Sustainable Business Summit Global – July 13 – Day 1
By Bloomberg Live
At this event, we focused on three themes:
The Road to Net Zero: From net-zero carbon commitments and clean energy procurement to sustainable supply chains and the path to a circular economy, we examine how companies and investors are taking climate action.
The Financial Case for Sustainability: Executives shared inventive ways that investing in sustainability has helped them maximize purpose and profits.
The “S” in ESG: We brainstormed solutions for managing an ethical, diverse and inclusive workforce, discussed how to invest in the values that matter for your company, and how to turn those values into measurable goals and action.
Below are some highlights.
Click here to view video of today’s event.
- Melanie Adams, VP & Head, Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment, RBC Global Asset Management
- Ezgi Barcenas, Chief Sustainability Officer, AB InBev
- Olivier Blum, Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer, Schneider Electric
- Brandon Dennison, Founder & CEO, Coalfield Development
- Suzanne DiBianca, Chief Impact Officer & EVP, Corporate Relations, Salesforce
- Audrey Choi, CEO, Institute for Sustainable Investing & Chief Sustainability Officer, Morgan Stanley
- Matt Christensen, Managing Director, Global Head Sustainable & Impact Investing, Allianz Global Investors
- Brian DiMarino, Head of Operational Sustainability, JPMorgan Chase
- Hervé P. Duteil, Chief Sustainability Officer, Americas, BNP Paribas
- Ed Farrington, EVP, Institutional and Retirement, Natixis Investment Managers
- Dilbagh Gill, CEO & Team Principal, Mahindra Racing
- Kelley Kizzier, Vice President for Global Climate, EDF
- Jules Kortenhorst, CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute
- Bernard Looney, CEO, BP
- Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever
- Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor, The White House
- Julia Pallé, Sustainability Director, Formula E
- Lindsay Patrick, Managing Director and Head of Strategic Initiatives & ESG, RBC Capital Markets
- Dickon J. Pinner, Senior Partner, Global Leader Sustainability Practice, McKinsey
- Lees Rodionov, Director, Sustainability, Schlumberger
- Jimmy Samartzis, CEO & Board Director, LanzaJet
- Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder & Executive Editor, WE ACT for Environmental Justice
- Valerie Smith, Chief Sustainability Officer, Managing Director, Citi
- Theodor Swedjemark, Chief Communications & Sustainability Officer, ABB
- Fernando Tennenbaum, Chief Financial Officer, AB InBev
- Makoto Uchida, Director, Representative Executive Officer, President & CEO, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
- Harald Walkate, Head of ESG, Natixis Investment Managers
- Jim Whitehurst, Senior Advisor, IBM
The Bloomberg team included:
- Haslinda Amin, Anchor, Bloomberg TV
- Lee Ballin, Head of Business Development, Sustainability, BloombergNEF
- Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Energy & Environment Reporter, Bloomberg News
- Jillian Goodman, Editor, Bloomberg Green
- Katie Greifeld, Reporter, Bloomberg News and Anchor, Bloomberg QuickTake
- Kyle Harrison, Head of Sustainability Research, BloombergNEF
- Leslie Kaufman, Reporter, Bloomberg Green
- Jason Kelly, Chief Correspondent, Bloomberg QuickTake
- Lauren Kiel, General Manager, Bloomberg Green
- Francine Lacqua, Editor-At-Large & Anchor, Bloomberg TV
- Carol Massar, Anchor, Bloomberg Businessweek TV and Radio
- Claire O’Neill, Managing Director, Climate & Energy, WBCSD
- Alix Steel, Anchor, Bloomberg TV
Day 1, Block 1
- The summit opened with Bernard Looney, CEO of BP, in conversation with Bloomberg Television’s Alix Steel. In a wide-ranging interview, Looney shared that going green “is not a light switch, it’s not a flip overnight, this is a transition.” On balancing revenue with green ambitions, Looney sees BP achieving both, saying, “this is a company that is going to grow seven to nine percent per share in EBITDA terms and be part of the green transition.” Looney acknowledged that there are people who say that BP should do more, but for a company of BP’s size and scale, he feels “good about where we are at in a strategic sense.” Longer term, Looney sees BP spending more money on low carbon projects compared to oil and gas projects before 2030. Looney finished by highlighting that decarbonizing and de-risking BP is how he will meet his dual responsibilities to society and shareholders.
- In a panel discussion with Kyle Harrison, BloombergNEF’s Head of Sustainability Research, Jim Whitehurst, Senior Advisor, IBM, and Olivier Blum, Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer, Schneider Electric, shared that in addition to 2050 goals, effective corporate sustainability commitments must include short-term climate goals to keep current senior management engaged and accountable.
