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How can we commit to renewable investing as individuals, businesses, shareholders, and customers? This is the topic of the Shine podcast this week with my friend Joel Solomon. Joel is a Co Founding Partner of Renewal Funds, Canada’s largest mission venture capital firm, at over $200m assets under management. Investing in Organics and Environmental & Climate Technology in Canada and the USA, Renewal Funds is GIIRS-rated, a founding Canadian B Corp (5x “Best for the World”), a “1% for the Planet” member, recognized as ImpactAssets “Top 50 impact fund managers.”
In this episode, we talk about what a conscious and inclusive leader is. Joel’s early childhood and being diagnosed with a fatal disease and how that shaped the course of his life and purpose to really be a force for good in the world. We talk about the necessary intentionality, inquiry, and consciousness needed now, a year after the pandemic for individuals, businesses, shareholders and customers. Joel is the author of the clean money revolution, reinventing purpose, power, and capitalism.
Carley Hauck 00:01
Hi, this is Carley Hauck and welcome to another great episode of the Shine podcast. This podcast is all about the intersection of three things — conscious and inclusive leadership, the recipe for high performing teams, and awareness practices. These three things are more important than ever in this new remote hybrid version of work. And I will be facilitating three episodes a month. And before I tell you about our incredible topic today, I would love if you could go over to Apple podcasts, hit the subscribe button and write a positive review. If you love this episode, or if you’ve loved other episodes, it helps so much. Thank you.
Our topic for today is titled “Game On — Renewable Investing for the Soul of Humanity”. I am with my friend and colleague Joel Solomon. He is a co-founding partner of renewal funds Canada’s largest mission venture capital firm, and over $200 million assets under management. They invest in organics and environmental and climate technology in Canada and the USA. Renewal Funds is a GIIRS-rated founding Canadian B Corp five times best for the world. It is also a 1% for the planet member recognized as impact assets top 50 impact fund managers. Some of the companies that Renewal Funds invest in are some of my favorite seventh generation before it exited and was acquired by Unilever; sweet Earth, their plant based sausages are amazing. I highly recommend and they were one of renewal funds companies as well before Nestle acquired them. And there’s also goddess garden which happens to be an eco sustainable, friendly sunscreen that I use often especially in the summer months, and there are so many more.
Joel is also the author of The Clean Money Revolution: Reinventing Purpose, Power and Capitalism. In this episode, we talk about what a conscious and inclusive leader is. Joel’s early childhood and being diagnosed with the fatal disease and how that shaped the course of his life and purpose to really be a force for good in the world. We talk about the necessary intentionality, inquiry and consciousness needed now, a year after the pandemic for businesses, individuals, shareholders and customers. We speak about what a just economy is and how to invest in a regenerative way. This episode is full of inspiration and gems. Thanks for tuning in.
Hello. I am here with my new friend Joel Solomon. Joel, thank you so much for being here. It’s really a great pleasure. So one of the questions that I often ask folks that come on to the podcast, this is usually the first one is Joel, what does conscious and inclusive leadership mean to you?
Joel Solomon 03:42
It means caring. It means empathy and support for people. It means a standard of integrity and self examination. That’s essential. Thus, lifelong learning. It means paying attention to the larger ecosystem that whatever leadership we’re involved with. Everything is part of context. And it’s important to go as far as we can about the immediate, but the history behind that, why the world is the way it is about certain topics. And what can serve the people that work on whatever the project is, and the end user or the people that are affected by that work. And to me that’s part of holistic living. That’s part of being a good human being and working to figure out our purpose. I think learning what values go along with that, what we do in difficult situations, and what our true integrity is, what do we care about? What are we willing to do to act with deep values and consistent commitment? And always thinking about the long term as well as the immediate.
Carley Hauck 05:33
Wonderful, thank you. You used some really great words there — curiosity, care, looking at the immediate, the long term, recognizing the impact that you’re having, I heard purpose. And what is inherent in what you said, is, is being part of a system, you said, holistic, but really noticing how your part is impacting all the other parts is also what I heard. And I know that that’s been a bigger part of your path is this integration of systems. And I know a little bit more of your early history. And I’m wondering if you might be willing to share more around your motivation, and your commitment to renewable funds to really, you know, focusing on a more regenerative way of social investing? Could you start with how that all came to be?
