Not all of us are sustainability directors with a global finance house like Tobi Petrocelli who Osbert interviewed in Part 1.
So, for this post, Part 2, Osbert and Morag got together to discuss the interview, and to pull out some insights and recommendations that are relevant to everyone leading sustainability, whatever their organisation.
Tobi Petrocelli is Head of Sustainability & Transition Finance Strategy at MUFG Americas. MUFG is Japan’s largest, and the world’s fourth largest, bank. With a strong global presence in over 50 countries and nearly 200,000 employees, MUFG is committed to sustainability and the transition to a net-zero economy. MFUG is one of the largest project financiers in the world. Listen to or read Part 1, the interview…
Here are some of the issues and ideas that we thought were particularly interesting and relevant:
Passion for sustainability
Toby’s passion for sustainability and her drive to make a positive difference in the world counteracts the stereotype that finance professionals are cold and clinical. This is in line with the evidence that the majority of people care about the climate and nature crises, and given the opportunity, want to do something positive.
Impact through client support
MUFG recognises that its biggest climate impact comes from supporting its clients to decarbonise and transition to a net zero economy. This approach focuses on collaboration and finding common ground with clients rather than solely focusing on their direct climate impacts.
Changing regulations driving change
Proposed new US Securities and Exchange Commission reporting requirements will shift the operating environment for listed companies. This regulatory push is bringing more organisations into the sustainability space and driving action and progress.
Financing existing innovation
Broadly the technology we need to achieve net zero by 2050 is already available. The key is to finance and mainstream these solutions rather than waiting for new technologies. The focus should be on taking action with the tools already available.
An hour with other sustainability directors and managers to explore the key issues and challenges that matter to you. To be notified of the next event…
Opportunities for sustainability leaders
Inspired by Tobi’s experience, and our subsequent conversation, we identified several opportunities for sustainability leaders to make more progress and have greater impact:
- Create opportunities to share authentic stories and go beyond job titles. Engage with people, ask about their experiences and perspectives, and share your own stories to foster genuine connections.
- Never assume that someone won’t be interested or doesn’t have relevant skills. Passionate individuals who care about sustainability can be found everywhere, and everyone has valuable skills to contribute. Embrace diverse perspectives and abilities.
- Share your work on sustainability with colleagues through existing communication channels or create new ones if necessary. Write blogs, thought leadership pieces, etc to communicate your sustainability initiatives and engage others in the organisation.
- Use policies and regulations as leverage points for action. Policy can serve as catalysts for driving progress. Stay informed about policy developments in your sector or area of work and identify opportunities to use them to initiate or enhance sustainability actions.
- Get involved in the development and shaping of policies. Engage with relevant committees or working groups in trade associations, professional bodies etc. By actively participating in the policy process, you can influence the creation of more effective and supportive policies for sustainability.
- Remember that you are part of the rising tide of action on sustainability across society. Despite any eco-anxiety or feelings of inadequacy, recognise that your efforts contribute to a larger movement. Stay connected with other people’s sustainability initiatives, which can be empowering and re-energising.
- Embrace uncertainty and ambiguity. Change and progress toward sustainability are often messy and nonlinear. Accept that there will be challenges and setbacks along the way. Be comfortable with ambiguity, knowing that each intervention contributes to a dynamic system of change.
For the full discussion, listen to the podcast episode.