" Disorganized Hypocrisy”
The years since the Paris Agreement have seen intensifying efforts to decarbonize the financial system. Disclosure frameworks, notably the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD), and Net-Zero targets, are fast becoming institutionalized globally to incentivize financial institutions to divert capital into low-carbon activities and away from carbon-heavy ones. I examine the implementation of these frameworks among financial corporations (FCs) in Singapore. 15 semi-structured interviews with professionals in the industry at the forefront of TCFD and Net-Zero suggest that FCs’ “talk” often does not match with their “actions”. Organizations ceremonially comply with new global standards as well as local regulations on TCFD and Net-Zero while they continue to finance carbon-intensive economic activities. Yet this apparent “hypocrisy” may not be so much a result of coordinated efforts for organizational buffering, as it is a consequence of disorganization and discoordination. Informants suggest that different parts within FCs independently perceived and responded differently, at a different pace, to the novel challenges that climate change has brought. I contribute to the environmental sociology literature on “organized hypocrisy” by examining how commonly perceived “hypocrisy” is or is not, in fact, “organized”. In doing so, I suggest that we should not assume “hypocrisy” to be an intentional organizational project. Furthermore, rather than seeing “hypocrisy” as effort to keep an organization “stable”, I argue that hypocrisy may be indicative of slow and potentially discordant organizational change, with ongoing internal efforts by insiders to match “actions” with “talk”.