Human Rights, 
Positive Mavericks, 
Our events, 
Executive pay, 
Forceful stewardship, 
Media Coverage, 
Biodiversity loss, 
Climate disruption, 
Corporate political capture, 
Guidance notes, 
Must reads, 

Introducing The Great Wake-Up: on Women’s Health and ESG

Preventable Surprises is pleased to release its latest discussion note: The Great Wake-Up – why investors must act on women’s health – now, presented with the generous support of...
15 June 2023
Human Rights

The human factor in climate finance

In January 2023, Preventable Surprises hosted an online dialogue on climate finance and behavior. The week-long conversation was designed to increase our collective understanding of the role of people...
24 April 2023
Climate disruption

Climate change means the world is moving: are responsible investors ready?

As Hurricane Ian and a drought on the Mississippi reshape US climate politics and cause millions of Americans to rethink where they can safely live, investors are waking up...
4 November 2022
Human Rights

Reproductive rights as political risk

Our latest editorial, written together with RR360 Founder Christina Campbell-Zausner, draws parallels between the present moment in America, and Russia in the waning days of Gorbachev. When the last...
27 October 2022

Covid-19 lessons for responsible finance?

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky believes that her agency is still unprepared for the next deadly pandemic, and emerging news about Monkeypox seem to give her...
18 August 2022
Institutions, Pandemic

Dialogue takeaways and call to action for investors on the Border & Surveillance Industries

We are happy to release the summary slides from an online dialogue on the Border & Surveillance Industries which Preventable Surprises hosted in March 2022. The dialogue is part of...
21 June 2022
Human Rights, Our events, Climate disruption

Master Class: Stakeholder Capitalism’s Next Frontier: Monopoly Power – with Denise Hearn

This second Preventable Surprises Master Class invited reflections on “Stakeholder Capitalism’s Next Frontier: Pro- or Anti-Monopoly?” – a new report co-authored by Economic Liberties’ Denise Hearn and Balanced Economy Project’s Michelle Meagher.  You...
10 May 2022
Positive Mavericks, Institutions, Reports

Rubber, Meet Road

Face it: responsible investment is about political choices. Short of this reckoning, the fate of ESG might be the least of our concerns. What is ESG? It depends on...
4 May 2022
Human Rights, Positive Mavericks, Institutions, Climate disruption

Is Corporate Political Spending Bad for Business? If So, What Can Be Done? A Conversation with Hon. Leo E. Strine

On April 6th 2022, Preventable Surprises was pleased to joined forces with the Erb Institute’s Corporate Political Responsibility Taskforce (CPRT), American Promise and In This Together, for a conversation...
30 April 2022
Positive Mavericks, Institutions, Corporate political capture

Migration is a climate issue is an ESG issue

The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report assesses the impacts of climate change, considering ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities at the global and regional level. Accelerated environmental degradation and migration go...
1 March 2022
Human Rights, Climate disruption

Three reference points for G7 investors to stand up for human rights at their own borders

Rising nationalism and matching politics mean that G7 governments are increasingly ignoring their obligations to protect the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants. The world’s largest investors...
8 February 2022
Human Rights

Master Class: Life in the Early Anthropocene, with Howard Covington

Preventable Surprises Senior Adviser Howard Covington gifted us with an excellent first  Master Class on Life in the Early Anthropocene. We recommend you watch the replay or look at the slides. Howard...
31 January 2022
Human Rights, Positive Mavericks, Institutions

ESG influencers survey response: Gender Based Violence & Harassment

From time to time, Preventable Surprises invites ESG influencers – senior practitioners and stakeholders who shape responsible investing – to share their sentiment on select topics and set an...
22 December 2021
Human Rights, Positive Mavericks, Forceful stewardship

Investor stewardship and the Border and Surveillance Industry: a Discussion Note

We are pleased to share a Discussion Note on Investor Stewardship and the Border and Surveillance Industries. This Note is intended to educate – and advocate for – proactive...
7 December 2021
Human Rights, Forceful stewardship, Climate disruption, Pandemic

Investor stewardship in the Border & Surveillance Industries: roundtable summary

On 28 October 2021, Preventable Surprises hosted an investor roundtable to launch the Border & Surveillance Industries (BSI) Stewardship Project. Participants discussed how institutional investors in these industries  can...
16 November 2021
Human Rights, Forceful stewardship

Time to act, part II: Seven Steps investors can take today on Gender Based Violence & Harassment

This article recaps lessons on investors and Gender-Based Violence and Harassment (GBVH)  from our 14 October online roundtable with Lauren Compere, Managing Director at Boston Common Asset Management  and...
4 November 2021
Human Rights, Forceful stewardship

The Border and Surveillance Industries Investor Stewardship Project

Preventable Surprises is pleased to launch the Border and Surveillance Industries Investor Stewardship Project. The project will bring together global institutional investors, NGOs and experts to determine how to...
18 October 2021
Human Rights, Forceful stewardship, Corporate political capture

Time to act, Part I: tackling Gender-Based Violence requires more assertive investor engagement

One out of three women globally are victims of Gender-Based Violence. In this first of two blogs, we look at what companies and investors are doing, why many more...
28 September 2021
Human Rights, Forceful stewardship

Investors must boost Covid-19 vaccination

Vaccine nationalism has had a lot of attention but what about “vaccine neoliberalism” and what could investors be expected to do to help? This article calls on investors and...
22 September 2021
Human Rights, Pandemic

Winning without win-win: recommendations on financial market strategies for Biodiversity and Nature

Preventable Surprises is pleased to release Winning without win-win: recommendations on financial market strategies for Biodiversity and Nature. Switching gears on Nature The biosphere supports life. Soon it may...
18 July 2021
Positive Mavericks, Biodiversity loss, Publications

Align and Conquer: two things to do right away – from the Corporate Lobbying Alignment Project

Some of the world’s largest asset managers are beginning to address corporate policy capture risk, but it’s too slow. This blog post shares a selection of key lessons from...
3 June 2021
Positive Mavericks, Corporate political capture

Top 50 asset managers have yet to match rhetoric with action to address negative lobbying & corporate policy capture – report

