Half a century ago, there was a powerful demonstration in the United States that echoed across the world. It exposed a problem of global proportions, whose consequences could become irreversible if we continue to be negligent. On April 22, 1970, more than 20 million Americans took to the streets, giving birth to one of the most significant social movements in the country and issuing a stark warning about the devastation of the planet. This is how Earth Day was born. Five decades after that key moment in the environmental movement, a big question lingers: What is our situation now?
Earth Day reminds us of our continued negligence in the face of tragic news about fires, floods, deforestation, landslides and other disasters that take lives and leave social scars, year after year. These tragedies may seem to be part and parcel of our everyday lives, but they should never be tolerated as mere statistics.
Raising awareness about the need for change is a challenge that transcends barriers, as governments, society and, of course, companies are called upon to commit to a movement. This year, the UN Global Compact in Brazil, a crucial initiative for promoting sustainable development, made a bold proposal for a new approach. To encourage more companies to commit to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the United Nations established in 2000, the Compact came up with a simple revolutionary idea: Transform the planet into a company, with each of us becoming a stakeholder on a shared journey.
The Compact asked B3 to be a voice for its proposal. As the first exchange to have committed to work with the Global Compact and to be an engine for ESG market practices, B3 fully engaged with the spirit of the project. Once again, B3 proved to be a pioneer among the world’s stock exchanges, this time setting the stage for a symbolic, but nonetheless essential, IPO. Upon the symbolic ringing of the opening bell, the TERR4 ticker became a powerful force and a mechanism able to mobilise companies and Brazilian society as a whole.
We want other exchanges around the world to replicate what we have done at B3, prompting global companies in every sector and of every size to commit to the boldness of the ESG practices.
As highlighted by Carlo Pereira, CEO of the Global Compact in Brazil, the private sector understands the magnitude of this issue as a whole. However, it is the sum of the parts, the synergy of agents, that will produce the palpable difference of significant investment, which cannot be allowed to fail. Now is the time for action, so that we can create a more prosperous and sustainable tomorrow for humanity and for the planet that we call home.
EART4 (TERR4)—An urgent report
If our planet were a financial asset, what would be the state of its indicators? As the market conceives it, would it be a viable business concern? With a tradition of 4.5 billion years of services provided, the company Earth is currently having to deal with the worst numbers in its history. In this context, social inequality can be translated into a terrible distribution of dividends. Meanwhile, deforestation, the pollution of rivers and the loss of biodiversity reflect the bad management of its assets and equity.
The good news is that we are talking about a company that still has enormous potential to turn this situation around. But we need to move fast, as action of the utmost urgency is required to recover this capital. In Brazil, we say that an urgent task is “for yesterday!”
In addition to the symbolic stock exchange listing of EART4 (TERR4), we have developed content that demonstrates the importance of raising consciousness about the worrying state of the planet. Other actions involve partnerships with digital influencers, and an out-of-home media campaign.
Among the materials that we have created are an institutional website and the EART4 (TERR4) annual report, which is a document that listed companies compile to provide investors with transparency about their sustainability practices.
EART4 (TERR4) thus came to have everything that a real company has. On the website (https://terr4.com/), for example, people can track the symbolic value of the company’s shares in real time. The fluctuation mechanism works through monitoring various news portals in Brazil and throughout the world.
The share price fluctuates with every news report on climate change, inequality and other socio-environmental issues. When the news is negative, the share price drops and when it is positive the price rises. This is a teaching tool to show how the attitudes of individual “consumers” are capable of directly influencing the planet (or company).
The state of the planet is thus translated into traditional financial market language, which is the mother tongue of publicly traded companies and which helps hold them to account for the changes and impacts of their actions.
The company report, which we have named “Urgent Report,” also uses corporate language to summarise the planet’s most recent statistical and scientific results. Decision-makers who read the report will understand the urgent need for action and join the 18,000 companies around the world already engaged with the Global Compact.
Several of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are already threatened. According to the latest addition of the Relatório Luz report drawn up by the Civil Society Working Group for the 2030 Agenda, there were setbacks for five of the 13 SDGs, related to promoting sustainable use of ecosystems and preventing biodiversity loss.
In the case of SDG 13, which covers measures to combat climate change and its impacts, all of the targets are in the red. This is not a desirable situation for any company. As we are talking about the future of everyone at TERR4, reversing this scenario is in the interest of each of us, from intern to CEO.
The company EART4 (TERR4) may be fictitious, but its foundation was based on very real and urgent facts. B3 invites other exchanges to join this movement so that EART4 (TERR4) can have a successful future and so this investment can distribute dividends to every “shareholder” in the form of better days to come.
At the launch of EART4 (TERR4), Carlo Pereira correctly defined it as “our most important company” and emphasised that only with the combined effort of all stakeholders will it be possible to make changes in line with the SDGs.
Recognition and new incentives
Last June, the campaign to symbolically float EART4 (TERR4) on the stock exchange won the Grand Prix in the creative B2B category at Cannes Lions, the largest and most important creativity festival in the world.
The AlmapBBDO agency developed this campaign to raise awareness of companies that are still not signatories to the Global Compact, and in 2023 the number of admissions has risen 140% compared with 2022. The campaign was presented to the UN General Assembly and EART4 IPOs are scheduled for other exchanges throughout the world this year.
It was the first time a Brazilian film had won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Festival in the B2B category, which encourages other initiatives like this.
As the first stock exchange on the planet to join the UN Global Compact, in 2005, B3 is proud to participate in another key moment. Our role alongside the Global Compact in an historic initiative helps to stress the importance of all of us, as companies and individuals, in this matter. The Planet Earth IPO is a call out to other companies to seek concrete actions for these issues.
Be an EART4 (TERR4) shareholder
If you have reached this far, we have a proposal for you. Do you want to be a shareholder in Brazil’s Amazon, the largest tropical forest in the world? Recognised as an important source of biodiversity, it helps to regulate the global climate. Its preservation is crucial for the planet’s health.
But that is not all. You can also be a stakeholder in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The largest coral reef system in the world, it houses an enormous diversity of marine species. To preserve it is essential for the protection of the oceans.
Have you heard of the Antarctic glaciers? These immense masses of ice are fundamental for regulating the sea level. You can invest in these too.
The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is a stage for the annual migration of wildlife. This in itself demonstrates the importance of preserving land ecosystems for the maintenance of wildlife.
Yes, it is possible to become a shareholder in the Serengeti too, and in the Galapagos, in Ecuador; the Komodo National Park, in Indonesia; the Torres del Paine national park, in Chilean Patagonia; and in many other treasures of our planet Earth. How?
The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.