Sustainable Payments The Next Frontier

In providing the fuel and rails for the modern economy, the potential for payments to impact on sustainability cannot be underestimated. As rapid, global digitization continues to transform all aspects of our lives, payments are pivotal: almost every digital activity relies on a payment system.

As a result, there is a responsibility incumbent on payment providers in funding and increasing awareness to sustainability.

Amongst both businesses and consumers, there is also a greater awareness of the role of sustainable finance, which is playing an increasingly critical part in influencing investment decisions. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) initiatives undertaken by payments can play a huge role in influencing these decisions.

Why is a sustainable payments industry important?

Firstly, necessity. The pandemic has significantly changed the structure of the economy, causing a decline of physical cash and digitizing businesses – all contributing to the reduction of reliance on carbon emitting processes.

The second reason is consumers. Regardless of industry, consumers are increasingly choosing businesses that share their environmental goals.

Consumers are also influencing investor pressure. Businesses are now looking to invest in environmentally friendly ways: two out of three French and German retail investors say they will invest in sustainable ways even if there is cost involved2. This is also visible in the green bond market, in 2022 green bond issuance has increased 49% year-on-year, with the market set to hit $1 trillion globally in 20213.

The third reason is regulatory. Increase in regulations, especially within Europe, is driving transparency in this space, with change being brought about thanks to the Paris agreement, COP 26 and other targeted regulations.

Challenges in the sustainable payments industry

  • Greenwashing
    Different standards, definitions and regulations can cause confusion and allow ‘greenwashing’. Incoming regulations will force industry standards and transparency, but rising focus on greenwashing is driving financial institutions to take a more cautious to ESG-linked products and solutions.
  • Geopolitical tensions
    World events can have a ‘butterfly effect’, increasing cost of living. This can result in challenges such as an impact on consumer demand, and the likelihood of consumers choosing green options when faced with financial insecurity.
  • Unintended consequences
    If not managed carefully, sustainable financing could cause unforeseen negative effects on society, such as job losses as a result of cutting finance to fossil fuel industries. Other unintended consequences for green initiatives should also be considered, for example by-products of electric cars including toxic and non-recyclable batteries.

How is J.P. Morgan making payments environmentally sustainable?

The payments scope is wide – stretching across every conceivable industry. As a common denominator between these industries, we have undertaken a program of workshops and client meetings to  recognize and support ESG needs, which vary considerably between industries. Environmental efforts are  concentrated for technology, media and telecoms as well as consumer and retail, diversified industries and natural resources. However, healthcare, utilities and public sector, alongside Financial Institutions, are targeting their focus on social and governance concerns.

Our approach to ESG management includes having robust governance systems, risk management and controls at a firmwide level. Equally important for us in J.P. Morgan is the social aspect –  investing in our employees and cultivating a diverse and inclusive work environment, and working to strengthen the communities in which we live and work.  At J.P. Morgan, we are advancing sustainable solutions for our clients and within our operations in several ways:

  • Minimizing the environmental impacts of our physical operations
  • Maintain carbon neutral operations since 2020
  • Transition J.P. Morgan’s fleet to electric vehicles by 2025
  • 100% paper purchased from renewable sources and reduce office paper by 90%
  • Working with organizations to advance sustainable development

Financing positive ‘green’ solutions. We are aiming to finance and facilitate more than $2.5 trillion over 10 years to advance climate action and sustainable development, including $1 trillion for green initiatives.

Last year, J.P. Morgan released the 2030 emission reduction targets for the Oil & Gas, Electric Power, and Auto Manufacturing financing portfolios4. In addition, we have expanded our financing restrictions on activities such as oil and gas development in the Arctic.

Specific to payments, we are developing financial solutions that drive action on climate change and generate other positive environmental impacts. In sustainable Supply Chain Finance in particular, our compelling alliance with Taulia and Ecovadis provides a sustainable SCF program that assesses sustainability of suppliers and offers tired pricing based on rating.

Based on our conversations with multi-national corporates in Europe, it is clear that sustainability sits at the heart of their corporate strategy for the future.

Every company has become a climate company in its own right, as we all work towards a common goal of limiting the impact of climate change. At J.P. Morgan, we would like to reiterate our commitment to supporting our clients, communities and colleagues by working towards a new frontier of sustainable payments where we not only invest in our platforms but in our planet.

Source: Earth Day 2022 – Sustainable Payments | J.P. Morgan

Related contents:

Hellenic Bank: Green loans and social practices for a sustainable futureRich countries must do their part in fixing climate change – UK Premier The New Times

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Malaysia forwards three proposals to boost international cooperation Malay Mail

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How Imposter Syndrome Ends Up Costing You Money

We hear about the insidious effects of imposter syndrome all the time. How it holds us back from career progression, negates our self-worth and inhibits us from pursuing what we want to do. But according to research, it’s not just our mental health that’s impacted, but our wallets, too.

