Can we trust media coverage of ESG?
As more and more money flows into ESG, it’s no surprise that we are drowning in a deluge of information and reports. Plenty of it is greenwash. But how can we know which parts to ignore, and which parts to pay attention to?
Is the media the best place to go for trusted information?
Do the journalists covering this space act as watchdogs, or are they simply “conveyor belts” of industry information.
To find out I talked to Nadine Strauss, who’s a researcher specialized in green finance communication, and Peter McKillop, CEO of Climate & Capital Media, and a former journalist himself.
Nadine’s research raises many tricky questions. For example, journalists say they face a moral dilemma. They are concerned about climate change, and want to make a difference. Yet they are under pressure to provide a platform for all sorts of industry claims. A lot of information is locked behind paywalls. And ESG information has become a business in its own right through paid events and online webinars.There are no easy answers. It almost seems like no-one has a stake in pushing for change here, yet most people will agree that change is needed. I hope you enjoy the conversation.
We talked about:
3.01 How journalists perceive their role in covering green finance, more chronicler & informant than watchdog
4.18 Moral dilemma facing journalists inundated with industry greenwash
7.05 Whose job is it to be the greenwash watchdog; journalists face multiple challenges
9.19 Walled garden syndrome: green finance is an elitist, mostly paywalled space.
19.15 How Tariq Fancy, formerly of Black Rock, broke out to wider audiences with messages on why ESG investing doesn’t work
26.19 Much reporting on green finance is driven by op-eds from big investment banks & their theory of change is weak, sustainable finance is an add-on to a business as usual view of the world
33.05 Nadine shares her go-to information resources
34.17 Peter shares his go-to information resources
Nadine Strauß is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication and Media Management at the University of Zurich, Department of Communication and Media Research. After finishing her Ph.D. at the University of Amsterdam, she worked as a Post Doc at the University of Vienna and as a Marie Sklodowska-Curie research fellow at the University of Oxford. Her research interests include journalism studies, (online) news use and financial and sustainable communication.
Prior to Climate & Capital Media, Peter McKillop was a Managing Director at BlackRock, where he was responsible for leading the firm’s strategic communications and messaging for its iShares ETF and Indexing business. He has also held senior communication leadership positions at J.P. Morgan, KKR, UBS, and Bank of America. Before entering the financial communications field, Peter was a senior correspondent and bureau chief for Newsweek in New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
Framing Sustainable Finance: A Critical Analysis of Op-eds in the Financial Times – Nadine Strauss, International Journal of Business Communication, June 15 2021
Devil’s Advocate or Agenda Setter? The Role of Journalists Covering Sustainable Finance in Europe – Nadine Strauss, Journalism Studies, June 10 2021
Covering sustainable finance: Role perceptions, journalistic practices and moral dilemmas – Nadine Strauss, Journalism, March 12 2021
Communicating Sustainable Responsible Investments as Financial Advisors: Engaging Private Investors with Strategic Communication – Nadine Strauss, Sustainability, February 25 2021
They kind of said that they find themselves in a moral dilemma. So on the one hand, they try to really stick to their professional role in reporting about a topic in a neutral and objective manner. But on the other side, they also feel that there’s, um, this urgency of acting and phase of the climate crisis and become more an advocate in their style of writing.
Denise: As more and more money flows into ESG, it’s no surprise that we are drowning in a deluge of information and reports. Plenty of it is greenwash. But how can we know which parts to ignore, and which parts to pay attention to?
Is the media the best place to go for trusted information?
Do the journalists covering this space act as watchdogs, or are they simply “conveyor belts” of industry information.
To find out I talked to Nadine Strauss, who’s a researcher specialised in green finance communication, and Peter McKillop, CEO of the specialist media Climate & Capital, and a former journalist himself.
Nadine’s research raises many tricky questions. For example, journalists say they face a moral dilemma. They are concerned about climate change, and want to make a difference. Yet they are under pressure to provide a platform for all sorts of industry claims. A lot of information is locked behind paywalls. And ESG information has become a business in its own right through paid events and online webinars.