Joel Solomon 06:34
Well, I have to go back to the roots a bit of family life. I grew up in a small city in the South Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the 50s and 60s. Both sides of my family came from Eastern Europe, Russia, Jewish immigrants, on my mother’s side, from the mid 19th century, and my father’s in the early 20th century. And they, their families, came from people, and places where it was not safe and welcoming for them. And they were effectively either pushed or determined that it would be a smart idea to go somewhere else. So they had to leave behind their lineage history, and the villages and places that they lived in, to try to find a better life, the same story that is endemic to the idea of America. And that followed a history that we could talk about, but I’ll just refer to as a time where people from far away came and took, took the natural resources and pushed aside the people that have lived and had lived with them for many centuries. And so it’s a constant story around the planet of people being displaced, and finding a new home and then doing the very best that they can for their families, their children, and for their communities.
Human spirit is full of the desire to do better, make things better, make it safer when possible. And the people that I come from, also believed in citizenship and being involved in the issues of society and serving in roles that might matter. So, I’ll save some of the story and just say that my parents ended up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. My mother was unique in being influenced by the late 50s, early 60s feminism. She had careers when few women did; she was one of the early recruiters on African American college campuses in the south under the Kennedy years. For the international agents, the Agency for International Development, which at the time under John Kennedy had a kind of glorious sense about it that we’re going out to help the world. She was she always was a good participating citizen, and she in her late 30s found her real work which was as an artistic photographer and she ended up for the next 50 plus years moving around the world into unique situations of everyday people and sometimes in the more affluent class juxtapositioning the lives involved, and effectively, through art showing myself, my sister, and anyone who saw her her images, some some deep insights for the viewer to interpret about the state of humanity on the planet and how we treat each other and what the effects of that are. So she is in her 90s now, and her career is really blossoming. Her name is Rosalind Fox Solomon, there’s a website under that name. And she has finally had much acclaim in her 80s and 90s, as an artist who has both documented but also expressed in an artistic way, the state of humanity, and how we interact with the world. So that’s my mother, always engaged in society influenced by early feminism, and early career woman.
Carley Hauck 11:28
And I might just add, you know, with this rise in, I guess we could call it our awakening, so to speak, around systemic oppression, racial injustice. She was very much a pioneer already working in that space. And so I feel happy to hear that her work is getting the acknowledgement and acclaim that probably wasn’t for many reasons of why this has gone on as long as it has and it we’re still not over. There’s a lot of work ahead. A lot of shifts and systems and structures that need to be hospice out, as Lynn twist would say.
Joel Solomon 12:10
Yeah, absolutely. And I was a beneficiary of seeing a model of someone who was fearless about articulating through her imagery, and challenging people’s assumptions and complacency about the world, which continues to do it today. My father came, his family came later, my mother’s family came from Eastern Europe in the first, in the middle of the 19th century. My father’s family came in the early 20th century, and they were mostly Lithuania, Russia, Poland, and were basically burned out and ran out of their villages in their homes. And grandfather was put on a boat at age 13, to avoid the Russian army draft, which would drag all people like that into 20 years of service and such. And he got on a boat, and they got to Atlanta, where there were cousins. And their experience included, there was a bad incident with a Jewish kid that was accused of rape and lynched. And the Jewish community, they got quite scared about what was going on. And they had cousins in Chattanooga, which was a quieter, safer place. They moved to Chattanooga. That’s how I got from Eastern Europe to Chattanooga, Tennessee, often known as the buckle of the Bible Belt. So it was an interesting culture to grow up in. Yeah, now it’s a wonderful boutique city, like many have created in you know, in lots of places today, and it’s, it’s, it’s done a good job of lifting itself up and coming into the modern times.
So they always believed in engaging with the issues of the day, and also with the political systems that day. And some of that would be memories from other times and other geographies where it had really been to great disadvantage to not have any involvement with how things get decided and who gets elected and things like that. So I grew up in a reasonably political family. My father was a shopping mall developer, they had been in the movie theater business and they had an opportunity to sell that and, and they went into building one of the first shopping malls in the South. And so I grew up around that business. And it didn’t interest me. I I got influenced by the reality of what the interstate highway systems, freeway interchanges, the pave paradise put up a parking lot, and the cell commodified the same goods in every Hamlet in every town in the country, and that whole industry that evolved that moved us all into being exacerbated consumers. And I had issues with that.