So what is imposter syndrome? “Imposter syndrome is a common mindset whereby we believe ourselves to be less competent than others perceive us to be,” explains clinical psychologist, Dr Jo Gee. The reason it tends to impact our money is that it’s so entwined with our careers. “Imposter syndrome can lead people to downplay successes, question their salary and even avoid promotions,” says Gee, adding that “it often results in symptoms of burnout from overworking, feelings of inadequacy and self-critique, a lack of satisfaction at work and a fear of asking for help.”

Alina Jaffer, financial expert at Virgin Money, explains the six key ways in which imposter syndrome works to keep us from meeting our financial potential. From the costs associated with FOMO to the FOAM (Fear Of Asking for More), we could be letting thousands slip by. Ahead, Jaffer and Dr Gee share the ways that imposter syndrome can hold us back financially, and their tips for combatting them.

Putting a blocker on pay rises and promotions

Asking for a pay rise is a tricky conversation that many don’t feel comfortable with and imposter syndrome can make this feel even more difficult,” says Jaffer. Sometimes it feels like we’re lucky to just have the job, so when faced with a conversation as tense as money and raises, the pressure to make your case can make you want to hide in the storage cupboard.

But remember, you have every right to approach the subject. If your managers make you feel audacious for asking to be paid for good work, that’s their corporate Stockholm Syndrome, not yours. All you can do is be prepared with clear reasons for your desire for a raise or promotion, and, as Jaffer advises, “try not to any feelings of inadequacy hold you back from having those difficult conversations that need to be had.”

FOMO costs

“Imposter syndrome can cause us to overcompensate in social settings, making us feel the need to prove ourselves or justify our friendships,” says Jaffer. Therefore, imposter syndrome sufferers may experience FOMO more regularly, spurring them to spend money unnecessarily for the sake of simulating a good time. What then happens is that we find ourselves without much left over to add to our savings.

Research even reveals that more than a third of people feel jealous when their friends go out without them and, on average, will spend around $628 a year on events they did not want to attend. That’s a lot of money to be shelling out when we really just want to be at home. According to Dr Gee, it’s all about getting pragmatic with your planning.“If you experience FOMO, we suggest saying ‘yes’ to a limited number of social events that you want to attend,” she suggests. “Using Likert scales where we rate our enthusiasm for a social event (from 1 ‘I don’t want to go’; to 10 ‘I really want to go’), can help to banish FOMO and guide us to what we really want to engage with.”

Buying into the trends

Women on average are spending around $1,800 to $4,800 each year on new clothing, about 27kg in weight, while throwing 23kg worth of clothing and textiles into landfills each year — and only wearing approximately 60% of these new clothes. This means you could be spending hundreds on outfits that you think will help you look the part, when in reality they’re going to waste.

Unfortunately, imposter syndrome makes it impossible for us to internalise our successes and, as a result, we can overly focus on our external facade to help us feel more confident. But as Gee notes, studies have shown that those with imposter syndrome who compensate through fashion report greater feelings of inauthenticity and lower scores in confidence. “Try ditching the catwalk for a mindfulness app… this practice has been shown to create long-lasting brain changes, which are even visible on MRI scans!”

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Overworking

Are you a perfectionist at work? “Imposter syndrome can result in individuals striving to meet impossible standards,” says Jaffer. And while we’ve been led to believe that putting in extra hours will get us noticed for the right reasons, and might even feel essential to getting a promotion.

But what we’re ultimately doing is setting an unhealthy precedent for work boundaries, and pushing ourselves to limits that could see us burn out before we even get to where want to go, as noted by Jaffer. “This immense pressure can lead to burnout and consequently, you might end up stagnating your career progression further and potentially missing out on that pay rise.”

“If you experience imposter syndrome, we suggest a two-pronged approach where you aim for 75% productivity, while seeking feedback and reassurance from colleagues regarding your work,” adds Gee. “This provides direct feedback which you can use to challenge your need to revert to your high standards.”

Avoiding financial advice

With imposter syndrome comes the belief that we’re not mentally equipped to handle big things, and, in some cases, we tend to bury our heads in the sand, preferring instead to avoid the stress of overwhelming life admin. But in news that will shock no one, your money isn’t just taking care of itself.

So if you’re not on top of your funds, not only are you going to miss out on financial opportunities, but you’re also going to fall into the trap of having to rely on banks and other institutions for everything, instead of knowing what’s happening with your money yourself. “While it’s difficult to quantify just how much money you could be losing out on,” explains Jaffer, “avoiding financial advice will ultimately have a negative impact on your finances.”

