top of page

33. Is ESG investing good for biodiversity? (Ken Pucker)

June 2023


ESG is the latest buzzword in business & biodiversity circles, but it’s not actually new - only newly popular. And it’s one among many terms and acronyms in this field, which may be familiar but are often poorly understood - ESG stands for “environmental, social and governance” investing criteria. Understanding concepts like ESG is consequential because their success relies largely on convincing the general public of their value and their virtue. As we discuss in this episode, however, they are not necessarily all that they’re made out to be.

To elucidate this topic with me is Ken Pucker. Ken is a professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and Advisory Director at the Boston-based Financial Services firm, Berkshire Partners. He was previously Chief Operating Officer of the outdoor footwear and apparel company, Timberland, one of the first companies to take an interest in sustainable production. He has written extensively on ESG and related issues in Harvard Business Review among other publications.


01:47 A brief history of CSR, ESG, and sustainability reporting

09:41 ESG is not about the impact of companies on the environment

13:53 Other concerns about ESG

19:46 Impact investing

22:39 ESG makes policymakers complacent

26:36 Are CSR and ESG in need of reform or are they fundamentally flawed?

29:11 Investors care about impact, but not about how much

31:17 Shopping around effect

38:27 Transparency is not the main thing

41:35 Has TCFD had any effect, and will TNFD have any effect?

43:43 Should corporations serve shareholders or stakeholders?

Links to resources


bottom of page