centuries, late.

From the point of view of our core investment philosophy, equality and justice are both invaluable in their own right. And, per our guiding thesis at Green Alpha, which demands conceptualizing a sustainable, zero-risk economy, equality and justice are critical to realizing a world that can thrive indefinitely. We’ve written and opined often about inequality being a system-level risk that is currently undermining our ability to grow the global economy, to everyone’s benefit, over the long term. But at this moment, we want to clarify explicitly that sustainability requires stable political systems and governments and authorities we can believe in. Without faith in these institutions, there can be no cohesion, as we are now learning. Without a stable social fabric, there cannot ultimately be a stable economy, much less a sustainable one. 

We understand that the last 400 years of American history may show that harboring new hope is in vain, but we choose to try anyway. Staying silent when there is so much at stake isn’t a real option. And so, with this note, we add our voices to those who hope the present chaos is the pain before the birth of permanent change.