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Gee recommends asking for help, not even necessarily from professionals, but from those who know how to tell it straight. “As people with imposter syndrome fear being caught out as ‘imposters’, they rarely ask for help,” she explains. “If you suffer from imposter syndrome, set yourself a challenge to ask someone for help each month and make sure one month’s request for support revolves around your finances.”

Playing it safe

More and more people have been galvanised to become their own bosses during the pandemic. But the thing about imposter syndrome is that it can make taking this kind of plunge feel impossible and out of reach. And when we’re second-guessing ourselves, we tend to half-ass our plans or give up on them altogether, leaving it to the people who can do it. But that kind of defeatist attitude doesn’t get us far, especially when we know we’re working with great ideas and are just struggling to get started with them.

“Imposter syndrome can hold people back from starting up their own businesses as the feelings of inadequacy can trigger our freeze mechanism, leading to procrastination and downplaying of abilities,” explains Dr Gee, who suggests that establishing a solid network is the key to getting over our hangups. “Good mentors are worth their weight in gold when thinking of starting up a new business, as their ability to guide can be enough to motivate you past your self-doubt and to a plan for success.”

When you have imposter syndrome, you likely feel so lucky to have your current job that you wouldn’t dare be brave enough to go for something else – or do something riskier, like going freelance or starting your own business.

‘More than three million UK workers are looking to set up their own businesses in 2022 and almost half dream of becoming their own boss,’ says Alina. ‘However, imposter syndrome can make taking the plunge feel impossible. ‘Research reveals that side hustles can earn individuals an average of £4,500 a year, which you may miss out on should your anxiety hold you back.’ Dr Jo adds: ‘Imposter syndrome can hold people back from starting up their own businesses as the feelings of inadequacy can trigger our freeze mechanism, leading to procrastination and downplaying of abilities.’

‘In the current climate, regularly checking in on your finances can be daunting but it’s important to remember that it’s not unusual to find yourself feeling anxious or weighed down by money worries. ‘Instead of punishing yourself for any financial mishaps, focus on financial recovery and remember you can always seek professional advice if you’re not sure how to start.

‘Several financial advice services are available, whether you’re looking for guidance on managing debt, creating a budget, claiming benefits, or any other money concerns.’ We’d add a suggestion to that – if imposter syndrome is taking over your life, talk to a mental health professional. Let’s get to the root of the issue, unlearn these self-defeating thoughts, and start going for what we really want. A little extra cash will be a bonus.

Source: How Imposter Syndrome Ends Up Costing You Money

Related contents:

Imposter syndrome can affect any of us, irrespective of skill or position’ 

12:03 Fri, 24 Jun

11:57 Fri, 24 Jun

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سندرم ایمپاستر یا نشانگان خودویرانگری[۱] (به انگلیسی: impostor syndrome) یک پدیده روانی است که در آن افراد نمی‌توانند موفقیت‌هایشان را بپذیرند. بر خلاف آنچه شواهد بیرونی نشان می‌دهد که فرد با رقابت و تلاش به موفقیت رسیده، خود فرد تصور می‌کند که لیاقت موفقیت را ندارد و فریب‌کار است. فرد مبتلا به این نشانگان، موفقیت خودش را در نتیجهٔ خوش‌شانسی، زمان‌بندی خوب یا فریب دادن دیگران می‌داند و این موضوع که فرد باهوش یا تلاش‌گر است توسط خودش مورد پذیرش قرار نمی‌گیرد. این عبارت برای اولین بار توسط روانشناسان در مقاله ۱۹۷۸ عنوان شد و در آن برآورد شد که حدود ۷۰ درصد از انسان‌ها، نشانه‌هایی از این سندرم را در خود دارند. محققین از آن به عنوان مسئلهٔ مؤثر بر زنانی یاد می‌کنند که علی‌رغم داشتن جایگاهی برجسته در تحصیل و حرفه‌ٔ خود، پافشاری می‌کنند که هیچ استعدادی ندارند و هر کسی را که غیرِ این بیندیشد، نادان می‌پندارند. اما بسیاری از زنان موفق نسبت به اجرای خوب کار خود اضطراب دارند. دکتر سندی مان، استاد روان‌شناسی دانشگاه مرکزی لنکشر در بریتانیا، سه ویژگی اصلی سندرم ایمپاستر یا نشانگان خود‌ویرانگری افراد موفق را چنین بیان می‌کند:[۲] اولین ویژگی آن این است که افراد فکر می‌کنند دیگران تصوری اغراق‌شده و بیش‌از اندازه از توانایی‌ها و مهارت‌های آنها دارند، تصوری بسیار بزرگ‌تر از آنچه خود فرد از خودش دارد دومین ویژگی این است که شما در هراس شدیدی هستید که دست‌تان رو شود و دیگران فکر کنند در مورد توانایی‌های خود آنها را فریب داده‌اید. سومین ویژگی این است که به طور مداوم موفقیت‌های خود را با عوامل بیرون از توانایی و مهارت خودتان مقایسه و اندازه‌گیری می‌کنید و می‌سنجید …هانی لنکستر جیمز، روان‌شناس می‌گوید: «تجربهٔ داشتن سندروم ایمپاستر مانند این است که در تمام عمر با این ترس و نگرانی زندگی کنیم که دیگران ما را فریبکار بدانند و روزی بفهمند که در حد انتظارات و توقعات آنها نبوده‌ایم»

