17 episodes

ESG Insider is a new podcast from S&P Global that takes you inside the environmental, social & governance issues shaping the business world today. Each episode, co-hosts Lindsey White and Esther Whieldon will speak with experts and leverage S&P Global data to shine a light on the ESG opportunities and risks that business leaders and investors need to know about. Lindsey White is a financial news editor with S&P Global Market Intelligence. Esther Whieldon is a sustainability and climate news reporter, also with Market Intelligence.

ESG Insider: A podcast from S&P Global S&P Global

    • Business News
    • 5.0, 3 Ratings

ESG Insider is a new podcast from S&P Global that takes you inside the environmental, social & governance issues shaping the business world today. Each episode, co-hosts Lindsey White and Esther Whieldon will speak with experts and leverage S&P Global data to shine a light on the ESG opportunities and risks that business leaders and investors need to know about. Lindsey White is a financial news editor with S&P Global Market Intelligence. Esther Whieldon is a sustainability and climate news reporter, also with Market Intelligence.

    European banks sharpen ESG focus as COVID-19 highlights risk

    European banks sharpen ESG focus as COVID-19 highlights risk

    ESG Insider interviewed sustainability leaders at some of Europe’s largest financial institutions: BBVA in Spain, BNP Paribas in France and Barclays in the U.K. This is the third in a three-part miniseries that features interviews with some of the biggest lenders around the world about how they're adapting their ESG strategies amid COVID-19. In Europe, climate change remains in sharp focus for banks despite the current coronavirus crisis. As scientists caution that deforestation and destruction of nature could lead to more pandemics, some banks are increasing their focus on environmental issues like biodiversity.
     
    Listen to the episode to hear the interviews, and subscribe to ESG Insider to catch future episodes. 
     
    (Photo: AP) 

    • 17 min
    Head of major US gas utility outlines path to net-zero emissions

    Head of major US gas utility outlines path to net-zero emissions

    "This isn't just a pie-in-the-sky commitment or announcement. This is something that we spent a lot of time researching and analyzing and studying," DTE Gas Co. President and COO Matt Paul said of the company's plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
     
    Paul made the comment in an exclusive interview with ESG Insider, an S&P Global podcast about environmental, social and governance issues.
     
    DTE Gas parent company DTE Energy is among the largest electric and gas companies in the U.S. and serves 2.2 million electricity customers and 1.3 million gas customers in Michigan. In June, it expanded its existing goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to also include its natural gas distribution and gas retail sales operations. The company joins a growing list of U.S. electric and gas utilities that have made deep decarbonization pledges.
     
    But achieving net-zero emissions can be a complicated feat and requires different strategies for different types of companies. For example, electric utilities can reduce the majority of their carbon emissions by retiring coal-fired power plants and replacing that generation with wind, solar and battery projects. However, not all companies have the option of changin​g their power fleet to achieve their goal.
     
    In the interview, Paul detailed DTE Gas' strategy for achieving net-zero emissions within its operations and from suppliers, such as oil and gas drillers and owners of major interstate pipelines that transport the gas to its distribution system. Paul also noted that DTE Gas is looking to help customers who use natural gas for home heating and other purposes offset their associated emissions.
     
    Paul said that the company will need to rely on carbon offsets for a portion of its goal and described how DTE Gas is already taking steps to ensure those options are available for the future.
     
    Listen the episode to hear the full interview, and subscriber to ESG Insider to catch future episodes. 
     
    (Photo: AP) 

    • 23 min
    COVID-19 shows many ESG agendas have 'forgotten about the people'

    COVID-19 shows many ESG agendas have 'forgotten about the people'

    "Sustainability was always around people, planet and profit. I just think for the longest time we've forgotten about the people," said Mikkel Larsen, chief sustainability officer at Singapore-based 


    " data-original-title="">DBS Group Holdings Ltd., in an interview for the latest episode of "ESG Insider," an S&P Global podcast.
    In the coronavirus pandemic, Larsen said, "We've been reminded that you can't have one without the two others."
    Larsen said the pandemic has brought social issues to the forefront as companies grapple with the way they treat their employees, customers and those in their supply chains.
    "What we now see under COVID-19 is that companies who don't take [care] of their employees will not have a sustainable company to run," he said in the interview.
    In Asia, where millions live in abject poverty, Larsen cautioned that the climate agenda cannot come at the expense of people. DBS stopped financing coal-fired power plants, but only after finding price-competitive renewable energy alternatives.
    "We were not willing to accept that lack of electricity — we are in Southeast Asia where 65 million are still without electricity — was necessarily going to be the trade-off," Larsen said.
    In other industries, such as aviation and cement, good alternatives are not yet clear. But Larsen said banks like DBS can take steps to help clients transition to more sustainable business models.
    "I think the right thing to do is to back those that are taking the right steps to decarbonize," he said.
      Going forward, Larsen expects rapid growth in ESG investing in Asia. He said this is partly due to growing investor demand and partly due to rising pressure from regulators in the region.
    "You've seen around Asia a number of regulators stepping up, and they're not deterred particularly by the COVID-19 crisis," he said. "Introduction of carbon taxes, introduction of incentives for going green, requirements for banks to show how much of their book is 'green' and 'brown'...China's ability to offer a discounted rate at the discount window if you have green assets — all these things will spur the movement."
    The episode is part of a series of podcasts exploring how banks in different parts of the world are adapting their environmental, social and governance strategies amid the coronavirus pandemic. DBS is the largest bank in Southeast Asia. In the 


