Jul 21, 2021 • 37M

#19 Can we trust media coverage of ESG?

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

As more and more money flows into ESG, it’s no surprise that we are drowning in a deluge of information and reports. Plenty of it is greenwash. But how can we know which parts to ignore, and which parts to pay attention to?

Is the media the best place to go for trusted information?

Do the journalists covering this space act as watchdogs, or are they simply “conveyor belts” of industry information.

To find out I talked to Nadine Strauss, who's a researcher specialized in green finance communication, and Peter McKillop, CEO of Climate & Capital Media, and a former journalist himself.

Nadine’s research raises many tricky questions. For example, journalists say they face a moral dilemma. They are concerned about climate change, and want to make a difference. Yet they are under pressure to provide a platform for all sorts of industry claims. A lot of information is locked behind paywalls. And ESG information has become a business in its own right through paid events and online webinars.

There are no easy answers. It almost seems like no-one has a stake in pushing for change here, yet most people will agree that change is needed. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

We talked about:

  • 3.01 How journalists perceive their role in covering green finance, more chronicler & informant than watchdog

  • 4.18 Moral dilemma facing journalists inundated with industry greenwash

  • 7.05 Whose job is it to be the greenwash watchdog; journalists face multiple challenges

  • 9.19 Walled garden syndrome: green finance is an elitist, mostly paywalled space.

  • 19.15 How Tariq Fancy, formerly of Black Rock, broke out to wider audiences with messages on why ESG investing doesn’t work

  • 26.19 Much reporting on green finance is driven by op-eds from big investment banks & their theory of change is weak, sustainable finance is an add-on to a business as usual view of the world

  • 33.05 Nadine shares her go-to information resources

  • 34.17 Peter shares his go-to information resources