And I’ll skip some of the story now and just move to when I came of age, my father passed away, I inherited some money mostly was tied up in some real estate properties. But as I was able to figure out how to get cash out of it by borrowing against it, I decided that my work had to be returning to local and to neighborhood commerce and things like that. So that was the beginning of my entrepreneurship. And fortunately, it was a period in the late 70s and 80s, where the growth of the idea of impact investing and doing good through business and working on organic food companies and cleaner low toxicity kinds of businesses, and ones that you can more clearly identify with us helping people and doing less harm, and hopefully contributing to society, as opposed to the many things you can do that are simply about making money. Right.
And my mother, who challenged all of that status quo got me stuck with some moral and ethical thinking about what is an okay way to make money? And how would I want to live my life, being able to take care of my family and be involved in society, but do things that created less harm and did more good, and be dealing with entrepreneurs who cared about that. And so I was lucky enough to, to find my way into a couple of organizations in the 80s, that were early in these movements of better money, better business? How do you do maximum good in the world as possibly the legacy you care more about than How much money did you make? Now, providing for family and big and having access to resources and things is a natural instinct by human beings, people always want to put a roof over the kids and the family and have access to healthy food and a safe life. Those are human instincts that modern capitalism, and particularly the North American version has accelerated into a highly opaque and outsourced faraway, affecting lives that you never have to really face or deal with, or even know about unless you care, right?
And this ability to feel good about our own families and our own neighborhood or our community, and ignore the impact on the rest of the planet, and future generations. Just bothered me, obviously I had the right routes to question and go that direction. I live to the 60s and all the questioning that came there. But fortunately for me, I believe I am not one of those 60s people that decided to let it all go and buy fancy cars and you know, just go with the flow. And I had to direct myself to organizations, relationships, opportunities, people that I could be inspired by, and that I could believe them. And that I can be part of because of the values, morals, ethics, underneath it imperfect, sloppy, make mistakes, all of it. There’s no pitching perfection here.
But we do have choices about what to focus on, what to prioritize, what to devote ourselves to, and how to live our lives. And I refuse to believe that I had to become an evil nasty person in order to find success and satisfaction. And that part of that was to say, okay, it seems like society is building an ethic she or he with the most is the winner. And what I saw was those with the most, in many ways, had deeply challenging circumstances either spoken and noticed or unspoken and not noticed. And that the world with the the era of information and access to knowing what’s going on in many, many places, how things are made, where they came from, who’s affected by that, that these are not only important, ethical and moral principles that are legitimately, perhaps some of the most important ones. Most religions have a version of Do unto others as you have them do unto you, and similar golden rules, so to speak. But they’re kind of ignored outside the place of worship or certain situations.
And so what became clear through that period of coming of age and trying to figure out life, was that we could do things differently, that it’s a matter of choice, for those of us who have access to choice. In other words, those of us that are already beneficiaries of I’ll say non-judgmental, here, just say, of the effects of capitalism, I believe have a higher bar, to hold ourselves to, to be sure that our actions, our choices, our relationships, our our behavior, is where we, that’s where Heaven is. That’s where Heaven and Hell choices get to be made in a very pragmatic way. I was diagnosed with a family disease that my father’s side carry, which is a genetic kidney disease called polycystic kidney. And early on, I was told you could die soon, you could live long, and there’s nothing you can do about it. And that diagnosis was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. Because it caused me to inventory my life and assess and think about, what am I doing that’s actually generative, and working on to the highest purpose and the things that I care about the most, as opposed to just blindly wanting to win or accumulate.
And there’s a question that I encourage all ambitious people to do, but also inheritors, and spouses and, and owners of excess wealth, that we need to think about the fact that there are people and places at the other side of our investments, our purchases, and many of our choices. And that to accept a version of society where we don’t have to think about it is wrong. I do my best not to be judgmental of others, they’ve got to figure out what works for them. But I got very excited, between the kidney disease, which caused me to think about what the kidney does, which is to filter the blood, it caused me to start reading labels and seeing what it was putting into my body. It caused me to think about where is this coming from and child slavery for chocolate, like stripping away?
Coal, you know, it’s tearing apart the countryside to fuel things that could be done in a better way. But it’s not but it’s cheaper to do that these kinds of things. So I went through a period of 6070s and 80s, getting exposed to the business. The business thinking of the, I guess, the reformist business thinking about our impact is actually a responsibility. And we are affecting other people all the time with our choices. You and I have it tough, when we’re talking through a computer to hear the story behind the computer and where those rare metals come from and how they’re made and what kind of factories so you can go deep into this.
