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2017
China leads way amid need for green tech progress
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Global Times, September 24, 2017
 

An ESG is a financial product that complies with environmental, social and governance rules, and until recently it was just part of financiers' jargon - their chat is full of short-form acronyms that many of us do not understand. But recently ESG has come into common parlance. This is good, as it represents a new global inclination to save the planet and to save ourselves from investments we do not understand.

Of course, working together in this way is a splendid idea; it creates efficiencies and develops innovative solutions supporting emerging world-wide goals, with many set within the UN Sustainable Development Goals to be met by 2030. ESGs are fast becoming a vital set of criteria for investment development and they demand new measurements of company performance. But there are much broader and more subtle aspects to this movement.

Cheating has been commonplace ever since lending and borrowing became institutionalized. William Shakespeare in 1596 aptly commented upon "… this pound of flesh" as something that is owed and ruthlessly claimed in repayment. In more modern times there was the Asian Financial crisis in 1997 expanding out of Thailand, as banks were seen to be over-indebted and could not pay back their customers. China learned much from that and developed its sovereign reserves, thus helping it to weather the 2008 global financial crash emanating from the US. These crashes forced central banks to increase regulation and oversight as well as developing fresh rules such as the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act reforming Wall Street investment and curbing speculation.

The EU in 2004 developed the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, which will be updated by January 2018 as MiFID II (yet another acronym). Although these rulings are primarily US or EU-based, they include all the global operations of firms registered in either the US or EU, in an effort to restrict global corruption.

But it is well known that corruption is still widespread, as is the fact that it is the poorest who suffer the most, often losing their jobs if a firm ceases trading while the corrupt boss with good legal aid may well escape punishment. There are many economies that suffer from corruption, especially among the developing nations.

The developed world is not exempt, as regulators and the judiciary often bring wrong-doers to trial. One instance is the Libor scandal that was perpetuated by major global banks. The banks falsely set the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), which is the average interest rate underpinning well over $350 trillion in derivatives. The skewed rate benefited the banks in question. The perpetrators have been removed from office and new regulations devised. However, few people connected with this crime have been convicted as the evidence against them was not strong enough, though banks have been heavily fined for allowing the fixing to take place.

Other heavy fines for banks have concerned their non-disclosure of hidden savings. Swiss banks have long been known as secretive, closely guarding their clients' assets - as are certain offshore tax havens. Now global regulations demand that banks open their lists to the relevant tax authorities and failure to do so has resulted in massive fines. This means that rich people have fewer places to hide their undeclared gains.

Also, India recently scrapped the use of large-denomination currency notes to crimp their black economy. That shock caused some havoc and temporarily reduced its quarterly growth figures and reduced the wealth of the super-rich by 1 percent. In the future India may halt the use of credit cards, moving instead to biometrics - validating transactions by an eye or thumb scan.

I began this piece by suggesting that ESGs are blossoming worldwide. It may be a case of there being a time when influential individuals all have the same idea at approximately the same time. This is noticeable in science when breakthroughs happen in different parts of the world by groups apparently unconnected to each other. Of course they are not "unconnected" as they will have studied the same things and been to the same conferences, but the groundswell ensures the development bursts forth.

Perhaps it is time for the world to become more transparent, more inclined to observe better environmental practices, to support better social policies and to adhere to strongly principled rules of governance applied to political as well as commercial practice. We are all facing huge global pressures - it is time to be concerned about our future and it is time for strong global leadership. The 19th National People's Congress in October may be a defining moment for China to define new developments for the world's second-largest economy.

 

The author is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community.

 


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