19 episodes

New Climate Capitalism is a podcast about change-makers working at the intersection of activism, finance and investment.

climatenarrativesannotated.substack.com

New Climate Capitalism Denise Young

    • Business

New Climate Capitalism is a podcast about change-makers working at the intersection of activism, finance and investment.

climatenarrativesannotated.substack.com

    #17 Sustainability under attack: Lessons from Danone

    #17 Sustainability under attack: Lessons from Danone

    Joining me to make sense of the recent dramatic exit of Emmanuel Faber from Danone following a hedge fund attack, are two leading lights of the sustainable business space.

    Louise Kjellerup Roper is CEO of UK-based Volans, which advises companies that are transitioning to sustainability. Mark Desjardine is a researcher at Penn State University specialized in hedge fund activism.

    So, was Danone the story of the limits to sustainability?

    Or is this the opening shot in a new chapter for sustainable business?

    One that moves beyond the myth of the Sustainability Superhero CEO who acts very much alone to drive the transition, to sell it to the media, and to defend that vision against enemy attacks, both from within and from without.

    I love this interview because Louise and Mark basically interview eachother, putting together the latest research findings on hedge fund activism, and the signals from companies that are breaking new ground in sustainable business.

    What emerges is an analysis of the Danone case that goes well beyond the Good vs Evil narrative, and provides fresh insight into the risks and opportunities of this new phase of the sustainability revolution.

    Timecode:

    5:40 Firms that do more CSR are more likely to be attacked by activist hedge funds

    8:30 Only long-term investors can bring the triple bottom line together

    14:50 New trend of “ESG-style” activist hedge funds like Engine No. 1 - greenwash?

    19:36 Compare Polman’s and Faber’s responses to hedge fund attacks

    21.30 Female CEOs make companies more vulnerable to hedge fund attack. Why?

    24:50 Has the sun set on the era of the alpha male Sustainability CEO Hero?

    32:56 A new generation of “sustainability-native” leaders will change the game

    38:45 Should we regulate hedge funds out of business?

    41:26 Investor relations is a key battleground for sustainability and long-term thinking





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    • 46 min
    #16 Are women the key to a greener financial future?

    #16 Are women the key to a greener financial future?

    Welcome to episode #16 of New Climate Capitalism, and today we're talking about financial feminism.

    My guest is Jessica Robinson, who's just published a new book called "Financial Feminism: A Woman's Guide To Investing for a Sustainable Future".

    Reading her book was a both a wake-up call, and a call to action for me personally. Everyone knows about the gender pay gap, and sadly, if you are a woman, you have experienced it. But the hurdles don't end there. There's also a savings gap, a pension gap, even a debt gap.

    And that woman who spoke so brilliantly in the meeting? She may not be as self-confident about her finances. In fact, many women report feeling spoken down to when talking with a financial advisor, the majority of whom are men. 

    However The good news is that women are holding more and more wealth globally, and a lot of this wealth is being channelled into sustainable investing.

    Jessica's book really inspired me to take a long hard look at my own approach to saving and investing, and I found our conversation tremendously empowering. I do hope you enjoy it.

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    • 38 min
    #15 Australian student sues the government to climate-proof her pension

    #15 Australian student sues the government to climate-proof her pension

    Climate litigation is on the rise all over the world, and Australia is the global hot-spot for climate lawsuits.

    One of the most interesting cases going on there right now is a world-first involving a 23-year old student from Victoria who is suing the Australian government for failing to disclose climate change risk to sovereign bond investors.

    To understand the case, and its implications, I talked to David Barnden, who is the founder of Equity Generation Lawyers, and he represents Katta O’Donnell in the O’Donnell v Commonwealth which was brought last year.

    Let's pause for a moment to reflect on how this case is unusual and potentially game changing. Its the first time anyone has sued a government anywhere on failing to disclose climate risk on sovereign bonds. What’s more, sovereign bonds are traditionally seen as very safe investments, and they are key components of all pension funds.

    But guess what? In 2019, the Swedish central bank decided to dump Western Australian and Queensland bonds from their portfolio because of climate risk concerns.

    I talk to David about how this unusual case came about, what the stakes are and what the rest of the world can learn from it.

    Our conversation really gets to the heart of some big questions about the relationship between the law, the state and the interests of capital and the public. Cases like O'Donnell v Commonwealth are not just about a new type of climate action, they could - potentially - transform the way capitalism is encoded into the law.

    Personally I find this topic very exciting, so I hope you enjoy our conversation.

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    • 37 min
    #14 Is the future of wealth social and cultural?

    #14 Is the future of wealth social and cultural?

    Welcome to Episode 14 of New Climate Capitalism.

    Today I’m talking with Siddarth Shtalekar, who's the founder of Sacred Capital, a Singapore-based company that's building reputational currencies on distributed ledgers.

    If you're thinking “that sounds a bit abstract”, in essence this is an invitation to think way past business as usual to a new idea of currency and wealth.

    And the timing couldn't be more perfect. The pandemic has forced us to deeply question the value of everything, and to re-assess things like the relationship between money and identity.

    Sid has an unusual personal story which is something of a metaphor for the economic future he's trying to build.

    Before the financial crisis of 2008 he was the head of one of South Asia's largest trading floors. He then spent four years in a Gandhian ashram exploring new paradigms for economics.

    So if you're interested in how to expand the definition of wealth to include capital that's social, cultural and intellectual, I guarantee that you will enjoy this conversation.

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    • 40 min
    #13 The hardest of hard problems: modern slavery in the supply chain

    #13 The hardest of hard problems: modern slavery in the supply chain

    Welcome to episode 13 of New Climate Capitalism.

    Our topic today is modern slavery in the supply chain.

    This is one of those big, disturbing issues that affects all of us. Each time we buy a bar of chocolate, an iPhone, an item of clothing, it is likely that someone, somewhere, a fellow human being, will have been subjected, often against their will, to abject working conditions to produce that item.

    How should we define modern slavery? What are its root causes? And what can companies and consumers do to fight it?

    To find out, I spoke to Michael Rogerson, who is a researcher at the University of Bath specialised in modern slavery. Coming from an accounting background, he has a unique and compelling perspective on this topic which is usually the preserve of activist NGOs.

    If you're working on the "S" of ESG, you should be following this very closely. And if you consider yourself an ethical consumer, or if you're worried and would like to do better, do not miss this episode.

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    • 49 min
    S2 Ep 2: Why foundations are rushing into green finance

    S2 Ep 2: Why foundations are rushing into green finance

    Welcome to Episode 12 of New Climate Capitalism.

    Philanthropic foundations are not generally known for being players in green finance but that started to change a few years ago, and right now more and more players are diving into the space.

    To find out what’s going on, I talked to Marilyn Waite, who leads the climate and sustainable finance work at the Hewlett Foundation. Right now that’s a portfolio worth 75 million US dollars over five years.

    Foundations are special because their non-accountability allows them to be very nimble and responsive, and this gives them tremendous leverage to come in with an agenda for change that can, over time, exert influence on the dominant agenda and narrative.

    So don't miss this episode to find out where foundations are putting their money and why right now.

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    • 34 min

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