Soon enough one needs to start to find a place within the systems that we can harmonize our deepest values, our purpose and what we can care about and who we are, and who we’re going to be on our deathbeds. Because I was diagnosed with the fatal disease, the deathbed became a symbol for me, that’s when it’s going to matter the most. I hope I’m going to have a good time in life, I’m going to get to hang out with people I respect and trust, we’re going to be creative, we’re going to do exciting and, and awesome things. But I have to also think about who’s left out of that. What my choices are doing to affect those lives? And what can I do as a citizen, as a business person, as a moral person, as someone who cares deeply about society around me? How do I make choices that do less harm and more good, and keep going deeper? Because there’s, they’re not simple answers to that.
And now, as we reckon with colonization, genocide, moving people off their land, stealing resources, all the horrible things in Canada, right now we’re dealing with the residential schools and system and a pretty big way where Native children were stripped from their families and put in church run, schools. And there, there’s a situation right now, where hundreds of unnamed bodies have been found one of these residential schools in Canada. And there was a systematic attempt to destroy the people who lived here. So what do we do as a moral spiritual person, and I’ll simplify without going on too long about this. We do what we can. And we make commitments, to challenge ourselves, push ourselves ever to know more and understand how these systems are working. And sure, take a break and do something fun and nice, and have a good time also. But remember, that when you hand your money over to someone, the bank, the insurance agent, the wealth manager, really anything you buy, to Walmart to whoever it is. These are choices that are affecting people all over the planet. And it is not right. For us to just put blinders on about pay.
Carley Hauck 27:31
Right? Thank you, that was a great answer. The roots all the way into fruition, into the blossoming of of the impact you’ve chosen to make. And what I keep hearing you say is choice. You know, and and we do have a choice. And that’s the difference between being conscious and being unconscious, is recognizing that in this moment, every moment is a choice. And, you know, we talked a little bit about this before we started the recording. But for those folks that have gotten to know me through listening to the podcast, they know that I wrote a book and you have a book that came out a few years before mine, but my book has been out now for four months and the impetus for that. And I would say that probably been the motivation for your book, they were probably along the same length, same lines, was really to shift hearts and minds, to wake up to this different reality that that we have. And I’ve always seen my influence and my privilege has been able to really work on the inside of business, and utilize supporting leaders and business to be that lever to be a force for good to align with social justice, environmental responsibility. And there are a lot of companies doing that.
But when I think about the larger monopolies that really did well, and the pandemic, Amazon, you know, some of these huge grocery stores, the local businesses, the small business owners or owners had to had to quit, you know, even with loans and whatnot. What is the responsibility of those companies that really profited during this time? What is their responsibility to social justice to environmental responsibility? Could they orient more as a B Corp versus this, you know, this larger monopoly of a company and so I feel really curious to get your perspective. It’s ironic or not ironic that the day that we’re recording this, it is 100 degrees where you are Cortez Island, it is 100 Six here in Oregon where I am, these are record high heats, it’s never been this hot ever. And my sense is this is not over. This could become the new norm, we know that our house is literally burning down, we have a short period of time in which we can actually create the systems and structures in business, as shareholders as customers to prevent major suffering. And so I know I’m asking you a big question. But as we’re beginning to open the world back up, how can we put a deeper call to action for businesses to be a force for good for shareholders to recognize the enormous power responsibility that they have to orient in a way that is going to benefit all beings and benefit the planet? And how can we as customers, say no to certain companies or products, and say, You know what, I will not buy that if it’s not coming from a compostable container, I’m just not willing to buy it anymore. And that’s our choice, right? That’s our choice, right.
Joel Solomon 31:28
And we have to start at that consumer level where we can affect each purchase that we make, where we buy insurance, where we bank all of it, what we do with our homes, how much waste do we create, all many, many things we can do as individuals. And I care a lot about that. And I’m in the business of investing in, in some companies that are connected to helping that. And with any company that we invest in, we want them to come and be core, we want them to be attentive to their waste stream to how they treat people, knowing where their products come from, and what the conditions are, where things are made in other places, or anywhere. So there’s that.