What To Know About How Monkeypox Spreads—And Whether You Should Wear A Mask

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sparked confusion over monkeypox this week after deleting a recommendation for travelers to wear face masks to protect against the disease, a u-turn that shed light on the different ways the virus spreads amid escalating outbreaks across Europe and North America—here’s what to know about how the disease is transmitted.

Monkeypox does not spread easily between people and is transmitted through prolonged close contact with an infected animal or person or objects contaminated by someone with an infection like towels, clothes or bedding.The virus mainly spreads via direct contact with infectious monkeypox sores, scabs or bodily fluids, though it can also be transmitted via respiratory droplets, the kind of large particles produced when people breathe, talk, cough or sneeze.

These respiratory droplets do not travel very far and drop to the ground quickly, Dr. Jake Dunning, an infectious disease researcher at the University of Oxford, told Forbes. It’s not clear whether or not monkeypox can also spread via aerosol—tiny liquid particles that can linger in the air—a mode of transmission often used to designate a disease “airborne.”

Dunning called the term “unhelpful” as many people use it to describe different things, though said it is possible that short-range aerosols could be involved in transmitting monkeypox. More research will be needed to know for sure, he said, adding that he would be “surprised” if research showed long-range aerosol transmission, given current evidence suggesting long-range transmission is unlikely.

If monkeypox can be transmitted sexually. A significant portion of the monkeypox cases identified in Europe and the U.K. have been among men who identify as gay or bisexual or have sex with other men with no history of travel to parts of Africa where monkeypox is endemic. While the virus is not known to be sexually transmitted—though a degree of close physical contact can be assumed—the pattern had scientists wondering if other modes of transmission were involved and experts have cautioned against stigmatizing members of the community.

Experts stress the risk from monkeypox is not limited to men who have sex with men and note the pattern could be explained by other factors. These could include health officials searching for, and thus finding, more cases within this group, members of the community being more proactive about their sexual health and more likely to visit clinics or the disease spreading thorugh sexual and social networks.

Researchers in Europe recently detected monkeypox virus in the semen of several patients, however, suggesting direct sexual transmission may be possible. Further research will be needed to determine whether this is the case, Dunning said. It’s not clear how the virus came to be in the seminal fluid or whether it was “added” at some point after ejaculation, he explained.

On Monday, the CDC raised its alert on monkeypox to Level 2—the level below advising against non-essential travel—updating its guidance and encouraging travelers to “practice enhanced precautions.” The guidance, which stressed the risk to the general public is “low,” advised those traveling to areas where there’s a monkeypox outbreak to avoid contact with sick people, contaminated materials and wild animals.

It also suggested travelers wear masks to help protect against monkeypox, though the agency quietly removed this recommendation, stating it had “caused confusion.” The agency does still recommend face masks, alongside other protective gear, for those who may be in close contact with a confirmed monkeypox patient and health workers caring for monkeypox patients. Dr. Hugh Adler from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Oxford’s Dunning both told Forbes masks are worn in clinical settings as part of a standard set of protective equipment for dealing with diseases like monkeypox.

On their own, masks may not be that useful in protecting against monkeypox given the multiple ways the disease can spread, they added. Given the very low risk of the general public coming into contact with someone with monkeypox, Adler said wearing masks doesn’t make a lot of sense. Dunning said the debate over masks is similar to discussions going on around the world with several other emerging infections and is “heavily influenced” by the Covid-19 pandemic.

45. That’s how many cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the U.S. as of Thursday, according to the CDC. More than 1,300 cases have been confirmed in nearly 30 countries outside of Africa, according to public health data compiled by Global.Health, a team of researchers and technologists tracking the outbreak. The majority of these are in Europe—the U.K. has identified 321 cases, Spain 198, Portugal 191 and Germany 113—with a notable cluster of 110 cases in Canada. More cases are suspected but not confirmed.

Orthopoxviruses like monkeypox are “hardy and stable” and can survive for weeks or months in shed skin flakes and dust if the conditions are right, Oxford’s Dunning told Forbes. This means items like contaminated bedding or towels used by monkeypox patients could theoretically pose an infection risk for a long time. “Clouds” of skin flakes or dust that might form when changing the bed of an infected person could, for example, pose a risk of infection, Dunning added, though more research will be needed to examine the possibility.

