Tech Disruptions, Water Shortages, Swiss Regulation, and Consultants
Here are 5 ESG insights you might have missed this week:
Rethinking Climate Change-
From RethinkX- Three disruptions alone driven by just eight technologies can directly eliminate over 90% of net greenhouse gas emissions worldwide within 15 years.
Technology disruptions already underway in the energy, transportation, and food sectors have extraordinary implications for climate change. These three disruptions alone, driven by just eight technologies, can directly eliminate over 90% of net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide within 15 years.
Market forces can be leveraged to drive the bulk of global GHG emissions mitigation because the technologies required are either already commercially available and competitive today, or can be deployed to market before 2025 with the right societal choices. The same technologies will also make the cost of carbon withdrawal affordable, meaning that moonshot breakthrough technologies are not required to solve the ‘Last Carbon Problem’ and go beyond net zero from 2035 onwards.
In a First, U.S. Declares Shortage on Colorado River, Forcing Water Cuts-
Arizona farmers will take the initial brunt, but wider reductions loom as climate change continues to affect flows into the river.
The Bureau of Reclamation, an agency of the Interior Department, declared the shortage as it issued its latest outlook for the river for the next 24 months. That forecast showed that by the end of this year Lake Mead, the huge reservoir near Las Vegas, would reach a level of 1,066 feet above sea level. It hasn’t seen a level that low since it began to fill after the completion of Hoover Dam in the 1930s. The lake will be at 34 percent of capacity.
But larger cuts, affecting far more of the 40 million people in the West who rely on the river for at least part of their water supply, are likely in coming years as a warming climate continues to reduce how much water flows into the Colorado from rain and melting snow.
Switzerland Announces Mandatory Climate Reporting For Large Companies-
The Swiss government announced its planned timeline for mandated climate disclosure for major companies, joining the ranks of countries boosting sustainability reporting requirements.
Swiss public companies, banks and insurance companies with 500 or more employees, more than CHF 20 million in total assets, or CHF 40 million in turnover will be required to report publically on climate issues in 2024 (2023 financial year events) utilizing the TCFD-aligned disclosures.
During its meeting on 18 August 2021, the Federal Council decided on parameters for the future mandatory climate reporting by large Swiss companies. The Federal Department of Finance is to prepare a consultation draft by summer 2022.
Investing Green Is Harder Than You'd Think-
ESG investing sounds great, but it's complicated.
The ESG label is meant to make investing green easier by giving investors a simple way to allocate their money to good causes. And, indeed, there are plenty of sustainability- and climate change-focused exchange traded funds available. But it's still not the catch-all stamp of approval you'd expect.
That essentially forces investors into tough choices between the E, the S and the G. Invest in one, and you often have to sacrifice another. This puts climate and socially conscious investors in a tough spot.
The Omertà of Consultancy-
“I’m not upset that you lied to me. I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you” - Friedrich Nietzsche
After two decades in sustainability consulting what I fear is that we are not only failing to change much, but that as consultants we are actually part of the problem, providing a polished positional cover for what is broadly business as usual incremental change, whilst simultaneously eroding both the edge and substance of the essential radical shift that is really needed.
What NO consultancy has yet to do empirically as far as I am aware is tackle it’s scope 3 emissions in any meaningful way. Yet. And here’s the rub — scope 3 includes addressing the ‘use of sold products’, and for agencies this is seismic if taken on board meaningfully. If your ‘sold product’ — the counsel, support, advice and propaganda you provide — is still causing emissions to grow you are not just blocking change, you are causing real harm.
One more thing: From ImpactAlpha, a 30-minute podcast on how to play the rising price of carbon.
Find the podcast here: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4l02sgTuOCyCm65OBlVwyU
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