A. Hannan Ismail
Apr 9, 2018 · 2 min read

Thank you for your thoughts. On your two points:

  1. With infinite regression, it becomes impossible to frame and pinpoint accountability. You and I aren’t directly responsible for European colonialism or the Atlantic slave trade, but our lives are shaped by it one way or the other. ClimateCoin is acting consciously and responsibly within the domain it controls by addressing its own carbon footprint. Other actors can either choose to do the same out of enlightened self-interest, or wait for price signals to change behavior, or risk losing social license as the rest of society moves ahead of them on this issue.
  2. As the article points out, the energy transition is speeding up but still at relatively low levels. Eighteen per cent of end use of energy was derived from renewable sources in 2014, while 15 per cent of the world’s population still lives without any electricity. The article had its focus but that does not mean that other sectors are escaping scrutiny. There is plenty of policy and institutional work, and critical literature, in those directions. For more information on how capital markets are going green, consider the signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment; the work of organizations like the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Business for Social Responsibility, the Sustainability Standards Accounting Board; investment advisors such Brown Advisory; actions taken by sovereign wealth funds such as Norway’s (the largest in the world); and so on. It’s a large and growing list, and global too. It’s true the majority of actors in the financial services industry are probably still off-message; awareness and incentives continue to be aligned to the short-term. It might indeed be too much to expect that all of the derivatives market will turn. At the same time, investor and consumer behavior is changing fast. This means that that more of the financial services industry will find ways to look beyond quarterlies and P&L, and recognize the commercial sense in long-term, sustainable outlooks. Who knows, the algorithms that now control 60 percent of market trades might in time be re-programmed to factor in sustainability. Improbable? It’s not inconceivable.
    A. Hannan Ismail

    Written by

    Adviser and Member of the Board at https://climatecoin.io/