Our thoughts on the key issues faced by practitioners trying to advance sustainable investing.
Is more regulation always the best answer? Given that so much of it seems to be either failing to produce the outcomes we want, or not even making into the statute books, do we need a rethink?
Are directors properly discharging their fiduciary duty by taking into account the changing landscape in which they operate?
Funding sustainability cannot just be a debate about which funding source - we also need to understand how willing the end consumer is to foot the bill. Or putting it in simple terms, who pays. Because someone has to. And who gains? Is it always the same 'person' that pays?
Innovation is great. It's the life blood of long term value creation in many industries. But on it's own it's not enough. When it comes to putting your money to work, look beyond this to those companies that are good at taking good ideas, and turning them into profitable businesses.
The CSO as the curator of sustainability expertise and driver of change
We should not forget that it's companies who will, by and large, deliver the changes. It's companies that will make investments, change products and services, and adopt new operational practices.
We talk a lot about climate models and how GHG emissions impact temperature, but not so much about climate damage function models. And yet this second set of models have a massive impact on financial decision making.
When resources are scarce we may need to prioritise their use. So even if we can, maybe we shouldn't.
The big sustainability questions we all face suggest we need to move to a different relationship between the providers of capital (the asset owners), and the organisation's that invest it on their behalf. One based on a better alignment of interest.
Disclosure is important but is there a danger that it becomes the tail wagging the dog?
With sustainability solutions, dropping in substitutes isn't enough. We need to think holistically
Sustainability can be like a good brand. Without it your business can lack the quality that gives it a viable long term future. Intangibles may be invisible, but it doesn't make them any less real.