To kick-off the new year, Beyond the Boardroom invited Rights CoLab Co-founder Paul Rissman to share his views on whether the anti-ESG actions of the Republican-led states in the U.S. to ban investors who consider ESG factors in their investment decisions is just a “bump in the road” or if they could significantly chill investor interest in ESG standards.

Paul explains to Podcast host, Kieran Poole, that in the past few years ESG has become very popular and that anti-ESG actions are both politically motivated and transitory. He is confident that ESG will become stronger in the coming years and that the anti-ESG campaigns will fade away. At the same time, Paul notes, institutional investors now hold such a high degree of power that they have become “shadow regulators.” Based on a risk-return calculus, investors are demanding that companies report on ESG using established ESG frameworks, such as the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), which are now part of the IFRS Foundation’s International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). ESG is no longer about voluntary reporting – but it is a means by which companies establish “good standing.”

Kieran also asks Paul about Rights CoLab and why he cofounded it. As a former money manager for 20 years, he believed he had knowledge about what motivates investors and their investment calculus that could be valuable for human rights advocates seeking investor support in holding companies accountable. He joined forces with his cofounders who have backgrounds in human rights so that he could help to forge those alliances. At Rights CoLab, Paul co-leads the business and finance workstream in advancing human rights. Kieran also unearthed the little known fact that Paul is also a passionate archeologist, and during the Podcast asks Paul to share his experiences digging up 4,000-year-old towns in Oman and India.

Access this episode of the podcast here: Beyond the Boardroom: Is anti-ESG just a bump in the road?


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