I’m a life-long fan of the New York Yankees. Among my earliest TV memories as a child is watching Mickey Mantle hit home runs. These days Michael Kay is the TV play-by-play broadcaster of the New York Yankees. He’s well-known for calling home runs. As the ball is leaving the park, he hollers, “There it goes, see ya!”
This afternoon, Donald Trump gave the same message on behalf of the United States to the Paris climate accord and virtually all other nations, with virtually the same emphasis. There it goes, see ya! We can only hope the same cannot be said for our civilization’s chances of averting climate disaster. Trump’s latest move, arguably the dumbest in a whole series of dumb moves as President, makes me ashamed of being a citizen of the United States. It is becoming hard to watch the news at all without becoming truly shaken.
Perversely, the markets gained broadly today as oil prices stabilized. In my last blog, I commented on the market’s reaction to Trumpism thus far. Investors have done well in the markets since the election as it continues to interpret Trump’s actions as creating a wild, wild west business climate in which profits will abound. Yet this optimistic outlook for the business climate couldn’t be more different than that for our real climate.
SRI investors have different reasons for continuing to maintain their long-term investment plans. Many might be wondering now if it really makes sense to invest in a sustainable economy when the business world seems to be careening in the opposite direction. Yet, in recent weeks a number of the nation’s largest tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google), and Intel signed an open letter urging Trump to keep the U.S. in the Paris accord, noting that expanding markets for clean technology creates new jobs and contributes to economic growth. Another open letter to the President ran as a recent ad in the Wall Street Journal, offering strong support for the Paris accord – signed by the CEOs of thirty other major U.S. corporations, including Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. Even ExxonMobil was against the exit, and its former CEO and Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, just signed an international declaration emphasizing the importance of the Paris accord in tackling climate change!
The smartest leaders and innovators of the best companies in the world, large and small, will continue to move toward greater sustainability because they know their future profitability, indeed their future survival, depends on it. SRI investors are helping them get there with their investment decisions and increasingly successful shareholder advocacy initiatives. In a very recent landmark investor vote, 62% of ExxonMobil shareholders voted on May 31 to require the company to report on the impacts of climate change to its business. With the President’s decision today, there will be more impacts to report.
In the meantime, the next Presidential election cannot come soon enough. And when it does, we can only hope the cry will be, “There he goes, see ya!”