There are no easy answers. It almost seems like no-one has a stake in pushing for change here, yet most people will agree that change is needed. I hope you enjoy the conversation.
Denise: Today we’re talking about the role of the media in covering green and sustainable finance. And I have two brilliant guests today. Um, Nadine Straus and Peter McKillop, uh, Nadine is going to be talking from more of the academic point of view. Uh, she’s done some really interesting research recently, uh, across a number of topics on this.
Uh, and Peter is the co-founder and editor of, um, climate and capital media. Uh, so welcome to both of you. Um, could you, could I ask you to both introduce yourselves, please?
Nadine: Yes. Sure. Um, so my name is Nadine Strauss and I’m an assistant professor of strategic communication and media management at the university of Zurich. Um, before starting here in Zurich in April, I was a Marie Curie fellow at the university of Oxford.
I did a lot of research on the role of the media and communications for sustainable finance.
Peter: Hi, I’m Peter McKillop. I’m the founder and editor of climate and capital media. Uh, we focus on the business and finance of climate change and the new climate economy, uh, prior to founding the company, I was at BlackRock and, and series of other financial firms.
And before that I was a correspondent at Newsweek magazine in Hong Kong, Tokyo.
Denise: Great. So, um, this is a topic that I’m personally, uh, feel, uh, really interested in and I feel that it doesn’t get enough airtime.
So I’m really excited to talk to both of you about this. Um, I wanna kick off by just asking Nadine to briefly summarize, uh, some of the research findings so that we can, you know, set up the frame for this conversation.
Nadine: Sure. Um, so I did a study during my fellowship in late 2019, where I interviewed 33 financial or business journalists in six countries in Europe, including Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands. And, um, so to journalists ranged in terms of they experienced, there were a few who just started as a journalist and others who had many years of covering, um, financial topics, but particularly also sustainable finance.
Um, first one of the main findings was that, um, um, most of the journalists perceived themselves as enacting the role of a chronicler and informant or educator.
Um, so basically they want to tell their audiences what sustainable finance is about and they try to cover everything that’s happening on the financial market, um, in a regular way. Um, what else has said is that the coverage is mainly driven by politics and by the financial sector.
So if there’s a new law being passed at the European level, um, or if at the national level, for example, in Germany, there was a big discussions in 2019 about a green governmental bond that they wanted to introduce. Uh, so these kinds of topics are really driving the coverage of sustainable finance.
Um, one point that also struck me with that, um, they kind of said that they find themselves in a moral dilemma. So on the one hand, they try to really stick to their professional role in reporting about a topic in a neutral and objective manner. But on the other side, they also feel that there’s, um, this urgency of acting and phase of the climate crisis and become more an advocate in their style of writing.
And one thing that also really wanted to find out is whether journalists have learned from the great financial crisis. And if they have now become more aware of that, watchdog role as a financial journalist.
And in fact, I found that almost none of the financial journalists saw themselves as a watchdog. Um, mainly because they said that they don’t really have to resources to, um, really cover sustainable finance in an investigative way.
Denise: So I I’m gonna, um, throw to Peter because I, um, whose job is it to be a watchdog on this topic, actually?
Peter: So that’s a great question. And, um, having spent 20 years as a journalist and 20 years kind of in financial communications, I kind of understand why it is so hard to be a watchdog. Um, obviously journalists are under a lot of time pressure. Uh, a lot of there, a lot on their plate, and there’s an extraordinarily sophisticated corporate PR efforts that are frankly, just a lot easier to kind of use and to kind of get your job done.
And I think the, but the real challenge, I think ultimately it gets down to just resources, time, um, and the amount of, uh, of, yeah, the amount of time you as a person or as an organization can spend on, on playing built that role of discovering the, this new economy that’s emerging, but also playing that greenwash watchdog role.
Nadine: Yeah, absolutely. And I also think that, um, I mean, us journalists, you also have the opportunity to express your opinion and commentaries. So it’s of course really important to separate, um, the facts from your opinion. Um, but I really think that journalists should use more this opportunity to write what they really think about this whole trend and, uh, from a more critical stance and, um, Being more skeptical about what’s going on out on the financial markets.
