Yale announces collaboration with WBCSD to improve corporate reporting

From Eurekalert   (Don’t we all want our corporate investments to be “inclusive“) ~ctm

Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Recognizing the critical role that private capital flows will play in moving society toward a more sustainable future, Yale University has launched the Yale Initiative on Sustainable Finance (YISF). This new academic effort will provide high-quality research on the flow of capital into sustainability-oriented projects and sustainable companies.

As the private sector increasingly acknowledges the need to move toward an efficient and inclusive economy, companies, investors and governments are asking for research and guidance on how they can best transform practices, shift investments and measure the impact of sustainability efforts in the corporate world, and, more specifically, in the realm of finance.

YISF will engage faculty from Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), Yale School of Management (SOM) and Yale Law School (YLS). The project proposes a multi-dimensional approach to investigate challenges in sustainable finance. YISF anticipates extensive interactions with market participants, leading scholars and non-profit organizations. These partnerships will strengthen YISF’s efforts to identify, develop and disseminate new ideas broadly through research, workshops and roundtables.

YISF will focus on three initial sustainable finance issues:

impediments to the movement of mainstream capital into sustainability-related projects needs of sustainability-minded investors standards in the burgeoning Green Bonds market

“Perhaps nothing has held back movement toward a sustainable future more than the lack of money being invested in projects that take environmental considerations into account and recognize the inter-dependence between sustainability and financial performance,” said Dan Esty, co-director of YISF and a professor at F&ES and Yale Law School. “YISF will get to the heart of issues related to financial flows in support of the sustainability agenda.”

Housed at the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, YISF will be co-led by Todd Cort, a faculty member with joint appointments at SOM and F&ES. “Our aim is to move swiftly toward meaningful conclusions that are relevant and timely for application in the market,” Cort said.

The Yale Center for Business and the Environment provides a platform for generating, incubating and launching innovative action at the intersection of business and the environment. The Center joins the strengths of F&ES and SOM with an extensive network of internal and external thought leaders at the business-environment interface. The Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy advances fresh thinking and analytically rigorous approaches to environmental decision-making across disciplines, across sectors, and across boundaries.

As a starting point, YISF is working with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to help clarify the concept of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) materiality for companies. YISF will bring together Yale’s research expertise and WBCSD’s convening power in their common efforts to improve the relevance of sustainability information in corporate reporting.

WBCSD is a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. We help make our member companies more successful and sustainable by focusing on the maximum positive impact for shareholders, the environment and societies.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Yale University as a renowned seat of learning. Our work with YISF is aimed at strengthening the quality and relevance of ESG information so that companies are better informed on their ESG impacts and dependencies, leading to more effective disclosure to facilitate better decision-making in the capital markets. Our ambition is to drive capital towards more sustainable investment and the creation of longer term value,” said Rodney Irwin, Managing Director of Redefining Value at WBCSD.

YISF will kick off on Sept. 22 during a launch symposium for the Journal of Environmental Investing’s special issue on “The State of ESG Data.”

This project is part of the Conservation and Financial Markets Initiative, a five-year effort of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation that aims to leverage the power of mainstream financial markets in order to help drive the food sector away from practices that degrade natural ecosystems.

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54 thoughts on “Yale announces collaboration with WBCSD to improve corporate reporting

  1. Perhaps the most cynical proposal since the Catholic Church stopped selling indulgences. At least I hope it i cynical, as otherwise Yale has definitely drunk the Koolaid.

  2. In the 1970s, pimply faced young nutters used to mouth aspirations just like those reported at Yale.
    We used to counter these with reality and keep them in check
    Post-2000, those who should have been keeping in check have dropped the bundle.
    I say shame on them for social irresponsibility.
    They have let the foot of drivel talk through the door so that even grown ups at Yale now think it is super.
    I weep, but I blame learned societies the most for giving credence to stupidity. Geoff.

