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The best of 2023

Listen: The best of 2023

In our final ESG Insider episode of 2023, we’re revisiting some of our most popular episodes, top interviews and key sustainability themes from the past year, which pushed the podcast over 1.5 million downloads. 

In the episode we hear from guests including: 

  • Val Smith, Chief Sustainability Officer at Citigroup; full interview here

  • Sue Lloyd, Vice Chair of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB); full interview here

  • Tony Goldner, Executive Director of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD); full interview here

  • Martin Lok, Executive Director of the nonprofit Capitals Coalition; full interview here

  • Dr. Atul Arya, Senior Vice President and Chief Energy Strategist at S&P Global Commodity Insights and Co-Chair of the S&P Global Research Council; full interview here.  

  • Dame Susan Rice, who chairs the global steering group of the nonprofit Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI); full interview here

  • Laura Lane, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer at UPS; full interview here

Here’s the list of our 10 most downloaded episodes from 2023:

  1. How financial institutions are tackling Scope 3 financed emissions 

  2. How sustainable taxonomies are going global

  3. Setting the stage for sustainability in 2023

  4. Regulation, supply chains, climate justice, employee burnout: The big challenges facing sustainability professionals 

  5. How companies, countries are beginning to put a value on nature

  6. How asset managers are moving to end commodity-driven deforestation

  7. What the future holds for sustainable investing, according to longtime US SIF CEO

  8. How discussions of stakeholder capitalism have evolved at Davos

  9. On the ground at CERAWeek: Where the energy world stands on the low-carbon transition

  10. Unpacking the EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan

Happy New Year!

This piece was published by S&P Global Sustainable1, a part of S&P Global.

Copyright ©2023 by S&P Global


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Transcript provided by Kensho.

Lindsey Hall: I'm Lindsey Hall, Head of thought leadership at S&P Global Sustainable1.   

Esther Whieldon: And I'm Esther Whieldon, a senior writer on the Sustainable1 Thought Leadership Team   

Lindsey Hall: Welcome to ESG Insider, a podcast hosted by S&P Global, where we explore environmental, social and governance issues that are shaping investor activity and company strategy.

Esther Whieldon: Today is December 29, 2023, and this is the last episode we'll publish in our latest season of ESG Insider podcast. This is the time of year when we like to look back and reflect on our most popular episodes from the past year. In today’s episode we’ll be bringing you clips from interviews that were in equal parts surprising, informative or inspiring. 

Lindsey Hall: Esther, this has been a big year for the podcast. We launched this as a monthly show back in 2019, when discussions about ESG and sustainability were much less mainstream in the US. And we have seen rapid growth in our audience since we took the podcast weekly in 2021.  

In 2023, we hit two major milestones at the podcast.  

In March we released a special Women in Leadership series of the podcast throughout Women’s History Month; and that helped push us over the 1 million downloads. 

In that series we interviewed women CEOs and executives from across industries and around the globe. And so many of those interviews stood out to me. There was the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union Commission, who talked about the importance of ensuring women have a seat at the table when designing energy and infrastructure policies. The Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer at UPS, who told us how her "life-changing" experience as a Foreign Affairs officer during the civil war in Rwanda impacted her outlook on life and leadership.  

Esther Whieldon: And I can't forget the CEO of one of the largest US insurance companies describing how she dealt with being repeatedly mistaken for a coat check attendant at industry events

Lindsey Hall: Yes! The rapid growth in the podcast has continued. Just last month we surpassed 1.5 million downloads. And I don't know about you Esther but when we first launched this in 2019, I couldn't have imagined how fast our podcast would grow especially over the past two years. I think this is a testament to how hungry people are for plain-English explanations of the trends driving the sustainability space.  

Esther Whieldon: Yes, and it's been so thrilling also to meet and talk with so many of our listeners who reach out to us through LinkedIn, emails as well as who we cross paths with at the events we attend.   

Lindsey Hall: Over the summer, I got to meet Fortune Executive Editor Peter Vanham, who told me he’s a regular listener, and then I spoke at a Fortune conference. At a cocktail hour during Climate Week NYC, I met the CEO of a diversity, equity & inclusion data provider who said he's a regular listener.  

And then all the way on the other side of the world, I was in Dubai earlier this month for the UN’s COP28 climate change conference, and I met the founder of a sustainability tech company who listens to the podcast on his runs.

