Environment, Social, Governance (ESG) has become the noun, verb, and adjective of the modern business era. Faced with societal and regulatory pressure, big business in America, Asia, and Europe has been forced to define and articulate ESG goals to combat climate change and save the planet. The only problem is that ESG has been captured by the PR hype machine as a few prominent business leaders make bold promises to save the planet but are vague about how they propose to achieve this. Eager to showcase their green credentials, companies are making all kinds of promises to reduce their carbon footprint and to play their part in reducing global warming and improving social outcomes. How to separate fact from fiction and exaggerated commitments from realistic goals?
Vasuki Shastry spent several years at the coal face itself – running ESG for a major international bank in the City of London – and argues that corporate cultures are too focused on the profit motive and quarterly business targets. Change can only really come through a paradigm shift for business which aligns business with social purpose. Getting there will require a corporate revolution which will disrupt and dislodge the ancien régime and usher in a new age of sustainable business. The author offers a solution in the form of a climate manifesto for business.
Chapter 1. The ABC of ESG
Chapter 2. A Brief History of Grime
Chapter 3. Our Carbon-Industrial Complex
Chapter 4. The Prophet Motive
Chapter 5. Emission Omissions
Chapter 6. The Merits of “Woke” Capitalism
Chapter 7. Bored of Directors
Chapter 8. Rebels Without a Pause
Chapter 9. Making ESG Great Again
Vasuki Shastry is an Associate Fellow in the Asia Pacific Program of Chatham House. A former journalist, Shastry had a distinguished career at the International Monetary Fund, Singapore central bank, and Standard Chartered Bank in London, where he was Global Head of Public Affairs and Sustainability (and ran the ESG function). Shastry is the author of two books: Resurgent Indonesia: From Crisis to Confidence, published in 2018, and Has Asia Lost It? Dynamic Past, Turbulent Future, published in 2021. The latter title was a finalist at the 2021 Best Book Awards sponsored by the American Book Fest in the Current Affairs Category. He lives in Washington DC.