Instant Karma Newsletter 9.14.20
  • After six months of living with COVID-19, the world is getting a better sense of what is possible and what isn’t. And we’re learning that “The Great Reset” should be possible if governments and impact investors want it to happen intensely enough. 

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So many things we thought were impossible six months ago — in The Before Times, when COVID-19 wasn’t part of our everyday existence — somehow became possible.

Worldwide, more than 28 million people have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 900,000 of them have died this year. To slow the spread of the coronavirus, countries instituted lockdowns and quarantines of varying degrees. As a result of the restricted movement and decreased demand, most countries are or will be in a recession and The World Bank expects the deepest global recession in decades to last for years. The repercussions of the disease have already transformed the way we work, where we live, how we shop, and how our kids learn. And they will not stop there.

While no one wanted this health catastrophe, there is a growing #BuildBackBetter movement of people looking to address it with “The Great Reset” — using the funding governments will invest to restart their economies toward investments in environmentally friendly businesses and purpose-driven communities that work toward equality. 

COVID-19 has emphasized how the world’s racial and economic inequalities have serious consequences throughout people’s lives. It has also made investors more aware of how their money can serve multiple purposes. According to Morningstar, assets under management in sustainable investment funds topped $1 trillion for the first time in June, thanks to a surge in interest in environmental, social and governance issues. 

“There is something wrong if, when billions of people are hurting, those of us who have been investing in the stock market are better off than we were at the beginning of the pandemic,” Ford Foundation CEO Darren Walker said last week at the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment Summit. “We must reflect on this injustice.”

As unlikely as that kind of cooperation seems in our increasingly polarized world, 2020 has taught us that anything is possible.

In addition to wondering what new products Apple will unveil at its press announcement Tuesday, here’s what else we’re watching this week:

CONGRESS RETURNS (Monday): Even though all of Congress will be in session this week, apparently negotiations for another coronavirus relief bill remain at a stalemate. Rather than trying to break that stalemate, Congressional leaders are focusing on avoiding a government shutdown on Oct. 1. Progress?

WALMART+ DEBUTS (Tuesday): Walmart will roll out its Walmart+ service — a $98 annual membership that makes shipping free on orders over $35 — to compete with Amazon Prime. Though the price tag is lower than Amazon’s $119 annual fee, Walmart+ does not include any entertainment streaming like Amazon. 

FEDERAL RESERVE MEETING (Tuesday-Wednesday): The Fed already delivered quite a surprise last month, announcing it will not move to keep inflation below 2% or worry about low unemployment raising inflation, especially when it expects permanent layoffs and more business bankruptcies in the near term. What does it have in store for its meeting this week? And, when he speaks Wednesday, will Fed Chair Jerome Powell continue stressing how important wearing masks and getting COVID-19 under control is to the economy?

In case you missed it

Renewable energy will be able to supply all of the world’s electricity with existing technology, if governments cooperate, IRENA says. Upcoming Web Summit wants to bridge the gap between startups and U.N.’s Race to Zero Campaign with its tech networking. Unilever tops the GlobeScan Sustainability Leaders Report again. Will NuScale’s smaller, modular reactors boost the nuclear power industry and fight climate change?

Levity break

Come on. If rescue dogs can love and nurture orphaned kittens, can’t we all just get along?