Denise: This is something that, um, I find fascinating just to look at the generational development that’s happened because I started my career at Reuters, uh, which is financial wire service. And, um, Uh, there was, uh, I, I do feel that, uh, journalists tend to mirror the profession of the people that they’re covering.
And so we talked about this earlier, when we had a chat about how, uh, investigative journalists, you know, are expected to be watchdogs. Uh, whereas in the past financial journalists were really expected to almost kind of play the game and, and sort of look and act like the financial analysts and business people they were covering.
So you would go to lunch with them. They would be your sources. You would try and use their language.
Nadine: Yeah, absolutely. If I can add also another finding of this interview study was that, um, I was also interested in to what extent did journalists perceive themselves as being able to influence public opinion.
And so only the journalists from financial news outlets or very specialized outlets, um, covering responsible sustainable finance said that they think that they are able to influence decision making processes, but only among the powerful elite. So those that are really responsible in policymaking or that are active in the financial institutions.
And it’s also reasonable. So if we look at the, um, Financial times. Um, of course the audience is constituted of people who are really active in the field of sustainable finance speed be it asset managers or policy makers at the European level. Um, and so there’s this very elite bubble of the whole discussion that’s surrounding sustainable finance.
Peter: Yeah, the, the walled garden is, is a really, and I think it gets to the very core of why climate change has been the hardest issue to kind of get, uh, get kind of a mass, uh, kind of, uh, awareness around because, uh, to that bubble you were just describing, it’s not just the journalism, but it’s also the people who have dominated, some people call it the climate industrial complex.
These very large NGOs that have really only focused on the issues, um, and only are just beginning to think about the actions. The challenge with all of this, and we face it ourselves is you have to, at some point create revenue to survive.
Um, and today the primary way that revenue is generated is through subscribers, not advertising anymore. Um, so you’ve got to find the right balance and I think companies and newspapers are trying to figure out what that balance is. Increasingly the use of, of free newsletters is, is one way. But the reality ultimately is that increasingly the media environment is quite fractured.
So you have one media group talking to one group, the Financial Times talking to their financial elites. New York Times talking to the kind of East Coast elite again, uh, Bloomberg talking to a bit more an entrepreneurial trading base. I can go on and on that. Um, and the challenge again there, I think this is a real concern, which is as a result, particularly in the United States, there just isn’t the level of, of awareness that needs to be there. If there, if people are to understand just kind of how profound the changes that are going to be coming around climate change are. So at the end of the day, there’s a default to weather news to, to extreme weather events. And that’s pretty much how, how in the case of the United States, Americans are being educated.
Nadine: Yeah. And I, I agree on to that point. And also when I talked to a journalist date, actually be reflect that elitist discussion among, uh, about sustainable finance. So they also said that most of their audience, um, it’s just a small group and communit who’s interested in the topic. So you were talking, you were talking about these newsletters and we see that now the Financial Times has the Moral Moneynewsletter.
In Germany, two newspapers, Handelsblatt and Tagespiegel who are now also introducing, or have already introduced a newsletter, partly free, but also partly for about 100 euros per month. So it’s a really pricey information to get, to be informed about it.
And what we also see is that they even, they financialized the whole discussion about sustainable finance by also offering events and webinars and inviting people from the financial sector.
So it has become part of their business model, um, to basically also make money from this whole discussion going on at the financial markets.
Peter: it’s created a kind of giant echo chamber. and yet, if you look, go to the Yale school of communications and they just took a look at Americans, 175 million Americans, almost one in two Americans wants, is aware and wants to take action, but doesn’t know how.
Yeah, I think one of the problems is also that, um, and that has been also found in, in my previous research is that financial topics are generally not very interesting to the broader public.
So it’s very difficult to get a broader audience and getting the average citizen, interested in that. And so I do think, um, it has this topic of sustainable finance has this potential to. To actually gain or increase this audience because it combines climate change and sustainability with the financial topic.
