Georg Kell and the Power of Crisis

Georg Kell and the Power of Crisis

The year 2020 has brought the tragedy and upheaval of the Covid-19 pandemic and associated recession, but it has also brought environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments.
In fact, ESG investments | Learn more on Commonshare | have grown by 34% over the past two years, now reaching $30.7 trillion.
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Sustainability Trend a Long Time Coming
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This trend, however, has been a long time in coming, as Georg Kell | #Georg Kell |, one of the fathers of ESG investing, explains in his new book Sustainable Investing: A Path to a New Horizon. In the book, Georg Kell | Learn more on Commonshare | looks at the convergence between corporate sustainability | Learn more on Commonshare | and sustainable investing as a major force driving systemic market changes.
Georg Kell | Learn more on Commonshare | is a founding executive director of the UN Global Compact, and led a group of CEOs from over 50 major financial institutions in a push to integrate ESG into capital markets. His work led to the UN report Who Cares Wins, which became the springboard for the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment.
Kell’s new book is co-authored with Herman Bril, director of the UN Joint Staff Pensions Fund, and Andreas Rasche, professor of business in society at the Copenhagen Business School’s Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility. Contributors include Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, and John Ruggie, professor of human rights and international affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
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Finance Catching Up
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When asked in an interview about the trajectory of ESG | Learn more on Commonshare | and why he had decided to write the book, Kell explained that finance “has been lagging behind the real economy on the sustainability evolution by at least 10 years” although that began to change with new meta-studies from 2014 on. The studies demonstrated that sustainability practices have an overwhelmingly positive influence on investment performance.
Now, Kell explains, finance has started to catch up rapidly with the real economy. In fact, some investors are pushing for change faster than some corporations are capable of delivering it. There is a new convergence between corporate sustainability and sustainable investing, and this is pushing systemic market changes.
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The Climate Crisis and Covid-19
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The Covid-19 pandemic has actually shaken up established thinking, Kell explained, and has highlighted key vulnerabilities. But at the same time, it is easier for executives to push for change that they wanted anyway.
Regarding the climate crisis | Learn more on Commonshare |, Kell explained that investors “love to ignore it because it’s long-term and slow-moving” but Covid-19 “is almost like a wake-up call.” He points to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), which has seen a record flow in new participants, as a good example of heightened concern about the climate crisis in the face of the global Covid-19 pandemic | Learn more on Commonshare |.
Kell explains that the pandemic is having this effect on people’s considerations of the climate because it is “changing risk perceptions in a fundamental way, enabling executives to drive change faster.”
“There is no doubt that COVID-19 is acting as an accelerator for sustainability issues and in particular decarbonization,” Kell explains.
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Georg Kell | https://www.triplepundit.com/story/2020/esg-pioneer-georg-kell/705931 |: source from triplepundit website

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