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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

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The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

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Featured Pathways

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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

More pathways

Ready to get started?

PLANS & MEMBERSHIP

Our Platform

Expert led content

+1,000 expert presented, on-demand video modules

Learning analytics

Keep track of learning progress with our comprehensive data

Interactive learning

Engage with our video hotspots and knowledge check-ins

Testing & certification

Gain CPD / CPE credits and professional certification

Managed learning

Build, scale and manage your organisation’s learning

Integrations

Connect Sustainability Unlocked to your current platform

Featured Content

More featured content

The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

More featured content

Ready to get started?

Ready to get started?

The Origins of ESG

The Origins of ESG

Johannes Lenhard

ESG & VC Specialist

Within the venture capital and startup financing space, there is a lack of clarity around ESG and how it is implemented firm-wide. Johannes explores some of the issues that are triggered by misleading reports compiled by different ESG rating and scoring agencies and how these challenges can be overcome.

Within the venture capital and startup financing space, there is a lack of clarity around ESG and how it is implemented firm-wide. Johannes explores some of the issues that are triggered by misleading reports compiled by different ESG rating and scoring agencies and how these challenges can be overcome.

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The Origins of ESG

14 mins 58 secs

Key learning objectives:

  • Understand the historical context around ESG

  • Learn about issues that can arise from reporting surrounding ESG

  • Learn how ESG reporting issues can be overcome

Overview:

This video attempts to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the meaning of ESG and provides some context around where ESG emerged from. Johannes will begin with the early 2000s, when measurements in investment decisions started. The meaning of sustainability is also explored, with a focus on what this means to long-lasting businesses. Venture capital and ESG are intricately connected, as venture capital funds the world’s startups. This video analyses how VC funds can embrace ESG and what that means for restructuring their operations and internal practices.

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Summary

What is the history of ESG? 

Historically, the term ESG, as well as the widespread and formalised use of ESG measurements in investment decisions, started in the early 2000s. The term ESG was first developed in a 2004 report by 20 financial institutions in response to a call from the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Between 2015 and 2020, there was a sevenfold increase in cash allocations. ESG is a popular investment topic in public markets.

How does ESG relate to venture capital? 

ESG is slowly starting to play a role in the world of venture capital. A recent survey of the European Investment Fund found that 70% of VCs use ESG in the investment decision making process, a number which indicates an interest in the topic. In our day-to-day work with VentureESG, pinning down exactly what it means to “adhere to ESG principles” still seems to cause some trouble for most VCs. Practitioners themselves and commentators talk about sustainable investing, responsible finance, and indeed ESG and impact, often interchangeably. Specifically, for VC, there is a general lack of a universally accepted definition, standard or methodology when it comes to ESG. This, naturally, is something that needs to be rectified.

What are the challenges around measuring ESG?

Although ESG rating and scoring agencies have institutionalised ‘measuring ESG’, they are arriving at vastly different ratings, thereby undermining the credibility of ESG assessments altogether and opening the door for greenwashing or ESG-washing - talking about ESG but not practising it correctly. This is a term which we are seeing used more and more these days and which refers to the deceptive practice of implying, through marketing or other means, that a company’s operations and products are more environmentally or ESG-friendly than they actually are.

 

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Johannes Lenhard

Johannes Lenhard

Johannes teaches and researches homelessness and the social science of venture capital at the Max Planck Cambridge Centre for Ethics, Economy and Social Change at the University of Cambridge. Johannes is also a co-founder of the not-for-profit VentureESG, a global community of almost 300 VC funds and asset owners committed to advancing ESG practises in VC.

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