However, I do not think that the consumer and general population is truly who has the whole risk. It’s not who has the whole responsibility. There are very, very sophisticated businesses, financial institutions, basically, the peak of capitalism, and probably other economic systems, where control over major amounts of resources and people’s lives effectively, are decided by the choices that are made there. So we must, on a consumer and citizenship level, be sure that we pay attention. When we choose a bank, when we go to a wealth manager for our retirement funds. When we do anything financial, we should know what those professionals are going to do with our money. And we should learn about what can be done to express our points of view. And to influence the makers, the purveyors and those large corporations that that help us have the wonderful parts of life where we can drive up to home, you know, all kinds of stores and walk in and buy some stuff and use a piece of plastic and go home with it and, and our house price goes up if we own a house while we’re while we’re at it. And we’re beneficiaries of an incredibly sophisticated economic system that’s been created, that benefits the few lavishly benefits some more in a solid enough way to have a state bought in and then leaves out close to 50% of the population.
If we’re talking about North America, the average savings of households of different race and ethnic backgrounds is dramatic. Some people have access, most people have less access. So there’s a lot of issues there that we’ve just spoken about. One is do not ignore politics. It’s at our peril. If we do that in history shows us that over and over again, be an informed citizen, pay attention, get involved, care. When we buy things, there are apps being created. There are resources now there are rankings of companies and judging of their supply chains and are they using basically slave labor. You know, the chocolate industry is full of child slavery. Like who’s not eating chocolate? And are we doing anything to raise these issues. So we have a responsibility as citizens, I can’t possibly list all the ways, but it’s very important to take that responsibility and take responsibility for our local communities and how things are done, but also be involved at the macro scale to the degree that we can. So that’s important.
Carley Hauck 35:30
Can I pause just for a moment I have, this is going to go out shortly. And this is in the midst of summer. And this is a different summer, because it’s the summer where our country and our world is more open. And I’d love to even give a few calls to action for folks that are traveling more this summer. You know, they’re thinking, Oh, I can get on a plane now. And I can, I can do what I used to do. But I’d love to invite more regenerative way of travel and even as we’re going from one place to another, and I’ll just use my own example, I am in Oregon for two months. I’ve sublet my house in North Carolina, whenever I travel, I bring you know, reusable tableware with me, I veto the plastic bottle of water that is given, I bring my own container. I’m not just going for a weekend road trip, I’m here for two months, I’m going to see how do I give back to the community that I’m in I’ve been going to the farmers market, I’m bringing my own bag to the grocery store, I am not accumulating loads of freakin plastic. These are my ethics.
And I still have to accumulate a certain level of plastic, I still have to drive, unfortunately, a gas guzzling car, there are certain structures and systems that are in place, that really infuriate me at times, because I would really love if we were all not emitting, you know, what about carbon from from the cars that we’re driving, we’re not all electric yet. We don’t all have solar panels on our house. But I hope that that is going to be the new norm, because solar is so cheap. So I think what I’m really wanting to invite, as we are, you know, venturing out this summer, is to really be mindful of, again, how we’re vacationing, how we’re traveling, what’s the long view. And we’re also going to have record heat all across the world this summer. You know, it’s been forecasted from the west coast to the east coast. So we can’t pretend that climate change is not real. And every action, everything that we’re buying, all these choices impact, how much suffering we’re going to have going forward. Just want to name that, because that’s right here. Yeah.
Joel Solomon 38:05
And there are several large institutions or segments of society that carry a lot of the authority and influence over how all these things get made, and how we use the resources of the planet and of people. And sort of the business community is one of those. We should have much stricter rules and regulations about what it’s okay to do in local communities due to natural environments. What we do, too, with the, with our financial resources in these companies, and how we use them, and then are they causing more damage, how we treat our workers as a whole basket of things to do with business.
Then there’s the political sector government, and there’s an elected part and there’s an appointed part, and there are multiple levels of it. And we have been systematically hoodwinked to be less involved, and to write it off, and dismiss it and just be cynical about it, rather than decide to run for office, decide to support people that you actually have looked into and you believe that they matter. And we need to push for the regulations of the commons. And the watching out for fairness of how workers are treated. Of how wealth is distributed is their fair taxation. We’ve read this has been a year of unveiling a lot about the billionaires and how little taxes they’re paying. We have models like McKenzie Bezos, Jeff Bezos, ex wife who’s writing checks right now in a you know way and at a scale That is unprecedented 10s of millions of dollars to all kinds of progressive organizations across the landscape, particularly racial, racial justice involved once. And there are more and more examples of people breaking out of the systems that just continue to feed this kind of machinery. So business politics, who govern the comments, and then also the, I guess this is part of the business side, but the financial sectors that set a lot of the precedents and the culture and customs as of what we’re supposed to believe. And most of all, they benefit by convincing us that we need infinite amounts of money. So why should participants write more stuff? Yeah.