New Preventable Surprises report and asset manager report card sets ambition for finance to help prevent corporate policy capture.  What is at stake for investors when a former British...
24 May 2021
Forceful stewardship, Corporate political capture

Moving beyond Modern Portfolio Theory: 3 questions to Jon Lukomnik and Jim Hawley

Three Key Questions for Jon Lukomnik and Jim Hawley, authors of a really important new book, “Moving Beyond Modern Portfolio Theory: Investing That Matters”.  As you’ll see, this book...
29 April 2021
Positive Mavericks, Institutions, Forceful stewardship

Resources are finite (or, Eating our seed corn)

By John Waugh, Senior Consultant in Social and Ecological Resilience As a thought experiment, let us accept, for the sake of argument, that all the value that exists in...
29 March 2021
Biodiversity loss

Solving the biodiversity crisis starts with addressing human rights

In February 2021, Preventable Surprises held a week-long online dialogue to set an investor agenda for biodiversity loss. In this Chatham House-rule, text-only online format, participants were invited to...
25 March 2021
Biodiversity loss

Agriculture can make much better use of land: investors must support this without delay

In February 2021, Preventable Surprises held a week-long online dialogue to set an investor agenda for biodiversity loss. In this Chatham House-rule, text-only online format, participants were invited to...
21 March 2021
Biodiversity loss

The 2020s: a decade for investor action to support more robust financial regulation?

This question was front and centre on our March 4, 2020 Corporate Lobbying Alignment Project (CLAP) online roundtable. The eighth in our series brought together speakers from international organizations,...
17 March 2021
Institutions, Corporate political capture

From climate change to biodiversity: levers and lessons for investors

In February 2021, Preventable Surprises held a week-long online dialogue to set an investor agenda for biodiversity loss. In this Chatham House-rule, text-only online format, participants were invited to...
16 March 2021
Biodiversity loss

Investors must deal with biodiversity loss – right now

In February 2021, Preventable Surprises held a week-long online dialogue to set an investor agenda for biodiversity loss. In this Chatham House-rule, text-only online format, participants were invited to...
15 March 2021
Biodiversity loss

Necessary Transformations: How are global policy efforts responding to the challenge of biodiversity loss? What is the role of investors?

In February 2021, Preventable Surprises held a week-long online dialogue to set an investor agenda for biodiversity loss. In this Chatham House-rule, text-only online format, participants were invited to...
11 March 2021
Biodiversity loss

What can investors most productively do to support the development and adoption of nature science-based targets (SBTs) for their investees?

In February 2021, Preventable Surprises held a week-long online dialogue to set an investor agenda for biodiversity loss. In this Chatham House-rule, text-only online format, participants were invited to...
10 March 2021
Biodiversity loss

What does Science say about what Investors need to do to avoid tipping points for biodiversity and our planet’s life support systems?

In February 2021, Preventable Surprises held a week-long online dialogue to set an investor agenda for biodiversity loss. In this Chatham House-rule, text-only online format, participants were invited to...
8 March 2021
Biodiversity loss

Global asset managers have some catching up to do on corporate lobbying & policy capture

In this new blog post, Preventable Surprises’  Corporate Lobbying Alignment Project (CLAP) research intern Sule Dedekarginoglu shares her insights on asset manager responses to corporate lobbying and provides a...
16 February 2021
Corporate political capture

CLAP: Financial Services Sector note

Preventable Surprises is pleased to publish a new discussion note on the financial services sector as part of the Corporate Lobbying Alignment Project (CLAP). The discussion note considers opportunities for...
19 January 2021
Corporate political capture

CLAP: Migrant rights & investor responses to lobbying by the Border Industrial Complex

2021 might be the year that investors wake up to the ‘S’ in ESG and engage on migrant rights, but it has been a long time coming [1]. Back...
11 January 2021
Corporate political capture

Power, investors, and the steps of the US Capitol

In 2007, Citi then-CEO Chuck Prince famously said:  “When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve...
7 January 2021

CLAP reflections on corporate lobbying: hitting rock bottom & 5 investor opportunities to create new narratives

With investor roundtables on healthcare, upstream fossil fuels, power utilities, and the transport and chemicals sectors under our belt this autumn, the Corporate Lobbying Alignment Project (CLAP) is thinking...
5 January 2021
Corporate political capture

Health, climate and biodiversity: three reasons for investors to confront corporate capture in the chemicals sector

December’s Corporate Lobbying Alignment Project online investor roundtable will tackle corporate capture of public policy making in the chemicals sector, with a focus on agrochemicals and petrochemicals. Companies...
3 December 2020
Corporate political capture

Q&A with Willem Schramade: a proposal for a financial system in transition

Finance In Transition, a newly published booklet by the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University, is a proposal for a positive finance transition. With Business-As-Usual no longer an...
2 December 2020

CLAP is looking for a research intern

To help ensure the success of the Corporate Lobbying Alignment Project, Preventable Surprises is looking for an intern from January to April 2021 to assist with the production of...
26 November 2020
Corporate political capture

Will the last institutional investor supporting democratic institutions turn out the lights?

We have been exploring explanations for investor silence about the US presidential election, both in the run-up and now in the difficult transition. The active corrosion of democratic...
23 November 2020

CLAP: utilities sector discussion note and 19 November 2020 roundtable

Last week we learned that the global consulting firm, FTI Consulting helped design, staff and run astroturf  organizations to enable large fossil fuel companies to block action on...
17 November 2020
Corporate political capture

ESG Leaders should commit to supporting a free, fair and non-violent election and upholding democratic standards in the United States.

