Five Questions about Ethical Markets – Special Interview with Rosalinda Sanquiche, Executive Director, Ethical Markets Media, Saint Augustine, Florida, United States of America – January 7, 2013

On the first Monday of each month Emerging Markets ESG publishes a special interview with an academic, expert or practitioner about a specific
topic with relevance to environmental, social and/or governance (ESG) issues.

This month’s interview, the tenth interview in the special interview series, is about ethical markets and is with Rosalinda
Sanquiche, Executive Director, Ethical Markets Media, Saint Augustine, Florida, United States of America.

Ethical Markets Media, LLC, works to reform markets and metrics to grow the green economy worldwide.  It provides news and perspective with the Green Transition Scoreboard®, the Transforming Finance initiative, research on Beyond GDP, and with reports, articles, newsletters and analysis by Hazel Henderson, its editor-in-chief, on  It focuses on systems thinking and best practices to raise global
standards. streams original Ethical Markets productions and video gathered from around the world.  A featured project, the Green Transition Scoreboard® (GTS) is a time-based, global tracking of private investments in green markets. Its research team compiles financial data screened by rigorous auditing standards in social, environment and governance, building on research indicating $1 trillion annually until 2020 can accelerate the Green Transition worldwide in conservation, wind, solar, geothermal, water, land-use and forestry, infrastructure, transport and urban re-design.  With data from 2007 forward, the GTS shows private investors are on track to invest $1 trillion annually, setting the path for governments and institutional investors to follow.   As a social enterprise, a form of business putting people, planet and profit in proper order (see case study in Earth Capitalism, with foreword by Bill Gates), Ethical Markets Media offers its greatest resource – the vetting of
information focused on positive, useful and factual content from our own global systemic perspective and research.  Ethical Markets TV series showcases organizations, trade associations, shareholder activities, mutual funds and pension funds asset managers, financial planners, venture capital groups, innovative technologies and companies, as well as the vision of maturing, socially-responsible, ethical capitalism fitting humanity’s aspirations for a more peaceful, just and ecologically sustainable world.  Rosalinda Sanquiche is Executive Director of Ethical Markets Media.  She began her environmental career with the American Wind Energy Association in Washington, DC, in research and communications.  She has written on the construction industry for Builder/Architect and on the environment for various outlets.  She has taught environmental policy and team-taught field classes combining ecology and policy in Florida and Belize.  As a program manager for the North Florida Land Trust she focused on protecting environmentally significant places through B2B, educational and private/public easements.  Rosalinda currently serves as treasurer for the Northeast Florida Green Chamber, advised Collins Capital Management in developing the first SRI portfolio specific to northeast Florida and is on the Judges Panel of the EthicMark® Award for advertising that uplifts the human spirit and society.  Rosalinda’s childhood years hiking through Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Forest informed her belief that we must engage in sustainable behaviors to preserve the magnificent world we inhabit.  She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Troy University.  After receiving awards from the National Science Foundation and the National Hispanic Foundation, she earned a Master’s Degree in Environmental and Resource Policy as a George Washington Fellow at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Emerging Markets ESG:  What are ethical markets?

Rosalinda SanquicheThe definition of ethical markets is constantly evolving as we learn what is most damaging to society and environment and what is most conducive.  Ethical markets are based on trust, honesty, transparency, fairness and fidelity in contracts and obligations. There was a time when pursuing productivity and growth was considered the most ethical behavior in order to lift standards of living, leading to tension between growth which externalizes social costs and ethical markets which internalize ESG factors. At Ethical Markets Media, we reach beyond the subjective interpretation of ethical behavior by relying on science with Nature as the foundation.  An ethical market is one built on science and that aspires to goals such as no pollution, no waste and the transition from a fossil-fueled industrial era to the Solar Age Hazel Henderson forecast in Politics of the Solar Age and manifesting now in the work of Ethical Markets Media which she founded and leads.

We should model ethical markets based on consistencies found in Nature.  Janine Benyus’ Biomimicry research identifies those Life’s Principles which have developed through 3.8 billion years of experimentation.  For example, Nature uses elements from the top of the periodic table, ensuring few toxins are released.  Life has no waste – every system feeds another with its byproduct.  Life ebbs and flows with demise, a necessary component to growth and sustainability as a whole.  An ethical market based on Life’s Principles is one to which emerging markets can aspire.

Emerging Markets ESG:  What differentiates ethical markets from mainstream markets?

Rosalinda SanquicheWhile there are fundamental differences, sharply differentiating ethical markets from mainstream markets is problematic, creating “us versus them.”  Those markets evolving along an ethical path primarily internalize all social and environmental costs, providing honest prices.  Those “mainstream” markets trapped in the Industrial Age still operate on economic models that hide costs and shift them to others, as in the 2008 meltdown still causing pain to millions of people.  Further still in the wrong direction, many methods used in today’s markets, especially algorithmic, computerized high frequency trading, create unsustainable bubbles, collapsing economies, concentration of wealth. A small network of corporations and individuals has persuaded world leaders and citizens that unfettered growth is the only way to progress.  As Hazel Henderson has pointed out, unfettered growth is cancer – not conducive to survival.

