I’ve been postponing to write this article although I’ve felt compelled to it since I’ve realized how some very reputed professionals from the ESG (Environmental, social and governance) market were mixing two kinds of totally different “Green Swans”.
I was lucky enough of having the chance to ask John Elkington himself what was the reason for this confusion, during a webinar promoted by Ethos Institute “Ethos Conference 2020”, in beginning of July, when he had the chance to talk about his new book “Green Swans: the coming boom in regenerative capitalism”. It is all in this youtube link (even my question):
His reply was: “there was a financial report launched last January which talks about a black swan with green feathers”.
For me it was a “eureka” moment. I’ve found out the paper almost immediately.
In the article they described what they call “green swan” risks: “potentially extremely financially disruptive events that could be behind the next systemic financial crises” (full report in the link below):
It is like Taleb’s Black Swans wearing like a green disguise and suddenly when it happens there were no sign of it. The green is justified because of the climate crisis.
In this world of financial crises and accelerating pursue of growth no matter what there is a potential for herds of black swans and these so called disguised “green swans”.
According to John Elkington: ‘Black Swans are dramatic events that are outliers – beyond the realm of normal expectations – have a major impact, and yet are often “inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight”‘. In simple terms, that means we fail to learn from our mistakes, unwittingly heading into the jaws of the next round of disasters.
And there is the Green Swans described by John Elkington in his book which are solutions emerged from wicked or super-wicked problems that our planet are facing today.
As John Elkington explains in his book: “Green Swans, in essence, are about regeneration – of our societies, economies, and, most fundamentally, of the biosphere. This is where things must go seriously exponential, in a good way”.
So, it is better that a regenerative capitalism emerge from this pandemic crises, perhaps bringing some green swans, which may create a positive impact at all sectors and society, for the benefit of our planet and, in essence, for the survival of humankind.