- In a conversation with Bloomberg’s Energy & Environment Reporter Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Gina McCarthy, National Climate Advisor, The White House, said her main role is empowering the private sector to embark on a new, greener investment path: “Government is great, but government wasn’t intended to do it all. How do we show the private sector where money can be made?” McCarthy shared that the Biden administration’s green push has much broader aims: “We are here to fundamentally reinvigorate the economy that is going to make sense from an environment perspective, from a people perspective, from a jobs perspective…We want to win the future. We want to grab back the supply chains and bounce out of this pandemic into a 21st century winning economy.”
- In conversation with Lauren Kiel, General Manager, Bloomberg Green, Ed Farrington, EVP, Institutional and Retirement, Natixis Investment Managers, and Harald Walkate, Head of ESG, Natixis Investment Managers, addressed the subject of “greenwashing.” With the emergence of so many sustainability themed asset products, and to ensure investors can trust that their sustainable decisions will have sustainable outcomes, regulators around the world are moving to ensure that sustainable labels are truthful and driven by metrics. (Natixis Investment Managers is a Sustainable Business Summit Global Advisor and a sponsor of this event.)
- Next was a conversation between Bloomberg Television’s Francine Lacqua, Matt Christensen, Managing Director, Global Head Sustainable & Impact Investing, Allianz Global Investors, and Hervé P. Duteil, Chief Sustainability Officer, Americas, BNP Paribas. Duteil urged companies that had not yet made a net zero commitment to “wake up” and said we don’t have time for companies to do the maths to ensure a perfect net zero declaration. On the mobilization of capital, Christensen shared that currently it’s not enough and that we need a J-curve scenario to occur. However, Christensen sees progress being made with the overall conversation around capital. Previously, conversations were around returns. Today’s conversations are more around impact.
Day 1, Block 2
- We kicked off this session with a conversation between Makoto Uchida, Director, Representative Executive Officer, President & CEO, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and Bloomberg’s Haslinda Amin. They spoke about Nissan’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality across the company’s operations and the life cycle of its products by 2050. Speaking about the company’s future focus on electric vehicles, Uchida said, “battery technology is very important. He went on to say that “the key will be energy testing, efficiency and cost competitiveness. So Nissan continues to work on battery innovation,” adding that Nissan is working on developing cobalt-free batteries.
- Speaking about her company’s climate strategy, Lees Rodionov, Director, Sustainability, Schlumberger, told Lauren Kiel, General Manager, Bloomberg Green, that it is built around three pillars. “The first one is getting to Net Zero by 2050. The second is expanding and growing our business outside of oil and gas and then the third is really, managing the risk that both climate change and energy transition represent,” she said. While oil and gas will be a core part of the business for a while, Rodionov said the company launched a business called Schlumberger New Energy in early 2020 which focuses on the opportunity this new energy transition represents for Schlumberger. (Schlumberger is a Sustainable Business Summit Advisor and a sponsor of this event.)
- The next session tackled the aviation industry and its stubborn carbon footprint. Responding to a question about the biggest challenge to the industry, Kelley Kizzier, Vice President for Global Climate, EDF, said it is the price differential between sustainable aviation fuel and traditional fuel. “We really need to see the production of SAV, sustainable aviation fuel, at scale to close that gap,” she said. To lower the cost of SAV, Kizzier said we need to work on both the demand and supply side. We need regulatory measures, we need to establish certain criteria so that the SAV produced is of the highest quality, she said, “so that the story of SAV is not a story of unintended consequences as it has been with some alternate fuels in the past.”
- As the pandemic shows signs of easing in certain parts of the world, commercial aviation travel is picking up, said Brian DiMarino, Head of Operational Sustainability, JPMorgan Chase. The bank has partnered with EDF to support a greener way of flying. “We are going to get back on planes and travel. There’s a reason for that. Our business is based on relationships and we know the best relationships are built in person,” DiMarino said, adding, “We want to fly in the best way possible. We want to reduce our net zero carbon footprint from our business travel.”
- Jimmy Samartzis, CEO & Board Director, LanzaJet, which produces renewable fuels, emphasized the importance of SAV as a way to reduce the carbon footprint of the aviation industry. “The only solution available today and for the next 15 to 20 years is SAV,” Samartzis said. While hydrogen and electric aircraft are long term solutions, they have constraints, he said. “Think about changes to aircraft that will be required to operate those systems, think about the infrastructure at airports and the transport of hydrogen to airports,” Samartzis said. “Those are significant investments that will impact infrastructure and aircraft over the long term.”