We are one day from the US Presidential election. With democratic standards eroding, we have found only two CEOs of large institutional investors who have shown that their...
3 November 2020
Forceful stewardship, Corporate political capture

CLAP: fossil fuel discussion note and 29 October 2020 roundtable

Preventable Surprises is pleased to launch the third Corporate Lobbying Alignment Project (CLAP) discussion note focused on the fossil fuel sector. Fossil fuels is one of the few...
17 October 2020
Corporate political capture

Comment letter on Department of Labor proxy voting consultation

Preventable Surprises responded to the consultation on the Department of Labor’s proposed Rule on Fiduciary Duties Regarding Proxy Voting and Shareholder Rights. We asked for the withdrawal of...
12 October 2020
Corporate political capture

CLAP: healthcare sector discussion note and September roundtable 

Join our CLAP online roundtable on 24 Sept. & check out the new healthcare discussion note. Preventable Surprises is pleased to share the second Corporate Lobbying Alignment Project...
8 September 2020
Forceful stewardship, Corporate political capture

Letter to the editor: Beyond scenarios, triggering transformation

Scenario analysis has dominated the climate finance conversation since the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) integrated it as a core strategy in its 2017 recommendations report. The...
24 August 2020
Climate disruption

Q&A with Emily Claire Goldman: divesting from for-profit prisons in America

The responsible investment world’s most entrenched habit might be debating the merits of divestment versus engagement. While not here to settle the debate (Preventable Surprises has generally supported forceful...
28 July 2020
Positive Mavericks, Corporate political capture, Reports

CLAP: transport sector discussion note launch & August online roundtable

16 July 2020 – today we are publishing a first discussion note to engage the investment community on the role and negative impact of climate change lobbying in...
16 July 2020
Corporate political capture

Responsible Investment needs a bigger toolbox

A survey of ESG influencers shows the elusive side of investor responsibility. What to do? When the Covid-19 crisis exploded in winter 2020, we spelled out four different...
17 June 2020
Institutions, Forceful stewardship

Launch of the Corporate Lobbying Alignment Project 

Our new applied research and engagement project will work to make corporate political capture a central component of  investors’ approach to ESG stewardship and integration. It will leverage...
10 June 2020
Corporate political capture

Breaking the Fever is now a podcast

Preventable Surprises and Ethical Systems are delighted to announce that our “Breaking the Fever” online webinar series is now a podcast! “Breaking the Fever” was our response to...
4 June 2020

Integration and stewardship as we use the terms

Integration means the active consideration of ESG data and qualitative assessments of ESG risks and opportunities at the company level, sector level, and asset class or country level...
11 May 2020
Forceful stewardship

Who’s got power? countries vs. asset management

As the Financial Times reports that the world’s four largest asset managers now control 61% of the industry’s assets, we take a look at the relative influence of...
10 May 2020
Climate disruption

Who to trust?

This article originally appeared in Climate 2020, the Path Ahead, and is reproduced with kind permission of UNA-UK and Witan Media. How can asset owners and investors evaluate...
29 April 2020
Climate disruption

It’s the Trolley Problem, Stupid! (guest post by Raj Thamotheram and Ben Hammersley)

Spoiler Alert: it’s not really about facts. This blog follows Ben Hammersley’s recent participation in Preventable Surprises and Ethical Systems’ Breaking the Fever online conversation series. One silver...
24 April 2020

Many of us are about to become non-essential workers

We are sincerely concerned about unemployment. There are multiple scenarios for coming out of the current crisis, but: – we are roughly looking at double the output decline...
13 April 2020

Exxon Mobil’s opium to Asia Pacific: let’s prevent history from repeating (by Praveen Gupta)

Former insurance executive and climate change enthusiast Praveen Gupta has a message: people should know that Exxon’s plans for Asia are not in line with the Paris Agreement....
24 March 2020
Climate disruption

“Act now. Don’t wait for the perfect plan.”

Three ESG questions to author (and Preventable Surprises Senior Advisor) Margaret Heffernan who just published a timely book,  Uncharted, on dealing with uncertainty. (1)    In your prior book, Wilful...
19 March 2020

Choices and scenarios for ESG in times of pandemic

Health experts recommend washing hands frequently as a protection from Covid-19. Investors should not wash their hands of the planet’s problems. The coronavirus pandemic is threatening lives, straining...
13 March 2020

Making Net Zero count by facing up to its shortcomings

The world is increasingly committing to Net Zero emission strategies. Preventable Surprises has been supportive, but science and experience now show it won’t be enough to meet the Paris...
6 March 2020
Forceful stewardship, Climate disruption, Must reads

Changing minds in the insurance industry: a conversation

Preventable Surprises invites perspectives from positive mavericks across economic sectors. Who are the agents of transformation? What do they think? Today, New Yorker Walter Murphy (WM) & Mumbaikar Praveen...
16 February 2020
Positive Mavericks, Institutions

Inside Out Economics: Are Externalities the Main Event? (by Duncan Austin)

The question our sustainability crisis poses is whether our economy is more market failure than market. What says economics, then? The following is an edited excerpt from Pigou and the...
6 February 2020
Institutions, Publications

Open letter: as SEC curtails shareholder activism, big institutional investors must act

The SEC is proposing to change rules that govern shareholder proposals. This would seriously undermine corporate accountability. Silence from U.S. institutional investors on this issue will hurt them and,...
30 January 2020
Forceful stewardship

Larry had a momentous week on climate but is Blackrock Still Part of the #Missing60?

For those who say campaigning doesn’t work, just read Larry Fink’s 2020 letter to CEOs and its sister letter to clients, both coming hot on the heels of Blackrock’s...
20 January 2020
Climate disruption

Please show your stewardship mettle

More transparency about the impacts of ESG integration, improved proxy voting records, deeper and more long term engagement, decisive voices on the future of capitalism, and more: learn how...
15 January 2020
Forceful stewardship, Publications

Deforestation in the Amazon and the role of investors and their clients

The Brazilian, Bolivian, Peruvian and Venezuela Amazon have been burning to unprecedented levels, prompting what scientists have been arguing to be an irreversible tipping point. As the largest tropical...
24 October 2019
Climate disruption

The systemic failure of US leadership on climate

No, this is not about Donald Trump. He is as much a symptom as a cause. Failure to provide leadership – or even just match benchmark standards – is far...
30 August 2019
Climate disruption

Which financial sector players have most influence with the Bolsonaro government and Brazilian companies?

