Bloomberg Green Summit at COP26
November 9, 2021
Leaders of companies whose intent is to decarbonize very dramatically and quickly over the next 30 years provided an inspiring look at tangible solutions, and their consensus of COP26 as a pivot point; moving from examining the issues to following through on commitments. They presented the proof in their pathways, and why it is vital for the 90-percent not on track to 1.5 degrees to participate.
Amanda Peterson Corio, Global Head of Data Center Energy, Google LLC
Geraldine Barnuevo-Cruz, Senior Manager, Environmental Strategies and Sustainability, General Motors
Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council
Jonathan Garfinkel, Partner, TPG Rise Climate
Ryan Gellert, CEO, Patagonia Works and Patagonia, Inc.
Guy Grainger, Global Head of Sustainability Services and ESG, JLL
Ralph Izzo, Chairman and CEO, PSEG
John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, U.S. Department of State
Roberto Marques, Executive Chairman of the Board, Group CEO, Natura & Co.
Will Marshall, Co-founder and CEO, Planet
Juvencio Maeztu, Deputy CEO, Management Board Member and CFO, Ingka Group
Stefano Minini, Executive Advisor, Lendlease
Chris Morgan, Director, John Gilbert Architects
Dr. Frederika Otto, Senior Lecturer, Climate Science, Imperial College London
Emmanuelle Pinault, Director of City of Diplomacy, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol
Grant F. Reid, CEO and Board Director, Mars Incorporated
Carmichael Roberts, PhD, Investment Committee Co-lead, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Material Impact
Carter Roberts, President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund U.S
Raphaela Schweiger, Program Director Migration, Global Issues, Robert Bosch Stiftung
Jigar Shah, Executive Director, Loan Programs Office, U.S. Department of Energy Florence Verzelen, Executive Vice President, Industry, Marketing and Sustainability, Dassalt Systems
Kim Bhasin, Reporter, Bloomberg
Albert Cheung, Head of Global Analysis, BloombergNEF
Claire Curry, Head of Technology and Innovation, BloombergNEF
Mallika Kapur, Deputy Global Editor, Bloomberg Live
Lauren Kiel, General Manager, Bloomberg Green
John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg
Eric Roston, Reporter, Bloomberg Green
Aaron Rutkoff, Executive Editor, Bloomberg Green
Jess Shankleman, Reporter, Bloomberg Green
Meg Szabo, Senior Editor, Bloomberg Green and Sustainability Events
Climate Mitigation Cities at the Forefront
Climate change, migration and social inequality are issues with more urgent challenges and more apparent connections in pandemic recovery. C40 Cities is a global network of more than 100 mayors working to assure urban populations have a voice and cities have access to funding needed for transformative plans of action, said Emmanuelle Pinault, Director of City of Diplomacy, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. “There are common objectives and some nuances, but access to finance is an issue everywhere,” she said.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol spoke about his global action agenda for cities, and reconciling the demands on limited budgets for climate initiatives versus meeting the immediate needs of citizens in crisis, especially in the wake of Covid-19. “If we put money into experts on, say, decarbonization,” Rees said. “That’s money we could have put into adult social care or child mental health.” Cities are where decarbonization is needed most, and assuring climate funding is crucial, no matter what is happening at the national level, he said.
Raphaela Schweiger, Program Director Migration, Global Issues, Robert Bosch Stiftung announced a $1 million dollar commitment from the Bosch Foundation to support the action agenda the Mayor’s Migration Council organized last year. “We want to support displaced communities because of Covid-19 and address the inequality that has risen up in cities, and we are hoping others will join the effort.”
In Conversation with Ryan Gellert
Ryan Gellert, CEO, Patagonia Works and Patagonia, Inc., spoke about holding companies responsible for their climate commitments and his company’s new sustainability framework that stresses advocacy for much-needed systemic change. Everyone doing their part to minimize carbon footprints is still not going to be enough to ward off an existential crisis, Gellert said. The problem is, while everyone has to come together to fix this, “There is a real disconnect between what businesses are saying to their employers, what businesses are saying to their customers and what businesses, directly or indirectly through their lobbyists, are telling the government, and that’s a huge problem.”
Getting to Net Zero
Roberto Marques, Executive Chairman of the Board, Group CEO, Natura & Co. spoke of recognizing the culprits in each scope; what a company produces, the energy it buys and the entire supply chain, both upstream and down. While 80-percent of emissions come from Scope 3’s transportation, packaging is also a key offender, he said. Then there are ingredients and some of their printed materials. In the company’s commitment to net zero by 2030, Marques said they need to be diligent about meeting annual goals. “If we don’t do that, we don’t have a chance.” Natura, which includes Avon, Body Works and more, has entered into a consortium with the likes of Loreal, Unilever and LVMH to create scale in an effort to inform customers about product impacts with what is planned to essentially be a label scoring system.
