So last week as I’m returning from vacation, I come across an article in the Financial Times called “A digital deluge” which is talking about the dump of tens of thousands of secret US military documents onto a website called “WikiLeaks”. To quote Professor Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard Law School
“This is the Exxon Valdez of intelligence leaks. It’s crude and messy, with uncertain implications”.
So what does this have to do with business sustainability and sustainable investing? Transparency is the answer. Yes one of the key drivers behind sustainability is that with the evolution of the internet and other media sources, information and actions can no longer be hidden. With your investors increasing looking at these sources for information, public companies need to be prepared and expect that there will only be an increase in the types of information that will make it’s way into the public domain. As the article notes:
“If a company is doing something fishy, they’ll be caught. The best way not to be exposed is to not do bad things.”
One of the key interests for a sustainable investor is to understand the economic, environmental and social implications of the practices of the companies that they own. They try to find public sources that will provide them with information that will help them understand the potential impact of these issues. Why? Because they believe such information could potentially have an impact on the valuations of the financial instruments they own. The existence of WikiLeaks just opened the door to a whole new world of information from whistle-blowers. As a public company, I suggest you pay attention.
For those interested in the article, here’s the link : http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9098a06a-9c1c-11df-a7a4-00144feab49a.html