I see a global market that is shifting toward a green economy, with forward looking aspects such as SRI investors, companies committed to CSR and ESG, fair trade, laws emerging that protect social enterprises, global networks such as UN PRI and GRI and the continued trend toward reducing energy consumption in manufacturing and buildings.  There is a long way to go, but markets have always evolved: from feudalism and barter, to industrialism and Wall Street and any number of systems and subsystems in between.

Emerging Markets ESG:  On capital and financial markets, investors can choose between socially responsible investments (SRI), “neutral” investments and vice funds.   What are you doing to attract investors to ethical markets?

Rosalinda SanquicheOur mission is to reform markets and metrics to grow the green economy worldwide. We show that there are sound reasons for and profits to be made in socially responsible investing.  We spend a great deal of energy reporting the good news that sustainability is winning – a story often ignored by mainstream media.  Hazel Henderson personally monitors the fantastic work being done around the world, posting on such diverse topics as crowdfunding, Earth Systems Science, greentech and more.

In addition, we have four program areas providing evidence that green investing is optimal now and in the future: the Green Transition Scoreboard®, Beyond GDP, Transforming Finance and the EthicMark® Awards.

The Green Transition Scoreboard® totals private investments since 2007 in the cleaner, greener information-rich societies worldwide, now
over $3.6 trillion.  Updated twice a year, data shows private investors are on track to invest $1 trillion annually, setting the path for governments and institutional investors to follow.

Beyond GDP shows why GDP cannot and was never intended to measure a country’s well-being.  We report on the many indicators now used by
the OECD, UN, Bhutan, Canada, other countries and NGOs around the world.  The Ethical Markets Quality of Life Indicators are supported by our two Beyond GDP surveys in 12 countries showing large majorities believe health, social and environmental statistics are as important as economic data to measure national progress. Our next survey will be conducted in early 2013.

Transforming Finance recognizes that finance is part of the global commons and is an ongoing initiative to change the role finance plays in
global economies.  Read our recent Transforming Finance Statement Based on Ethics and Life’s Principles to see how Nature can inform progress in finance.

We co-sponsor the EthicMark® Award for advertising that uplifts the human spirit and society, recently presented at the 2012 Sustainable
Brands Conference in London.  Founded by Hazel Henderson and in collaboration with the World Business Academy and University of Notre Dame, the awards acknowledge the role advertising plays as teacher and laud companies and organizations reaching beyond consumerism.

Emerging Markets ESG:  From your perspective, what is driving the development of ethical markets?

Rosalinda SanquicheEvery so often we get a call from a Wall Street dropout who wants to learn more about alternative economics and what she or he can do with personal wealth to promote sustainable societies.  I see these dropouts motivated in large part by two factors: guilt and inside experience.  They have become personally wealthy, yet see neighbors and family members in distress and see poverty in the countries they vacation. Coupled with guilt, they’ve weathered bubble after bubble, foresee the instability in equities and commodities, know that bailouts are temporary and austerity is not a solution.  They want to cut their losses and help others.  I’m fine with either or both motivations, in whatever order or degree, if they lead us toward more sustainable industry and agriculture, toward greater quality of life globally.  I believe this trend in personal lives is reflected in budding global trends toward sustainability.

Emerging Markets ESG:  What role do emerging markets play in ethical markets?

Rosalinda SanquicheI was recently reprimanded by a colleague for being too optimistic about the positive potential of emerging markets. To paraphrase Hazel Henderson, I don’t know enough to be pessimistic.  Emerging markets can leapfrog to technologies that are information-rich rather than fossil-fueled.  Take for example telephones.  We regularly host videocasts around the world.  Increasingly, venues in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia do not have land lines.  Why invest in all those wires and poles, an inefficient grid system difficult to update, when cellphones and bandwidth can fill the gap?  While neither technology is perfect, they are bringing people closer together, making it easier to share
and exchange resources and ideas.  Another example is electric vehicles (EVs) and more efficient public transit and infrastructure.  Emerging
markets cannot afford nuclear or centralized electric power.  Distributed solar and wind power is cheaper and more efficient.  Many countries will
bypass the old technology if for no other reason than energy security.  The ethical course is to make cars, trains and busses as non-polluting as possible.  Emerging markets can leapfrog into more ethical markets than those still subsidized and entrenched in the US.  Many countries are moving toward more ethical, green economies as we saw at the June 2012 UN Rio+20 Summit in Brazil.