Belatedly, attention is focusing on the crisis in the Amazon and inevitably people are asking who are the financial sector players that have most influence with the Brazilian government...
7 August 2019
Institutions, Forceful stewardship, Biodiversity loss

Greenwish: The Wishful Thinking Undermining the Ambition of Sustainable Business, by Duncan Austin

I’m pleased to post an original essay, Greenwish: The Wishful Thinking Undermining the Ambition of Sustainable Business, by Duncan Austin (available here). Duncan has been active in the sustainability...
22 July 2019

Research internship – climate / slavery

Preventable Surprises is starting a new programme to focus on the analogy between slavery and the climate crisis: This work is being led by Richard Barker and here...
11 June 2019
Climate disruption

A new discussion note: The Climate Crisis, Sustainable Finance & “Made in Canada” solutions

The world has been struggling to come to terms with climate risk for several decades but as a result of procrastination, the risk is now systemic if not existential...
11 June 2019
Institutions, Climate disruption

Preventable Surprises hosted a private seminar in London

Preventable Surprises hosted a private seminar in London on 16th May 2019 with the internationally recognised atmosphere scientist Katharine Hayhoe from Texas, USA. Katharine was in London to give...
17 May 2019
Climate disruption

The existential crisis of climate change: will Canadian investors show authentic leadership?

As G7 leaders prepare to gather in Halifax this week, Preventable Surprises is pleased to share a new Discussion Note about the Canadian market. With Canada’s Expert Panel on...
17 September 2018
Climate disruption

UK Govt consultation on investment duties of pension fund trustees

The UK Government has recently undertaken a consultation about how to clarify and strengthen investment duties of pension fund trustees. Preventable Surprises made a submission which was supported by...
17 July 2018
Forceful stewardship

Embracing the reality of climate change: Implications for “future wise” investors in Europe

Frankfurt Roundtable (18th June 2018) Frankfurt Roundtable Report PDF If you have time for nothing else, make sure you see Professor Rahmstorf’s Prezi – click here. Organizational affiliations are...
29 June 2018
Climate disruption

Paris Roundtable: Climate change & “Future Wise” European Investors

This is a note of roundtable held on 28 th May 2018 kindly hosted by RMA Asset Management. Organizational affiliations are shown for identification purposes only as participants were...
7 June 2018
Climate disruption

A modern allegory tale for advocates of portfolio decarbonisation

Boy: Grandpa! Grandpa: Yes, my boy. Boy: What is the global environmental crisis? Grandpa: Have you been listening to the news again? Boy: Yes grandpa. Please tell me what...
4 June 2018
Climate disruption

The AGM anti-climax: How success breeds failure at U.S. utilities

A resolution calling on Exxon to report on risks posed by climate change was hailed as a “game changer” last year after shareholders got behind it. However Exxon’s 2-degree...
25 May 2018
Forceful stewardship, Climate disruption

Asian Utilities: Expanding Perspectives on the Carbon Threat

Preventable Surprises recently held its sixth online dialogue with a specific focus on the Asia energy utility sector, which is estimated to be responsible for more than 20% of...
13 April 2018
Climate disruption

#RE100 Letter to Investment Managers

Dear Investment Manager, Our company has committed to sourcing 100% of our energy needs from renewables to save money, to save the planet, and to protect our license to...
29 March 2018
Climate disruption

@theRE100: Use the Power of the Pension

By committing to RE100, your company is part of an inspirational group of business leaders who are demonstrating that what is good for the planet is also good for...
20 March 2018
Climate disruption

Quick pic: Climate positions of 10 largest asset managers

New research by the 50/50 Climate Project into voting on climate friendly resolutions highlights the disconnect between public positioning of the largest asset managers and their voting behaviour. Axios...
15 March 2018
Climate disruption

An open letter to Investment Consultants: Time to show leadership on climate change

Today we published ten open letters to the largest investment consultants asking for the nine who have not yet signed up to TCFD to act immediately. Willis Towers Watson...
5 March 2018
Climate disruption

What the Wokest Team Can Teach Us

When the Philadelphia Eagles won the Superbowl–after a 57-year drought–the outpouring of joy was magnified by the pride many felt in the “wokest team in the NFL.” The Eagles...
9 February 2018
Climate disruption

Davos: Connecting the dots on systemic risk

Among those rubbing elbows in Davos this week are the leaders of BlackRock, JP Morgan, and Goldman Sachs, which manage $7.4 trillion between them. The trio represents all that...
24 January 2018
Climate disruption

Emissions and Omissions: The Missing35 on Climate Action

The Climate Action 100+ is an admirable effort by institutional investors to step in where governments fear to tread. In the wake of the Paris Agreement, expectations were high...
20 December 2017
Climate disruption

Climate Action 100+ initiative must have sense of urgency that systemic risk demands

Research and advocacy organization, Preventable Surprises, has today (Tuesday Dec 12) congratulated organisers of the Climate Action 100+ (CA100+) initiative for harnessing so much ‘financial muscle’ in the cause...
12 December 2017
Climate disruption

Missing in Action: Missing55% fail to step up on climate

When the world’s two largest money managers, BlackRock and Vanguard, threw their weight behind a successful 2°C scenario resolution at Exxon last spring, the media hailed a shift in...
5 December 2017
Climate disruption

Why investors should focus more on fossil fuel demand

To be clear, when we say “more”, we don’t mean at the expense of a focus on fossil fuel supplier – simply that there should be a better balance...
29 November 2017
Climate disruption

Goliath Asset Management vs. David Pension Fund

If you had to quickly pick which is the most powerful–sovereign countries, asset owners, or the investment firms both hire to manage their assets–who would get your vote? If...
3 November 2017

FT reporter pens critical piece on lack of stewardship

Financial Times’ columnist Attracta Mooney has written a hard-hitting piece acknowledging the fact that the largest investors are dragging their heels on climate change risk. An earlier FT piece...
23 October 2017
Forceful stewardship, Climate disruption

PS responds to media spin

With publication of the votes from the 2017 proxy voting season, large US investors are being given much credit for their votes in support of shareholder resolutions seeking disclosure...
10 October 2017
Forceful stewardship, Climate disruption

Who defines Trump’s impact on the Paris Agreement?

