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The new colour of money: Caring, not sharing

Most of the world’s largest financial institutions are trying to use their contacts with key stakeholders across business, academic and government lines to brainstorm the best ways that markets can combat climate change.

The new colour of money
Environmentalists at the gates
Eco-magine all the people

Many of these councils, committees, initiatives and partnerships carry grandiose names. The spin doctors run the risk of getting out of control. Bankers talk of "creating a two-lane highway between our clients and the policymakers", "promoting environmental stewardship" and, of course, "expanding our environmental footprint".

Fundamental to all the discussions is the following question: "What does climate change mean for us?"

Translation: "If we can work out and even influence what our clients do in this area, then we’ll be in a position to make a lot of money out of their actions."

Such a reading of the situation is perhaps cynical. If you believe that markets must play a key role in combating global warming, then any attempt to broker consensus between their core constituents must be a positive. At the margins, investment banks are even prepared to share some of their ideas: heads of various bank environmental committees can and do on occasion meet up for the greater good.

Up to a point, of course.

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