Jeffrey Levine
CFO | Seeking a just world I Author

Regenerative Capitalism

Several interesting stories have been circulating this week.  I will touch on themes such as electric cars and ask: Can the Private Sector – Businesses world save the World? And introduce readers to where ESG meets Innovation and introduce the term Regenerative Capitalism.

I will start with a simple definition of Regenerative Capitalism. This is a term I would like to see more in use as we continue discussions and ideas to upgrade ESG.

Regenerative Capitalism

“Regenerative Capitalism is an economic framework and approach that seeks to shift our current economic system from extractive and degrading to regenerative and sustainable. It aims to transform businesses and economies by restoring ecological systems, promoting social well-being, and fostering long-term prosperity.”

From our friend Chat GPT (yawn sounds wokish, but an excellent technical definition)

In other words, Regenerative Capitalism is a new flavour of capitalism that puts people, place, and planet first.

So, with this frame of reference, let us get started.

A rethink about Electric Cars?

A UK newspaper ran a critique on the Electric Car Industry and asked whether this makes sense. Indeed, the electric car industry has created a whole category in mining and the need to supply critical materials at mass. The electric car industry appears to be under stress with a high-profile bankruptcy and continued pushbacks by consumers hesitating to buy.

Just this last week, Lordstown Motors, a troubled electric vehicle company that had bought a shuttered General Motors factory in Ohio with plans to create “Tesla” pickup trucks, filed for bankruptcy protection.

My take is that Innovation and intelligent infrastructure still needs to be evolved to make the complete switch from conventional cars. The car industry is based on the use of Lithium batteries. This was not designed for this mass scale use and intensity of usage.  Lithium batteries’ primary usage is in electronics, toys, wireless headphones, handheld power tools, small and large appliances, electric vehicles and electrical energy storage systems. It does have negative environmental impacts, and a rethink and this continues to be one of the significant challenges for the electric car industry,

It is worth noting that the technology to use lithium batteries was proposed in 1976 and that John Bannister Goodenough, the American co-inventor of Lithium-ion batteries and a co-winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, passed away this week. He was just a month short of turning 101. Goodenough perfected it with a cobalt-based cathode to create a product that touches nearly everyone’s life today. In 2008, Goodenough wrote his autobiography, Witness to Grace, which he called “my personal history”. The book touches upon science and spirituality.

This is from the book Review on Google “This is the autobiography of one of the most important (and most under-rated) scientists of the late 20th/early 21st century. John Goodenough was for many years a professor at Oxford and still (2011) in his late eighties is a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the University of Texas at Austin. He was one of the key figures in developing solid-state memory, without which we would have no PCs. He invented the Lithium-Cobalt battery, and a team member invented the Lithium iron phosphate battery. Without these closely related technologies, we wouldn’t have smartphones and laptops you can use on the train for an hour, nor would electric cars like the Nissan Leaf be practicable.

The book itself is short: an eclectic description of a personal, scientific and spiritual pilgrimage. Reflections on biblical verses rub shoulders with passages about itinerant electrons and transition metal oxides. Fortunately, you don’t have to understand either to profit from the book. There are brief but fascinating vignettes about cooperation with scientists in many countries, including the cold war Soviet block.”

Can the Private Sector – Businesses Save the World?

What is interesting is that organisations from the UN, Governments and Global NGOs such as GRI are looking for corporations and companies to “fix” the world.

There is increasing legislation to report, discussions about sustainable financing, knowledge-sharing, and NGOs active in making changes. It recognises the private sector as the key to making this change.

The million $ question – Is this approach reasonable, and will it help “fix: the world?

We are seeing there are pushbacks and a need for more traction. (I am not surprised. sounds familiar)

Over the last few years, an ecosystem of climate pledges, groups and models has expanded on Wall Street in a bid to cut—or appear to cut—the financial industry’s role in global warming.

But many of those efforts have had a limited impact on thwarting the damage inflicted by climate change, according to researchers at Columbia University. And at the same time, Wall Street spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year to block measures that could help.

This new study by Columbia University found that finance industry climate action still needs to be revised in what is required. Hence, the drive for global ESG reporting.

Quoting Sir Ronald Cohen, an Impact leader, “Impact transparency is a tipping point that we’re about to cross. Once we can bring scientific rigor to the measurement of impacts, impact investing flows will scale enormously.”

And this leads to

Where ESG Meet Innovation

A few years ago, during Covid and the days of Zoom, I was invited to give a talk to the Hebrew University Business School, which I titled “Where ESG meets Innovation”.  I still love this title and theme.  Without Innovation, we cannot make a global change, and of course, Israel, as the start-up nation, is transitioning to becoming a leader in this field. It was reported this week that one in seven startups now deals with climate change. I think the % is higher when we consider all the other initiatives.

I will weekly include some initiatives or interesting Innovations. This week I want to refer to a unique conference that took place in Haifa this week. The “Blue Tech Summit IL.23”  

One of the SDGs number 14 – is about our Oceans.

The call is to “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihood.

This summit covered these main important themes:

1) Investing in the Blue Economy – Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainable Ocean Projects

2) Powering the Blue Revolution – Innovative Technologies and Policy Frameworks for Low-Carbon Ocean Solutions

3) The Role of Biotechnology and Innovative Aquaculture Technologies – For a changing world

4) Israeli Innovation Showcase/Desalination – Innovations in Water Security: Israeli Desalination Technologies and Beyond

It is great to see this initiative and look forward to learning and sharing more about it.

Call of action

The aim of Upgrading ESG – Sharing ideas and innovation to upgrade ESG – for a more sustainable world

This requires a comprehensive approach integrating sustainable practices, policy changes, technological innovation, and collective action. We can restore and protect the world by working together across sectors and taking action at various levels.

I have chosen to keep the words ESG – This represents the best chance we for the Environment and Society. Without Governance – Structure, processes, reporting and transparency, we will continue to greenwash and be hoodwinked. ESG is much more than Investing ESG, or Company ESG, but we need to have Country ESG, City ESG and Product ESG where we, the consumer and citizen, know the good and bad of that product for the environment and society.

Hence, the need to Upgrade ESG.

SGG represents a substantial shift in how companies and boards operate their businesses and impact the world for the better. This is cemented by the IFRS’s new sustainability standards, which require a much more comprehensive, documented approach that will drive the need for ESG compliance and assurance. It will affect Investors and positively or negatively on the company’s ability to keep or gain new customers.

Companies and boards must take urgent action in this new ESG world.

Upgrading ESG provides an opportunity for your company to upgrade your ESG story.

Please feel free to reach out to me by email:

About the Author
Jeffrey is a CFO | Seeking a just world I Author -living in Jerusalem. He is a young grandfather who has five kids and six grandchildren. Jeffrey is promoting a vision for a better and fairer world through and is the author of Upgrading ESG - How Business can thrive in the age of Sustainability
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