Preventable Surprises Founder Raj Thamotheram argues that institutional investors have largely failed to make their voices heard in the climate debate. As universal owners of the world’s largest publicly...
19 September 2017
Climate disruption

Vanguard: “Look Beyond the Numbers”

In Vanguard’s just-published Investment Stewardship report, Chairman and CEO William McNabb encourages readers to “look beyond the numbers” when reading about Vanguard’s engagement efforts as a responsible investor. That...
1 September 2017
Forceful stewardship

Planning for the Transition: The Wisdom of the Crowd

Preventable Surprises recently concluded its fifth online dialogue, a three-day virtual gathering of 67 positive mavericks representing a cross-section of stakeholders in the responsible investing world. We put forth...
20 July 2017
Climate disruption

Ways of Being in a Brutalist Environment

The following speech was given by Preventable Surprises Board Member John Rogers on 6 June at the Responsible Investor Europe Conference in London. Today I’d like to talk about...
15 June 2017

“But you are so different … no one would take the career risks you have taken!”

By Raj Thamotheram Founder and co-chair, Preventable Surprises This is a refrain I hear quite often when I invite ESG professionals to consider how they could be a bigger...
13 June 2017
Positive Mavericks, Forceful stewardship

What a week!

As Dickens said, the best of times, the worst of times. A whopping 62% of Exxon shareholders told the company to disclose its exposure to climate change risk. This...
2 June 2017
Climate disruption

The Vote Is In

Nearly half of the shareholders at Southern Company have a message for the Atlanta-based gas and electric utility company: Clean up your act! At Wednesday’s annual general meeting, 46%...
24 May 2017
Climate disruption

Climate Science 101: Turning off the Tap

By Preventable Surprises Board Member Rich Pancost The challenges arising from growing carbon dioxide concentrations and climate disruption are clear to scientists and to the nearly 200 nations that...
19 May 2017
Climate disruption

A Victory in the Votes vs. Values Battle

The many organisations working to force utilities to confront climate change risk scored a major victory this week, when 56.8% of shareholders at PPL Corp. voted in favour of a...
17 May 2017
Climate disruption

Preventable Surprises strongly welcomes CalPERS climate policy & Mission 2020

Preventable Surprises warmly welcomes the focus CalPERS is giving to the issue of climate disruption as a risk to mainstream investors . We particularly welcome the support for the...
24 April 2017
Climate disruption

Helping the Missing60 see the light

Investment firms that voted their clients’ proxies to increase transparency around climate risk–then reversed course last year when management at Exxon and Chevron opposed such measures–found themselves in an...
20 April 2017
Climate disruption

A Road to Damascus Moment

By Casey Aspin As AGM season approaches, so does the road to Damascus moment for asset managers that participated in the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure. They can...
12 April 2017
Climate disruption

Disrupting CEO Pay

The former CEO of the Investment Association, the trade body that represents UK investment managers, has made a disruptive proposal on CEO pay. Decades of technocratic effort by corporate...
27 March 2017
Executive pay, Forceful stewardship, Climate disruption

Systemic Risk

While informed professionals in many sectors see climate risk as one of the biggest risks the world faces, most investment professionals give it a much lower priority. They are...
27 March 2017
Videos, Our events, Climate disruption

The Business of Bees

The Business of Bees is a book providing an account of diminishing bee populations from an interdisciplinary perspective. It explores the role of corporate responsibility and governance as they relate to...
27 March 2017
Books, Biodiversity loss

The Case for Forceful Stewardship (Part 2): Managing Climate Risk

Download Publication Abstract If it reaches 4° or more, global warming may cause severe economic damage with the consequence that a significant portion of the value of a diversified...
27 March 2017
Climate disruption, Reports

The Case for Forceful Stewardship (Part 1): The Financial Risk from Global Warming

Download Publication Abstract If it reaches 4° or more, global warming may cause severe economic damage with the consequence that a significant portion of the value of a diversified...
27 March 2017
Climate disruption, Reports

Flip the Switch

This guidance note has been developed to support energy utility companies in developing transition plans to a clean energy power system, and for asset owners, asset managers and other...
26 March 2017
Guidance notes

A hierarchy of action for the planet

By Preventable Surprises Board Member Rich Pancost As if the challenge of limiting global warming weren’t daunting enough, the broad range of opinions on how to tackle the job...
7 March 2017
Biodiversity loss

Year in Review: Turning the Soil

As 2016 dawned, the glow of the Parisian accord still radiated among the many activists working toward a 2°C-compliant economy, Preventable Surprises included. We held an online dialogue in...
10 January 2017
Climate disruption

Tasked with Forcing Change

Climate-related risk is building throughout global markets, just as the contagion effect of excess housing debt led to the Global Financial Crisis. To fend off another destructive chapter in...
14 December 2016
Climate disruption

Stand and Fight

Using your voice as a shareholder By PS Chair Carolyn Hayman, OBE The divest-invest campaign has helped foundations focus on the contribution of fossil fuel producers to climate change...
8 December 2016
Climate disruption

Ceding ground on climate change: Has it begun?

Guest blog By Casey Aspin, Communications Director In the wake of Donald Trump’s election in the United States, those of us fighting to rapidly shrink greenhouse gas emissions are...
5 December 2016
Climate disruption

Energy utilities hold the key to reducing emissions – help us move the sector!

Short-term consultants needed to test transition planning guidance with energy utility companies and investors–£5,500 (Europe) $7,000 (North America) Preventable Surprises is a nonprofit ‘think-do’ tank seeking to accelerate the transition...
24 November 2016
Climate disruption

How technology will trump Trump

 A message from Preventable Surprises Chair Carolyn Hayman No one really knows what a Trump presidency will be like. Given his ‘man of action’ positioning, we may find out...
11 November 2016
Climate disruption

Preventable Surprises makes a power play in utilities

By Casey Aspin Communications Director The precipitous decline of the coal industry followed a series of warnings. One, a paper published by Bernstein Research in June 2013, warned that...
20 October 2016
Must reads

The Missing60 revealed: Asset managers explain Exxon, Chevron votes

Proxy votes from the spring AGM season became public last month, drawing attention to the 60% of voters who supported climate-risk stress tests at non-US companies but reversed course...
19 October 2016
Climate disruption

Stakeholders for Sustainable Innovation Workshop

The Centre for The Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge is holding a workshop on shareholder engagement strategies for the auto sector. The workshop’s goal is to develop...
17 October 2016
Climate disruption

The Business of Bees: An Integrated Approach to Bee Decline and Corporate Responsibility

With bee populations increasingly at risk, The Business of Bees: An Integrated Approach to Bee Decline and Corporate Responsibility, edited by Jill Atkins and Barry Atkins, provides an integrated account of...
13 October 2016
Biodiversity loss

Which sector should be the pilot for ‘industrial scale’ 2°C transition plan resolutions in 2017?

