January 19, 2021
By Bloomberg Live
Weaving climate action into your business plan is more crucial than ever. And yet, according to Deloitte’s 2022 CxO Sustainability Survey, while a majority of business leaders are motivated to take climate action, few are successfully implementing measurable change.
This event brought together executives and leaders in sustainability to hear how they’re making a positive impact on their businesses and the planet. We explored meaningful solutions for closing the gap between ambition and action, with a look at behaviors and characteristics that set climate leaders apart. What are the biggest challenges and opportunities? How are they balancing competing priorities and measuring impact? And how do they balance near-term accountability with long-term carbon-reduction goals?
Click here to view video of today’s event.
- Jim Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo
- Michel Doukeris, CEO, AB InBev
- Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever
- Punit Renjen, Global CEO, Deloitte
- Francine Lacqua, Editor-At-Large & Anchor, Bloomberg TV
- Carol Massar, Anchor, Bloomberg Businessweek TV and Radio
- Meg Szabo, Senior Editor, Bloomberg Green and Sustainability Events
On turning climate goals from ambition to action: Michel Doukeris, CEO, AB InBev said “We’re now on our third set of goals that are measurable goals, so we don’t have ambitions only, we have science based reduction targets for carbon emissions.” In addition, Doukeris said “We have had water goals for more than 20 years, that not only cover the water usage in our production, but in farmers. We benchmark over 6,000 farmers globally and we know how much they use in water from seeding to harvest. It’s the right thing to do, not just for the business. And when you develop the local economy, everything flows from there.”
Doukeris shared the specific end-to-end example of the U.S. organic beer Michelob ULTRA: Pure Gold. “We started having problems buying the grains, because most of the soil in the U.S. is no longer organic, and in order to do the transition from non-organic to organic takes 2 – 3 years. So the majority of the farmers, even though they want to be organic, they cannot bridge the gap. So Michelob Ultra came up with the idea that for every 6-pack that you buy, we will sign a contract with farmers, where we help them with the bridge period from inorganic to organic. If they can make the bridge, then they become more profitable, they open up a much bigger market, and because they make more money they can further invest and develop their business around that, to become more organic.”
According to Deloitte’s 2022 CxO Sustainability Survey, 97 percent of business leaders indicated their companies have already been negatively impacted by climate change, while about half said their operations have been impacted. Yet the divide between awareness and meaningful progress persists, said Punit Renjen, Global CEO, Deloitte. “The acknowledgement that we have to address the issue is the first step. Most have a strategy in terms of how they are going to get there. I think the real disconnect is between the pace – 2040, 2050 I think is appropriate but I think we need to front load it – the second is around execution. It requires relentless execution and it requires an organizational change from a mindset standpoint but also in terms of how we are implementing it,” Renjen said. “This is not easy. It will require work.”
Jim Andrew, Chief Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo said the food and beverage company’s sustainability success is fueled by aggressive goal-setting – both in the immediate and the future. “If you don’t set bold long-term goals, you’re never going to make the progress you need in the short term…we’ve got to be making progress every year,” Andrew said. He also highlighted the importance of proper reporting and communication in PepsiCo’s sustainability journey. “It’s really about transparency and it’s about consistency. Every year we report where we are against each of our goals and along the way, if we can, we give interim updates. So it’s that transparency and rigorous methodologies and measurements that’s really going to help build trust but also help build momentum and progress.”
Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever, said the consumer goods company’s multi stakeholder sustainability approach works to address increasing consumer demand for sustainable products – without sacrifices. “The challenge but also the opportunity for companies like Unilever…is making sure that you’re producing really high-quality products but at the same time affordable products, accessible to everybody, but they’re actually offering the level of performance that people want from their products and they’re able to protect the planet,” Marmot said. Another critical piece of Unilever’s business strategy is linking sustainability to performance: 25 percent of the performance plan for manager level and above is based on measuring sustainability progress. “It isn’t about me and my team delivering this, this is about working across the supply chain, it’s about R&D, thinking about innovation, it’s about marketing and really making sure that it is spread the right way across the business.”
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