Orenda Imbued: ESG Investing and Our Fintech Strategy.

Tyler Sack
September 14, 2018

In 2015 the United Nations announced the 17 Sustainable Development Goals with the goal of changing the world by 2030. The goals are intended to address and make significant progress in finding permanent solutions to many of the world’s biggest problems including but not limited to poverty, inequality, climate change, access to education and meaningful work, justice and peace.

By outlining the goals, the U.N. is seeking to have concrete, measureable targets where progress is both inclusive and transparent. The vision is both ambitious and admirable, and it creates a sense of hope for many because progress shouldn’t come at the expense or exclusion of others.

Building on our existing software, we plan to use these goals to develop a framework that will be used as an appraisal of an organization’s performance according to public opinion shared on social media. The idea is to not only measure how effective the organization’s efforts are, but that they recognize and take responsibility for their present and past actions, where they may have contributed to controversies rather than solutions.

The new product will be part of our fintech strategy, monitoring for an ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing impact index. We are looking to prove that strong brands are more resilient to reputation-damaging events and will recover more quickly in from any public relations crisis. This is largely due to the fact that more people are looking to invest ethically, or in companies that are doing well according to ESG metrics than solely in the pursuit of profit. Our framework will be focused on quantifying the public’s emotional response to companies and predicting how that relationship impacts the company’s stock. 

While Orenda has had a relatively straightforward methodology to monitoring an entity’s reputation online, measuring the level of poverty, inequality, or peace presents some challenges. We anticipate that most mentions won’t be comments on how well society is doing in relation to the goals, but movements or reports on lack of progress or violations against rights.

Looking at Twitter data, we can find several social movements that relate to one of the sustainable goals such as #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, #NoDAPL, and #Aleppo. We anticipate that when we observe a high volume of posts it will likely indicate an online campaign related to injustices rather than good news. The hope is that the brands we monitor learn from our insights and develop strategies where they take responsibility for their impact in the word and to do what they can to ensure that their impact in the future is positive. The idea is that they will know better, and continuously learn to do better.

Our hope is that knowledge and awareness inspire action. To borrow a technique from Thomas King’s 2003 The Truth About Stories take the social awareness campaigns that I listed from Twitter as an example. Read up on them. They are yours now. Tell your friends. Turn them into episodes for a podcast series. Forget them. But don’t say in the future that you would have lived your life differently had you known about them because now you’ve heard of them.