We're all climate hypocrites | 100,000 new hires for ESG | Potty-training cattle for climate
Plus, The Happiness Project (book), sustainability-linked compensation, savoring the chaos, and a women-led "solar century" event.
Good mornin’ —
Hope you find something useful in this issue of the ZERO: Climate Finance newsletter from Entrepreneurs for Impact. If you have recommendations on climate investment trends that I should cover, please drop me an email.
High fives and such,
100,000 new employees focused on ESG by 2026.
“Accounting firm PwC said it would invest $12 billion over five years to create 100,000 new jobs aimed at helping its clients grapple with climate and diversity reporting and also in artificial intelligence.” (Reuters)
Holy sh*t! That’s a lot of hires.
Why do they care? Consider these relevant headlines.
ESG investing now accounts for one-third of total U.S. assets under management (MarketWatch)
ESG assets may hit $53 trillion by 2025, a third of global AUM (Bloomberg)
Is it possible to find that many folks with expertise in ESG, climate, diversity, and sustainability?
Doubtful, but God bless you if you’re a person like this. #EmployeesMarket
But, as the Wall Street Journal notes, there is more to this headline. Part of this big hiring push is also for growth areas like cybersecurity expertise.
Potty training cows to fight climate change.
No, this is not a joke.
“Cattle are the No. 1 agricultural source of greenhouse gases worldwide,” according to the University of California at Davis.
This is largely due to methane coming out of both ends thanks to the methanogenic bacteria in their guts.
Piling on to this hot mess is the seven gallons of daily urine from each cow — which converts to nitrous oxides, an even more potent greenhouse gas.
(Wait, I thought urine converted into a good soil fertilizer? Apparently, the 25 years that have passed since my environmental science degree are a mental wall too high to climb right now.)
So, what to do?
Don’t eat them. (They might like that, too.)
Don’t drink them. (Yikes, that came out wrong.)
Figure out how to avoid these negative impacts.
To that end, “a self-described cow psychologist who studies animal behavior at the University of Auckland in New Zealand” began giving calves treats whenever they relieved themselves properly in the stalls.
And perhaps cows are smarter than we think — it only took 10 days to get them potty trained. That’s not quite the 3-day model that we used to do the same for our kiddos, but it’s a start.
We’re all climate hypocrites.
Oh yeah, we all know it. I am. You are. It’s impossible for every choice to be the right choice.
With that in mind, my friend Sami Grover recently published this book — We’re All Climate Hypocrites Now: How Embracing Our Limitations Can Unlock the Power of a Movement.
While I would normally try and write a pithy summary, as a delightfully snarky creative writer, I’ll leave that task to Sami. See below.
Changing your behavior matters. Transforming the system matters more.
Our culture tells us that personal responsibility is central to tackling the climate emergency, yet the choices we make are often governed by the systems in which we live. Whether it's activists facing criticism for eating meat or climate scientists catching flack for flying, accusations of hypocrisy are rampant. And they come from both inside and outside the movement.
Taking a tongue-in-cheek approach, self-confessed eco-hypocrite Sami Grover says we should do what we can in our own lives to minimize our climate impacts, but then we need to target those actions so they create systemic change. Along the way, he skewers those pointing fingers, celebrates those who are trying, and offers practical pathways to start making a difference.
We're All Climate Hypocrites Now covers:
How environmentalism lost its groove
Why big polluters want to talk about your carbon footprint
The psychology of shaming
How businesses can find their activist voice
The true power of individuals to spark widespread change.
By understanding where our greatest leverage lies, we can prioritize our actions, maximize our impact, and join forces with the millions of other imperfect individuals who are ready to do their part and actually change the system.
Thanks to these ESG investment leaders.
A hearty shout out to the following guest speakers and industry leaders who were kind enough to impart their wisdom in recent weeks to my Duke University students (ESG Investing) and UNC students (Sustainability Reporting & Certifications).
Curtis Ravenel - Secretariat, TCFD; former head of sustainability at Bloomberg
Tanya Svidler - Director of ESG Solutions at Morningstar
Mandira Reddy - Director at Capricorn Investment Group
Kent McClanahan - Vice President of Responsible Investing, Global Investments & Trading - RBC
Brad Ives - CEO at Credo ESG Solutions; Former CSO of UNC-Chapel Hill
Mike Wallace - SVP at Persefoni (VC-backed carbon accounting SaaS); former MD at ERM (recently bought by KKR)
Andrea Rudert - Associate Director of ESG Stakeholder Engagement at Clorox
Show me the money (on sustainability-linked bonuses).
It’s all rainbows and unicorns until you start talking about my incentive-based compensation.
But that’s what this firm is proposing — Private Equity Weighs Linking Manager Pay to ESG Performance: Challenges remain to basing compensation on environmental, social, and governance impact.
And they’re not alone — “Around 500 corporations worldwide tie executive pay to environmental, social or governance goals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.” (Finance & Commerce)
Want to give it a try?
Here’s a primer from the Harvard Business Review — “How to Tie Executive Compensation to Sustainability.”
Do you savor chaos?
“The days are long, but the years are short.”
— Gretchen Rubin: Author of The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, which is a “Type A” approach to a happier life. Accordingly, I REALLY loved this book.
Why a reference to chaos? Many of us are busier than feels manageable at times. And that means we might seek a slower, calmer pace instead. But if we keep looking for that, we might miss the awesome in front of us.
It reminds me of my former neighbor, Steve. About ten years older than me, he used to tear up when talking about his girls, who are now out of college, as he reflected on times when they were younger. It helps me remember to “relish the chaos” of raising three kids right now.
That’s all, folks.
Make it a great week, because it’s usually a choice.
P.S. What does an owl in the UK say?
Thanks to the ridiculously wonderful Ted Lasso series for this zinger.
I’m not a TV guy, but I’ve watched the series 3x — first with my wife, then with my folks, and now with our two teenagers. They especially appreciate the frequent use of the F-word, in the charming British accent, that seems to appear in every other sentence.
P.S.S. Women-led event on “the solar century.”
From my friends at impact VC firm, SJF Ventures:
Please join us on Thursday, September 30 at 4:00 pm EST for a conversation on the future impact of the “Solar Century.” Facilitated by Dave Kirkpatrick and Jacqueline Goodman at SJF, this discussion will focus on solar energy’s transition to the primary source of global energy this century, which is generating climate, employment, resilience, and community benefits.
The panel will consist of:
Adja Ba, Chief People Officer at PosiGen
Emily Burks, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Community Energy
Kristan Kirsh, Vice President, Global Marketing at Nextracker
Matt Campbell, CEO & Co-Founder at Terabase Energy
Dr. Chris Wedding
Founder and Chief Catalyst, Entrepreneurs for Impact
The Only Private Executive Mastermind Community for CEOs, Founders, and Investors Fighting Climate Change