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How climate change links to the finance sector

Zach Stein

In this episode of our Learn Better Podcast, host Stuart Pedley Smith, Head of Learning at Kaplan, discusses the importance of the climate change issue and how this links to the finance sector.

Our guest, Zach Stein, is a co-founder of The Carbon Collective, an organisation based in California that makes it simple for people to invest in companies that offer climate solutions and divest from companies reliant on fossil fuels.

This episode explains the simple message that climate change is the most important issue facing the world. We still have time to avoid worst-case scenarios, but only if we invest capital in climate change and sustainable solutions that can be adopted and implemented quickly.

Speech marks

“Climate change is the most important issue facing the world.”


Key topics

Climate change

Zach and Stuart discuss what climate change is in simple terms, and why Zach chose to go into this industry. He shares stories about experiencing climate change firsthand, with fires in California as one example. Zach talks about how investing in sustainable solutions can be better for the planet, but also better economically.

Sustainable investment

Zach explains The Carbon Collective’s definition of ‘sustainable investment,’ and how this can be approached through the lens of climate change. He mentions that what needs to be done to solve this issue is clear, and we can apply these methods when making investment decisions.

Speech marks

“What will happen if electric cars continue to take off in the way that they are? Is oil still going to be worth investing in?”


Two key factors are addressed regarding sustainable investment:

  • Technology. Zach discusses how we need to dramatically increase the investment into solutions for climate change. This can be supported through changing and building new technologies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Fossil fuels. Businesses need to aim to stop investing in fossil fuels and allow clean energy replacements to increase.

The finance industry

Stuart asks whether it is actually possible to save and make money from environmentally-aware business decisions. Examples discussed include the price of electric cars, comparing the short-term cost with long-term savings.

Zach explains that the world is becoming more sustainable, and investors should strive to be proactive and at the forefront of sustainable decision making. If finance professionals ignore the climate change issue, they will eventually become ‘reactive’ while falling behind proactive decision makers making money on investments. In addition to this, Zach suggests that helping the planet can be considered an addition to the financial benefits caused by smart and sustainable investment decisions.

Speech marks

“By spending our money wisely today, we will be building our future.”


How to understand when sustainable decisions are worth it

Zach provides tips on how to understand the significance of making sustainable decisions and how to assess whether they are worth it. He highlights examples like assessing the rise of gas prices in the UK, and how the quality of sustainable solutions has improved over the years.

Speech marks

“We are no longer in a position where you have to choose between quality and sustainability, you can have both.”


Find out more

Listen to the episode of our Learn Better podcast to hear the full conversation between Stuart and Zach (Ep. 28 - How climate change links to the finance sector, Zach Stein).

You can also gain the skills, knowledge, and become the go-to person for sustainable investment decisions through our Certificate in ESG Investing course.

Learn more about sustainable investing

Find out more