    " data-original-title="">last episode, we heard from 


    " data-original-title="">JPMorgan Chase & Co. Head of Sustainability Marisa Buchanan about how the largest U.S. bank is responding to systemic racism and re-upping its focus on climate change following pandemic disruptions. In the next episode, we'll hear from some of the largest banks in Europe about their ESG approach.
    Listen to the episode, and subscribe to ESG Insider to catch future episodes. 
    (Photo: AP) 

    • 25 min
    How the biggest US bank is adapting its ESG approach amid COVID, racism

    How the biggest US bank is adapting its ESG approach amid COVID, racism

    Climate change took "a bit of a backseat" during the first several weeks of the coronavirus pandemic as "governments and businesses frankly were really just focused on survival," JPMorgan Chase Head of Sustainability Marisa Buchanan said in an exclusive interview in the latest episode of "ESG Insider," an S&P Global podcast.
    "As economies begin to rebuild [and] businesses have greater ability to focus on these issues, we're going to see budget and bandwidth come back hopefully," Buchanan said.
    The episode is part of a series in which we talk to some of the world's biggest lenders about how they are adapting their environmental, social and governance strategies amid COVID-19 and widespread protests against racism following George Floyd's death in the custody of Minneapolis police.
    Listen to the episode to hear to the full interview, and subscribe to ESG Insider to catch future episodes. 
    (Photo: AP)

    • 19 min
    Why S&P Global Ratings sees ESG as critical to COVID-era credit quality

    Why S&P Global Ratings sees ESG as critical to COVID-era credit quality

    More than 370 credit rating actions taken by S&P Global Ratings since March have been driven by environmental, social and governance factors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, S&P Global Ratings' Americas Team Leader for Sustainable Finance Michael Ferguson said in an exclusive interview for the latest episode of "ESG Insider," an S&P Global podcast.
    Companies in nearly every sector have been hard hit by the economic impacts of the pandemic and many have seen their credit rating downgraded as a result. The majority of ESG-related actions S&P Global Ratings took in recent months were tied to social factors, such as how businesses are being impacted by social distancing and workforce challenges, Ferguson said.
    "Managing ESG risk is critical ... because it is a central piece of understanding credit quality," he explained.
    Many ESG risks such as climate change play out over the long term, giving companies time to plan and adapt. But the pandemic is forcing companies to pivot and act quickly in relation to things like supply chain management, Ferguson explained.
    Some ESG-related deterioration in credit quality resulting from COVID-19 is inevitable given the pandemic circumstances.
    "Certainly the idea that people are going to social distance means that they're not going to go to casinos, they're not going to go to restaurants, they're not going to get on planes for a little while. That's going to impair credit quality," Ferguson said.
    But management teams do have control over their response to the virus, such as mitigating risks related to workforce and safety — and that is something ratings analysts will be watching closely as companies emerge from the crisis.
    "Companies that are not particularly cautious about how they reopen and do so hastily and without taking the proper precautions," face significantly heightened social risks, Ferguson cautioned.
    Listen to the episode to hear the full interview, and subscribe to ESG Insider to catch future episodes! 
    (Photo: AP) 

    • 20 min
    Investors press Amazon, other companies on COVID-19 workforce concerns

    Investors press Amazon, other companies on COVID-19 workforce concerns

    Investors are moving to hold companies such as Amazon more accountable on workforce management during the COVID-19 crisis, Fiona Reynolds, the CEO of PRI, or the Principles for Responsible Investment, said in an exclusive interview for the latest episode of ESG Insider, an S&P Global podcast.
    To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many governments have ordered social distancing and for people to stay home, with exception to essential workers. But this has meant that many companies that relied on people traveling, shopping, going out to eat for their revenues have experienced significant financial problems and many have furloughed or have been forced to lay off employees.
    PRI's hundreds of signatory investors that collectively manage about $90 trillion in assets are "extremely concerned about what's happening within the workforces within the corporations that they're invested in," said Reynolds. PRI has organized focus groups aimed at helping investors engage with companies on coronavirus issues, including by asking questions of the companies at their annual shareholder meetings.
    "We need to be stronger on social issues and human rights and make sure that the companies that we invest in understand that we care about the workforce," Reynolds said. "Because we know from all of the evidence, the academic evidence that is out there, (that) when you have a company that has happy employees, you're a better company and you perform better."
    Reynolds also outlined how she envisions investor and government expectations might change on workforce issues coming out of the coronavirus crisis. PRI is a project the United Nations launched in 2006 that has evolved into an international network of investors who have agreed to apply six sustainability principles to their investment decisions and practices.
    Also in the episode, Reynolds and S&P Global Market Intelligence e-commerce reporter Katie Arcieri outline the pressure Amazon has come under for worker safety issues both from employees and investors and how the company says it is working to address those concerns.
    (Photo: AP) 

    • 29 min

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