Are We There Yet?!? Crossing the Threshold into Thresholds-Based Thinking and Action

  • Former Blackrock CIO for sustainable investing Tariq Fancy published a “secret diary” that outed ESG as akin to “selling wheatgrass to a cancer patient.”
  • Former Generation Investment Management Partner Duncan Austin characterized ESG as a “voluntary market-led strategy” that’s ultimately a “fix that fails.”
  • Former Timberland COO Ken Pucker asserts that ESG is a “trillion dollar fantasy,” noting that most ESG investing delivers little to no social or environmental impact.”
  • Former Group Sustainability Officer Desiree Fixler was fired for whistleblowing that its ESG products were sold on misleading claims.
Figure 1: Alex Steffen Twitter Thread on Predatory Delay
Figure 2: The Sustainability Quotient (Source: Mark McElroy, Social Footprints, 2008)
  • The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), the brainchild of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation, is prioritizing enterprise value over system value, outside-in over inside-out impacts and risks (see Figure 3below), and incrementalist ESG over thresholds-based sustainability.
  • The Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB) affiliated with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), which is collaborating with the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) to establish the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), has diluted the strength of the thresholds-based Sustainability Context Principle, shifting it from the robust performance standard it has been for its entire 2 decades of existence, into a toothless impact standard, based on an illogical rationale.
Figure 3: Outside-In Impacts & Risks (Enterprise Value) v Inside-Out Impacts & Risks (System Value) (Adapted from Matthias Täger, ‘Double materiality’: what is it and why does it matter? London School of Economics, 2021)
Figure 4: r3.0 Transcending Incrementalism Campaign
Figure 5: Scalability Leverage Vectors



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