GOOD

Why I Nominated Erika Karp for the GOOD 100

Erika told me she was out to transform the all-powerful capital markets so that they would correctly value sustainability, thereby reorienting capitalism to a higher purpose. Whoa.

Illustration by Lauren Tamaki


I first met Erika Karp after a talk I gave last September. This gregarious woman, about two feet shorter than I, approached, extended a hand, and introduced herself as “a Jewish lesbian with two kids from the Upper West Side.” She professed to have “fallen in love” with me because of something I had said during my talk: “Don’t trust anyone who refers to him or herself as an expert.” After we’d exchanged a few pleasantries, Erika told me she was out to transform the all-powerful capital markets so that they would correctly value sustainability, thereby reorienting capitalism to a higher purpose. Whoa.

I walked away from our introductory encounter staggered but skeptical. On the one hand, Erika’s eyes communicated intent and efficacy, a combination that I’ve noticed frequently bodes well for those pursuing impact. On the other hand, how would one gutsy woman fare against trillions managed mostly by men for whom the health of the world tends to get prioritized just below the fifth home or private yacht? It’s one thing to be impressed by a person; it’s another to believe she can build a new investment bank. But Erika is doing it from the ground up with Cornerstone Capital, a New York-based financial services firm that is changing one of the fundamental pipes in the plumbing of capitalism.

Since our auspicious first meeting, Erika has left her post as head of global sector research for UBS Investment Bank and put all of her own savings where her mouth is. Cornerstone Capital has published two editions of the Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking and established partnerships with influential institutions like the World Economic Forum, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, and the Principles for Responsible Investment.

I’m super proud Erika is in the GOOD 100 and hope all of us do our best to propel her mission forward. And, despite my admonition at the beginning of the presentation where we met, if she decided to start calling herself an expert, I would trust her. And so should you.

Grant Garrison is a director of strategy of GOOD/Corps, GOOD’s social-impact consultancy.

Gap has teamed up with GOOD to celebrate the GOOD 100, our annual round-up of individuals at the cutting-edge of creative impact. Gap + GOOD are challenging you to join in. We all have something to offer.

Articles
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet