ESG Insider is a podcast from S&P Global that takes you inside the environmental, social & governance issues shaping the business world today. In each episode, co-hosts Lindsey Hall and Esther Whieldon interview ESG experts, leveraging S&P Global data to shine a light on the sustainability opportunities and risks that business leaders and investors need to know about. Lindsey Hall is head of ESG Thought Leadership at S&P Global Sutainable1 and Esther Whieldon is a Senior Writer on the team.
What the EU aims to achieve with its carbon border tax proposal
The EU proposed a carbon border adjustment mechanism in 2021 as part of a broad climate package designed to reduce carbon emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030. This mechanism — widely known as ‘CBAM' — would put a tariff on imports of carbon-intensive goods.
The proposed regulation aims to prevent EU-based companies from moving production to other jurisdictions with less stringent climate regulation (also known as ‘carbon leakage'). It also aims to avoid imports of carbon-intensive products to the detriment of EU companies. CBAM will be phased in from 2023 if approved by the European Parliament and EU member states, so companies are already putting measures in place to ensure they adhere to the potential new rules, says Yaroslav Alekseyev, a partner at law firm Linklaters, in this episode of the ESG Insider podcast.
Some experts believe CBAM will encourage other jurisdictions to set carbon prices.
“If a company from a country outside of the EU wants to export products into the European Union market, they will have pay that CBAM at the border if they don't have a domestic carbon price that is high enough," says Sanjay Patnaik, director of the Center on Regulation and Markets at Washington, D.C.-based think tank the Brookings Institution. "That could really set incentives around the world.”
But some industrial sectors are not convinced. We hear tom Emanuele Manigrassi, the public affairs manager at trade group European Aluminium, who says the aluminium sector does not believe CBAM will support low-carbon production. His organization is calling for CBAM to be tested before it is introduced.
We'd love to hear from you! To give us feedback on this episode or share ideas for future episodes, please contact hosts Lindsey Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Esther Whieldon (email@example.com).
Photo credit: Getty Images
ESG experts are watching these sustainability trends in 2022
To welcome the New Year, we hear from experts across the ESG world about what sustainability trends they are watching in 2022.
Our guests in this episode of ESG Insider include Curtis Ravenel, who is Secretariat for the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and senior adviser to former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. We also talk with the Head of Global Sustainability Research at Morgan Stanley, and the Head of Energy and Environment Transition at French bank BNP Paribas. And we hear from an activist investment firm in the U.S. that has been pressing companies to perform racial equity audits.
Themes we cover include the importance of holding financial institutions accountable for decarbonization pledges, the outlook for sweeping change in biodiversity disclosure and data, and rising investor pressure on companies to address social inequities.
Here are links to our most popular episodes from 2021:
We'd love to hear from you! To give us feedback on this episode or share ideas for future episodes, please contact cohosts Lindsey Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Esther Whieldon (email@example.com)
Photo credit: Getty Images
Climate must factor into ‘every financial transaction,’ says Just Climate Chairman
In this year’s final episode of ESG Insider, we talk with David Blood about two big sustainability issues impacting the financial sector as we head into 2022: Plugging the climate financing gap, and aligning investment portfolios with Paris Agreement goals.
David is a senior partner at Generation Investment Management, the sustainable investment firm he founded with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. David tells us about the strategy behind Just Climate, a new venture Generation Investment Management launched in October 2021 to tackle the net zero challenge at scale.
"To achieve our goal of limiting global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees C, every financial transaction must take climate into consideration," David says in the interview. "I don't believe yet that the asset owner community or the asset manager community fully embrace that, have fully internalized that notion."
He also talks about his role leading the Portfolio Alignment Team. This group was created in 2020 by Mark Carney in his capacity as U.N. Special Envoy for Climate in response to rising interest from investors and lenders in measuring how portfolios align with Paris Agreement goals. The Portfolio Alignment Team published its latest report shortly before COP26.
In this episode, we also speak with Carter Powis, a consultant with McKinsey who led the firm’s support of the team.
"Knowledge of portfolio alignment tools is still in a very nascent state across the financial sector," Carter says. "As a result, there are some pervasive misunderstandings about what these tools are and why they're important."
Photo credit: Generation Investment Management
Defining net zero: How to turn pledges into concrete action
'Net zero’ was a buzzword in the sustainability world in 2021, but big questions remain about what this term really means.
In this episode of ESG Insider, we'll hear how the Science Based Targets initiative, or SBTi, is defining net zero in its newly released corporate standard. And to understand the challenges the financial sector faces in defining and achieving net zero targets, we talk to Curtis Ravenel, who is senior adviser to Mark Carney — the former Bank of England Governor who now acts as U.N. special envoy on climate finance.
We'll also hear from Jeanne Martin, senior campaign manager at U.K.-based investor activist group ShareAction, about where European banks stand and why they need to make significant progress toward their net zero goals by 2030.
To learn more about the extent to which big corporations in multiple sectors are setting net zero targets, read an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence: https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/path-to-net-zero-stakeholders-demand-action-on-ambitions-as-pledges-swell-67951124
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How 2 new technologies could pave the road to net-zero
In this final episode of our miniseries on emerging technologies that can help companies achieve net zero emissions by mid-century, we're examining two cutting-edge projects for the agricultural, mining and road construction industries.
In this episode of ESG Insider, we explore how scientists in California are using a new technology called enhanced weathering to help the farming and mining industries become part of the climate solution.
We also hear how Spanish energy and infrastructure company Acciona is working with the paper industry to help decarbonize the process for making roads.
Photo credit: Getty Image
How whisky, yoga pants and a trash burning plant are helping tackle climate change
What do Glenfiddich whisky, yoga pants and a trash-burning waste-to-heat plant in Europe have in common? They’re all part of efforts to use emerging technologies to tackle climate change.
As companies and countries around the world pursue net zero targets, one big question is: How do you ensure the carbon removal technologies we will need 20 to 30 years down the road are available, affordable and easily scaled?
In this episode of ESG Insider, we bring you the second part in our miniseries about emerging climate technologies. We hear how Scotch whisky maker Glenfiddich uses a part of its distillery process to power delivery trucks. We explore how biotech company LanzaTech is using bacteria to recycle gases into ethanol that is used to create everything from yoga pants to shampoo bottles to low-carbon aviation fuels.
And lastly, we learn how Fortum Oslo Varme’s waste-to-energy trash-burning plant in Norway is being converted to capture carbon emissions and send them to be permanently stored deep under the North Sea. This technology is often referred to as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, or BECCS, and can be used to help tackle climate change when done in a sustainable manner.
Photo credit: William Grant & Sons