What We’re Reading is a roundup of current news and commentary on the challenges and opportunities of aligning business decisions with the long-term health of society. A year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its disruptive effects ripple through the economy in ways both obvious and subtle. This edition of What We’re Reading seeks to explore these ripple effects, as well as signs of a more hopeful future.
Bitter Harvest for Some in a Global Economy Changed by Russia’s War (Richard Partington and Damian Carrington, The Guardian) A powerful read with striking graphs capturing how inflation has spiked since the start of the war, particularly in commodities.
The Decline of the Nice-to-Have Economy (Christopher Mims, The Wall Street Journal) What is the view from the world transformed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? In a word: anxious. See also: Anxious Workers Aren’t Waiting for Layoffs to Make Sure They Have a Backup Plan (Ella Ceron, Bloomberg).
Winning in Green Markets: Scaling Products for a Net Zero World (The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group) If you’re in need of an optimistic read, start here. Makes a powerful, data-driven case for greener businesses.
How to Make ESG Investing Real and Meaningful (Michael Posner, Ethical Systems) Worth reading for the titular argument, but also for this nugget connecting the current debates on ESG to debates on the big picture of the global economy: “According to Refinitiv, on average ESG funds lost 18 percent last year, underperforming the market generally which lost an average of 15.5 percent. This is because many ESG funds have had an outsized reliance on tech firms whose stock did poorly in 2022, and made less investments in fossil fuel companies that performed well.”
Hamstrung by ‘Golden Handcuffs’: Diversity Roles Disappear 3 Years After George Floyd’s Murder Inspired Them (Curtis Bunn, NBC News) A piece that examines whose voices will be heard as diversity and equity roles are eliminated and those that remain are largely staffed by white people.
Tesla Workers in Buffalo Begin Union Drive (Jack Ewing, The New York Times) “Attempts to organize Tesla workers have so far failed.” Will this time be different?
Big Tech’s Massive Layoffs Will Come Back to Haunt It (Aki Ito, Business Insider) “…in the current round of layoffs, students have watched as tech companies have kicked thousands of employees to the curb…. After that, it’s hard not to see Big Tech in a different light. Suddenly, in the eyes of Gen Z, tech seems to be just as ruthless and unreliable of an employer as banking did to millennials who came of age in the Great Recession.”
The Role of Technology in the Russia-Ukraine War (Meghan McCarty Carino and Daniel Shin, Marketplace Tech) Further afield, incredible examples of technological innovation in the face of the once-unthinkable. See also: Ukraine’s Startups Kept Innovating Through 1 Year of War (Lauren Goode, Wired).
For more on our work to align business with the long-term good of society, sign up for our publications and visit our website. (Please note, the purpose of this newsletter is to highlight what Aspen BSP staff are reading, and is not intended as advertisement or endorsement of content or viewpoints.)
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