Esther Whieldon: That leads us to another big development for this year -- we took the podcast on the road in the US and internationally to many more events than we had in past years. And with that we expanded our coverage to include on-the-ground coverage and interviews during those events. For example, Lindsey and I teamed up at Climate Week NYC as an official media partner of The Nest Climate Campus at the Javits Center. We spoke with more than a dozen guests over 9 episodes throughout the event, and those episodes have been downloaded nearly 54,000 times to date. 

Lindsey Hall: And we took a similar approach to on the ground coverage and interviews during COP28 in Dubai. 

Esther Whieldon: So let’s dive into some of our most popular episodes of the year; we’ll include a full list of the top 10 episodes in our show notes.  

Our top episode of the year was titled "How financial institutions are tackling Scope 3 emissions". And I'll also say that Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions was probably the most frequent set of terms we had to give Plain English definitions the most for this year. In simple terms, Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from a company's operations. Scope 2 emissions are indirect ones, and those are primarily derived from purchased energy.  

And lastly, there's Scope 3 emissions. And these occur up and down the company's supply chain as well as when a customer uses the products. And for financial institutions, this includes financed emissions come from the investments they make or the loans they finance. 

Lindsey Hall: This episode focused on how some big banks around the world are approaching the topic of measuring and managing Scope 3 emissions.  And it was reported on by one of our regular contributors Jennifer Laidlaw. Jennifer is also a senior writer on the S&P Global Sustainable1 Thought Leadership team with Esther and I. Here's a clip from the episode where Jennifer asks the global head of sustainable finance at big Danish lender Danske Bank about the company’s new climate plan that maps all of its direct and indirect emissions.  

Samu Slotte: The largest parts of the emissions for the bank are so-called finance emissions. So they constitute more than 99% of -- or actually 99.9% of the bank's overall emissions.  So really, that's where the bulk of the emissions are. 

The way we've gone about it in estimating the finance emissions, is by using a methodology drawn up by PCAF, or Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials, which is originally a Dutch initiative where financial institutions and institutional investors come together and really create an accounting standard for how to estimate financed emissions. And the analysis we've done shows that the bulk of the emissions on the lending side are really concentrated to 4 sectors, namely shipping, oil and gas, oil production and agriculture. And furthermore, what the analysis showed is that within these sectors, there is a huge concentration into a relatively small number of individual clients. Agriculture being a bit different there. We have a sort of broader spectrum of clients. But in these 3 other sectors, it's really concentrated on a few names.

And I think the good part about that is that it really then allows us to focus our efforts in improving the data quality with a focus on these few sectors and there within really the largest names. And that then means that we're actually quite satisfied with the data quality for the most high-emitting sectors and are then able to set targets and work on those. So I think the finance emission mapping really helps us to identify the hotspots in the loan book, where we have the emissions.

Esther Whieldon: We also heard quite a bit this year about how US banks are approaching climate disclosure in the context of evolving US regulations. This was the topic of our second-ever ESG Insider Live event in New York City in October where we recorded podcast interviews in front of an audience. We heard from Citigroup’s Chief Sustainability Officer Val Smith how investor expectations around climate disclosure are changing. Here’s what she had to say.

Val Smith: I mean I think when you've been at this for a long time, the change feels gradual, but I think we can look back and see a couple of key tipping points. I remember when I was like in the hallway, ran into a colleague, sort of talking about what was happening in the sustainability space, maybe it was around 2017 or 2018. And I remember that we said when investors start to focus on this space, that's when everything will change. And it feels now prescient to have talked about that because that's, in fact, exactly what happened. When I started at Citi in 2004, one of my responsibilities was to engage with stakeholders and investors. And I remember on my first day, I had lunch with a group of interested investors.   

Who were the interested investors that wanted to talk to sustainability people? Socially responsible investors and religious investors. Grateful for that, right, because they really created this space for mainstream investors to really come in and start to not just talk about socially responsible investing, but investing according to environmental, social and governance issues. And so we've really seen, I think, this pivot with obviously, banks and financial institutions getting very involved in this space, our investors getting involved and now, of course, regulators getting involved.

Esther Whieldon: Listeners clearly have an appetite for topics related to disclosures and regulations. Another of the most popular episodes of 2023 was about the development of sustainable taxonomies around the world.  

Lindsey Hall: We also featured a number of guests this year who work in the disclosure space including the International Sustainability Standards Board, or ISSB. The organization made a lot of headlines in 2023 as it issued its first 2 sustainability disclosure standards, known as S1 and S2. 