Preventable Surprises proposes two changes in AGM strategy for 2017: Moving from 2°C stress tests to <2°C transition plans (from risk disclosure to preparing for action). Upscaling from a...
13 October 2016
Must reads

Climate change and critical mass: Making the most of AGMs

A rapid transition to sharply reduced GHG emissions demands action on multiple fronts. In addition to pushing for government action, shareholder activists have demanded low-carbon strategies at annual general...
13 October 2016
Must reads

Part 2: Which investors voted ‘for’ the climate change resolutions at the energy majors, and why?

While many large investors are not judging climate change as a material, immediate risk to their portfolios, more forward-looking asset managers supported the disclosure resolutions at the energy majors based...
27 September 2016
Media Coverage

Part 1: Why did some fund managers vote against the Exxon/Chevron climate resolutions?

Prior to the historic Paris Agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, investors gained support at BP, Shell, Statoil and other companies for resolutions asking them to stress test...
26 September 2016
Media Coverage

Asset managers accused of climate change hypocrisy

Four of the world’s largest fund houses have been accused of playing “games” with their investors after failing to back motions that sought greater climate change disclosure at ExxonMobil...
25 September 2016
Media Coverage

The Missing60 are found, yet still are lost

By Casey Aspin, Communications Director Prior to the historic Paris Agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, investors gained support at BP, Shell, Statoil and other companies for resolutions...
24 September 2016
Must reads

Creating Sustainable Companies Summit

Frank Bold, a public interest law organisation with offices across Europe, is hosting a summit to focus on corporate governance and sustainability. Preventable Surprises CEO Raj Thamotheram will be among a panel...
6 September 2016

Preventable Surprises encourages the G20 to require investors to disclose AGM votes

G20 leaders face a long list of pressing issues when they meet at their September summit, including the backlash against globalization and migration. While climate change could take...
3 September 2016
Forceful stewardship, Climate disruption

Preventable Surprises: Missing60 supporters want investors to explain why they voted against climate resolutions

In September 2016, investors had to disclose their voting record for proxy votes held during annual general meetings earlier in the year. AGMs offered up a record number of environmentally-themed resolutions,...
31 August 2016
Media Coverage

Climate Change: Mitigation or adaptation?

This guest op-ed is from Professor Rich Pancost, organic geochemist, biogeochemist and palaeoclimatologist. Since 2012, he has been the Director of the interdisciplinary University of Bristol Cabot Institute, which...
27 August 2016
Climate disruption

What is the best role for Engagement Overlay Providers if they and their clients accept climate science?

Asset owners are, rightly, frustrated with how many investment managers actually “do” stewardship. Rather than engage assertively with managers about their stewardship performance, however, asset owners are outsourcing these...
15 August 2016
Climate disruption

Beyond stress tests: preparing for the next AGM season

Leading up to COP21, companies faced investor pressure to report on stress tests or scenario analyses that acknowledge the potential for regulations limiting global warming to no more than...
10 August 2016
Climate disruption

We support the Missing 60% initiative!

The individuals listed below have signed in their personal capacity. Organisational affiliations are shown for identification purposes only. Prof Michael ASHLEY, Department of Astrophysics, University of New South Wales...
23 July 2016
Climate disruption

Obama’s top science adviser is right…and wrong!

Obama’s top science adviser, John Holdren, is right and wrong. Yes, we will need fossil fuels for some time and some (gas) could be better than others (if pipeline...
18 July 2016
Climate disruption

Consensus on “Peak Demand” gathers momentum

Bloomberg New Energy Finance and McKinsey have both concluded that a rapid take-up of electric vehicles will lead to a late 2020s peak in oil demand. This was part of...
8 July 2016
Climate disruption

New report: How investors should manage climate related systemic risk

Preventable Surprises has released its latest report “Climate Related Systemic Risk: A Guide for Investor Action Report“. This report takes investment decision-makers through key questions to consider on climate-related...
29 June 2016
Climate disruption

Media commentary about the #Missing60 campaign

Here is some media commentary relating to the Missing 60% campaign: Prof Bob Eccles explains why Blackrock, State Street and Vanguard are well placed to lead the investment community in...
28 June 2016
Climate disruption

The Missing 60%: ExxonMobil, Forceful Stewardship and the 2°C Business Model Imperative

The Spring 2016 proxy votes supporting the 2°C stress test resolutions at last week’s Annual General Meetings of ExxonMobil (38.2%) and Chevron (41%) give cause for both celebration –...
3 June 2016
Media Coverage

The Missing 60% – let’s make sure investors do better in 2017!

At the US Annual General Meetings (AGMs) in 2016, approximately 40% of investors voted in favour of resolutions asking for better disclosure of climate risk. In contrast, more than 96% of investors...
2 June 2016
Climate disruption

What will it take to get the CEOs of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies to wake up to the realities of climate change?

Sea Change Radio is interviewing Preventable Surprises and discuss how even small-scale investors can produce large-scale results by advocating for sounder environmental practices within the board rooms of multinational...
31 May 2016
Media Coverage

The forecast is volatility, not gradual change

Blue & Green Tomorrow recently published Rich Pancost’s article on what climate change really looks like (see page 29 of the Guide to Sustainable Investing for full article). If...
30 May 2016
Media Coverage

In the struggle against climate change, investors must act

Howard Covington reviews the immediate future of a world where oil prices are below the $30 threshold, electric vehicles take the industry by surprise and why climate change is...
26 May 2016
Media Coverage

The US AGMs are a teachable moment for institutional investors! And who will make the learning happen?

