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Aquanomics, Pakistan's Floods, Greenland, Phase-Down Finance, and Next-Gen Talent

Source: Pixabay

Here are 5 ESG insights you might have missed this week:

1. Water Risk Could Cost Canadian Economy $139B in Next 30 Years-

  • Manufacturing and distributing will be hit hardest, according to a new climate-based analysis.

  • The report, titled Aquanomics, was published by GHD, a global engineering and architecture services firm. The report predicts manufacturing and distribution will take the biggest hit from water-related climate disasters between now and 2050 — an estimated $64 billion in losses, while droughts can restrict industrial production, floods and storms cause direct damage to buildings and machinery, or take out power supplies, forcing factories into silence.

  • Retail and fast-moving consumer goods — heavily reliant on water-related infrastructure, and extremely exposed in the event of damage to supply routes — will be the second-most affected economic sector, with losses estimated to be around $26 billion between 2022 and 2050.

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2. ‘A Monsoon on Steroids.’ What To Know About Pakistan’s Catastrophic Floods-

  • A staggering one-third of the country was underwater as of this week, with more than 30 million people affected.

  • The immediate cause of the catastrophic floods is record rainfall. “So far this year the rain is running at more than 780% above average levels,” said Abid Qaiyum Suleri, a director at Pakistan’s Sustainable Development Policy Institute. Melting glaciers—Pakistan has more glaciers than any other country—is also contributing to the floods, which are linked to climate change.

  • The U.N. said Tuesday that it is seeking $160 million in emergency aid for the ongoing floods, noting that nearly 1 million homes had been damaged and more than 700,000 livestock were lost. Humanitarian relief has started to arrive in the country, but efforts have been hampered by extensive infrastructural damage; over 2,000 miles of roads and 150 bridges have been affected. The IMF approved a bail-out of $1.1bn to help Pakistan avoid defaulting on its debts.

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3. Major Sea-Level Rise Caused By Melting Of Greenland Ice Cap Is ‘Now Inevitable’-

  • Loss will contribute a minimum rise of 27cm regardless of what climate action is taken, scientists discover.

  • Billions of people live in coastal regions, making flooding due to rising sea levels one of the greatest long-term impacts of the climate crisis. If Greenland’s record melt year of 2012 becomes a routine occurrence later this century, as is possible, then the ice cap will deliver a “staggering” 78cm of sea-level rise, the scientists said.

  • The results of this new study are hard to ignore for all business leaders and politicians concerned about the future of humanity. It is bad news for the nearly 600 million people that live in coastal zones [less than 10m above sea level] worldwide. As sea levels rise, they will be increasingly vulnerable, and it threatens approximately $1tn of global wealth.

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4. What Is 'Phase Down Finance' And Why It's Better Than Divestment To Achieve Decarbonization-

  • Divestment from emitting assets doesn't necessarily lead to their closure, leaving a gap in low carbon investment strategies.

  • Though divestment has been an important pressure in the financial system, there is little evidence that it directly results in the shuttering of emitting assets. More likely, the assets will be bought by investors with different climate obligations. There are additional reasons why divestment may not be the solution.

  • But if divestment isn’t the solution, what should investors do? a growing number of voices calling for investors to remain invested, but only on conditions of responsible and Paris-aligned phase-down of emitting assets. We term this “Phase Down Finance”, and situate it, as per the figure below, against the broader financial needs of the global low-carbon transition that include divestment, green finance and socio-economic support for communities and economies in transition.

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5. Where’s the Next Generation of Sustainability Talent? Consulting-

  • Consultancies, large and small, are a superb training ground for your next hire — or maybe your future boss.

  • "Big consulting firms hire tens of thousands of people every year, early in their careers," Bruno Sarda, a Principal, Climate Change & Sustainability Services, at EY, told me. "It's an existential need to invest in their onboarding and development to ensure they can quickly ramp up and deliver quality work."

  • The consultancies, in turn, have staffed up with grads who can help clients decode not only SASB and TCFD, but also TNFD, GFANZ, CSRD and so on, Ellen Weinreb, CEO of Weinreb Group, an executive search firm focused on sustainability and corporate social responsibility careers, told me recently. That makes them desirable potential employees to a broad range of companies, if and when they decide to exit consulting.

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One more thing: An infographic from Visual Capitalist on Who Controls the Solar Panel Supply Chain.

Find the infographic here:

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