Investments & The Environment: Gold Mining

Gold Mining

With environmental policies and efforts becoming increasingly popular in many parts of the world, it se
ems that more people are slowly beginning to realize the necessity of protecting the Earth. However, not everybody knows how to do it. Most are familiar with some basic eco-friendly concepts – recycling, cutting back on fuel emissions, etc. – however, many do not realize just how much they can do to contribute to environmental efforts. For example, did you know that your choice of investments can directly impact environmental issues?

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Are We Funding Our Own Demise?

Daisy Demise | Source: jumpinjimmyjava on Flickr under CC By 2.0 LicenceThe following is a condensed, less academic excerpt of a paper I recently wrote for my final graduate course. It also represents the completion of Task #3 on my 9-Week Productivity Challenge and the beginning of a series of posts here on Earth and Money related the social and environmental impacts of our investments. The series began unofficially two weeks ago with a look at an emerging type of investment vehicle, community bonds.

Basic economics would dictate that public demand drives the success and failure of various enterprises. A company can only sell a product if someone desires it (though through good marketing, they can manufacture that desire as well). However, while average Canadians make greater strides towards environmental consciousness, they may be undoing their own efforts by bankrolling the very companies they are boycotting or attempting to avoid with their investments. In a nutshell, Canadians (and quite frankly, citizens worldwide) are funding their own demise by supporting companies which create unhealthy environments. This, in and of itself, is a major environmental health problem that has been grossly overlooked in the current environmental movement. When a consumer goes out of their way to purchase organic foods, what purpose does that serve if they have their money invested in companies that seek to produce unsustainable, pesticide-laced foods which only drive up the price of the very organic foods that they want to purchase?

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Tetra Pak – The Sequel

Tetra Pak Logo | Source: Tetra Pak on Flickr under CC BY-ND 2.0 LicenceAbout two months ago, I wrote an article about an environmental dilemma in which I found myself – to buy local, organic juice packaged in Tetra Pak containers or imported, organic juice packaged in glass containers. In the end, I chose the glass-contained juice because I believed that the end-of-life management options, which included recycling the product locally, outweighed the environmental cost of importing the juice from across the country. The Tetra Paks, I found out, were being shipped halfway around the world to China and Korea for recycling. About a week or two after posting that article, I got an email from the Carton Council of Canada, defending Tetra Paks. I feel that its important to share the contents of the email, so everyone can benefit, and though I didn’t have time to earlier, today I’d like to respond to it because they did bring some interesting issues to light.

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Going Green in Life Insurance

Stack of Paper | Source: striatic on FlickrIf you’re looking for businesses that are strong candidates to go green, you might put the life insurance industry near the top of the list. With no physical product being produced, what is there to consume? You might be surprised.

The amount of driving, the number of couriers, and the stacks of paper needed to complete one sale is astounding. Every time someone buys life insurance and they fill out a hard copy of the application, the agent has to make a copy. It then has to be couriered off to the insurance wholesaler who takes another copy before sending the original file to the insurance company. If the selling agent is meeting with the client face to face then it adds another car to the road.

So what’s keeping the insurance industry from becoming better stewards of the environment? Motivation. Most insurers are fine with the status quo and don’t appreciate the savings of going green. Here are a few things that could help this industry go green.

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The 9-Week Summer Productivity Challenge

Task List | Source: J Dueck on FlickrA fellow blogger, Economically Humble, has proposed a 9-week summer productivity challenge, and I’ve decided to get on board! As you’ve probably gathered by now, from reading my last few posts, I have a busy summer ahead of me, so any chance to help my productivity is welcomed! The goal of the challenge is to list 9 things that I will complete in the next 9 weeks to increase my productivity – so here goes!

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