- In the next session Claire O’Neill, Managing Director, Climate & Energy, WBCSD, focused on increasing transparency of supply chain emissions and on the importance of measuring Scope 3 emissions in particular. Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions by assets not owned or controlled directly by a particular company but are a part of its value chain.
- Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever, spoke about the challenge of measuring such emissions. “Very obviously, very complicated supply chains with multiple actors makes it very difficult to track Scope 3 emissions upstream and downstream,” she said. “And now as we shift into a circular economy, there are many, many variables at all those different points along the value chain. So I think the lack of data and business systems needed to communicate info has been really really challenging.”
- Dickon J. Pinner, Senior Partner, Global Leader Sustainability Practice, McKinsey, said increasing transparency in supply chains is “tremendously important” to McKinsey’s clients, across industries. “When it gets in the hands of CFO’s, it will define where capital gets allocated. It will define how products get developed. It will define how suppliers get chosen,” he said, adding that this requires incredible collaboration across supply chains “whether you are in a car supply chain or a consumer supply chain.”
- Jules Kortenhorst, CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute, said measuring Scope 3 emissions is a “top priority.” “Scope 3 is not something nice for some bureaucrat somewhere who has come up with yet another reporting requirement. It is something critically important for managers that want to drive the effectiveness, the cost effectiveness also, across their own supply chains and if you don’t get your hands around Scope 3 emissions and the cost associated with that, you can’t manage your business,” Kortenhorst said.
- Immediately following the Formula E ABB New York City E-Prixe, Jason Kelly, Chief Correspondent, Bloomberg QuickTake spoke with top executives involved about how they are advancing the transition to electric vehicles, one race at a time.
- Julia Pallé, Sustainability Director, Formula E, said the point of Formula E is to promote electric vehicles. “Motor sport is a classic platform to advance technology and in this case electric vehicle technology but quite innovatively,” Palle said. She added that she hopes Formula E, which is fun and exciting, can change the perception of electric cars. The goal is to reach out to new audiences and new generations, she said, particularly because “Gen Z is very focused on the sustainability angle.”
- Adding to what Palle said, Dilbagh Gill, CEO & Team Principal, Mahindra Racing, said Formula E has opened up the sport to a wider demographic.” He said, earlier, the cliche was that motor sport was popular with older males. “We’ve opened it up to the whole family. We have children coming down there!” Speaking about the growing success of Formula E, he said, at the end of the day, it’s a motor sport. “We are here to compete.” At the same time, it is unlike traditional motor racing. “We’ve gone ahead and broken every norm in sport. We’ve gone towards newer technologies and adopted it at a much faster pace than people expected us to adopt it,” he said.
- Responding to a question about how quickly we will have the infrastructure required to charge the world, Theodor Swedjemark, Chief Communications & Sustainability Officer, ABB, said, “I think it can be relatively quick. The key point here is to make it fully sustainable, we need to use renewable energy as the source of power behind the cars.” He went on to say that, “creating excitement among the people will push this forward which will also drive investment into the infrastructure which is needed.”
Day 1, Block 3
Bloomberg Green editor Jillian Goodman kicked off the final block of the day with a conversation focused on the social justice issues surrounding the transition to a zero carbon greenhouse gas global economy. As the world transitions to a more climate-friendly future, it is more important to make sure large swaths of the workforce are not left behind as extractive and fossil-fuel intensive industries are wound down.
Brandon Dennison, Founder & CEO, Coalfield Development, whose organization provides job training and support for workers in the coal industry to participate in a greener economy, said that coal has played an integral part in modern development and these workers already possess many of the skills that will be needed in a greener industrial economy. “Most anybody who’s turned on a light switch was able to do that because of coal,” he said. “You don’t have steel without coal, much of that mined right here in Appalachia. So for me, it’s not just about helping people to survive…but really putting these communities in the lead and making sure that people and communities are whole.”
Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder & Executive Editor, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said that a just transition is not just about making sure workers are not left behind but that transition strategies work for all communities. A just transition “really needs to be a transformative economic development strategy that works for all communities, and diverse workers,” she said. “And to make this transition just we need to ensure that workers in the fossil fuel industry are retrained for a pipeline to clean energy jobs that are family sustaining, and that communities of color are prioritized for renewable energy projects.”
