AUSTIN, Texas – The burgeoning Occupy Wall Street movement is criticized for a lack of clarity around its message. But there was no mistaking one theme sounded repeatedly at last week’s inaugural SXSW Eco conference: the need for better financing models around environmental and corporate sustainability initiatives.
"We need a financial services infrastructure to support and build the green economy,” said Scott Edward Anderson, founder of The Green Skeptic, and a frequent commentator about this issue. “We need to challenge assumptions.”
The good news is that forward-thinking banks and financial advisory companies are beginning to focus on this agenda.
One example was offered in a keynote speech by Philippe Cousteau Jr., grandson of the famous ocean explorer, environmental correspondent for CNN and the CEO of EarthEcho International, an organization focused on educating young people about environmental issues.
EarthEcho has teamed up with AdvisorShares on a fund called Global Echo, a fund that actively will allocate investments to publicly traded companies that have a sustainability mandate. The fund isn’t yet available; it’s prospectus was filed in late September.
During a different session, Anderson said more banks and investments are emerging that have a focus on helping disrupt the traditional “rules” of financial services firms. These organizations are making the triple bottom line – enterprise, environment and equity – their focus, he said.
Small businesses, in particular, would benefit from a disruption of the financial status quo, he said.
Here are 13 organizations (from all over the world) that Anderson said are contributing to that disruption and that you might want to consider if you want your money to make more of a difference. “We need to take the leap off the cliff,” he said.
More coverage of SXSW Eco:
Photo courtesy of SXSW Eco and Arnold Wells
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com