Sustainability Digital – Sept 2020

Green stimulus and building back better

This session looked at green stimulus measures and the ingredients of success that will generate economic growth, create jobs and bring about environmental benefits. It studied the lessons of the GFC and the opportunity for greening the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

View Shardul’s presentation slides here


Shardul Agrawala is head of the environment and economy integration division at the OECD Environment Directorate. He took up duties in July 2013. In this capacity, Agrawala leads the directorate’s work on economic-environmental modelling, empirical analysis of environmental policies, trade and environment, and on resource productivity and waste. At the OECD since 2002, he has previously served as senior advisor to the OECD secretary general, co-ordinator of the OECD-wide initiative on New Approaches to Economic Challenges, acting head of the Climate Change Biodiversity and Development Division, and senior economist, Climate Change. Agrawala has published extensively on climate change. He has led teams of international experts for chapters of the fourth and fifth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He received his PhD from Princeton University and has previously held research positions at Princeton University, Harvard University, Columbia University and at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).


Tate has been an investment industry media publisher and conference producer since 1996. In his media career, Tate has launched and overseen dozens of print and
electronic publications. He is the chief executive and major shareholder of Conexus Financial, which was formed in 2005, and is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.
The company stages more than 20 conferences and events each year –
in cities which have included London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Beijing, Sydney and Melbourne – and publishes three media brands,
including the global website and strategy newsletter for global
institutional investors One of the company’s signature events is the bi-annual Fiduciary Investors Symposium. Conexus Financial’s
events aim to place the responsibilities of investors in wider societal, and political contexts, as well as promote the long-term stability of markets and sustainable
retirement incomes. Tate served for seven years on the board of Australia’s most high profile homeless charity, The Wayside Chapel; and he has underwritten the
welfare of 60,000 people in 28 villages throughout Uganda via The Hunger Project.

Key takeaways

  • As of early June, almost USD$10 trillion had been committed by governments worldwide to combat COVID-19 in the form of loans, stimulus and bailouts. This figure included up to 1 trillion in green related packages.
  • Our preliminary assessment is that the stimulus response so far has been more brown than green and that should be a big concern to all of us.
  • Large, timely and well-designed green stimulus can generate economic growth.
  • To build back greener, we should resist the urge to cut and paste the response measures put in place during the Global Financial Crisis.
  • More work is needed to ensure the ESG ratings are fit for purpose. We need to make sure the E component continues to get adequate attention and adequate weight.
  • A more precise common understanding of the criteria for ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ would help facilitate a green recovery.

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