And, um, so I do think that journalists might also have to change the way they write about this topic and make it more interesting and also, um, better understandable, not using jargon and not necessarily also using the language that is used by the financial sector, or by policymakers.Yeah, the way we do it at Climate and Capital is to really look at kind of the people and the companies and the themes.
And really you think about it. Finance is only just a way of, of, uh, financing, economic growth. Um, and so it’s really, the financing is interesting, but the really interesting stuff is the companies that are being fired. Whether that’s a good, good, good approach. Like we did a story section this week on 10 companies who are really involved with the blue economy to make the ocean economy more sustainable, but it can also be the bad stuff.
You know, the continued lending of money to fossil fuels. So I think you need to get past the finance piece and look at why. And what does that finance do? Who are the companies that are being financed? Why, how, and the whole ecosystem of both new green economies and these older brown economies that are trying to move that transition to me, that’s where the great stories are.
Denise: So I want to just get into, uh, some, um, the, kind of the content analysis piece of our discussion and how, how the media covers some of these issues like ESG investing, for example. Uh, and so, um, there was this recent kind of case study where a Tariq Fancy, who is formerly a head of sustainable investing at BlackRock.
Uh, it came out very strong in a number of media, Atlantic, um, uh, media organizations on both sides of the Atlantic with a combination of opinion and sort of reporting, I think, um, making S basically saying that ESG investing doesn’t work. Uh, so, um, yeah. Peter used to work at BlackRock and you, you interviewed Tarik, so maybe you can tell us what happened and what did, what did, what did we, has it changed the way we talk about ESG investing in any way and what can we learn from this?
Peter: Yeah, I think he’s raised a really important issue, but let me just step back a little. Um, you know, what is a primary driver? It doesn’t matter any company, but it’s kind of what they think their clients want and kind of obviously how they can translate that into their own sense of profitability. Uh, so for, for Black Rock, really up until four or five years ago, ESG, this wasn’t a factor and climate wasn’t even discussed.
Uh, there were other, they were focused on other things like promoting, um, exchange, traded funds. Uh, promoting indexing as a cheap and accessible way to kind of invest, promoting bonds. So these were all the big themes. Uh, and then I think two things happened. One, I think, um, Larry, the CEO of BlackRock, himself started to better understand that there was an issue here around climate.
Um, and, but he also was aware that this was a potentia huge opportunity for BlackRock. And he has said publicly that he’s had like three big opportunities in his life. One was around, um, collateralized mortgage bonds. The second one was around the rise of indexing, as you know, as a, as a way of investing.
And he now thinks the next greatest. And perhaps the greatest transition will be around this idea of sustainability in ESG, because it’s not just about the funds, but it’s about where the entire economy is moving. But here’s the issue that that’s a great long-term vision, but short term, these ESG funds are no different than truly a traditional standard S and P 500 fund.
They’re just weighted a little bit differently here and there. And Tariq has a point today. You can get a very, very cheap, fund for five basis points, five cents of a dollar or two actually. But, um, but now they’re charging, quadruple that for these ESG funds. So there’s a lot of room for cynicism and there’s definitely some room for really saying that these funds really aren’t what they are.
I know some people say, oh, you know, you’re just passing, the companies are just passing this responsibility to government.
I kind of take a different approach, which is, um, governments play a very important role. And I think Tariq, as Tariq said to me, You know, if you don’t want Goldman Sachs to do something, make it illegal. And I think that that’s a very solid piece of advice. Um, companies are going to do what they need to do to meet this their quarterly demands and their own long-term goals and meet their client objectives.
And that’s where the role of government has to come in. And I think the best example is the great financial crisis. There’s new rules and regulations that dramatically changed the way, you know, banks, um, borrowed, lent and their, how much money they had on hand that, so that is a reason perhaps for government to play a very important rule for setting the guidelines and the level playing field.
I think we’re beginning to get there. Obviously Europe is way ahead of us, but yeah. You know, banks and financial firms are going to do what they can do under the, under the, what the laws say. So I think for Tariq, what he’s really arguing is there is a very important role and that is a government just like they did in the great financial crisis has to be able to start putting more, uh, tangible actions, requirements, regulations on these firms so that they can’t just continue to do what they’re doing today.
Denise: Yeah, I agree.
Um, but what I also wanted to mention this. Um, I really think that we need is kind of whistleblowers from within the system. And, um, especially financial journalists are relying, um, reliant on these kinds of sources. So I hope that this commentary and, um, yeah, this piece of news has also make people from within the system, more aware of these issues.
Uh, I wanted to ask you Nadine, because you mentioned that you’d done, um, a study of, um, opinion pieces and come up with, uh, uh, the typical frames that these opinions tend to fall into.
Nadine: Yeah, exactly. So, um, just out of interest, because I noticed that a lot of this reporting about sustainable finance was actually based on, uh, opinion pieces by representatives of the industry. So I was interested to what extent or in what way they represent the topic. And I looked into, um, six opinion pieces by representatives of um, the UBS,
Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Morgan Stanley, and HSBC in the Financial Times. And, uh, I analyzed these opinion pieces to see if their overall emerging topics. And what I saw is that all of them basically agreed that. This climate crisis consensus and that there’s this urgency to act one at the same time. And of course, they believe that sustainable finance is a powerful leverage to achieve, um, and to solve the climate crisis.
Um, but as we have discussed before, um, another frame that emerged is that they perceive, um, sustainable finance as an add on, um, in the name of profit and capital growth. So it’s basically, um, still making money and, uh, just kind of using another tool within the working business model and trying to, um, show the outside world and their investors that they’re active and aware of this climate topic, but they’re not really changing their actual business model, how it works.
Um, as you were saying that, um, Um, Peter dead. We’re still there. You’re still striving for profits, obviously. Um, also because they have to serve their clients, which also makes sense, but what I felt was missing in this whole debate and in these opinion pieces is also this motivation to also offer an alternative.
So what would be an alternative for an investment bank also to rethink their business model, um, and, and fighting the climate crisis.
Peter: Yeah. I have a couple of examples of where that might be happening. The growing pressure on JP Morgan Chase and it’s it’s fossil fuel lending. Now, this is no longer about opportunity for them.
It’s also them recognizing the risk and not more importantly, their clients, uh, primarily, you know, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds beginning to understand the risk that is associated with companies that are not following, particularly fossil fuel companies, a transition path.
Uh, I think this was a nice segway to a group that has been extraordinarily effective using its financial cloud.
And that’s a tiny little activist hedge fund in San Francisco called Engine Number One, whose CEO happens to have also been at BlackRock. Their ability to pick a small percentage, uh, of, uh, shares in Exxon. But also really developing a very powerful investor argument as to why Exxon was not making the transition that it needed to make and why there had been value destruction for its shareholders, um, was able to do a rather historic victory for them with the, with the exception of two of their Board members.
That’s the new form of, uh, it’s not a new form. It’s an old form of capitalism, uh, activism that hadn’t been really part of the sustainability, uh, landscape. And I, I believe it will become more and more important because that’s the, the issue is going to be what is the risk that, that investors, particularly pension funds and sovereign wealth funds who are representing the, the, the, the retirement savings of millions of people that they are going to have to look at the risk of stranded assets and all the other elements that are, that are going to become more at risk or the next decade.
Nadine: Yeah, absolutely. And I think, um, Um, one of the issues that it just came into my mind is just, um, it’s not necessarily also the investment banks that having, um, a stake in those fossil fuel companies.
It’s also a lot of governments who are holding more and more, um, stakes in these companies. So in that sense, it’s also, it’s again, it’s, it’s a combination of, um, governmental regulations, policymaking and how the financial market is reacting to this, uh, physical climate or physical and, um, financial climate risks.
Um, I just wanted to mention also the third and fourth frame that I’ve found, um, which might also tie into one of the issues of sustainable finance. Um, they all mentioned that there was a need for transparency and quantification of sustainable finance, um, that there’s an issue of getting reliable data on ESG, but also on, um, uh, CO2 CO2 emissions. And, um, there was a call of also this kind of datafication. So we need to make this measurable, not only how to actually, um, scale and, um, kind of, um, evaluate the companies based on their sustainable practices, but also, um, based on what kind of impact they actually have.
Um, so they thought that there were still a lot of challenges in the market that would make these kinds of investments, um, yeah, reliable and also comparable acros different financial industries.
And then lastly, and this is again a pointed we’ve mentioned before that they shift the responsibilities in the end of their commentaries to, um, also the government, um, and saying that a carbon price needs to be introduced and that all individuals need to behave in a way to fight climate change.
Denise: So I’d like to ask the two of you now, what are your top three, uh, trusted sources of information on sustainable finance and the Dean. Why don’t you go first? Uh, yes. So my first source are scientific studies, um, and I know sometimes its hard for some people to excess, but increasingly there are also open access articles and there’s also a specific journal on sustainable finance and investment.
Um, that has great studies. Um, also not just covering Europe or, um, the Western world, but also, um, more broadly. Um, the second one is actually, well researched, journalistic content, and I referred to Financial Times and the Economist. I, I do think that they do great general, uh, journalism and, um, especially in the Economist, I feel like there’s a lot of, um, work being done in terms of data journalism.
So they really tried to dig into the numbers and, um, trying to make sense of it.
And third, um, I’m trying to have exchanges with experts both from the financial sector, from NGOs, policy makers and also scientists from different disciplines. So I’m coming from communication science, of course. Um, I try to be in touch with people from finance, um, and, um, yeah, and politics.
Peter: Um, I will repeat everything you said is I, uh, all that is absolutely great. I’ll give you some very. Uh, companies sources that I go to, I love, uh, something called the IEEFA, the Institute for Energy, Economic and Financial Analysis. It’s a guy named Tim Buckley out of Australia, former Citibank, um, uh, guy. Very, very good, very spot on research.
We’ve gotten a lot of stories out of there. Uh, they, they weirdly broke the idea about how exactly New York city for example, was divesting. They’re hiring, um, you know, old people who’ve been in the system for years and they’re t, uh, they’re, they’re, they’re unbiased and, and it’s, it’s a very solid source.
Bank Forward is an initiative by, by many of the Rockefellers who have really done an interesting job of analyzing banks and what they’re doing, uh, particularly JP Morgan Chase. Um, and they’re very, very focused. A series, you know, is, is very well done, puts out just the series of one report after another.
CERES. Also very, very, uh, important other groups like carbon tracker, but there’s another emerging group that historically journalists did not go to, but who are putting out good reports? That’s things like the Rainforest Action Network or, or Greenpeace and all of these folks that these companies now are spending an awful lot of time doing kind of the investigation and the research that kind of frankly, help journalists. Um, and you just, with all of these reports, you need to kind of balance them out and, and they have to pass the smell test, but there are some really solid organizations and you have to kind of focus on what you as a person or as a, as a company, want to really focus on.
For example, you know, the, how the fossil fuel industry is transitioning and how it’s being fueled, examples of very, very important issue. Um, and that’s where all these groups can play a very, very important role. Great. And, um, I just, my own, um, small rant at this point is, is, um, the number of hours I have spent, you know, reading like the first lines of the behind paywalled articles of responsible investor of Bloomberg green, and numerous other organizations.
Um, I think that those organizations should consider, granting free subscriptions to people who write about the space so that we can together improve the accessibility of the space. Um, so thanks for that. And, um, so do you do either of you have a question for each other? Yeah, I, I, yeah, I’d love to just, uh, I’m I’m just curious around how this moral dilemma
Uh, of being both, um, the urgency to act with the profession. I’m just curious as to kind of how you think that’s going to play out over the coming years. Um, and kind of, what, if you know, what, what would be your ideal, not just journalists, but news organization that can kind of balance the historic mission of journalism with this idea, with this kind of urgency to act on.
Nadine: Yeah. I think what we see now more and more happening is that a lot of these news outlets are committing themselves to write more and more often and more intensively about climate change. Um, we see that the Guardian has, um, a separate, um, section on, um, environmental topics and climate change. And there’s also an association across the world where, um, hundreds of, uh, news outlets were subscribing to, uh, commit themselves to write more about climate change, uh, potentially reaching billions of people.
