13 September 2022

"We haven't built back better after COVID" Emmanuel Faber tells HEC students

The world has rushed back to business as usual after COVID despite pledges of 'building back better', ISSB chair Emmanuel Faber told students at the prestigious French business school, HEC.

Emmanuel Faber"During COVID, you heard a lot, I certainly did, that we were going to build back better. The truth is we haven't. We have, economically and politically, rushed back to business as usual," he said at the first HEC Talks of the new academic year 2022/23.

Faber highlighted three reasons for inaction. First selfishness: "It needs tough decisions being made by elites. Those who, like me and maybe like a lot of you in the future, will be best protected against climate change. You have no interest in changing because you put your way of life at risk, you put your power at risk."

Second is the "fear of a revolution". He said: "The fear of not being able to handle the social tensions that will arise from the inequalities in the system that will appear with driving a transition towards a more resilient model."

And the third reason, blindness, referred directly to the work of the ISSB. Faber said that "we are not counting what counts" at the moment, namely the cost on the natural world and people. "We can have accounting that really extrapolates and allows businesspeople, leaders and policymakers to make the right decisions."

But accounting is only the language, he concluded, it's the people who will use it that will "reinvent the future".

Emmanuel Faber