Louis Berger

Posts by This Writer

11 years 5 months ago

One of the unfortunate byproducts of the Great Recession has been the significant decline in charitable giving both by individuals and corporations.   While this is to be expected at a time when the majority of Americans are preoccupied with getting their own financial houses in order, the rate of decline from the highs of 2007 has been staggering.    According to a study released in November 2010 by Bank of America, the average charitable gift  from high net worth Americans...

11 years 5 months ago

U.S. homeowners looking to sell their homes are having a very difficult time finding buyers these days.   And even those able to attract buyers often must settle for offers substantially lower than they would have received just a few short years ago during the housing boom.

The most recent...

11 years 5 months ago

Bloomberg Markets recently published their inaugural list of the world's 20 Greenest Banks. So who do they pick to be the poster child for eco-conscious banking? Drum roll please.... it's Banco Santander, the Spanish financial services giant.

U.S.-based banks had a decent showing with Goldman Sachs and Citigroup coming in at the #2 and #5 spots, respectively. In a list dominated by European institutions (14 of 20 are Euro-based), JP Morgan and State Street were the only other U.S. banks to make the top 20.

Before we examine the green credentials...

11 years 5 months ago

Hypothetical situation:

Let’s suppose you run the largest offshore oil rig contracting company in the world.  Let’s also suppose that your company owned a certain drilling rig located in the Gulf of Mexico that exploded one fateful morning on April 20th, 2010, resulting in the deaths of 11 crew men (nine of whom worked for your company) and one of the largest environmental catastrophes in United States history.

Given this scenario, would you rate 2010 as your “best year in safety performance...

11 years 6 months ago

Earlier this week, Paris-based banking giant Societe Generale announced the launch of its first socially responsible investment vehicle. What’s interesting about this particular investment is that SocGen plans to donate 100% of their management fees to charity.

The exchange traded note or ETN will trade on the London Stock Exchange and will invest in a basket of 25 mainly European companies. The companies have been selected based on their environmental, social...

11 years 6 months ago

The US housing sector is in rough shape.  Despite recent upbeat economic reports and a rallying stock market, the housing market shows little sign recovery.  The statistics are daunting:

* Data released earlier this week shows the pace of new home sales hit a record low in February

* The inventory of existing homes stands at approximately...

11 years 6 months ago

One of the interesting byproducts of legalized medical marijuana legislation in states like California and Colorado is the subsequent boom in businesses that cultivate, harvest and distribute cannabis to this “emerging market”.   Prior to legalization, there wasn’t really an existing infrastructure (at least, not the legal kind) to service this demand.   As a result, a group of savvy entrepreneurs have stepped in to fill the void.

As these companies grow in size and scope, like any other business, many will require capital infusions from outside investors if they hope to...

11 years 6 months ago

So let’s say you’ve got some money you’d like to put to work in a socially responsible investment.  Maybe you received a bonus at your job, maybe you inherited some money from a relative or maybe you’ve just been diligently saving over the past few years and want to earn more than the pitifully low interest rate your savings account is currently paying.

Like many other aspects of your life, you want this investment to reflect your values when it comes to social and environmental responsibility.  So you’ve done some research and have read good things about a certain solar...

11 years 6 months ago

The folks at Google Ventures have been very active in the green venture capital space lately.

Following a $42 million investment in the extreme weather/climate change insurance start-up WeatherBill last month, the venture capital arm of Google is making its first foray into the biofuel space, leading a $20 million dollar investment into CoolPlanet Biofuels, a...

11 years 6 months ago

As the tragedy in Fukushima continues to unfold, and the world watches helplessly, hoping for the safety of the Japanese people, a debate over the viability of nuclear power as a safe energy source has come to the fore, particularly in energy policy circles.

Many environmentalists have long supported nuclear power as an efficient, low-carbon emitting alternative energy source to traditional fossil fuel-based power like coal, oil or natural gas, particularly in population-dense countries like Japan where, because open unused land is scarce, large scale wind and solar...