The realities of not tackling sustainability issues will have a dire effect on our economy and our lives. There is no industry it will spare. And yet the opportunities abound to overcome these challenges, and technology is a central piece in this trillion dollar industry. In a fireside chat at TRANSFORM, Mindy Lubber, CEO and President of Ceres, will share her views on how to build a sustainable future and her insights on how investors and companies can succeed in the 21st century global economy.
Read Mindy’s article, which originally appeared in Forbes, about the various ways in which investors and companies are assuming the mantle of climate leadership in the wake of the U.S. government’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement earlier this year.
As world leaders gather in Hamburg this week for the G20 Summit, there has been understandable focus on President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. This move is intended to disengage the U.S. government from global consensus and cooperation when it comes to climate change, and it stands in stark contrast to what the true pillars of the modern American economy want and need. American investors and companies continue to demonstrate remarkable leadership on climate action, standing up like never before for a more resilient and vibrant economic future.
Four recent developments provide particularly strong evidence of the accelerated momentum and support for a low-carbon economy:
Historic majority votes on climate risk at carbon-intensive American energy companies – Shareholders made history this year by passing majority votes on climate risk disclosure at ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum, and PPL Corp, putting unprecedented pressure on carbon-intensive energy companies to disclose the impacts of climate change on their businesses. These investors sent a clear message: climate change is a real financial concern and investors need more information on how it stands to affect their assets. These majority votes, reaching a striking 62 percent at ExxonMobil, also indicate investor understanding that the transition to a low-carbon economy is well underway and that business as usual in carbon-intensive industries like oil and gas is no longer an option. Coming in just days before President Trump’s Paris withdrawal announcement, these results indicate real fissures between the administration’s position and those of the leading investors in U.S. companies, who have a vested interest in the success of the American economy.
Thousands of investors and companies say We Are Still In – Immediately following President Trump’s announcement to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, American investors and companies joined forces with mayors, governors, and university presidents to recommit to achieving the Paris Agreement’s objectives and vow to uphold the principles and practices of climate action. As of today, 1640 investors and companies have joined the We Are Still In campaign. They represent $2.5 trillion in assets under management, $2.2 trillion in annual revenue, and employ 4.7 million American workers. These leaders are united in their understanding of the urgency to act on climate as a moral and economic imperative, and they’re deploying their collective voice – and clean energy investments – like never before. This is the real measure of the American economy’s appetite for climate action, and it gives me great hope for the future.
Business leaders back climate disclosure recommendations – The industry-led international Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures issued its final recommendations for a universal set of guidelines to help companies understand the financial risks and opportunities associated with climate change. This is huge. These recommendations help businesses position themselves to thrive in the low-carbon economy, and will help give investors the information they need to deploy their capital effectively. Fully aware of the urgency of climate change and the need to measure and monitor its corresponding risks and opportunities, nearly 400 global investors with $22 trillion in assets under management and more than 100 CEOs have publicly announced their support for these recommendations. This was a monumental work of collaboration across sectors and geographies, and it is a shining example of collective action for the sake of global prosperity.
Hundreds of global investors urge G20 leaders to uphold Paris Agreement – Most recently, nearly 400 institutional investors from the U.S. and beyond voiced their collective support for climate action. In a statement sent directly to the G20 leaders, investors representing more than $22 trillion in assets called for the swift implementation of the Paris Agreement, issuing a full-throated endorsement of the TCFD’s climate risk disclosure recommendations and 2 degree scenario analysis. This is not only about risk, but opportunity as well. Investors are eager to capture the growing opportunities arising from the global transition to a clean energy economy, but they need policy certainty from governments around the world to make it possible.
As the G20 Summit kicks off in Hamburg, I urge world leaders to recognize that the strongest economic voices in the U.S. are united around climate action like never before. There is a reason thousands of investors and companies are taking a stand, and taking action based on sound science and financial forecasting. These myriad leaders are concerned for the environmental and economic health of the world that we will pass on to future generations, and they are emboldened by the significant opportunities that lie in wait.
So I’ll add my voice to the growing chorus of U.S. business leaders, public officials, and concerned citizens and say to our world leaders: Listen to the American business community, put climate change at the top of the agenda, and embrace the unprecedented momentum around the business case for climate action. Our future depends on it.
We are at a pivotal moment, and the actions we take now will chart the course for generations to come.