Exploring frontiers in sustainability: Bringing futures literacy to financial services in Ireland and France

As part of EIT Climate-KIC’s Long-termism Deep Demonstration, Riyong Kim, Director of Decision Metrics and Finance at EIT Climate-KIC, has co-authored a new report, “Exploring Frontiers in Sustainability: Bringing Futures Literacy to Financial Services in Ireland and France.” The report explores how long-term thinking can be introduced to the financial sector, potentially enabling it to drive a more sustainable and inclusive future.

The world is facing an unprecedented climate crisis. Despite the scientific evidence and warnings over decades about the devasting consequences and the need for systemic changes to counter these threats, we have been slow to act. Why is this?

Due to our collective “poverty of imagination” we are unable to imagine a fundamentally different future, and therefore unable to imagine the full impact of climate change. This inability to anticipate the future contributes to our collective pretence that climate change may not ‘happen’ to us, and feeds into our complacent lack of action.

We need tools to help us overcome this “poverty of imagination” and help society, organisations and individuals shift their perspective from short-term gain to long-term sustainability—or in more mundane terms, making potentially difficult choices today that will likely ‘only’ benefit future generations.

Anticipation is an idea that helps us deal with this and it is on this foundation that “futures literacy” as a capability has been developed. Futures literacy as a capability aims “to reveal the anticipatory assumptions that determine why and how futures are imagined.” Becoming aware of and understanding these anticipatory assumptions is fundamental if we are to become aware of the underlying beliefs that govern our ability to imagine the future.

Finance plays a critical role in the climate crisis—its allocative function can release the much needed capital for climate initiatives that can help strengthen resilience and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Additionally, the financial markets and economic paradigms on which they operate have excluded and externalised the environmental goods and services that cannot be valued or monetised, such that the costs of caring for our planet will continue to represent an additional financial burden to society that is neither valued nor integrated into the economic, social and political actors’ operations or financial analysis. 

Understanding this, one can infer that nurturing a futures literacy capability in the finance sector has the potential to unlock massive systemic change.

Read the full report to learn how.

 

read the report

 

 
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Goal 10: Mainstream climate in financial markets
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