June 2020 Newsletter

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June 2020 Newsletter


Environmental Racism And Its Effect On Communities

In keeping with the broader conversation surrounding structural discrimination, we felt it apt to highlight other forms of structural discrimination on the historically disadvantaged. In this instance, we aim to be a part of sparking a wider discussion around how discrimination in environmental policy making has been a lived reality for many African-American and other minority communities worldwide.

NSI supports the creation of socially equitable conditions for communities affected by environmental issues and structured discrimination through sustainability. In some countries, we have consistently liaised with local business and politicians in order to raise awareness, as well as contribute to conversations and sustainable initiatives prioritizing the sufficient protection of these communities from environmental waste. We believe it is important, where possible, to work with both the public and private sector and measure economic interests against common incentives for affected communities as a whole. We are passionate about seeing these projects develop sustainably due to participation from each sector of society.

Many of these communities are routinely earmarked for sites of waste disposal in the global waste trade, or are allocated to reside along harmful industrial plants, causing them impact at a micro-level. Thus, the concept of racial discrimination in environmental policy making a lived reality for many African-American communities in almost every major city across the USA, such as Flint, Michigan and New Orleans, and across minority communities globally. The larger environmental justice movement referred to this term as environmental racism highlighting how communities of color in the US regularly do not receive the same protections as predominantly white or privileged. Some examples of these protections would be access to clean drinking water, safe living conditions, clean air, adequate transportation, healthy food, access to quality education, and so forth.

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"A New Social Impact Normal"

Change, in all of its permeations, is perhaps the only consistent truth about our world, our lives and the things we choose to fill them with. Periods of transition always bear opportunities to reflect on our societies as they were. Furthermore, transition presents an opportunity to engage the ways that the wisdom of disruption implores us to behave in the future. Transition is the time where we begin to construct a New Normal. 

It would be remiss to claim that the world at this moment, is the world that we have now transitioned which change is taking place, as well as what that means for the future. I am of the conviction that understanding change through disruptions (as a new reality continues to take shape) is an effective way to grasp the idea of a New Normal. For the purposes of this article, the extrapolation of a New Normal of impact investing will be predicated by two major disruptions: social unrest and economic downturn.

Prolonged demonstrations in the United States (the world’s financial power) and in China by way of Hong Kong (the world’s industrial power), reflects tensions between the way society is arranged, and how different members of society feel about this stratification. Nick Without diverging into the actual content of these demonstrations, it is clear that there is a breakdown in the social contract, and social unrest often gives rise to new societal forms.

Ultimately, the New Normal of impact investment, must achieve greater complementarity between the aspirations of people and the nexus between investing in society for greater economic returns. It must be the case that the underlying consideration of returns, such as greater market share, do not trump the genuine concerns of people across the world (now and in the future). It should still hold true in the New Normal that improving people’s condition, allows for economic and financial utility.

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