Despite some increase in votes for more transparency about the strategic engagement by energy companies with climate change challenges, investors have failed to send as clear a signal to...
25 May 2016
Climate disruption

Leading fund managers need to show “fiduciary courage” or risk losing clients

John Rogers and Rich Pancost anticipate the US AGM results in the Responsible Investor, and contrasting them to the massive support already experienced in Europe, remind fund managers why...
23 May 2016
Media Coverage

Protected: What are the 5 most interesting things about the pre-online dialogue survey?

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
13 May 2016
Climate disruption

Shell produces a climate change scenario

Commenting on Shell’s ‘below 2C’ climate change scenario, Preventable Surprises CEO Raj Thamotheram said:  Preventable Surprises strongly welcomes Shell’s ‘below 2C’ climate change scenario.  This recent statement is in stark contrast...
11 May 2016
Climate disruption

The US AGMs: which investors matter the most?

Preventable Surprises has undertaken an analysis of who owns the nine companies in the USA that are facing 2°C stress test / transition plan resolutions. One highlight of this...
8 May 2016
Forceful stewardship, Climate disruption

FSB’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures: our response to the consultation

The Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) clearly wants to understand how the relevant industries tick, and also key challenges and potential solutions. You could...
28 April 2016
Climate disruption

Southern resolution by the Tri-State Coalition: our analysis

Preventable Surprises will be watching carefully how investors stand on climate risk issues with respect to the proxy vote at the Southern Company on May 25th, 2016. In our...
28 April 2016
Climate disruption

Open Letter on the Financial Times

More than 75 civil society organisations have today published an open letter to the chairs of the world’s largest publicly listed oil companies urging them to publicly endorse the...
26 April 2016
Media Coverage

Bloomberg interview

Bloomberg Radio recently interviewed Raj about the high-level signing ceremony convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to begin implementing the Paris Agreement. Raj explains what investors are doing well...
23 April 2016
Media Coverage

Are utility companies adapting to meet the business risks of climate change?

Preventable Surprises friend & collaborator Jon Lukomnik recently analysed on the Huffington Post the insights of the IRRCi/SI2 report on American utility industries. This is particularly interesting timing given...
21 April 2016
Media Coverage

Institutional Investors & Carbon Risk Resolutions: Don’t sit on the fence, please!

This article was first published in Sustainable Brands At BP’s 2015 Annual General Meeting (AGM), 4.12% of the company’s investors either ‘abstained’ (2.4%) or voted ‘against’ (1.72%) a resolution...
15 April 2016
Media Coverage

Peabody goes bankrupt! What can investors learn from this “preventable surprise”?

Investors and others (regulators in particular) should want to do a careful “lessons learnt” exercise about this latest corporate implosion. Some questions they should ask include: How strong is the...
13 April 2016
Climate disruption

SEC allows ExxonMobil Shareholders to Press for Disclosure of Costs

Some good news from the USA! The SEC have ruled against Exxon and shareholders will now have the right to vote on a resolution which asks the company to...
11 April 2016
Climate disruption

Institutional investors must lead our transition to long-term sustainability

Canada’s Globe and Mail recently published an article on forceful stewardship following the announcement by the University of Toronto that it would direct its $6.5-billion in assets under long-term...
11 April 2016
Media Coverage

‘Climate value at risk’ of global financial assets

The Guardian reports on a new study by leading economists on the cost effectiveness of taking action to force the transition to a low carbon world. The paper, published in...
5 April 2016
Climate disruption

Long-Term Matters: A climate culture clash

We published a short comparative analysis in Investment & Pensions Europe of the cultural context in which major financial institutions operate in the US and the Netherlands. With the...
4 April 2016
Media Coverage

The make or break factor

In its latest edition, the Responsible Investor ran an article under the ‘Challenger’ section, written by our very own Carolyn and Raj. It tackles how COP-21 reshaped the asset...
26 March 2016
Media Coverage

Combating climate risk calls for strong stewardship

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition, an investment fund led by Gates, aims to lead private sector development of important new and profitable technologies for reducing global emissions from fossil fuels...
20 March 2016
Media Coverage

IEA Announces “Decoupling of global emissions and economic growth confirmed”

Global energy-related CO2 emissions stayed flat for the second year in a row, according to a report released today by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Howard Covington, a senior...
16 March 2016
Climate disruption

Sir David King’s take on the implications of COP21

Sir David King, UK Special Representative for Climate Change, spoke to the International Energy Authority this morning on what happens after COP21. While recognising the large implementation challenges, as...
29 January 2016
Climate disruption

How investors should monitor their real world impact on climate related systemic risk

A helpful publication from the CFA Institute on ESG investing has data from a very interesting survey of 44,000 CFA members conducted in 2015. This survey reveals the challenges...
24 January 2016
Climate disruption

Country GDP vs. Investor Assets Under Management (AUM)

COUNTRY GDP (EUR bn) INVESTOR AUM (EUR bn) HQ Investor Type Japan 3,784 BlackRock 3,844 USA AM UK 2,426 Vanguard Asset Management 2,577 USA AM India 2,051 State...
18 January 2016

Long-Term Matters: Followers Will Make The Money Flow

“Investment is the most often repeated word in IMF meetings, UN meetings, [the] G20 meeting, IIF meetings,” Angel Gurria, secretary general of the OECD said at the organisation’s recent...
6 January 2016

“Agreement on temperature target of 1.5 degrees within reach”

I was rather surprised to hear the message from Paris that 1.5 degrees is within reach.  Not being a climate specialist, I talked with two of our scientific advisers,...
10 December 2015
Climate disruption

The Forceful Stewardship Guidelines

The guidelines have been described by John Rogers, the former CEO and President of the CFA Institute, as “an emerging best practice framework to guide investor action”.  There are...
10 December 2015
Forceful stewardship

Why we need forceful stewardship (and why BAU engagement isn’t fit for purpose)

Preventable Surprises is delighted to see growing awareness that finance is arguably the critical player post COP21. And we are also delighted to see engagement taking an increasingly central...
9 December 2015
Forceful stewardship

How tone deaf is the Oil & Gas sector? And are its major investors be any better?

