Good News From Web Summit Lisbon Day 1

Web Summit is a conference run in Lisbon about the future of the planet, technology,and business at large. I’m attending it remotely as best I can. The first day isn’t even done and there are two nifty good things already worth sharing:

Ridley Scott launches campaign with The Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI)

The ‘Digital with Purpose’ Movement is open to all. Member organisations are required to make a public pledge to the four universal commitments of the movement: To contribute to the development of the framework, to take part in an open framework evaluation process and to collaborate with others to develop and realise their ambitions to maximise their positive impact on achieving the Paris Agreement and SDGs.

Evercity Announces Smart Sustainable bond

Powered by Parity Substrate blockchain engine, Smart Sustainable Bond Protocol is an open-source software which allows participants to issue and monitor innovative sustainability-linked bonds with adjustable floating impact-linked coupon rate. The main idea of the project is to increase accuracy of impact monitoring and reporting eliminating the risk of greenwashing, as well as to enable fair and transparent impact allocation between different stakeholders engaged in sustainability-related projects. The main operations performed are confirmed by blockchain digital signatures and can be traced publicly. The platform stablecoin EVERUSD can only be used in the operations with bonds, which eliminates the risks of money laundering.

Lack of Demand for Dead Whales Will End Whaling

ocean shore

Undoubtedly, whaling is bad for whales, nature, and even geopolitical reactions. Demand for whale meat and byproducts has been decreasing due to ongoing pressure from consumers and activists. Countries that permit whaling are frowned upon by other nations for conitrnuig the practice. The good news for whales is that due to COVID-19 the demand for whale meat has decreased to the point that Iceland may finally shutdown their whaling operations.

Another issue for Loftsson is that public opinion on whaling has changed, says Árni Finnsson, chairman of the Iceland Nature Conservation Association. “What has changed is that the fishing industry is not willing to support him anymore. They feel that Iceland needs to be able to export fish to the U.S. market, and they don’t want to continue defending whaling. I think he’s done.”

Read more.

Collision: Shaquille O’Neal Wants Your Life to be Steady

Today at Collision conference Shaquille O’Neal made an appearance to promote Steady, a company that wants to help working Americans get a steady financial life. The company was founded by Adam Roseman a few years ago with the goal of making life more predictable for the average American. As nearly everyone knows, inequality has been increasing since the last recession and now companies like Steady are looking to stop that growth. Their platform helps people find work while also learning how to budget and other financial bits of wisdom.

Growing up in a single-parent home, Roseman saw first hand the daily financial struggles many Americans face. The vision for Steady came to Roseman after seeing the plight of his recently retired father. Like many Americans, his father found he didn’t have enough retirement savings and needed to work part-time to make ends meet. Roseman stepped in, suggesting his father look for flexible work opportunities that fit his needs, availability and interests. And through Steady, Roseman and his team hope to help millions more.

Read more.

I’m attending Collision at Home this week.

New Zealand is COVID-19 Free

After a very well managed shutdown of the country, New Zealand is free of COVID-19 and people are able to live as they did before. The country had a strict, vast, and quick reaction to COVID-19 showing up in the nation and it’s paid off. Starting today New Zealanders are able to go gyms, work, parks, or wherever thanks to the efforts in following the government’s public safety rules. It’s great to see another nation get through the pandemic.

Ardern has drawn global headlines and praise from the World Health Organization for her government’s approach to the virus, with a strict and cautious approach that appears to have paid off. On 25 March she locked down the country for four weeks – requiring that most New Zealanders remained at home most of the time – before gradually easing restrictions.

“Our collective results I think speak for ourselves,” Ardern said. “This was what the sacrifice of our team of five million was for – to keep one another safe and to keep one another well.” She has regularly referred to New Zealanders as a “team of five million” in an effort to unite people and encourage them to follow her government’s rules to curb the virus’ spread

Read more.

Denmark Bans Bailouts to Businesses Paying Dividends and Using Tax Shelters

Every decade we need to bailout businesses so capitalism can keep functioning. In the last bailout, caused by American bankers, western countries gave banks corporate welfare cheques that went from the banks to the elite shareholders through dividends. This clearly didn’t work out well for 90% of people as the last decade saw a massive increase in inequality, tax cuts for the rich, and no behavioural correction from an unethical corporate elite. Thankfully, some countries have learned from that corporate welfare mistake and this time around when they give companies tax payer money they’ll put limits on what can be done. Denmark will only be giving corporate welfare to companies registered in Denmark (and thus paying Danish taxes) and ban them from paying dividends to shareholders until the money is paid back to the government.

Hopefully every nation follows Denmark’s example.

The government also said that companies which pay out dividends, buy back own shares or are registered in tax havens won’t be eligible for any of the aid programs, which now amount to a total of 400 billion kroner, when including loans and guarantees.

Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen said in an interview with broadcaster TV2, that Denmark, which is rated AAA, plans to finance new measures partially by issuing government bonds.

“We have a stronger position than many other countries and we are able to borrow money to get through this situation in the best way possible,” Wammen said.

Read more.

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