Updated: Oct 3
Turning Talk about Action into Action
On the heels of Climate Week and now with the international conference season in full swing, there is lots of talk about action. We wanted to focus this Sustainability Snapshot on how to turn that talk about action into action.
“We Can. We Will.” was the theme of Climate Week. At EcoAdvisors, we believe that “We Must!”. The immediate path forward has three key pieces: Education. Translation. Integration.
Education – about the fundamentals of the value of nature, the basics of climate, and how sustainability thinking underpins global and societal value
Translation – across sectors, industries, organizations, geographies, and the capital stack to align incentives and common purpose
Integration – of climate and nature into all roles, functions, and decision-making
Let's dive into each piece!
Learning the lingo.
ESG considers how Environmental, Social, and Governance factors affect the performance of investments and businesses. This framework measures business risks and opportunities in each area; as well as assesses an organization's business practices and performance on various sustainability and ethical issues. More and more, investors use ESG criteria to evaluate companies and help determine their investment plans. ESG can also be considered a proxy for underlying business health and resilience.
ESG has had some backlash; however, as reported in the September Bloomberg article featuring Kroll, a global leader in valuation, ESG makes money. When asked whether or not the ESG label will prevail, the answer was, "it doesn't really matter because the premise behind the strategy isn't going away."
Bottom line: If the economics work, then the skepticism will fade away.
Sustainability encompasses a wider range of practices and principles that extend beyond ESG factors and focus on integrating ESG into business strategies and decision-making to achieve long-term viability.
This systems-level approach accounts for climate and values nature as a fundamental asset base that underpins the majority of global economic value.
Bottom line: 100% of human existence relies on nature. If we erode this fundamental asset base through short-term decision-making, we'll have nothing left.
We are getting more educated when it comes to climate change, biodiversity loss, and sustainability investing. There are several resources and networks around impact investing and integrating nature and climate into investment decisions, including executive education courses and other professional organizations, government bodies, and NGOs.
United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - 17 global goals that provide a shared blueprint to transform our world by 2030
Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) - resources and events for those interested in impact investing
Ceres - valuable reports and webinars
World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) - resources and guidance on sustainable business practices.
World Economic Forum - reports that examine a broad range of global issues
International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) - builds on and consolidates the work of market-led investor-focused reporting initiatives, including SASB Standards, Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Recommendations, Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) Recommendations.
Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) - a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) that enables organizations to set science-based emissions reduction targets
Project Drawdown Roadmap - science-based climate solutions and strategies
Combine this education with context (which we discussed in our Spring article, Understanding Context) and you can better advance shared climate and nature goals.
Which leads to the next piece: translation.
Understanding risks and opportunities across sectors, industries, organizations, geographies, and the capital stack.
Knowing about the value of sustainability is a first step, communicating in a way that matters for your stakeholders drives change. Framing in terms of value creation and risk management can bring non-traditional allies to the movement.
What helps with this translation?
Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) - recommendations give the financial sector a way to think about the climate from a financial materiality perspective
Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) (new!) - recommendations factor nature into financial and business decisions to help identify, assess, respond, and where appropriate, disclose nature-related issues
EcoAdvisors has helped translate nature and climate impacts between worlds -- from on-the-ground small-holder co-ops to boardroom investors.
Bringing it all together.
We need to instill the value of nature into every decision that the public, private, and voluntary sectors make. Without that, we have no future because we're eroding the fundamental asset base that we all rely upon.
Revisit your organization's vision (is it the future you want?), look at your operating and business activities (do they support your vision?), build capacity (is your team aligned?), rethink your balance sheet (is nature included among your assets?). Long-term equity will decline if we don't integrate climate, nature, and sustainability more broadly.
Integrating climate and nature into decision-making is not about moral obligation, it is about underlying value. This means that it will not go away.
We have helped organizations across sectors integrate sustainability through a structured strategy process, which allows for the alignment of activities, outputs, capital flows, and people.
The theme of Climate Week was “We Can. We Will.” What does this mean to us at EcoAdvisors? "We Must!" and we can show you how. It's time for accelerated action.