Carley Hauck 41:00
And that’s, that’s feeding the hungry ghost. So that’s, that’s the self lack versus the self worth, right, that we really need to be worth cultivating.
Joel Solomon 41:10
Yeah. And we have, you and I are speaking at a moment in American history, where the level of discourse and leadership and the conversations that are happening in the political landscape, I’m you could be no secret that I’m a progressive democrat. From just how I’m talking, but to see the manipulation, the viciousness, the brutality, that is becoming normalized, about citizenship, and rallying together as nations or states or communities. And this is, this is deeply troubling. And it makes me want to go back and look at civics class and, and what’s being taught in elementary schools and things and the debasing of public service that’s underway, but by interests who benefit from that. So they’re there.
A lot of people don’t want to get involved in politics, or they believe it’s too messy, or, or they don’t trust it, and all these kinds of reasons. But that’s what citizenship is about: how do we contribute to the geographies and the jurisdictions that we live in and are part of that we have an opportunity to do so we are putting it at risk by not using it. And one of the most disappointing things in life today is how denigrating the point of view about political service and, and running for office and offering yourself to this very challenging leadership role. And so I think it’s important for us to find a more civil point of view, and understand the systems and how important they actually are to the balance, stability, and well being of the people and places and things we most care about.
Carley Hauck 43:20
Hmm, thank you. Well, I’m, I’m imagining that there might be folks that are listening to this, and we’re talking in some ways, very broad strokes, we’re talking about, you know, the political piece, the being really mindful of how we are buying as consumers. And then we’re also talking about how do we really inspire and hold businesses accountable. And those are, you know, there’s, there’s a lot right there, it might feel overwhelming, and some ways for folks, what I’m imagining for folks that are listening, because we’ve named a lot of really, you know, big things here as far as what needs to shift and change.
We’ve talked about really noticing the choice that we’re making with what we’re buying and the impact that’s having the companies we’re investing in and, you know, are they invested again, in in social justice and environmental responsibility? Or are they is their product actually subscribing to human trafficking or childhood slavery? We need to be mindful of that because there is a ripple effect. And then we’re also talking about how we get active politically and what I would say is that we all have a special and unique light to shine. And there is one piece of that that we can own, that we can say, this really matters to me, and I’m going to put my energy and effort towards this. That’s usually what I like to encourage is, you know, start small so that it doesn’t feel overwhelming. And I feel curious if you have any other guidance there.
Joel Solomon 45:02
Be curious and ask questions and do your best to understand the systems that you are, that we are participating in. An example is banking, almost everyone here is hearing this is probably using a bank, you may very well have insurance of one kind or another. You choose what retail store to go to what kind of products to consume, there’s just there are many, many choices, we could say micro choices and macro choices about how we influence and choose to participate in what are often opaque systems that we don’t really take the time to find out what’s behind the beautiful advertising, or the shiny new car, cell phone, etc. So the more that we are willing, and insist upon being good consumers of products and services, that many of which we need to care for families, have a home, have a job, offer all kinds of things. But we do have the choice. And there are entrepreneurs, and nonprofits that are building out systems to help us look into the companies, the banks, etc, that we’re involved with. So there are rankings and there’s lots of information that can help us then when we go into a bank.
Carley Hauck 46:40
Do you happen to have any like website or link that you might just share for folks that maybe have never looked into that. Is there one that you can point to,
Joel Solomon 46:45
Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to pull that out quickly enough effectively enough. I would say that if you search about what my bank is involved in what’s happening with my money at Wells Fargo, or that that’ll bring you lots of information. And there are organizations now and stay on, you know, they went I’ll just
Carley Hauck 47:20
I’ll just make a plug. So Bank of the West was a company that I supported in a very large way for three and a half years doing organizational and leadership development consulting. And about a year ago, they started the first ATM card that gives 1% to the planet. So Bank of the West is a subsidiary of the NP, which is a very large French bank. And so they are very steeped in corporate social responsibility. And if you’re on the west coast, you might check them out.
