Monday, February 11, 2008

There are ethical funds and there are ............errrr .... ethical funds

This from the Guardian highlights a few little nuances that may surprise you if you are lucky enough to have a few spare quid and choose to invest in one of the so called 'ethical funds'.

Reading it made me smile. There are obviously rather varying shades of ethical just as there are varying shades of green.

So, if you thought that your ethical fund investment was directly helping to tackle climate change, you just may have to reconsider having read this.

It's just not easy being green, or ethical, is it?

Bureaucrats - 200. Rainforests - Nil

And my brain into minus figures, if not near meltdown.

What I should be doing is getting cracking on filling this lot out. But all I can think of doing is taking a picture and blogging (yes, I need help. In more ways than one).

You are looking of stacks of up to a dozen pages, from A to O, though with a few letters rating subsets from (i) to (iv), so probably around 30 stacks in all.

It all started so well. I stumbled across some nice folk who liked what I was doing and offered to help with the prototypes of the RE:tie for the show next month. So I went up to Brum to see what they could do and explain what was needed; we communed, and lo... it was good.

And it's all ready to kick off. With precisely a month to go. But... just... a bit of paperwork.

I didn't pay much attention as it was just one Excel document, but when it came time to address it (OK, deadline) it just kept on printing... and printing. No first born required, nor pint of blood, but amounts and levels of data required that go back in the past and project into the future that I can barely grasp the relevance of for this task, yet alone imagine how I will aquire... or complete.... ever.

Even the lovely lady who sent it to me was sympathetic, for she is but an intermediary working for the University and hired just to handle their responsibilities with such paperwork, as demanded from 'above' by... now who is that? A blue square with a circle of golden stars at the bottom of each page (only part-funded by, mind. Lord help me if I get another set from another bunch later!). Layer upon layer of 'EU-what!' to 'help' them 'help' me get a prototype ready.

And I must do it as I have no choice now but to. I am committed.

But sadly, I do not seem to have the luxury of a lovely lady hired for the sole purpose of filling such forms out.

Nope, despite writing that, the monkey is still very much resting full square on my shoulders.

And so, with a heavy everything I must now turn to Form A (i).....

You gotta larf

Sorry, but this just appealed to my sense of irony.

On the page devoted to a piece on climate science (well, the apparent supression of a scientist in the field - Climate scientist they could not silence), I could not help but note what rather dominated the rest of the page. Not quite the same on the online version.

There's the medium. There's the message. There's mixed. And there's just, plain 'off'.

The media really does just love it all ways.

Just in case they don't 'moderate' it in:

Meanwhile, in the print edition, the majority of the page with this piece seems to be dominated for a Tesco ad for cheap petrol - 'Every litre helps'.

Not quite clear as to what, in the circumstances.

Delicious irony?'

Bet they're in with a chance at the Sunday Times "Best Green Companies" slot, mind.

To the winners, whoever they are, the spoils.

Zadie Smith sinks teeth into book awards - it is about the world of literature, but applies pretty much everywhere.

I've won a few. Lost more than I care to think on. But it's certainly hard these days to think of many that are judged purely on merit, without soem agenda creeping in.

Awards are, like most things these days, are merely products of an industry whose prime motivation is its own survival and the interests of those who work within it or feed off it to survive.

Winning is nice (and useful) if you are a winner. Not so great if you don't. But those nominated andhence competing are essentially irrelevant. It is the process, more than anything, that drives the system, rather than the product (though to some remoras, sorry, reporters, controversy can extend the period they can suck the life out of the topic).

So it is refreshing to say the least, if necessary to avoid accusations of sour grapes, to find a winner rather plainly stating it like it is.

Which, with luck, may briefly make for uncomfortabel reading for those who are paid way too much and have much more influence than they deserve, simply for being in the industry rtaher than contributing anything worthwhiel to it.

But though flawed, I see no hope for improvemnt, and hence the real winners will continue to be those nowhere near the podium.