Here’s a clip from our interview with ISSB Vice Chair Sue Lloyd earlier this year, where she talks about the direction of travel for sustainability reporting.  

Sue Lloyd: Looking ahead for the next few years, this is a massive change in reporting in the market. So I think a lot of our attention and the intention of the market is going to be on implementing S1 and S2, really getting used to these new ideas and concepts and developing this new type of reporting. That's going to keep us busy I'm sure answering questions and help them with capacity building.  

The only other thing I would say, I think, is that it's a really great opportunity, I think, for us all to embrace this new type of reporting. And something I've been saying to a lot of people that I talk to is -- this really should be an opportunity for us all to take a step back and to really think about how sustainability risks and opportunities are really important to understand to run a business well to run a business in a way that you're really sustaining value and creating value in the future, both to inform management decisions and for investors. 

And it's a really, I think, exciting turning point in the journey. And so I really encouraging people to pick up our standards and read them to start thinking about this new type of reporting and to really get involved and to really stay involved in consultations with us because at the end of the day, the quality of our standards is really determined by the quality of the input that we get to inform our decision-making.

Esther Whieldon: Another big headline related to sustainability standards this year was the final recommendations form the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures, or TNFD, during Climate Week in September. The TNFD created a voluntary framework that companies can use to assess their nature related risks and opportunities. Earlier this year for example I sat down with TNFD’s executive director, Tony Goldner, as a guest. Here’s a clip from that interview.  

Tony Goldner: Deforestation is a big issue, protected areas, marine-protected areas with lots of interest in marine issues. But alongside that, it's not just protecting it for the restoration of nature. It's also, I think, we're going to see a shift in financial flows to look at how nature-based solutions can help get us to net zero as well. 

So there's this interesting intersection now between the goals of Paris on climate change and the goals that came out of Montreal on nature and how do they fit together. They're inextricably linked. We tend to break complex problems into pieces, and we dealt with Climate 15 years before, we're now catching up with the rest of nature. But these 2 things are inextricably linked, and the solutions to one will enable solutions to the other. And I think the site is increasingly clear.  

We're not going to get to net zero, if nature is not absolutely at the core of the solution set. So nature-based solutions is getting a huge amount of traction, and that includes things like seaweed and sea grasses to capture carbon and clean water systems, mangroves deliver a whole range of benefits, carbon sequestration, they grow 5 times faster than trees, coastal land protection for coastal communities, fisheries for fish stocks.

Esther Whieldon: We just heard Tony mention Montreal. He was referring to the UN's biodiversity focused COP15 conference in Montreal back in December 2022. And that conference was a big deal for nature because nearly 190 governments agreed on a new global biodiversity framework. Among other things, the agreement pledged to protect 30% of Earth's land and water that's considered important for biodiversity by 2030. 

Lindsey Hall: On this podcast, we covered quite a bit about nature and biodiversity this year—including in last week’s episode with Business for Nature CEO Eva Zabey. This is clearly something our listeners are interested in. Two of our most downloaded episodes were on nature and biodiversity.  These are topics that we’ll continue to cover in 2024 in the run up to the next UN biodiversity conference that takes place at the end of the year—this is known as COP16.  

I’m going to share a clip from our popular episode titled “How companies and countries are beginning to put a value on nature." Where I interview with Martin Lok, Executive Director of the Capitals Coalition. This is a global collaboration that advocates for companies to identify, measure and value their impacts and dependencies on natural capital, social capital and human capital.   And I’m including the clip where Martin explains in plain English what nature capital means.

Martin Lok: We see it as the stock of renewables and nonrenewable natural resources such as plants, animals, water and minerals that together provide a flow of benefits to people.  

Let me give you a specific example. No, let me give you 2. One form of natural capital is clean water. And we all use clean water. Some businesses, without water, they wouldn't exist. So if you are, for example, a beer brewer, and I don't know about you, many people like beer, but the majority of what you're taking in if you drink beer is water. So if there is no water available in some geographies, there are moments in time when there is no water available, then brewers really are having difficult times because they depend on a natural resource, clean water, that if it's not available, they cannot produce their beer. So that's a very practical example of natural capital and the importance for our business.  

