“Wow,” I’ve been telling myself since January 20. “This really is it.” Or as I used to say in my Humboldt Park Latin slang back in Chicago: “This dude’s for real.”
The climate movement never could be sure about candidate Joe Biden. When asked, his answers were, well, generally unconvincing, as if toeing a line to secure the vote of skeptics while gaining a mandate for bigger action if he won.
Wow. What a difference a year makes. Not even a year, actually. It was last April when I wrote this column announcing the upcoming launch of a movement, which I called Adaptation ESG, to urge sustainable companies — bellwethers in Environmental, Social & Governance standards — to lead a new renaissance of resilience in the face of the latest and ever more daunting climate science. To extend their sustainability leadership, as it were, to adaptability leadership.
The world’s booming $35 trillion ESG investment market, roughly 40% of total global assets under management, had begun sending the clearest possible message to companies everywhere: if you want our capital, disclose your climate risks, mainly through TCFD, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. …
The grass helped. It was soft and just the right bit of moist. When it caressed between the toes, it was particularly satisfying. Looking back, I was like Richard Gere in the barefoot-on-the-grass scene in Pretty Woman. Except this was 1981. The movie came later, and Gere was reflecting on a positive transition in his life.
I walked, it seemed, for miles down Grant Park, though not really. It wasn’t all that long before I sat on a bench facing the vastness of Lake Michigan. And brooded.
I had just taken the Army entrance test at the downtown center. Passed four components stellarly. But failed one, pulmonary. I’m asthmatic, not good for desert-sand and cold-weather combat. And that was it. …
Yes, we will overshoot 2° Celsius, but you can still redirect optimism, unleash a new wellspring of value, and become the brand that makes it through.
The bomb fell a month ago, when the release of this landmark climate sensitivity study ushered in a new moment, a turning point, in corporate climate management, confirming with final certainty what the business world has known but not embraced until now. And suddenly, the game changed.
Bottom line? Climate disarray can no longer be avoided. That hope, that we will fall short of 2°C, is gone. But there is a new source of optimism now: the hope that your company, in tight collaboration with others of like mind and soul, can make it through, maybe even prosper through, the disruption already begun and now sure to escalate. …
THE ADAPTIVE CO: This week changed it all. We now know recovery will take long, as the COVID Restricted Economy is on.
As a business leader, you simply cannot afford not to adapt at this point, not with what we now know about how long it will take for some normalcy to return post-COVID.
It won’t be a few weeks or months. This week settled that paralyzing speculation. You can no longer simply hold on for dear life while the dust settles and implement temporary measures, however effective they’ve been so far.
After this week, we know it will take way longer than that. We have entered the COVID Restricted Economy, and it requires another response gear. To go the distance will take what can be called deep adaptability, to borrow the Deep Adaptation lexicon — by everyone in the organization, enterprise-wide. …
THE ADAPTIVE CO: That’s the mission of Adaptation ESG, a novel movement urging portfolio companies to usher in a new era of sustainable finance
You be the judge. Exhibit A: ESG investments, in companies that implement above-average Environmental, Social & Governance standards, have skyrocketed to $35 trillion in assets under management (AUM), with a recent double-digit annual growth that has stunned investors and analysts alike. The S&P 500, by comparison, is at $30 trillion. The global AUM total amounts to $90 trillion.
After 20 years rising, ESG has joined the major leagues, drawing thousands of companies around the world and yielding returns that outperform non-ESG funds, even in the current crisis and consistently since 2000. …
THE ADAPTIVE CO: Go from COVID-19 to Cypriana, and take everyone with you.
If there is one thing the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has made abundantly clear, it is the absolute fragility of the global system. Hospitals and their supply chains are overwhelmed. Travel halts. Events are canceled. Markets crash. Billions are left unemployed or uncertain. Government budgets are strained. All at such speed and scale as to leave everyone scrambling to figure out how one effect cascades to the next, intersects with others, and compounds the previous ones.
And that is but one kind of fragility, the systemic one, normally falling on senior corporate teams to decipher, as they move to protect brands, sales, production streams, investment portfolios, and the other things you scramble to salvage during any sudden recession. …
THE ADAPTIVE CO: Not thunderous as in splashy, but the USGBC’s new RELi standard now becomes the world’s premier climate-resilience rating for the built environment.
Climate change is and will continue to be worse than anticipated, since the rise in global temperatures can no longer be stopped. That means many things, including resilience retrofits well beyond today’s building codes, and reaching out to surrounding communities to expand your response support.
Those are but two of the dramatic new upgrades RELi represents for your business. Originally designed and tested in a multi-year industry collaboration led by Perkins & Will, the standard has since been passed on to the U.S. …
THE ADAPTIVE CO: Protect your value chain from whatever comes
You’re the CEO or senior executive of a successful company. Whether or not you’ve been engaged in sustainability until now to be part of the solution to climate change, you’ve been reading the news lately on how bad it has become and the fact you, anyone really, may no longer be on time to escape devastating consequences in the near term, no matter your company’s size, industry or location.
Even if there may technically still be time to reverse the trend, you’ve reached the logical conclusion, given the dysfunctional politics, the economic momentum, and the daunting physics of climate change, that the window will likely close this new decade and the only smart thing for your company to now do, in fact for everyone to do, is to assume the worst and get ready on time. …
THE ADAPTIVE CO: If only more, far more, PREPARER companies got the memo.
The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) announced a major milestone last week: it surpassed 1,000 supporters — 1,027 to be precise, in 55 countries. The achievement, though, comes with an urgent calling.
Just under half of those supporters, or 473, are financial firms interested in using the disclosures. TCFD appropriately calls them users. Another several hundred are organizations TCFD calls knowledge resources to help companies disclose. A smaller number are government-sector and related entities (central banks, regulators, stock exchanges, credit rating agencies, etc.) …