Carbon Removal, SDGs, HSBC, Schroders Survey, Population, and Good News
Here are 5 ESG insights you might have missed this week:
1. We Need to Draw Down Carbon—Not Just Stop Emitting It-
Carbon removal is no substitute for reducing climate pollution. But it is now a necessary tool to keep temperatures in check.
The report warns against the idea that removal can be a "silver bullet" and avoids the need for fast and steep cuts from fossil fuels to keep Paris Agreement goals within reach. But removal is a badly needed tool in the toolkit, even as mitigation — that is, preventing emissions — does by far the most work in climate-friendly energy pathways.
It's needed for a suite of reasons including the difficulty of fully decarbonizing some industrial sectors, even over decades; CO2 isn't the only planet-warming gas to worry about; even zeroing-out emissions can prevent more warming but "the only way to permanently reverse warming is through carbon removal." The authors warn against "stigmatizing" removal over fears it takes the pressure off emissions cutting. This could delay needed investment.
2. ESG And Its Discontents: A Defense Of HSBC Banker Stuart Kirk And A Critique Of ESG Orthodoxy-
ESG needs robust debate and critique, not unquestioning (and sometimes questionable) adherence to a creed.
Stuart Kirk has had enough. Kirk resigned as HSBC’s head of sustainability, saying his position had become unsustainable. The news wasn’t exactly a surprise. In May, Kirk was suspended by HSBC after a video of his speech at the Financial Times’ Moral Money conference went viral.
ESG does best, and will thrive, when it is subject to rigorous and intense (good faith) debate. We do not know many of the answers to these tough questions. These are important issues worth fighting about. The alternative, holding ESG up as an unimpeachable orthodoxy, runs the danger of greenwashing and intellectual stagnation. We can’t afford that.
3. Here Are All The Positive Environmental Stories From 2022 So Far-
This is your reminder that in this chaotic world, there is hope.
Eco-anxiety, climate doom, environmental existential dread - as green journalists, we see these terms used a lot - and often feel them ourselves. There's a lot to be worried about when it comes to the climate and nature crises, but when a sense of hopelessness becomes the overarching emotion, apathy begins to creep in too.
The media has a huge part to play in combatting climate doom. It's our job to be truthful and accurate in our reporting, not trying to downplay the severity of the situation or greenwash reality. But it's also our job to show that there is hope! So, for 2022, as part of our ongoing effort to tackle eco-anxiety (both that of our readers and our own), we are going to be keeping track of all the positive environmental stories from this year.
4. The Sobering Reality of the UN’s Global Goals-
Remember the Sustainable Development Goals? Amid everything else, they seem to have fallen off the agenda.
It’s not a facetious question. Amid all the other corporate sustainability priorities of the past few years — net zero, ESG, the circular economy, social justice, resource constraints and all the rest — not to mention a seemingly never-ending drumbeat of political upheaval, economic uncertainty and a pandemic, the SDGs seem to have fallen off the business agenda. Now, as we near the halfway point of the SDGs’ ambitious 15-year framework to tackle the world’s thorniest social, environmental and economic challenges, progress is dismal at best.
That’s the conclusion of a new United Nations report that assesses the progress being made against the 17 SDGs. It’s not at all encouraging. Stop reading here if you want to remain blissfully ignorant, or don’t want to harsh your summer mellow with an ice-bucket reality check.
5. Schroders' Institutional Investor Study 2022-
Schroders annual Institutional Investor Study analyses the investment perspectives of 770 global institutional investors on the investment landscape, sustainability and private assets.
The global demand for energy transition investment opportunities and the importance of decarbonisation have been highlighted as key sustainability themes for global institutional investors. This year’s Institutional Investor Study – spanning 770 institutional investors, collectively responsible for US$27.5 trillion in assets – highlight that real world outcomes is key to active ownership.
One more thing: From Our World in Data, five key findings from the 2022 UN Population Prospects.
Find the graphs here: https://ourworldindata.org/world-population-update-2022
Do share your comments or the content you think our community should not miss!