But now look at a totally different business, for example, the almond industry in California. Of course, they need water to to grow their elements. But they also need something else, and that is best -- with bees, there's no pollination. Without pollination, there's no growth in the elements organs. Probably all your listeners also know that bees, many insects are having very difficult times at the moment. And so their numbers go down again and again. And the other day, it was here on the news in the Netherlands for the so many time that the -- most of the insects and the polynaters are going down so rapidly that it's becoming more and more threat. So in California, there are even agricultural growers that produce those elements, they higher Bs. So can you imagine that? They hire bees. 

Well, to be honest, they hire an organization that brings the bees to their farms. So they bring in the bees in trucks to -- at the right time for the elements to take care of the pollination that is necessary to grow the elements. So suddenly, in nature in a very strange way pops up into the figures of a company because they have to pay the other company that's bringing in the best to pollinate their elements. And I think this is an example where you see that nature has a value that you have to pay for. So 2 examples of natural capital. I hope this helps to understand how important natural capital can be, but also how practical it is?

Esther Whieldon: What Martin said puts this idea of the value of nature in terms that many people can understand. Here’s a clip from another of our most popular episodes, titled "How asset managers are moving to end commodity-driven deforestation." In it, I talk to Lauren Compere, Managing Director and Head of Stewardship and Engagement at Boston Common Asset Management. Here she is.

Lauren Compere: Our end goal is to end deforestation, right? And so we're really focused on how companies are conducting, what kind of commitments they already had to deforestation, what kind of due diligence do they have in place for reviewing vendors and suppliers, right, in their supply chain, if they're not direct producers? How are they not just sort of on a one-off basis looking at assessing risks on the environmental side, but also the human rights impacts of sourcing. And I think what's important here is a lot of the companies themselves are sourcing from the same areas, sometimes even the same producers. And so one aspect as well of our investor expectations is really to look where they can at partnership and collaboration to improve the on-the-ground conditions.  

Esther Whieldon: Yes. If they're all kind of coming from the same location, then they can collectively put pressure on the suppliers, right?

Lauren Compere: Exactly. And reward those suppliers that have better practices. And it's not just about that carrot and stick of like looking at kind of assessing risk. But we think it's really important for companies to not just avoid risk but invest in suppliers. And I think what we are seeing and frankly, what COP15 highlights quite significantly is the fact that we need proactive investment in supply chains, in new innovative ways of practicing regenerative agriculture and such, really to support the eradication of deforestation by 2030.  At the end of the day, a sole investor like Boston Common can't do it, a single government can't do it, a single company can't do it, a single sector can't do it. It really requires full-in coordinated engagement, and action steps by all entities

Esther Whieldon: What Lauren said about how ending commodity-driven deforestation will require action across the private and public sector is a theme we heard often this year on many sustainability issues -- how solving climate and social equity issues requires all hands on deck and not treating topics like they're in silos. 

And this is a good transition point to another topic that we've covered in many episodes of this podcast involve the low-carbon energy transition. One of our most downloaded episodes this year came from our coverage of CERAWeek. 

This is a massive week-long energy conference that S&P Global hosts in Houston each spring. And the reason why I chose this clip is because much of what we heard at CERAWeek was a glimpse at the direction of travel on energy transition discussions, particularly when it comes to decarbonizing the fossil fuel sector. 

One conversation that stood out to me was with David Victor, who is professor of innovation and public policy at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego in California. Here's David talking about how oil and gas companies are thinking about the transition.

David Victor: The really big news, I think, in those companies is they're still figuring out what can they do that they're good at. Because if you're running an oil and gas company, you're good at downhole activities, you're good at refining and chemical engineering, you're good at marketing. You're not very good, frankly, at low margin, high bulk, mature technology activities like building solar fields or wind fields. So you've got a bunch of companies that they all know, or almost all of them know, that it's existential for them if they don't get serious about the clean energy transition. But it's one thing to know that you got to do it, and it's another thing to actually go off and figure out what to do.

Esther Whieldon: The other energy related clip that I'd like to highlight points to the importance of understanding the socio-economic challenges countries and economies face. One interview that I particularly enjoyed this year was with Dr. Atul Arya, Senior Vice President and Chief Energy Strategist at S&P Global Commodity Insights. Atul is Co-Chair of the S&P Global Research Council and led publication of a S&P Global report titled, “Look Forward: India's Moment.” He talked to us about the energy transition pathways and challenges ahead for India.  

