Purpose+Profit: A Book Review

It’s not often that I wolf down a book on ESG during a work week. However, some works of accessible scholarship entail that kind of attention. Profit + Purpose is an intellectual tour de force which provides a ring side view to how sustainability can be operationalized on the ground from a PE Fund focused on SDGs to the B Corp movement.

The author explicitly lays bare the issues with making sustainability happen through projects and that intentions are not enough.

Doing good should not be impossible, it should be the only way to do business. The lens on implementation is refreshing and case studies educate rather than pontificate through high theory.

The writing is direct and is meant for the manager on the frontline of the sustainability trenches.

Must read for all sustainability professionals.

‘This Changes Everything’ by Naomi Klein : A Book Review

This Changes EverythingI initially came across Naomi Klein’s work in decent detail when I was a tutor to an undergraduate class on Globalization at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore where I had an opportunity to share regarding her iconoclastic work ‘Shock Doctrine’, elucidating the notion of ‘Disaster Capitalism’; where she was critical in deconstructing the Chicago School Style Free Market delusion which created a mess in many a Latin American Economy. The shocks via war and policy interventionism to society and economy by predatory capitalism formed a situation in which capitalism had a free run, often with catastrophic results such as Iraq and Chile.

Naomi Klein extends this train of thought to Climate Change in her latest intellectual work – ‘This Changes Everything’. Her surgical critique of the impacts of extractionary Chicago School Capitalism in aggravating the impacts of the meta, all consuming phenomena called Climate Change. Naomi Klein’s engaging activist commentary focuses on narratives such as extreme weather events. She presents the social and political context in which Climate Change has transformed in to a hot button issue. Naomi Klein labels it as a ‘Civilizational Call’. Normative and Powerful, this read is not meant for the scientific community but for the main street to appreciate the back story of environmental activism.

The book exposes the intricate details of the ideological system of Environmentalism and the various efforts made my climate denialists to dilute the cause of efforts of effective Climate Change Action. The important take away was securitization of the Climate Change discourse in order for it to taken more seriously by heartland USA. It reminds me of the Non Traditional Security Institute seminars at the Rajaratnam School in Singapore in Resilience and Climate Change I had attended as a researcher at the Nanyang Technological University.
The basic assertion which Klein makes it that process and activities triggered by market fundamentalism have accelerated anthropogenic climate change. A thesis tilts towards the left of centre as western culture’s extractivist designs imbued in predatory capitalism is heavily pounded upon. She has the gumption to reveal the paradoxical relationship between the fossil fuel industry that is incredibly carbon intensive and the environmental movement. Hypocrisy is to be exposed for truth to emerge, and normative initiatives to be strengthened. Kudos to Ms. Klein on that point.

The book as her last one, has sharp anecdotes and data points which form the backbone of her story-line. This book is a good addition to the green literature landscape though not as seminal as the ‘Shock Doctrine’.