Among the most well-known and well-loved sentiments of Mahatma Gandhi is that we should aspire to “be the change you want to see in the world.”
For our part at Cornerstone Capital, there are changes we would like to see in the functioning of world’s capital markets. We would like to see a system where there is greater collaboration and transparency among leaders in the financial services industry. We would like to see more diversity of thought and perspective in the economic and business decision-making processes across banks and regulators. We would like to see constructive dialogue regarding creative and pragmatic solutions to the financing of economic growth and prosperity. We would like to see diplomacy, compromise and respect for all forms of capital (human, natural and financial) be the new order of the day.
Given these aspirations of Cornerstone, the next step was to ask what any individual can do to help “be the change?” We considered what skills our firm could contribute to making progress in healing the investment banking profession. Could we suggest ways to progress the discipline of finance such that there is a more systematic analysis of both the risks and rewards associated with the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) imperatives necessary for capitalism to prosper? Could we offer any tools to facilitate the flow of capital to small and medium-sized enterprises which are pursuing sustainable growth and development? Could we find ways for great corporations to better articulate the extraordinary progress they are making with some of their own business initiatives? Could we help financial experts better serve the needs of their own clients?
And finally, could we find the resources, the partners, the patience, the strength and the courage to leave companies we knew for many years and start a new venture that would reflect our own vision? Could we help to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that, despite all the daunting challenges, complexities, trade-0ffs and barriers, there need not be a dichotomy between long-term profitability and addressing societal needs? We think so. We hope so.
With that, the Cornerstone Capital Inc. Board of Directors, Staff, and Global Advisory Council aspire to help “be the change we would like to see in the world.”
Each month in the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking (JSFB), we will offer thoughts on a “Featured Domain” which is selected from our proprietary “Sustainable Domain Bank”. The Cornerstone “Sustainable Domain Bank” contains 2,000+ addresses on the Internet which are an articulation of business processes, business practices, and aspirations for a more regenerative form of capitalism. Many of these domain names have the potential to be developed into business plans reflecting a robust interpretation of sustainable capitalism and finance. In particular, each “Sustainable Domain” captures a principle, or reflects a value inherent in the systematic understanding of the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) imperatives facing businesses and the economy today. Each Domain is intended to facilitate dialogue across functions and sectors of the capital markets; and each is available for collaborative partnership, purchase or transfer should it have particular appeal to Cornerstone clients and colleagues.