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Sustainability Snake Oil?

Published on 18 May 2021 at 10:22

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This article, by Timberland’s former COO, outlines his views on the problems with sustainability reporting and sustainable investing and unreliable ESG ratings. During the days of wine and roses, that "20-year period of increased reporting and sustainable investing, carbon emissions have continued to rise, and environmental damage has accelerated." 


Talk about a real downer, What happened?

Turns out that "reporting is not a proxy for progress. Measurement is often nonstandard, incomplete, imprecise, and misleading and fanciful “greenwishing.”
No one wants to hear the bad news especially when it departs from the narrative. 
Patagonia’s founder recently stated “It’s all growth, growth, growth—and that’s what’s destroying the planet.”

 

The author points to a few directions where we might find the culprit:
1. Lack of mandates and auditing.
2. Specious targets
3. Opaque supply chains
4. Complexity
5.  Confusing information
6.  Inattention to developing countries

Then the author casually drops the neutron bomb:
“The real danger is when politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening when in fact almost nothing is being done.”

There is a lot to unpack but its a start if we really are serious about wanting to make some making lasting reform. 

 

 

https://hbr.org/2021/05/overselling-sustainability-reporting


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