Spearheading a Greener Supply Chain
A veteran of many climate conferences is Carter Roberts. President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund U.S., is seeing some major differences in Glasgow. “Big money has shown up in the form of commitments by financial institutions,” he said, adding to the list commitments by corporations, “in supply chains and within their four walls, and beyond.” The biggest change is the pivot from companies talking about commitments to taking real action. “We’re also seeing the rise of nature and of the imperative of engaging people in communities to make sure they are benefitting from whatever solutions we mount.”
Stopping deforestation is a quest by Mars Incorporated, and CEO and Board Director, Grant F. Reid, who leads a consortium of 20 like minded companies, said they have been working diligently on a commitment to buy only deforestation-free palm oil. Reid said they reduced suppliers from 1,500 to 90. “We are working very closely with them and, either by boots on the ground or by satellite, we are mapping and managing them.”
JLL Sponsor Spotlight: A Better World is a Net Zero World
Energy use is rising in commercial buildings as people return to work, and even more as they seek to increase air circulation, according to Guy Grainger, Global Head of Sustainability Services and ESG, JLL. Using Glasgow city center as an example, he noted 66-percent of carbon emissions come from buildings, likewise, New York City. It’s an aspect of the net zero effort he is gratified to see finally getting attention at COP. “We’ve got a major job, particularly in the global north, to refurbish these buildings,” Grainger said. It will take embedding technology for efficiency toward reducing operational carbon – Grainger said many buildings are running heat and air conditioning at the same time – and reducing construction impacts, or embodied carbon. While 50-percent of the earth’s natural resources are used for building, Grainger said no corporate pledges include reducing that use.
Re-imagining the Built Environment
The time has come to stop explaining the problem and show solutions that exist, said Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council. At COP26, 17 projects in their Build Better Now virtual pavilion showcase climate and biodiversity solutions. “There’s actually hope. There are actually solutions that can be scaled up,” Gamboa said.
Setting bold targets with accelerated momentum is the approach for a large, residential building project in northwest Milan, according to Stefano Minini, Executive Advisor, Lendlease. It embodies three key elements, “energy, embodied carbon and mobility,” he said, and is aimed at being “future proof.” Minini spoke of flipping the script in developing a relationship with a neighboring prison and making the bold decisions, such as all power to the site coming from renewable sources.
Chris Morgan, Director, John Gilbert Architects, spoke about a nearby project – Tenement EnerPHit, Passivhaus Retrofit – a stone tenement building where carbon emissions will be reduced by about 90-percent. In addition, it will provide economic and health benefits for residents, with an approach that preserves the architectural heritage of the building. The biggest impacts will come not from innovations. “We’re doing normal things, like insulation,” Morgan said. “We’re just doing them better.”
Why Addressing Methane is Critical to the Climate Fight
Bloomberg Green Reporter Akshat Rathi used charts to detail comparisons with CO2, and other methane impacts. Short term, methane has “huge impacts,” trapping 80 times as much heat, he said. At COP26, Rathi reported, a real recognition of the need to reduce methane emissions was recognized with a pledge by more than 100 countries to for a 30-percent by 2030 goal.
The Future of Climate Diplomacy
John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, U.S. Department of State, who helped broker the U.S.-China agreement the year before the Paris Agreement, spoke to ‘keeping 1.5 alive.’ In Paris, he said, the best they could do was to get everyone to define their own plan. It would take a market signal, “that 195 countries were all going to move in the same direction at the same time,” to spark major funding allocations. Kerry spoke candidly about the temporary withdrawal by the U.S. and the “very significant potential” he is seeing at COP26. “This is a long journey, and now is the test of if we can really get there.”
“I think it would be insanity to not measure every year,” Kerry said of the suggestion to mandate monitoring, calling COP26 the checkpoint envisioned in Paris and adding that there is a greater sense of urgency, focus and possibilities. He expanded on how everything is constricted by “extraordinarily complicated” international diplomacy and the challenges of being on so many different pages when it comes to energy.
The Impact of Weather
Catastrophic weather events always include the question now of how climate change factors in. Dr. Frederika Otto, Senior Lecturer, Climate Science, Imperial College London and the World Weather Attribution initiative said global warming can be the cause, it can exacerbate or not play a role at all. She noted summer’s heat wave in North America and in Siberia in 2020, as definite effects of climate change, but said a drought in Sao Paulo in 2014 had to do with water usage. In other instances, significant casualties are attributable to lack of warning.
Putting scientific data out in real time, while events are in the news, helps move the conversation past politics. On the platform Climate Explorer, anyone can access data and analytics from weather stations around the world. A goal is to find much-needed funding for scientists in the global south to be able to do research, Otto said.
Her message to conference participants was a reminder that climate change is no longer in the future. “It’s killing people now on a large scale, and that is at 1.2 degrees warming. We don’t even want to imagine how that would be in a 3-degree world, or even a 2.5-degree world, which is where the current ledgers are.”