Um, so I think this is a way to go to actually, um, publicly commit that this is an important topic that needs to be covered. Um, but then of course, It’s it, shouldn’t not just be about the environmental studies and, um, the scientific background, um, on how emissions are, um, rising further. And that climate change is really an issue and, um, unstoppable, uh, almost, yeah.
So I think that we need to add this really, um, finance and economics perspective to it.
And then the second point that I think would be interesting, um, is, I do think that journalists have now, um, more opportunities to raise their voices and various others? So it’s not just writing, um, articles in newspapers and on the online webpage, but it’s also about maybe doing a podcast like Denise is doing or writing newsletters, where again, people can subscribe to it.
Um, but there are new ways to reach out and really also, um, be more opinionated about these topics.
Um, so I would really like to know where you think this whole discussion about sustainable finance is now turning to. Do you feel like there has been a change more recently and what do you think needs to happen?
Peter: Yes. Um, I think, and I’m going to promote my view, but I definitely think that what you need to be People first saw ESG sustainability and impact as an ends to a means. And I think now they’re recognizing that the real issue is climate change. Um, and also some of the issues around social justice. Um, and so now it’s less about, you know, focusing on kind of, uh, whether or not they have the right metrics as the TCFD and SASB, all those kinds of things it’s around how are companies going to make a real impact?
Over the next, well, we have eight and a half years till 2030. What are they going to do? What, how are you going to finance companies, build companies in a way that’s going to allow them to meet these very hard targets around, around the amount of carbon being let into the air?
I think that discussion was a sidebar. Uh, and if you think about it in the entire framework of ESG, E was just one of three issues. Um, in the case of UN sustainable goals, climate change was like number 15 or something. I think that now, if people are beginning to realize that the, the whole movement is towards some sort of.
Uh, mitigation, um, and that sustainability and ESG has to kind of basically support that. And if you aren’t seeing kind of action by both companies and finance companies to kind of do that. And if it’s just more about whether or not they they’re, you know, promising to be part of the TCFD or they’re going to follow Basel, or they’re going to promise this and all those things, I think that’s, that’s in the past.
And it’s going to make it a lot harder to companies because they now need to demonstrate real, tangible action. And if they don’t, they’re going to start seeing a much broader divestment movement. They’re going to see much greater involvement by companies like BlackRock. And you’re going to see these velociraptor firms like, like Engine Number One, going after the management and going after them.
Denise: Perhaps, uh, you can quickly just say where listeners can find you and learn more about your work, uh, Nadine.
Nadine: Um, yes, I have a personal website, um, that’s wwwnadinestrauss dot com, or you can also simply go to the university homepage and look me up.
Peter: And Peter McKillop, capital media.com. Also we do publish, it’s partial. I, I need to live, um, uh, but no, yes, it’s a little partial, but it’s climatecapital.com. You can get a very robust, you know, we, you know, view of what we’re doing every, every week. And, uh, we, we give up the first, the best stories for free for a couple of weeks. And then, but also, uh, you can follow us on Twitter, uh, LinkedIn, uh, all of these easy ways for podcasts that are very easy ways to kind of access us.
Um, and you know, we do our best to provide as much information as we can for free, but we do at the end of the day, recognize that we have to. Certainly have a meal on our, on our table.
Denise: So, terrific. Thanks a lot. It was a pleasure speaking to both of you.
That’s it for this episode, thanks for listening to New Climate Capitalism. If you’d like to learn more about Nadine and Peter’s work, please go to the episode show notes at climate narratives.co. You’ll find the link to the programme, background reading and the full transcript of our interview.
If you’re enjoying this season of the podcast, I’d like to remind you to sign up for our newsletter, climate narratives annotated. It’s a free monthly read on finance and climate change. I’m going to go to paid subscriptions at the end of this year, so do sign up now to be a part of the community as it grows. You can find the link to subscribe in the bio of our Twitter account @NewClimateCap.
A big thanks to Valentine Scherer and Victoria Yates for their help producing this episode, and to Lucas Laufen for the theme music.