Michael Hassett

Michael Hassett

Posts by This Writer

9 years 8 months ago

If Iceland were a mortgaged home, it would be underwater.  No global warming jokes, please.  Iceland's banks were rabid, deregulated participants in the financial excesses of the last decade and suffered accordingly when the party ended.  Thanks to deposit insurance, much of this ended up in  the lap of Iceland's government.  The average Icelander's share of the national debt now exceeds Paris Hilton's annual credit card bill.  The resulting festivities included a near war with Great Britain, which treated the Icelanders like terrorists in the small matter of a dispute over frozen (again- no ice puns- final...


9 years 8 months ago

March Madness is here, but is it sustainable?   Yes, until that keg runs dry.  As you fill out your brackets, consider some basic thoughts on governance, social responsibility and environmental impact (is there an environmentally sound way to dispose of a giant foam index finger?) in men's NCAA Division 1 college basketball.  Each program is a rarified business model that exists to elevate a  handful of players, and their school, to a championship.  For today's column, we accept college hoops on its own terms, leaving the question of whether big time sport has any place in college for another day,...


9 years 8 months ago

On March 1, the Emerging Markets Disclosure Project, an international initiative to improve corporate environmental, social and governance reporting in emerging markets, renewed its call for investors to sign its Investor Statement on Sustainability Reporting in Emerging Markets.  Signatories urge sustainability reporting per GRI  Guidelines and affirm that next generation leading companies will distinguish themselves through robust ESG reporting and be rewarded in the market.   In addition to new signatories...


9 years 8 months ago

It's time to bring back the rectangle.  Sustainable business needs a functioning government.  We can't find enough scientists and engineers for the green industry we want to build, but we send thousands of recent engineering grads, masters and PhD s home when they finish school each year, because they are not citizens and – well we just couldn't figure out immigration reform – even when it had bipartisan support at times.  NGOs that depend on contributions are left dangling by the impact of the estate tax stalemate. Don't even get me started on health care or income taxes.  President Obama entered...


9 years 8 months ago

Ceres, a network of investors concerned with SRI, environmental organizations and other public interest groups, with analytical support from UBS and data from Bloomberg Environmental, reported on February 10 that the vast majority of leading companies in water intensive industries have weak management and disclosure of water related risks and opportunities.The impact of the Ceres Report may be  surprisingly significant, even in comparison to the SEC's recent, highly publicized guidance on climate change...


9 years 8 months ago

Bigger isn't better?  Not exactly a novel concept for sustainability or SRI cognoscenti going back at least as far as John Stuart Mill.   Right now governments around the world are using some old fashioned cures to make sure the economy has a pulse: cheap money plus government spending.  Probably a necessary step given unemployment rates, but recession, by definition, is negative growth and curing it means the goal of the state is a return to growth.  Unless something else changes, that “growth is good...


9 years 8 months ago

Nice shirt, how many tunes does it store?  Thanks to developments recently reported in Nano Letters by a Stanford research team,  you might be asking this question sooner than you think and thinking SRI while you're at it.  Dr. Yi Cui and his colleagues have created cloth that can store and conduct electricity.  For conductivity,  dip the textile in an ink of single walled carbon nanotubes, then dry. The resulting cloth is highly conductive with outstanding stretchablility and...


9 years 8 months ago

This post continues the SRI  panel discussion between Homer Simpson, Gordon Gekko and Henry David Thoreau, inspired by Jed Emerson's article Beyond Good Versus Evil: Hedge Fund Investing, Capital Markets and the Sustainability Challenge.

Homer: What makes a tall sale good?

Gekko:  Convincing detail.

Homer: Doh, what's that got to do with a tall sale, suit?

Gekko:  Sorry, Homer, I...


9 years 9 months ago

Jed Emerson, a thoughtful manager of both  philanthropy and investment, probably didn't ask to be called a “rock star of a new breed of innovators”, blended investors combining profits and SRI.  He did publish a thoughtful, somewhat scholarly article (it has footnotes and everything) in December, 2009, Beyond Good Versus Evil: Hedge Fund Investing and the Sustainability Challenge. We've arranged a brief panel discussion between Henry David Thoreau, Gordon Gekko and Homer Simpson...


9 years 9 months ago

The house always wins,  but it doesn't always make a  profit, there's real financial risk in gambling.   Now increased competition is cutting into profit margins and the state governments who benefit from legalized gambling face some tough decisions.  Will they make the right call?  Don't bet on it.

 A casino's edge is built into the games, the zeros on the roulette wheel, the blackjack dealers win in a tie.  In running a sports book, the house will set a spread to get equal wagering on both teams, then rely on the fact that you need to bet $11 to win $10 to produce a sure profit no matter...


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