  3. From the article: “This project is part of the Conservation and Financial Markets Initiative, a five-year effort of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation that aims to leverage the power of mainstream financial markets in order to help drive the food sector away from practices that degrade natural ecosystems.”

    Windmills are certainly degrading the natural ecosystems.

    Does this mean an object of the project is to eliminate windmills? If their efforts went towards saving the million of animals killed by windmills annually, I would be willing to make a little donation towards that cause.

    Yeah, I know that’s not what they are talking about.

  4. What puffery! Sustainability cannot even be defined, let alone established, but these fools want to make sure that the public treasury is looted for social projects, and private capital should be mandated to pay for something that doesn’t exist. Shades of carbon taxes…

    These people are masquerading as academicians when they are really hard core socialists. Are all academicians communists like these? Send them to Venezuela and maybe they can figure out just how sustainable a socialist society really is.

    These people need real jobs so that they do real work to understand private capital.

  5. Wait…what???

    “This project is part of the Conservation and Financial Markets Initiative, a five-year effort of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation that aims to leverage the power of mainstream financial markets in order to help drive the food sector away from practices that degrade natural ecosystems.”

    • Speaking of natural and foods, Trix cereal is “reintroducing” Trix with artificial colors and flavors. Seems that natural junk was not wanted and consumers made it clear by not buying the “healthy” version (after originally flooding social media with protests that the company ignored). The poor company has been forced to resume with the artificial colors and flavors, alongside what will presumably be a much smaller section of the “natural” junk no one wants.

      • Rattlesnake venom is natural. Oleander leaves are natural, and fatal if you eat a few. Being “natural” is not equal to being “good for you”.

  6. Correct me if I am wrong but simply providing capital in the form of equity investment is no guarantee of a return on that investment. Perhaps the YISF has overlooked managerial finance and should attend a real business school before investments are made.

  7. “Perhaps nothing has held back movement toward a sustainable future more than the lack of money being invested in projects that take environmental considerations into account ”
    ————————————————-
    Uh-huh. They might pause to consider that people invest money in order to make money, and environmentalism costs money. This brings to mind the saying, “A fool and his money are soon parted”.

  8. I think Bill Clinton and Hillary went to Yale. There is a rare picture of them looking like hippies with Hillary smoking taken in the 60’s.

  9. I doubt that there has ever been a word so widely used and yet so misunderstood as sustainability.
    Although applied to such things as water, mostly it is used to characterize energy – supposedly a sustainable energy source is one which is never depleted. The big question becomes one of why we should care if an energy soure is sustainable or not. Suppose all fossil fuels disappear in exactly 100 years. Since none of the sustainable energy generating equipment lasts more than roughly 35-35 years, what can possible be gained by adopting a sustainable energy generator at this point in time, as opposed to 90 years from now, when facing fossil fuel exhaustion? Of course, there is no advantage and one can say that the likelihood that sustainable energy generators 90 years from now are better than those today is quite high. So therefore, installing sustainable energy generators today has no intrinsic value WRT fuel depletion. An energy enerator should be chosen for several reasons – economics, side effects – environmental , such as air pollution or visual pollution or side effects , such as disruption of the grid and generating a need for overcapacity
    because of unreliability, etc. Sustainability, with respect to energy production, actually has no value whatsoever, but provides a lot of negative reasons for rejecting such energy generation. And sustainability cannot be equated with emission-free power. Nuclear power is just as, if not more emission-free than solar and wind, and emerging technologies such as molten salt reators, do not depend upon fosile fuel backup to the extent that wind and solar require, thus is, in effect, a much
    more emission-free power source. And the environmental and geographic footprint of these new reactors is absolutely miniscule compared to the enormous footprint of wind, for example.
    The environemnt is far better served by using these reactors than deploying visually offensive and
    unbelievably extensive wind farms. And they will never run out of fuel as far as humans are concerned, be it Thorium or Uranium. They are, in effect, far more sustainable than wind and solar.
    And cheaper as well.