Now some important context before we get to our clip. India became the world’s most-populous nation in 2023. India is also currently the third largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions annually, and its energy needs are projected to double by 2050. Atul explained to us that India is expected to meet much of that demand growth with both renewables as well as coal-fired power. And hat stood out to me was his explanation of why India is so dependent on coal and how moving away raises some big just transition questions. You'll hear him mention the term LNG - that stands for liquified natural gas, which is natural gas that's been cooled to a liquid state for storage or transportation. Ok here's Atul.  

Dr. Atul Arya: Coal is the dominant source of power and actually the largest source of overall energy in India. One big reason is because India has a large endowment of coal, and it's domestic, it's the most cost-competitive source and also its secure. And the reason it's going to be difficult to transition out from coal to other sources, one would say, well, lets do more natural gas, that's the lower emission, but the challenge is India has very little of its own gas resources. So it has to import LNG primarily from Middle East and then now, from the U.S. as well. But that LNG is now very expensive. And one thing we know about India, in general, is that Indian consumers are extremely price-sensitive. So coal being domestic is much cheaper and therefore replacing it with LNG is not happening, not in the power sector. So that's one issue. 

The second issue is that we need to think about coal in the kind of overall ecosystem of coal. It's not just let's stop coal and use something else or have a lot more renewables. Coal mining, coal transportation, coal use: there are millions of people who are employed in that industry. And that you can't just turn the switch off, you have to find ways to deal with that employment. Just as an example, Indian Railways, they get the highest revenue for transporting coal and that revenue subsidizes fare prices for passengers. So if you were to completely shut down coal transportation, fare prices for ordinary people will increase, and that's politically a sensitive issue, quite difficult to do.

The other thing I should mention is the question of money. So this kind of transition and this kind of growth requires billions of dollars and India has been looking for more money, both grant money as well as loans. And as we know, the cost of borrowing is much higher in the developing countries. And again, that's going to be a big topic of discussion leading up to the COP meeting as to how do developing countries access money? There's a lot of money in the U.S., for example, we have too much money and not enough projects in the clean energy space but can some of that money flow into India and other developing countries, that's another big issue and a big challenge, attracting that money for investing.

Esther Whieldon: Atul noted that one big hurdle for developing countries will be financing the transition and, as he predicted, this did end up being a big topic at COP28.  

Lindsey Hall: Yes, I think this is a perfect transition to one of my interviews from COP28.  I talked to Dame Susan Rice, who after an illustrious career in banking now chairs the Global Steering Group of the nonprofit Global Ethical Finance Initiative, or GEFI. Here’s a clip I chose because she talks about the challenges of closing the climate financing gap.  

Dame Susan Rice: So I think there has been and continues to be a really big hurdle getting the money to the investment. I hear all the time There's a lot of money out there, but it can't actually get to the other side as it were. And there are reasons for that, partly because a lot of this change is at the frontier —companies, organizations, governments doing changes, which haven't been done before. So if you're an investor, if you're a banker, you don't understand the risk. You can't monetize the risk and you become cautious and don't put the money in.  

So what I would love to see is really creative, creative but sound, prudent finance but still creative. So hybrid finance. So as an example, if there's a project and one investor can't fund all of it, because it's just too much and it's too unknown, then two investors get together, but they are great to judge on the same basis so that the investee, the recipient of the fund, doesn't have a difficult time. There's a way to phase government money and private sector money. There are a lot of things that can be done, but the real challenge is being creative about this finance.

Esther Whieldon: On the topic of getting finance flowing toward solutions, we heard this year quite a bit about the impact of the US Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA. This is a comprehensive energy and climate law that allocates hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending to decarbonization efforts over the next decade. And it turned one year old in 2023. And in one of the clips that stood out to me this year, a guest talked about how the IRA has spurred action in other parts of the world, like Europe.  Here’s Elisabetta Cornago, a senior research fellow at the think tank Center for European Reform, from our episode titled ‘Unpacking the EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan.’

Elisabetta Cornago: I think that the IRA was a bit of a call to action for the EU in the sense that Europe realized that it might risk, in a way, getting caught between China's strong support of its domestic manufacturing industry and practices that almost wall off its internal market of international competition on one hand. So that's one extreme of the spectrum. But when the U.S. introduced its IRA, Europe saw that there might be also an alternative model to support basically domestic manufacturing in technologies critical for the energy transition, and that is basically massive and swift subsidization. 

Observing these 2 alternative models that are coming basically to, in a way, threaten some of its primacy as leader in climate action and in some of the sectors that are key for the energy transition, the EU has decided to try and intervene by acting upon industrial policy.  