Monkeypox gaining a foothold. Monkeypox is not a new virus and is a well-known entity that has been circulating in parts of Central and Western Africa for decades. It’s typically mild and goes away on its own in a month or so—though it can be lethal and is more dangerous for children and pregnant people—and there are several useful vaccines and treatments available designed to tackle smallpox, a similar virus that has been eradicated.

Experts, including WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, say the sudden and unexpected appearance of monkeypox in multiple countries at once suggests the virus may have been circulating undetected in non-endemic countries for some time, though it’s unclear for how long. While Tedros said it’s not too late to contain the outbreaks at the moment, he warned there is a “real” risk of the virus “becoming established in non-endemic countries.”

It’s possible the virus could spread to wild animal populations and gain a foothold outside of Africa that way, several researchers studying how viruses spread from animals to humans told Forbes. Rodents—which are suspected of harboring the virus in Africa—and squirrels are the most likely animal reservoirs in the U.S., University of Minnesota virologist Matthew Aliota said, and Georgetown University’s Ellen Carlin said the animals should be an “important planning consideration” for officials tackling the outbreak.

I am a London-based reporter for Forbes covering breaking news. Previously, I have worked as a reporter for a specialist legal publication covering big data and as a freelance

Source: What To Know About How Monkeypox Spreads—And Whether You Should Wear A Mask

Related News:

Monkeypox Can Be Airborne, Too

Here Are The Companies That Could Profit As Governments Scramble To Secure Monkeypox Treatments And Vaccines

Monkeypox: Here’s What You Need To Know About The Rare Virus Found In The U.S., U.K. And Europe

Monkeypox is a new global threat. African scientists know what the world is up against

Monkeypox vaccination begins — can the global outbreaks be contained?

“Signs and Symptoms Monkeypox”.

Transmission Monkeypox”

“2003 U.S. Outbreak Monkeypox”

Human monkeypox”

“Treatment | Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC”.

Smallpox Vaccine Supply & Strength”. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

“FDA approves first live, non-replicating vaccine to prevent smallpox and monkeypox”.

Treatment | Monkeypox | Poxvirus

Multi-country monkeypox outbreak in non-endemic countries”. World Health Organization.

Monkeypox cases reported in these countries so far. Check full list here”.

“Monkeypox cases investigated in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia”

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Want To Change Your Life? Don’t Think One Year Into The Future — Think 10

You may be familiar with the saying “The future starts now.” As catchy as this phrase may be, it is fundamentally not true. The future doesn’t start now, or tomorrow, or next month—at least not if you want to get the most out of mental time travel. It takes much longer than that for the full benefits of the future to kick in. But when exactly the future starts depends on who you are and what your life circumstances are like. Let me tell you about a simple game I invented. If you play along, you’ll get a pretty good idea of when the future starts for you.

Every time I teach a futures-thinking class, I begin with a quick game of When Does the Future Start? I ask everyone: “If the future is a time when many or most things in your life will be different than they are today, how long from now does that future start?” I ask them to write down their answer in days, weeks, months, or years.

This isn’t a trick question, and there’s no single correct answer. In fact, usually there are dozens of different answers, all of them valid: a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now, twenty years from now. (If you want to play along, go ahead and think of your answer to this question now.) That said, 10 years is far and away the most common answer to the question “When does the future start?” In the responses I’ve collected from more than 10,000 students, almost everyone agrees: Ten years is enough time for society and my own life to become dramatically different.

What makes 10 years such a magic number for the mind?

Most of us have internalized the power of 10 years to create change through a combination of our own lived experience and social convention. We think about our own lives as a series of 10-year-long periods: our 20s, our 30s, our 40s, and so on. We use these milestone birthdays to reflect on what we want our next decade of life to be like.

And we talk about decades as units of time in which society changes: think about how different the 1920s were from the 1910s, the 1960s from the 1950s, or how different the 2020s have already been from the 2010s. Anyone who has lived through more than one decade, or studied history, already has a clear mental model of just how much can change in 10 years.