    • “Sustainability” is all about how the user of term feels about it, not what it actually is. I know about a sustainability effort at a local company where the subject of Styrofoam vs. paper coffee cups was researched. Everyone assumed the Styrofoam was bad. Turns out it takes more energy, including the oil used to produce the polystyrene, to make a paper cup. So what does the company use now? Paper cups…

  10. The BIS under the present chairmanship of Carney ( BoE) is spearheading this global approach. They have produced economic investment criteria which MUST be followed by the Central Banks who in their turn INSIST on its use by all commercial banks. These investment criteria now include ‘climate change’ as part of the test.
    I think its too late to change any of this. Governments around the world have embraced this approach to extract more ‘rent’ from their citizens. Banks, Insurance Companies and other financial organisations embrace it to cream off new commissions and fees. Its now part of the fabric of our societies. The MSM hype about ‘disasters’ , the latest curve-fitting ‘forecasts’ from NASA-DISS etc, are just designed to keep the citizens fearful enough to accept this as a price to pay for ‘living’. Hopefully after I have left this mortal coil, citizens will no longer have the freedom of movement we enjoy, the communal electric ‘pods’ will only move so far along pre-agreed routes; power ( heating and light) will be rationed. There are indications that the average mental state of most citizens by then will embrace this ‘security’ in their new ‘hive’.
    This ‘savage’ is glad he is old enough not to see the full flowering of this ‘brave new world’.

  11. …initial sustainable finance issues: impediments to the movement of mainstream capital into sustainability-related projects needs of sustainability-minded investors standards in the burgeoning Green Bonds market. “Perhaps nothing has held back movement toward a sustainable future more than the lack of money being invested in projects that take environmental considerations into account and recognize the inter-dependence between sustainability and financial performance

    In other words, how can we get these stupid investors to put their money into something that will NEVER be profitable?

    • Tom, unfortunately its designed to be profitable for the ‘rent seekers’ the banks etc. The taxpayers, the utility customers will pay the ‘rent’. All those $bns created by the Central Banks after 2008 have to earn their crust. This is the way they are doing it. By accident or design, it will change the structure of western societies at the same time, making them more ‘controllable’.

      • Concentration of wealth in individuals makes this possible too. Buffet, Soros, Gates, Zuckerberg, Steyer, Musk, Anschutz all have enough money to push people in whatever direction they want. (As noted above in my comment, not all such pushes are successful—never mess with breakfast cereal.) They have no concerns about profitability, their wealth is beyond that need. They also can invest in what they deny others. Oil and gas have not been divested. Playing both sides is easy.

  12. So by dressing it up in fancy un-understandable language they hope people will fall for it and put their hard earned into it…Not me
    I had someone stop me and ask if I would think about investing in renewable energy projects They were a bit confused when I said I was already an unwilling investor and subsidiser of many such scams so I didn’t fancy doing it willingly as they only were profitable whilst backed up by large amounts of TAX payer funded subsidies.

    James Bull

  13. Dan Esty is married to Elizabeth Esty (D), the U.S. Congresswoman for Connecticut’s 5th congressional district. Interesting perspective.

  14. Will someone please define “sustainable development”?

    I had a family member run off to a “Sustainable Farming” commune in Costa Rico — jabbered on about it forever, but all they did was what the indigenous people has done for thousands of years, clear a plot, plant it, and harvest it. Never could answer the question “But what’s the ‘sustainable’ part?”

      • Graemethecat ==> Well, they don;t actually burn at the Sustainable Agriculture Farm – they use a brush hog and chain saws, then tractor mounted rototillers……

  15. The biggest impediment to sustainable finance is that it isn’t profitable absent subsidies. Yale will fancy that up, but won’t be able to hide the truth.

  16. Companies already put this kind of stuff on their website pages without having to really change anything. The world gov folks don’t care. Its optics useful for selling the taxpayer on parting with more cash and submitting to control.

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