And so this is really what this Green Deal Industrial Plan is about, to try and respond to the IRA while still, and I want to highlight that, recognizing that there are other practices that are not as friendly as the U.S. way of introducing subsidies, namely, the Chinese ones that I mentioned, that are still threatening the EU. So I think it's been a wake-up call basically for Europe to understand that it needs to get engaged in industrial policy to try and build up, scale up some of its manufacturing capacity.

Lindsey Hall: So we’ve touched on a lot of the key themes from this past year. Many of them will continue to drive sustainability conversations in 2024. Esther, anything we haven’t covered? 

Esther Whieldon: Well I’d love to highlight what we learned from the Women in Leadership series we touched on at the beginning of today’s episode. We interviewed women CEOs and executives from across industries and around the globe. We talked with them about their career paths, how they approach diversity, equity and inclusion, how they communicate and how they lead. Common themes we heard included the importance of leading with authenticity. One clip that stood out was my interview with Laura Lane, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Officer at UPS, a multinational shipping & receiving and supply chain management company. Here's Laura talking about her leadership style. 

Laura Lane: So I'd say that my leadership style has evolved over the course of my career. But one of the constants has always been something that was career advice that I was given early on in my foreign service days, which was don't wait for someone to give you a title to act to lead from where you are. And I'm definitely someone who, in my various leadership roles has really tried to instill that into the members of my team. 

I think the greatest leaders are the ones that aren't amassing followers, but those that are finding the leadership qualities that they have on their teams so that they're amplifying their leadership by creating more leaders across the organization in which they work in. And I definitely have tried to do that. I've also, my leadership style is one of being real. I know, I don't know at all. I don't have all the answers. But I do know that I know good people, I know how to pull together diverse teams of people with different experiences and different backgrounds. And I think in the diversity of teams that I've tried to cultivate, I think that the outcomes of those teams have been greater because of that diversity. 

And so I tried to lead by leaning into supporting teams that fill the gaps of what I don't know or give me the perspectives that maybe I don't have, because I think through that kind of collaboration you can make 1 plus 1 equal 3, you can drive incredible results. And so my leadership style is definitely one of driving diversity and inclusivity. And the third is to be real authentic. What you see is what you get. I am someone who shares my personal stories, that shares the struggles that I have had, that is open about where I know I need to be better as a leader and really leading authentically. So I'm not someone that puts on a front. What you see is what you get and what you get is a leader who's committed to being a partner, leading on the front lines and being in the rear so that no one is left behind at the same time. 

Esther Whieldon: you know Lindsey, what Laura said about both being a leader, but also being committed to being a partner is a really important takeaway from what you said. What about you, Lindsey? Anything you want to highlight before you wrap up the year.

Lindsey Hall: Well I’d love to bring up one other episode on the topic of climate change, resilience and human health. This was for the episode in June where we had to kind of scramble to change our podcast plans last minute after a series of wildfires across Quebec, Canada, blanketed eastern North America in smoke.   

In Canada, that smoke forced thousands of evacuations, threatened essential infrastructure and also compromised the health of individuals, especially at-risk populations. And the fires caused air quality to plummet even hundreds of miles away, where you and I live. 

So we pivoted from our original plan to be in New York City for interviews that week and instead did an episode about the wildfires. This episode was important because it touched on these topics that will continue to be very important for our listeners in the year ahead  that's the effects of climate change on business, net-zero goals, and human health.

And I also wanted to highlight this episode Esther because — I know I shouldn’t play favorites, but I DID have one clear favorite guest of the entire year.  

Oh yeah, who was that?

Ok let me play you the clip.

Child: "Yeah In canada, the wildfire there ... It went to like the school. And we were going to play ... a game I invented but because of the wildfires, we had to play inside...  

Lindsey Hall: How did that make you feel? 

Child: I didn't like it. 

Lindsey Hall: That was my eight year old, talking about how the wildfires impacted school recess.  And on that note, we’ll wrap up with a sincere thank you to our listeners for sticking with us through all the interviews, the acronyms, and the bad puns. We promise you more of the same in 2024. 

Esther Whieldon: Oh no Lindsey, i don't know how much more of your puns I can handle  

Lindsey Hall: Well, you know my other kids are asking me when is their turn to come on the podcast......

This piece was published by S&P Global Sustainable1, a part of S&P Global.     

Copyright ©2024 by S&P Global  


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