Finally, it appears the industry is hearing! But even now, there is no North American involvement in Oil & Gas Climate Initiative. This sectoral leadership group is definitely welcome –it...
3 December 2015
Climate disruption

Forceful Stewardship says: “Show Us Your 2C Transition Plans”

More and more investment experts are now accepting that robust engagement is the most effective way for investors to help manage climate-related systemic risk. To deepen this momentum, Preventable Surprises...
30 November 2015
Climate disruption

Bill Gates and climate change

The fight to keep global warming to less than 2C is such that we need all the allies we can find so the announcement by Bill Gates that...
29 November 2015
Climate disruption

A moratorium on new coal mines?

First came the coal divestment campaign and now comes the call for a moratorium on new coal mines. Its advocates say it has the unique political and diplomatic upside...
28 November 2015
Climate disruption

When scientific realities and career risk clash…what should professionals do?

Leading climate scientist, Kevin Anderson published a “must read” article in “Nature Geosciences” (12 Oct 2015). The full article is behind a paywall, but most of it is on Anderson’s...
26 November 2015
Positive Mavericks

What do investment “positive mavericks” think about litigation

This survey (“ThinkTank views on litigation“) shows that “positive mavericks” think litigation is an important ingredient in the mix of change strategies: the immunity to change in the investment...
24 November 2015
Forceful stewardship

Who are the 50 biggest institutional investors in the world?

Here’s a list of the top 50 institutional investors today.  Our thanks to IPE for the data. Did you know that 8 of the 10 biggest investors are fund managers headquartered...
24 November 2015
Institutions, Forceful stewardship

How can investors maximise their impact on climate related systemic risk?

Strategies for maximum impact This slide sbows the result of a survey of 77 investment and other specialist from 15 countries who were selected for being well informed about climate...
23 November 2015
Climate disruption

Environment Agency Pension Funds (EAPF) names climate change as a systemic risk and backs robust engagement

The EAPF’s new policy says that “Climate change presents a systemic risk to the ecological, societal and financial stability of every economy and country on the planet, with the...
22 November 2015
Climate disruption

Preventable Surprises strongly welcomes PFZW’s action on climate risk

Preventable Surprises strongly welcomes this leadership action on climate risk by PFZW, the second biggest pension fund in the Netherlands. Whilst institutional investors are divesting – which typically takes...
18 November 2015
Climate disruption

Preventable Surprises welcomes the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System

The United Nations Environment Programme recently launched a report on its 2-year inquiry into sustainable finance. Its authors and contributors should be commended for the scope and breadth of...
16 November 2015
Institutions, Climate disruption

Important new study by Cambridge University on portfolio value at risk

Equity portfolios may lose as much as 45 percent of their value due to shifting investor sentiment about climate change, according to a report by Cambridge University’s Institute for...
12 November 2015
Climate disruption

It’s BAU but not as we knew it!

Last week at a gathering of Europeans for Divest Invest[i], of which my own foundation is a member, Christiana Figueres gave two clear messages1. The first was a positive...
5 November 2015
Climate disruption

“How our screwed-up CEO pay system makes climate change worse”

This is the title of a hard hitting article in GRIST about the role of executive remuneration in exacerbating the climate change challenge.
12 October 2015
Executive pay, Forceful stewardship, Climate disruption

Leading Canadian pension lawyer, welcomes Mark Carney’s challenge

“Mark Carney and the Bank of England have warned of the implications of climate change for the UK insurance sector. But the message is relevant for Canadians too and...
3 October 2015
Climate disruption

Investment professionals in different countries show markedly different awareness of climate risk

The CFA Institute recently commissioned market research into how investment professionals in different countries/regions consider ESG risks. The country level data shows remarkable variation, Canadian respondents, for example, coming on...
30 September 2015
Climate disruption

Preventable Surprises strongly welcomes Mark Carney’s call to action

“Mark Carney has offered a worthwhile challenge to institutional investors: Become part of the solution to climate change by acting as fiduciary capitalists. Preventable Surprises applauds this call to action, and will...
30 September 2015
Climate disruption

Which investors count?

As society focuses on what investors can do to better manage systemic climate risk, the question emerges which investors have most influence. Slide 1 is a snap shot of...
5 August 2015
Institutions, Forceful stewardship

Aviva’s strategic response to climate change

We are delighted to see that Aviva, a major insurer, is supporting the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to study portfolio value at risk from climate damage.  As we described in our paper (“The...
27 July 2015
Climate disruption

What happens when fossil fuel interests capture government?

The Australian Prime Minister has ordered the government to halt investing in solar and wind energy. How much more short-sighted could you get?
19 July 2015
Must reads

When corporate sustainability leaders fail to lead….lessons from Australia

What happens when so-called corporate sustainability leaders flunk the leadership challenge and act as bystanders? Then climate denialists and sceptics get to set the agenda! This article has some...
8 July 2015
Must reads

The latest convert to long-termism is… the U.S. Chamber of Commerce!

It’s wonderful to read that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is forming a coalition to make sure “long-term value creation” drives the decisions of public company boards. What a...
6 July 2015

Financial reforms have treated symptoms, not causes, says former senior US govt adviser

“A lot of financial reforms have treated symptoms, not underlying causes” says Zoltan Pozsar at FT Camp Alphaville, a former senior advisor at the U.S. Treasury Department and now...
1 July 2015

Power to the People

Chronicling the road to becoming a zombie industry, Bill McKibben casts power companies as-asleep-at-the-wheel vis a vis the competitive threat residential solar represents to their business model.
30 June 2015
Must reads

Don’t expect attention on climate risk from investment providers who are focused on earnings estimates!

CFA Institute thought leader Jason Voss highlights the on-going addiction of investment professionals to earnings estimates: Despite all the talk about long-termism and ESG, the figures speak for themselves...
26 June 2015
Climate disruption

Divestment moves investors off climate sidelines

Corporate Knights recently published an article about the need to move away from divestment into forceful stewardship, and lists the four R’s of responsible investment: Reject the worst offenders,...
20 May 2015
Media Coverage

An epidemic of self censorship?

A core idea behind the Preventable Surprises project is that they aren’t surprises. Someone generally knows but is often too frightened to raise their concerns. Our focus is on the...
17 February 2015
Positive Mavericks

Video: What can Investors do about the crisis in banking?

12 May 2013