Students Push for Climate Accountability from Finance Professionals, Lawyers
Representatives from the legal and finance sectors are calling for their peers to do more to fight the climate crisis—which, in some cases, begins with doing less to hinder climate action.
“Exhibit A” in the push to make fighting the climate crisis part of doing business is a recent report examining how the top 100 U.S. law firms have plugged into the crisis, writes GreenBiz. Released by Law Students for Climate Accountability, the report finds that most of the firms “provide far more support to clients driving the climate crisis than clients addressing it.”
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The so-called “Vault 100” firms “litigated 286 cases exacerbating climate change (versus three cases mitigating it); supported US$1.316 trillion in transactions for the fossil fuel industry; [and] received $37 million in compensation for fossil fuel industry lobbying” from 2015 to 2019, GreenBiz states. But the report authors say young professionals entering the profession plan to force some change: “We, the next generation of lawyers, can choose what firms to work for and where to spend our careers. We can ask law firms how they plan to address their role in the crisis and hold them accountable to do so.”
A recent report from the CFA Institute suggests established financial analysts can be forward-thinking, as well, GreenBiz adds. Titled Climate Change Analysis in the Investment Process, the report “explains the economic implications of climate change and covers such topics as a price on carbon and the growing carbon markets, increased transparency and disclosure of climate metrics, and how analysts should engage with companies on the physical and transition risks of climate change.”
The banking industry, too, is on the precipice of change, GreenBiz states. A recent framework and validation service developed by the Science-Based Targets Initiative is making it easier for organizations to “verify their emissions reductions plans” in the face of growing financial risks driven by climate change.
“Fifty-five financial institutions, including Bank Sarasin, Amalgamated Bank, and Standard Chartered, are backing the new certification and already have committed to setting science-based targets,” GreenBiz writes.