The Innovation Imperative
Measurement and accountability are what COP needs to be about now, said Will Marshall, Co-founder and CEO, Planet, who described how his company is providing the means to that end. “You can’t fix what you can’t see, or, as Mike Bloomberg likes to say, you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” Marshall said. Planet has the largest fleet of satellites imaging the entire globe, every day. Their view of flooding in Germany and California wildfires, for example, aids response, law enforcement and prevention. They discovered oil spills in New Mexico and missile silos in western China, and have provided before and after images used to hold landowners accountable in thousands of court cases. A recently-released map of the world’s coral reefs, with spectral bands that identify types, prompted countries to take immediate action toward protection, according to Marshall. “We can see every tree,” Marshall said, in speaking to the effort to curb deforestation. It’s the timeliness of the data that makes a difference.
New since last year’s COP is Carbon Mapper, a fleet of satellites being launched to globally detect the exact sources of methane and CO2 emissions.
3DS Sponsor Spotlight: Designing Disruption
“We want to make sure that when we provide technology solutions to our customers and to the industry, it brings a net positive sustainability,” said Florence Verzelen, Executive Vice President, Industry, Marketing and Sustainability, Dassalt Systems, summarizing her company’s commitment.
In a global survey of executives across all industries, 70-percent responded that sustainability is imperative in the design of new products and services, yet many don’t have the tools to do so, Verzelen said. She described how Dassalt is answering the need with virtual twins that provide design feedback with digital replicas of just about anything, from products to cities and ecosystems. An unlimited variety of models can be produced to create a value chain that focuses on sustainability.
Investing in Climate Technologies
About a decade ago, climate, or clean, hard-to-scale tech saw a big rise in venture capital funding. The panel started out by addressing where that stands now, or CleanTech 1.0; the comeback, with technologies now being advanced enough to handle large investments.
“Governments around the world have set up all sorts of learning-curve policies, and as a result, we’ve seen trillion-dollar scale in solar, wind and EV [electric vehicle] manufacturing,” said Jigar Shah, Executive Director, Loan Programs Office, U.S. Department of Energy.
The industry sectors getting the most interest from VCs and PEs is a broad spectrum, per Jonathan Garfinkel, Partner, TPG Rise Climate. Long-duration storage, biofuels, sustainable aviation fuels, and grid management software are just some examples. “We’re really thinking of climate as a sector the same way you would healthcare or technology, and that opens up a universe of opportunities,” Garfinkel said.
Carbon capture, which is “pretty much nowhere” compared to other areas, and oceans are undermined, according to Carmichael Roberts, PhD, Investment Committee Co-lead, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Material Impact. “There’s probably more going on in outer space than we’re doing in the oceans. Does that really make sense when you think of the richness?”
Shah predicted the next big targets for investor funding are sustainable aviation, microreactors and fusion, recycled plastics and battery storage, all with clear pathways created by government policy. “We’re seeing not just innovation, but innovation turning into commercialization.”
Collaboration for Climate Resiliency
Juvencio Maeztu, Deputy CEO, Management Board Member and CFO, Ingka Group spoke about how IKEA keeps moving forward on a full transition to clean energy, monitoring suppliers and why promoting consumerism in store layouts is not a bad thing. With huge investments, mainly in solar and wind energy, they are producing about a third more than they consume. He called for standardized global carbon pricing, and more transition investment by everyone. “We don’t maximize the financial revenues,” Maeztu said. “We try to optimize them.”
After the discovery earlier this year that some of its suppliers were involved in illegal deforestation, IKEA dropped them, and continues to employ hundreds of auditors to track supply lines.
Maeztu plugged their plant-based meatballs, plant balls, and their buy back/resell program for furniture that hits another sustainability target, which segued into an answer about consumerism. “We are offering sustainable solutions at affordable prices that help customers lead more sustainable lives.” And those who opt for shipping will find all last-mile deliveries by electric or zero-emission vehicles by 2025, Maeztu promised.
Accelerating the Adoption of Renewable Energy
Tracking of renewables for about 15 years shows them on the right track, with more than two gigawatts installed annually, and are now the cheapest form of energy in some parts of the world. Policy is also making the transition, but much more effort is needed.
In terms of the newly-passed U.S. infrastructure bill, the Build Back Better framework, Ralph Izzo, Chairman and CEO, PSEG said it will have phenomenal impacts and talked about a “little known” provision for production tax credits for existing nuclear plants, “essential for preservation of 50-percent of nation’s carbon-free electricity.” “It’s important not to give up the progress we’ve made.” Beyond transportation and electricity, Izzo noted, is the other third of emission sources that also need to be considered.
Amanda Peterson Corio, Global Head of Data Center Energy, Google LLC agreed that including other technologies was essential, adding that she was happy to see $30 billion allocated for developing new technology, and the inclusion of support for existing technology.
Izzo predicted New Jersey will see a massive surge in offshore wind power development and that EV usage will increase once people get past the chicken and the egg scenario as it applies to charging station infrastructure. After attending COP26, his outlook on the bigger picture is very optimistic. “I am 100-percent convinced that the policy arrow, globally, is pointing in one direction, Izzo said. “We may quarrel over the pace, but businesses aren’t waiting for the government anymore.”
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