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Bank of America invests in green firm to help cut branch footprint

In July 2008 Bank of America made an undisclosed investment in Philadelphia-based Field Diagnostic Services (FDSI) and started to deploy the firm's energy management technology across thousands of US...

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Altruism or Profit--Green Initiatives Can Support Both

With its latest investment in Philadelphia-based Field Diagnostic Services (FDSI) and its overall $20 billion commitment to support sustainability, Bank of America (BofA) is just the latest financial institution to put their money on the table on issues of environmentalism.  BofA joins Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and host of other financial institutions in recognizing that investments in green initiatives can help turn around not only their fortunes but perhaps the economy as a whole.

Some people might be cynical about the moves by executives to incorporate green initiatives into their business plans.  Some may even suspect executives of simply trying to "greenwash" their news coverage to turn a profit.  However, at the end of the day, does it really matter if profit or altruism are the driving force behind these investments? I think not. 

The U.S. economic stimulus bill included approximately $70 billion in grants, loans and loan guarantees for high-tech research and commercial projects geared toward renewable energy such as biofuels and wind, solar and geothermal power. Many observers are expecting that the problems of the automotive industry will not be solved by additional loans but may perhaps be helped by investments in green technology. Bankrupt auto-supplier Delphi Corporation's Chief Technologist Andrew Brown Jr. is focusing its innovation efforts on technologies that are "safe, green and connected” in efforts to restore the company to profitability. Moreover, earlier today, it was announced that a group of more than 25 senior executives from some of Canada's leading firms were uniting to form the Green Procurement Leadership Council, whose mission is to encourage efforts for Canadian companies to buy products and services that minimize environmental impact and create green jobs.  In addition, a report issued last week, shows that individual investors are sticking with green investments despite the fact that the average green fund, fell by nearly a third over the 12 months to the end of February, figures by   

Al Gore's 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, may have inadvertently started the trend of profitable altruism.  Not only did former U.S. Vice President Gore and/or his friends, receive a Grammy, an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize, the film was also, as of June 3, 2007, the third-highest-grossing documentary in U.S. history (after Fahrenheit 9/11 and March of the Penguins). Not too shabby for a PowerPoint presentation. 

So hats off to Mr. Gore who showed that you could be atruistic and profitable at the same time.  Hopefully, banks, financial institutions, automakers, builders and more will have the same results.  After all, if we have a cleaner global environment and a healthy economy; doesn't everybody win?  :>)




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