Putting Money into Green-Transition Technologies with Ethical Markets Media’s Rosalinda Sanquiche

July 10, 2013

JOHN SHEGERIAN: Welcome back to Green is Good, and we’ve got Rosalinda Sanquiche on the show with us this morning. She’s the Executive Director of Ethical Markets Media. Welcome to Green is Good from beautiful Florida, Rosalinda. ROSALINDA SANQUICHE: Oh, thank you for having me on. I appreciate it. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Oh, we’re thrilled to have you on and Rosalinda, we have so many young people in the United States and around the world that listen to this show. Before we get into Ethical Markets, why don’t you share a little bit with our listeners how’d you even get here? ROSALINDA SANQUICHE: Well, it was actually two different pieces that got me to this stage. The first is that I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and I grew up with spending the week in the city and then spending the weekend in what is now the National Forest that we have there. It’s a rainforest, the only one that we have in the U.S., and that was property that my very extended family had so for me, it was really natural to go out into the wilds, literally, pick fruit off the trees. I learned how to make chicken soup starting with cutting the head off the chicken and I just felt very natural in that environment and we were really protective of it. It was sustenance so it didn’t occur to me that anyone didn’t see the environment that way. It’s a very natural state for me, not anything I had to come to, but more that I was born with. In The States, I went to school. I was pretty traditional. I got a degree in history and Spanish and then I was looking at grad school programs and I thought maybe I’m gonna get a degree in the history of science. How cool would that be? And I just randomly came across an environmental policy course and I’m like you can study this?! You can go to school and get a degree in something that I love and seems so natural to me and I would know better how to work within these realms that I grew up in and work towards conserving it so I got my masters degree from George Washington University and went to work for the American Wind Energy Association and just through the normal course of employment, ended up at Ethical Markets Media so it really was a combination of where I was born and then just luckily flipping through a book on grad schools. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Well, you know hot the old saying goes; ‘Man plans and God laughs,’ so you sound like it’s been a great journey and we’re so happy to have you on. Why don’t you share with our listeners out there today what is the Ethical Markets Media? And for our listeners out there that want to follow along a little bit more, go to her great website, www.ethicalmarkets.com so talk a little bit about Ethical Markets Media. ROSALINDA SANQUICHE: Ethical Markets Media was started by Hazel Henderson. She’s a world-renowned futurist, alternative economist, and just amazing person all around, an autodidact who taught herself about economics and the economy. She cut her teeth with Schumacher and he was very famous early on and she has always had this vision and absolute confidence that we as a species can do better for ourselves and can do better to protect the world and basically has been working on this message for 30-plus years and one of the things that she realized was that the media, you excluded, and thank goodness, so many others, were just not really paying attention to the real story and that mainstream media was not going to get out the information that sustainability is something that can be managed profitably, something that we can actually have, and something that can improve the lives of everyone so she started Ethical Markets Media with several different things so we have the internet platform where we’re constantly aggregated good news about the green transition. She also created a television series and that has gone around the world but it also has shown up on PBS stations here in the U.S. We are now working on a series called Transforming Finance and largely, we look at these issues from a finance, from an economic perspective, from a macro perspective, looking at really the big picture and then translating that to answer the question what can you as the individual do knowing that these issues are out there so she also has written many, many books, writes articles all the time, so we’re using media and all of its different forms to get out this really good news message and one of the things that we’ve done is kind of broken our work into different programs and we found that we needed to do a lot of the research ourselves since the media wasn’t going to feed us any of this information and one of our most important products is the Green Transition Scoreboard where we track and we’ve been doing this since 2007 — how much private money is going into green transition technologies. That’s excluding anything that any government anywhere in the world might be putting it. We want to know how much out entrepreneurs, asset managers, VPs, private people are putting in because they believe in these technologies, not necessarily because they’re tree huggers, but because they know this is the way to go and that the profit in the future is in sustainability. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Right. I’m looking at it right now on your great website, which for our listeners out there, it’s www.ethicalmarkets.com. I see this Green Transition Scoreboard right on the landing page of your website. ROSALINDA SANQUICHE: Yeah, so Hazel came up with the icon and she came up with the idea. We have a team of researchers. Hazel and I write the report every year. We do an update at the mid year point that comes out around August. We just did our latest update that came out at the end of February that said that there’s $4.1 trillion since 2007 being invested in green transition technologies. That could be anything from energy efficiency to renewable energy to refurbishing green buildings to conservation. There’s a lot that goes on in that particular area and a trillion, that’s absolutely huge and one of the points that I like to make pretty regularly is that there are not enough “environmentalists”, there are not enough “socially responsible investors” to come up with 4.1 trillion so that means that whether the mainstream is acknowledging it or not, regular people doing their regular research and looking towards the future are seeing that sustainability is the way to go. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Got it. Well, we agree with you, so talk a little bit about what’s your hot topics right now? You’re the Executive Director. What are your current priorities and projects that you’re working on and what is this project Ethic Mark? ROSALINDA SANQUICHE: Okay, so the Ethic Mark, also created by our brilliant leader, Hazel Henderson, is a program where she realized that a lot of media is driven by advertising. Advertisers pay the fees. They’re the ones who take out the ads and so therefore, they have a lot of control over what everybody sees. They also have an immense amount of power in dictating what we think, how we feel, what it is that we purchase and there is no real way that we can beat up on advertisers and say, ‘You’re doing this all wrong. You are manipulating your power not for the greater good,’ and instead, she thought how can we put out a carrot that says advertising, with all of its power, can actually do well? And so that’s when she came up with her Ethic Mark, which is an award that is given for advertising that uplifts the human spirit and society and our award in 2012, we had two categories; one for profit and one for nonprofit, and we gave the for-profit to Tom’s Shoes for their project that’s called One Day Without Shoes and it was this amazing trailer that showed a lot of celebrities and a lot of regular people all around the world saying, ‘We’re gonna go without shoes for a day so we can sympathize and be able to know what it is that people all around the world, billions of people go through, without having proper footwear’. There’s so many diseases that are transferred that way and illnesses and infections and Tom’s gives a pair of shoes for every pair that they sell so that was our for profit video and our non profit category was World Fair Trade Day 2011 and that was won by Ten Thousand Villages and it’s interesting that they received the non profit award when actually, they provide merchandise for stores, both their own stores and other fair trade stores all around the world, that sell products that are sustainable in their manufacture. That’s one piece of it but also provide living wage for those people who are creating these products and so these are advertisements that are out there showing the world that there is another way that we can do this and I used those two as an example because both of those fit into our unfortunately very commercial world. We like to buy things. Whether that’s good or bad I’ll let somebody else decide but if we’re going to purchase things, then there are lots and lots of items that can be purchased that are going to make the world better and so in 2012, the Ethic Mark picked up on that particularly. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Got it. Then what’s the future hold with regards to the Ethic Mark in terms of participation and who else can participate in the future? ROSALINDA SANQUICHE: Anyone can nominate an advertisement, absolutely anyone, and that’s really exciting for us because we have accepted nominations from Korea, from Brazil, from England, definitely from the United States, from Germany. They come in from everywhere. Some of them are funny. Some of them are poignant. Some of them are campaigns that are restricted to the internet. Some of them are just newspaper campaigns. I don’t know if you remember a few years ago there was an ad by Patagonia that said, ‘Don’t buy this jacket,’ and it was their Christmas ad and it was remarkable. It was so powerful because basically, it said, if you buy our products, just buy them when you need them and they’re that good. You’re paying for that kind of quality and if you don’t need it, don’t get it. We’ll be here when you do. And that was a really powerful message so they actually were runner up a couple years ago so that is an example of a print campaign. Sonita, which was one of the co-winners from last year, was an online campaign that mostly went out through YouTube videos and that was the power of community to come together and say we want a voice. It had actually nothing to do with sales but it was still a form of advertising, a form of a campaign that said how can you get involved? So we’re looking all over the place. I’m on the judges’ panel. I tend to prefer funny ones. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Good, and Rosalinda, we’re gonna have you come back and talk more about Ethic Mark and Ethic Markets Media, but thank you for coming on today. You’re an inspirational green leader. For our listeners out there, EthicalMarkets.com. Rosalinda Sanquiche, you are truly living proof that green is good.