If you look at recent history, 10 years really does seem almost like a magic number. You can find myriad examples of new ideas and actions creating a previously unimaginable social reality over the time span of a decade, give or take a few months. This is particularly true when it comes to social movements achieving historic victories, and new technologies achieving global impact. To consider just a few examples, it took, give or take a few months:

• 10 years for the civil rights movement against racial segregation in the United States to go from its first boycott of segregated bus seating to the successful passage of the federal Civil Rights Act (1955–1964)

• 10 years for the first international economic sanctions against South Africa’s segregationist apartheid system to lead to a new constitution that enfranchised Black South Africans and other racial groups (1985–1996)

• 10 years for same-sex marriage to go from being considered controversial when it was legalized by a country for the first time (the Netherlands) to being supported in global surveys by a majority of people in a majority of countries (2001–2010)

• 10 years for marijuana to go from being legalized for all uses in one US state, Colorado, to being decriminalized in 44 out of 50 states (2012–2021)

And it took:

• 10 years from when just 16 million people, mostly scientists and other academic researchers, were using the internet—they thought it would be used mostly to share scientific data—to when 1 billion people were using it (1991–2001)

• 10 years from the first iPhone release until a majority of people on the planet had smartphones, creating a new era of always-on communication (2007–2017)

• 10 years for Facebook to go from one user to 1 billion daily users, on its way to becoming the first product used by more than 1 in 3 humans on the planet (2004–2015)

• 10 years for Bitcoin to go from being a hypothetical idea discussed in a scientific article to having a nearly $1 trillion market capitalization, larger than the three biggest U.S. banks combined (2008–2019)

• 10 years from Airbnb’s and Uber’s foundings for a full 36 percent of U.S. workers to be engaged in some form of “gig work” (2008–2018)

• 10 years for Zoom to go from its first user testing session to becoming a critical lifeline for humanity during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the de facto tool for learning, work meetings, and staying in touch with friends and family (2011–2020)

In other words: Things that are small experiments today in 10 years can become ubiquitous and world-changing. And social change that seems improbable or unimaginable—well, in 10 years that can change, too.

Of course, not all goals for change can be achieved in a decade—many social movements take much longer. And progress doesn’t just stop after 10 years. The purpose of looking 10 years ahead isn’t to see that everything will happen on that timeline—but there is ample evidence that almost anything could happen on that timeline. And for that reason, 10 years helps unstick our minds. Ten years helps us consider possibilities we would otherwise dismiss.

Ten years even relaxes us a bit as we try to imagine preparing for dramatic disruptions or for a radical rethinking of what’s normal—because 10 years gives us time to get ready. And it’s for this reason that whenever I send people on mental time trips to the future, I almost always send them 10 years ahead. Futurists want people to go somewhere they believe anything can be different—even things that seem impossible to change today.

When we think on a 10-year timeline, it’s not just that we are more likely to believe that dramatic change can happen in the world. We become more optimistic and hopeful about what we can change through our own efforts. This has to do with a psychological phenomenon known as time spaciousness. It’s the relaxing and empowering feeling that we have enough time to do what really matters—to consider our options, make a plan, and act more confidently to create the future we want.

It is almost impossible to create a sense of time spaciousness when we’re thinking in a matter of days or weeks. But when thinking ahead 10 years … ah, it’s so much time! On a 10-year timeline, we don’t feel rushed. We have plenty of opportunity to develop new skills, collect resources, recruit allies, learn from our mistakes, bounce back from setbacks, and do whatever else we need to do to get the best possible outcome. This feeling of abundance makes us less risk-averse and therefore more creative. We have all the time we need to play with ideas, try new things, and experiment until we figure out what works.

Interestingly, brains respond to abundant space in the same way as they do to abundant time. Studies have found that we also think more creatively and set higher, “maximal,” goals for ourselves when we’re in rooms with higher ceilings or outside in a wide-open environment. With maximal goals, we focus on the upper boundary: What is the highest and best possible outcome we can imagine? So I like to think of a 10-year timeline as a kind of cathedral or Grand Canyon for the mind. It lifts the ceiling on our imagination.

When we feel time-poor, on the other hand, it’s like being stuck in a tiny, depressing room with no windows. We shrink ourselves and imagine less. We adopt “minimal” goals, which means we try to do just enough to avoid a bad outcome. As one team of expert psychologists put it: “A maximal goal reflects the most that one could wish for, whereas a minimal goal reflects bare necessities or the least one could comfortably tolerate.”

Do you have a sense of whether you’re waking up each day focused on maximal or minimal goals? Whether you’re feeling time-rich or time-poor? Setting goals for yourself (or your family, or your community, or your organization) on too short a timeline usually creates the feeling of being time-rushed. So does being too busy, but that’s not something you can always control. So rather than drastically reduce what’s on your schedule, it’s much easier to control how far out in the future you’re imagining when you think about changes you’d like to achieve.

You may not be used to goal setting on a 10-year timeline. We usually think about making personal change year by year, most commonly by making resolutions at the start of the New Year. But a one-year resolution won’t help you think maximally, and you won’t feel a sense of time spaciousness if you’re trying to achieve a big goal in just one year. So next New Year’s Day, why not try a new tradition? Make a 10-year resolution.

What could you (or your family, or your community, or your organization) accomplish if you had 10 years to do it? What would the long-term impact of a new habit be if you practiced it for 10 years? Let your mind play with some bigger possibilities. Now this idea may not sound appealing to you at first. When it comes to making resolutions, you don’t want to be different in 10 years; you want to be different as soon as possible! So go ahead and keep making short-term resolutions. And try to stretch your imagination a decade further too, while you’re at it.

