Is ESG a distraction from climate action? This was the question recently posed by the New York Times to a panel of experts in a brilliant debate as part of its Climate Forward conference held in London. The debate was arguably won by the negative team who made a persuasive argument that in fact, the affirmative team could not really explain how ESG is a distraction. A distraction from what? Climate action was too broad to define. After all, climate is not a stand-alone issue. Reforming capitalism was also alluded to, giving the audience the sense there is a deeper malaise underlying the climate imperative.

How can we begin to unpack the meta-issue of Climate?

Given the complexity of the subject, applying multi-disciplinary lenses to move away from over-simplified narratives, is a first step. The following five disciplinary lenses may offer some insights.

  1. Humanities
    Tackling the climate emergency requires a patient civilizational make-over
  2.  Politics
    Climate is unleashing a re-balancing of power between countries
  3. Science
    Climate data highlights that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius relies not just on a reduction of emissions, but on emergent technological and nature-based solutions
  4. Economics
    Climate is a casualty of outdated economic models and theories
  5. Finance
    Investing in climate is a divisive values-driven opportunity

Read the full article about climate lens by Farahnaz Karim at Alliance Magazine.