Suzanne DiBianca, Chief Impact Officer & EVP, Corporate Relations, Salesforce, said she was struck by the parallels between the tech and climate worlds, and that any meaningful just transition has to avoid the diversity pitfalls that have plagued tech. “I’m not seeing really a tapestry of people working on these issues in a way that I think needs to be there,” she said. “So we’ve been working with the World Economic Forum on a program called Uplink and really focusing on eco-printers, we’re seeing this rise of eco-printers, but we’re really focused on underrepresented minorities, young people, and making sure that the people working on these issues actually represent the society that we live in and that will be impacted.”
In the next session, Lindsay Patrick, Managing Director and Head of Strategic Initiatives & ESG, RBC Capital Markets, told Lee Ballin, Head of Business Development, Sustainability, BloombergNEF, that integrating ESG and sustainable finance solutions holistically across businesses is core to the bank’s commitment to their clients and is also the biggest role financial institutions can play. “We don’t have a significant carbon footprint, but we do have a significant impact through the financing and access to markets we provide to our clients, and therefore we continue to be set up to deliver on this holistic, strategic approach to ESG,” she said.
Melanie Adams, VP & Head, Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment, RBC Global Asset Management, said that there is really no longer a world where investors can separate out ESG and sustainability factors from their growth and risk strategies. “We believe that integrating ESG factors as part of the investment process can help enhance long-term portfolio returns and because this is our philosophy, all of our investment teams globally integrate material ESG factors into their processes,” she said. (RBC is a Sustainable Business Summit Advisor and a sponsor of this event.)
Speaking to Katie Greifeld, Reporter, Bloomberg News and Anchor, Bloomberg QuickTake, in the next session about the next wave of sustainable finance, Audrey Choi, CEO, Institute for Sustainable Investing & Chief Sustainability Officer, Morgan Stanley, said that she has seen an acceleration of interest in sustainable investing, particularly when it comes to understanding the S in ESG as connections among the environmental, social and governance issues were made stark over the course of the last year. “One of the first…bonds that we did that helped reopen the Italian debt market in April 2020 was the first-ever COVID-response bond of a billion euros, and then of course a billion dollars for Pfizer later, and a billion dollars for the Ford Foundation to respond to racial issues as well as COVID issues,” she said. “We’ve seen that just continue to accelerate a real interest in all sustainable investing, in the ‘S’ in particular, and in understanding the integration of the three.”
Valerie Smith, Chief Sustainability Officer, Managing Director, Citi, added that the multiple crises of public health, climate, and racial equity presented a daunting challenge but she and others in the ESG community soon realized that the interconnectedness among these issues is actually helping underscore for the bank’s clients the need for thinking about sustainable financing in a more holistic way. “We see the connections between climate change and human health and justice, and in fact started to see…our clients respond from a financing perspective in terms of, well, not just green bonds and not just social bonds, but how do we integrate these into sustainable bonds?” she said. “How are we thinking about climate change as a human issue and not [just] an environmental issue. So I think…contrary to many expectations, the human health crisis of COVID actually has led to…a real acceleration of ESG and an understanding that these themes are really connected.”
In the next session, Ezgi Barcenas, Chief Sustainability Officer, AB InBev, and Fernando Tennenbaum, Chief Financial Officer, AB InBev spoke with Carol Massar, Anchor, Bloomberg Businessweek TV and Radio, about the market outlook and what it means in terms of the company’s sustainability efforts.
Tennenbaum said that sustainability is in the company’s “DNA” and that their $10.1 billion debt facility deal, the largest-ever sustainability linked loan, was a big step in the right direction though there is still room to improve. “We definitely feel that now we have momentum and…given our size and our scale, we need to be on the forefront of these initiatives,” he said.
“Sustainability is the ultimate design brief,” Barcenas added. “So that’s how we design our business, you know. These, for us, are really good operating practices and just to create that resilience across our business. So, it was really a no-brainer to think about, you know, here are the KPIs that we track and monitor over time, why not really reinforce that message internally and externally as well? I really am encouraged as a sustainability professional to see how the pandemic has accentuated the materiality of ESG and I think this is just the beginning and really will allow the companies to put on a long-term hat and really think about resilience into the future.”
Finally, Jin Liqun, President and Chair, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, spoke with Haslinda Amin, Anchor, Bloomberg TV, and said despite progress being made at the international level to mitigate the global effects of climate change, much remains to be done especially in light of the pandemic. “In my view, climate change mitigation, adaptation, and growth are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they are mutually enhancing based on very good policies,” he said. “So, at this moment, it is very much important to ramp up efforts to contain the pandemic which is still raging with the new variants. But with the vaccines rolling out, I think probably before the end of this year or early next year we can basically bring the pandemic under control, and the next issue is how to sustain economic recovery from the pandemic.”
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