If you want to get a taste of time spaciousness right now, here’s a trick you can try: pick a tiny task—and give yourself 10 years to do it. You might think that having all this time will make you more likely to procrastinate, and you’ll never actually get around to doing it. But procrastination, paradoxically, is more likely to happen when you feel time-poor. When you feel like you have less time to get things done, you do less.

And when you feel you have ample time, you do more. Studies show this is true completely independent of how much “free” or unscheduled time a person has. What matters is whether your brain perceives an abundance of time. So give it a try. Give yourself luxurious 10-year deadlines. You might be surprised at how much faster and more happily you do things you’d otherwise put off when you feel time-rich, and therefore more in control of your timeline.

I want you to try this, for real: go ahead and put a deadline, or some other small goal, on your personal calendar, for 10 years from today. Google’s and Apple’s calendar apps will let you schedule things 10 years in the future. While you’ve got your mental or digital calendar open, let’s try a mental time trip. Imagine it’s 10 years from today, and you wake up incredibly excited about … something. You’ve got a special event on the calendar. What is it?

To help you imagine this future more clearly, skip ahead in your digital calendar to 10 years from today. Now, fill in the blank space. What do you have planned, 10 years from today? Who are you doing it with? What will you be wearing? What supplies will you need? Why is this activity important or exciting for you? And how do you feel now that the day is here? Try to answer all these questions and imagine the day ahead as vividly as you can. Be sure to think about how you and your life circumstances might be different from today, and how those differences might change what you want or are able to do.

As with any mental time trip to far in the future, it may take a few moments for your brain to start filling in the blanks. Sometimes it helps to plant the seed of imagination in your mind now and come back to it later. Just keep the calendar open and keep playing with possibilities. My challenge for you is to put something exciting—maybe even something life-changing—on your real-world calendar for 10 years from today. You’ll have a whole decade to decide if you want to actually make it happen.

By Jane McGonigal

What Is ESG’s Significance To Business Leaders?

No matter where you sit in a business, you’ll likely have heard of environmental, social, and governance (ESG). Your peers in finance, legal/compliance, and risk will have heard of it a lot. And we’ll all be hearing a lot more about it in the coming years. But ESG can mean a lot of different things, depending on who is saying it and the context in which they’re saying it, which leads to confusion.

What Is ESG?

Essentially, ESG denotes the qualitative and quantitative data that either:

  • describes a business’s environmental status, societal characteristics, and corporate governance (thus ‘E’ for environment, ‘S’ for social and ‘G’ for governance) or …
  • … reflects a business’s or sector’s or investment’s exposure to, and management of, environmental-, social-, or governance-related risks.

The data points can vary, but the World Economic Forum and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board provide common lists.

The Significance For Businesses

Interest in ESG started with arguments such as those of Harvard economist Michael Porter that businesses (and capitalism as a whole) benefit from thinking about value generation beyond the purely economic — that is, businesses should focus their value generation on all of their stakeholders (including communities, employees, and customers), not just shareholders or owners.

This broader interpretation of value would provide for longer-term competitiveness, profit, and business health, because it both drives down risk and makes the most of scarce resources. In fact, it was the investment community that coined the term, as they sought to widen their analysis to nonfinancial factors

This broader understanding of value generation has worked its way into the echelons of corporate management; even the cradle of Milton “profit is everything” Friedman, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, teaches ESG.

ESG performance, the managerial decisions that drive it, and the data points that reflect it have become a form of proxy measurement on the quality of a business’s management, right alongside its financial data. Naturally, they have then become a matter of board attention, leaders’ attention, and operational discussions, with supporting functions, processes, and technologies across a company.

ESG now features much more prominently in just about every company’s key strategic discussions, especially at its highest levels. As the battle over Exxon last year and McDonald’s right now show, these decisions determine the futures of companies. And Elon Musk’s recent ESG post on Twitter, meant to disparage the term, reveals its importance even in companies that resist its influence.

Expect ESG to become more important, driven especially by climate change and scrutiny of capitalism’s social impact but also by companies’ efforts to seek competitive advantage and differentiation and investors’ desire to incorporate nonfinancial analysis for better returns.

ESG investing, despite the criticisms, is becoming increasingly popular and is most likely to be an investing approach used by millennials. Morgan Stanley Bank (NYSE: MS) recently conducted a survey that found that nearly 90% of millennial investors were interested in pursuing investments that more closely reflect the values they hold.

By 2018, approximately $12 trillion worth of investment assets were selected using a socially responsible investing strategy. As millennials begin to comprise a larger segment of the total pool of investors, you can expect ESG investing to expand right along with them.

