Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Changing Fortune

Picked up the Fortune 'green issue' on the way to Atlanta last week for the SoL Sustainability Forum (more on that soon), and I highly recommend it. There is some good stuff in there & it represents another big (though still very preliminary) milestone for the movement toward sustainability - last year Vanity Fair this year Fortune....

The issue covers 10 companies and their sustainability initiatives, leaving out the already heavily covered GE and WMT stories they look at Honda, Continental, HP, Tesco, Suncor, Alcan, PG&E, S.C. Johnson, Goldman, & Swiss Re - for the most part usual suspects for people following the scene (with the exception of Continental, I didn't realize how much they've been doing) - but still a great rundown for the mainstream business types. Also focus pieces on the good, bad, & ugly at DuPont, the inspiring passion at Patagonia, and the muscle of the Governator.

Check out the stories here: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/goinggreen/2007/index.html

But one of the most intriguing pieces in the issue is not in the 'green section'. It is a one-pager called "Opening the Capitalist Mind" and it lays out a scenario for shifting the $500 billion per year health care burden from corporate America to government It would be financed with a carbon tax - thus relieving business of big burden without taxing them directly for it (all carbon consumers would share the burden), without increasing the deficit, and all the while sending a huge signal for a carbon-free economy and helping Americans realize the dream of universal healthcare. It has the potential to make both Republicans and Dems happy and apparently has the support of some of those conservative think-tank analysts. I think it has the potential to be another small but powerful example of how pursuing sustainability can bring disparate forces together for our common good and that of the biological systems upon which we all depend. Stay going…

8 comments:

Dan said...

The Carbon Tax Center proposes a carbon tax that rebates the tax revenues to all Americans or uses the tax revenues to offset payroll taxes. Americans could use the rebate or payroll tax savings for health care if they choose to do so, or for any other purpose they deem appropriate. Under the Carbon Tax Center proposal Americans end up with reduced carbon emissions, a return of the tax revenues through rebate or reduce payroll taxes and they retain the benefit of the corporate contribution to health care benefits. The politics of implementing a carbon tax are difficult enough already. Why increase the political difficulty by using the carbon tax to shift a huge amount of money to corporate America?

Georges said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Georges said...

Good point Dan - I think the standard concept of a tax-shift from personal income to carbon is a great one. I found the health-care angle interesting because (as it was being pitched in Fortune anyway) it is a business friendly solution that would decrease the political difficulty - potentially delivering what we urgently need: significant & effective restraints on ghg emissions. Also, only those that work for corporations retain the benefits of corporate contributions to healthcare - a situation that has a lot of people feeling helplessly trapped in those jobs. Thanks for bringing the Carbon Tax Center to my attention - I hadn't seen it before - great stuff.

Shawn W. said...

Generally, a great issue. Although, as a sign that a real shift in thinking is still required, that same issue had an article on why one should own the new Lamborghini. This is the same car voted absolute worst in gas milage by the most recent Sierra Club car rankings. Just a thought... Otherwise, great blog. Thanks for keeping it going.

Georges said...

Absolutely, another great point - similar to the Vanity Fair green issues with more pages of high-fashion adds fueling the 'never enough' consumer psychology than pages covering 'green' issues. As I said, very small, but potentially significant early steps.

Lisa said...

How are you celebrating Earth Day?

the Contrary Goddess said...

I'm sure that trip to Atlanta was carbon neutral, sustainable, all that. What a (bad) joke.

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