Joel Solomon 47:55
That’s beautiful. There are more and more corporate players like that. And they’re doing it probably because someone in leadership positions actually cares. But they’re also doing it because there’s a more and more sophisticated consumer who is insisting upon it. And I was going to make the point that when you put money in a bank, it doesn’t just sit in a sack down in the basement in a vault. That money goes all over the world as the bank goes and invests it so they can make money on your money. And one thing that’s important to do is just learn at least the surface level about these businesses and how they make their choices and how they can be affected. That’s a whole other podcast. Yeah, but it’s important. There are rating services now. And that information is getting more and more crucial.
So when you look at oil pipelines, and coal mining and destruction of nature in one way or another for some kind of natural resource, there are now nonprofits, and people who spend their lives on things like I have a good friend in Vancouver, who built an organization that tracks everything to do with paper on the planet, basically. And what does the book publishing industry use for its paper? And what do companies use for their billing and how many catalogs a day does Victoria’s Secret make it out of old growth northern boreal forests in Canada to send out millions of catalogs every day, and things like that. There are a lot of these activities that transparency, information age, maybe citizen groups are bringing forth. So that’s accountability.
I have to know something about the bank. I’m going to use I need to know something about the corporate practices of the companies that I shopped with. I insist upon understanding if I put money into a wealth management or retirement fund or things like that, that it will be doing things that I’m proud of, or that I can at least accept. And they’re not doing things with my money that would make me ill and feel embarrassed about it. And so this is a trend and a reality that’s going to get easier and easier for us as consumers, because the Information Age is bringing more transparency. It doesn’t take that much work to dig into some of these questions and find rankings of the best and the worst. And that’s part of a just economy.
I would, okay, okay, well, a just economy goes a step further than has to do with past egregious behaviors and how we might correct and make compensation, even legislatively and let people have access to and things that help us. You know, repent for our sins, and in a way that we didn’t even know we were making, because it was outsourced to some company, or a bank, or others. So this is something that any conscious person now I believe, wants to know more about.
Carley Hauck 51:43
Well, Joel, thank you. I feel like we could talk for a really long time about all of these structures and systems. And I just wanted to ask you one more question before we end. What is giving you hope right now?
Joel Solomon 52:03
I think hope is partially a choice. For some people, conditions are so tough that it’s more challenging. But for so many of us, hope can be a choice and is a choice. And hope is not just a sweet emotion. It is about our actions. It’s about how our behaviors, and our choices, and our citizenship, represent who we are in our deepest assessment of ourselves. And always thinking about the future moment when we are on our deathbed, and we’re reviewing our lives. And considering the choices that we made through our lifetimes, and and do our best to convey what actually mattered.
What was maybe a poor choice that we want to share with our grandchildren. And how can we be the very best models we can for future generations, because we are the ancestors of what’s coming? Right? We have a lot of responsibility to pass on insight, good values, responsibility, citizenship, and care for the people and places around us. Humanity is creating some very severe challenges. And I know that most all of us care about future generations, at least our own, but hopefully for humanity’s and that there is a just safe, clean planet for those future generations to enjoy, and take to the next level from what we were able to do during our time.
Carley Hauck 54:01
Thank you, Joel. You’re welcome. Is there anything else you’d like to say or a way people can find you to stay in touch?
Joel Solomon 54:18
So the book The Clean Money Revolution, Reinventing Power, Purpose, and Capitalism, you can find through your local bookstores and purveyors, there is a website, Joel, Solomon, s o l o m o n.org. that has some information background and further resources about that. I’m available on LinkedIn to connect and share a fair amount there. And I’ll just leave it at that there. There are many interests and involvements, you’ll find a fair amount about them. If you just look at Two resources or three resources that I’ve mentioned. And I like to hear from people. I welcome critique and feedback.
Carley Hauck 55:12
Thank you. Again, thank you for the incredible light that you are shining and have been shining and how you are being in service. It’s been really delightful to have this conversation and I hope that we continue to support each other and inspire others, to weave a more, you know, a beautiful world that we have not yet seen. You are a beautiful person. Joe, thank you so much for being in service, and the way that you are. Your life is truly a gift to so many. And I feel grateful we were able to have this conversation, and that you are now in my community.
We need transformational change at all levels, the individual community, business institutions and governments. We must redefine our way of life and consumption. And that is our responsibility and our opportunity right now. If this talk inspired you to be the change in your own unique way, and I can support you in that through coaching or free consultation, please reach out to me at support at Carley. Hauck comm if you have an idea, or a topic for the podcast that you would love for me to talk about. I also welcome hearing from you. Thank you for tuning in being part of the shine community and until we meet again be the light and shine the light