The financial services industry’s responded to the growing demand for ESG investments by making moves such as offering ESG-focused exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Both of the two largest ETF providers – BlackRock and Vanguard – offer clients a choice of ESG-focused funds. BlackRock added six new ESG funds in 2020, and its equity investment team now includes a Head of Sustainable Investing. Brokerage firms now customarily offer stock analysis employing ESG investment strategies, and robo-advisors such as Wealthfront can be set to seek out socially responsible investments.

Although ESG metrics are not currently a required part of financial reports for publicly traded companies, a growing number of companies are proudly including them in their reported statements or a separately issued document. Increasingly there is consensus among many regulators that some form of standardized ESG disclosures will be required of publicly-traded companies on most major global stock exchanges.

Each of the three elements of ESG investing – environmental, social, and corporate governance – comprises a number of criteria that may be considered, either by socially responsible investors or by companies aiming to adopt a more ESG-friendly operational stance.

While many ESG criteria are rather subjective (such as evaluations of “diversity” or “inclusion”), moves are occurring on several fronts that are designed to provide more objective, credible ratings of a company’s performance in terms of ESG policies and actions.

In the past, a company’s standing in terms of ESG has often depended less on substantive practices and more on how good the company’s public relations department is. Businesses such as AccountAbility offer ESG consulting services for companies that want to implement broad ESG-friendly policies and practices.

Environmental criteria include a company’s use of renewable energy sources, its waste management program, how it handles potential problems of air or water pollution arising from its operations, deforestation issues (if applicable), and its attitude and actions around climate change issues.

Other possible environmental issues include raw material sourcing (e.g., does the company use fair trade suppliers and organic ingredients?) and whether a company follows biodiversity practices on land it owns or controls.

Social criteria cover a vast range of potential issues. There are many separate social aspects of ESG, but all of them are essentially about social relationships. One of the key relationships for a company, from the point of view of many socially responsible investors, is its relationship with its employees. Following is a brief rundown of just some of the issues that may be considered when examining how a company handles its social relationships:

  • Is employee pay fair, or perhaps even generous, compared to comparable jobs or similar positions throughout the industry? What type of retirement plans are employees offered? Does the company contribute to the employee retirement plans?
  • In addition to basic wages or salary, what benefits or perks are employees provided with? With ESG-concerned investors, it can make a big difference in the evaluation of your company if, for example, you do things such as providing a free, very lavish buffet lunch for all employees every Friday – or provide other types of benefits that aren’t common at all workplaces, such as an on-site fitness center.
  • Workplace policies regarding diversity, inclusion, and prevention of sexual harassment are also frequently considered.
  • Employee training and education programs; for example, does your company provide financial support for continuing or higher education and/or flexible working hours for employees pursuing further education; what opportunities exist for employees to be trained in new job skills at the company that will qualify them for higher-paying positions?
  • What level of employee engagement with management is there? How much input do employees have in determining operational procedures within their respective departments?
  • The level of employee turnover
  • What’s the company’s mission statement? Is it socially relevant and beneficial to society?
  • How well are customer relationships managed? Does the company engage with customers on social media? How responsive and efficient is the customer service department? Does the company have a negative history of consumer protection issues, such as product recalls?
  • Does the company take a public or political stance on human rights issues? Does it donate money to charitable causes?

Governance, in the context of ESG, is essentially about how a company is managed by those in the top floor executive offices. How well do executive management and the board of directors attend to the interests of the company’s various stakeholders – employees, suppliers, shareholders, and customers? Does the company give back to the community where it is located?

Financial and accounting transparency and full and honest financial reporting are often considered key elements of good corporate governance. Also important are board members acting in a genuine fiduciary relationship with stockholders and being careful to avoid conflicts of interest with that duty. Are the board members and company executives a diverse and inclusive group?

The issue of executive compensation is a primary focus of many ESG investors, who, for example, don’t tend to favor multi-million-dollar bonuses for executives while the company imposes a salary freeze in effect for all other employees. Is extra compensation for executives appropriately tied to increasing the long-term value, viability, and profitability of the business?

An example of how responsible corporate governance is put into practice can be seen in the policies of the company, Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU). One of the company’s corporate policies that is aimed at helping to ensure that company executives take on a strong vested interest in the company’s ongoing success, rather than just in earning some quarterly bonus, is a rule that requires the top-level chief executive officer to maintain stock ownership equivalent in value to ten times their annual salary.

In addition, executive bonuses depend on more than just revenue or income – factors such as employee, shareholder, and customer satisfaction are also part of the calculation.

Forrester (Nasdaq: FORR) is one of the most influential research and advisory firms in the world. We help leaders across technology, marketing, customer

Source: What Is ESG’s Significance To Business Leaders?

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