Bloomberg Green Solutions Summit: Setting and Achieving Bold Climate Commitments
Making public commitments is a key tool in the collective battle against climate change. But how do you select the best commitment for your organization, your country or yourself? And once the goal is set, how do you finance it, develop the innovations needed to achieve it and track your progress? At the Green Year-End Solutions Summit, we convened a highly curated audience for deeper dialogues on the challenges and opportunities that arise when embarking on a climate pledge.
- Alexandra Basirov, Global Head of Sustainable Finance for Financial Institutions, BNP Paribas
- Richard Batten, Global Chief Sustainability Officer, JLL
- Edgar E. Blanco, Ph.D., Director, Worldwide Net Zero Carbon Team, Amazon
- Jonathan Cole, Managing Director, Iberdrola Renewables Offshore Wind Division
- Ellen Jackowski, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer, HP Inc.
- Gina McCarthy, President & CEO, NRDC
- Jason Mitchell, Co-Head of Responsible Investment, Man Group
- The Honorable Bill Ritter, Former Governor, Colorado
- Akash Shah, Senior Executive Vice President, Head of Strategy and Global Client Management, BNY Mellon
- Congresswoman Haley Stevens (MI-11), U.S. House of Representatives
- Martin J. Walsh, Mayor, City of Boston
Below are some highlights from the event.
Click here to access videos of all the sessions.
On the role that finance plays in achieving climate commitments:
- When speaking about how to move the needle forward on climate commitments, Jason Mitchell, Co-Head of Responsible Investment at Man Group, said, “Focus on the data and applying that within risk models. Particularly, larger general asset allocation models, where even now you find that climate risk, as a fact, really doesn’t formally appear.”
- Alexandra Basirov, Global Head of Sustainable Finance for Financial Institutions for BNP Paribas, commented on the importance of frameworks and standardization. “We’ve seen recent reports coming out that companies that are making ESG-focused alignment towards SASB actually realize a 4.8% bump in annual outperformance while those firms that don’t actually realize a 2.2% penalty.
- Akash Shah, Senior Executive Vice President, Head of Strategy and Global Client Management for BNY Mellon, echoed the sentiments of Basirov and Mitchell, adding that once we have the data and standardize how it is reported, the next step is to distinguish which factors to consider. “I think that is gonna be the central question and role for financial services companies like all of us here, is helping educate our clients on what factors and attributes really matter to them. How do they fit into a broader context and framework, and how can they make actions and the types of investment decisions that they want to make?”
On the role that government plays in achieving climate commitments:
- When speaking about how Biden can get the EPA back on track, Gina McCarthy, President & CEO of NRDC, said, “President-elect Biden has really developed the most aggressive climate plan that we have ever seen for a president coming into office. Every single thing in there is good for us, good for the planet, will help public health and help restore the kind of mission of EPA. But in terms of EPA itself, it’s time to get our Anthony Fauci of the environment as our administrator. We need to be done with dismantling the science and ignoring it. It is all about going back to fact-based decisions, making science-based decisions.”
- On the role of states, The Honorable Bill Ritter, Former Governor, Colorado, said that “states have really taken the lead, particularly over the last four years. In 2019 we saw several states actually set emissions targets. There are 25 states that are part of the United States Climate Alliance, where the governors have signed on. That’s half of the states and they cover a significant portion of the population. And so I think what you’ll see are states hoping for this willing partner at the federal government, so that we can work together as federalism was intended to do in trying to tackle this very big problem in a way that’s 180 degrees different than the Trump administration of the last four years.”
- Congresswoman Haley Stevens (MI-11), U.S. House of Representatives, echoed Ritter’s remarks, saying, “We obviously know we need to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. The House of Representatives voted on that last year. And this is something that I think we have to have a reckoning around. Around functional, good government that is actually at the table.”
- Martin J. Walsh, Mayor, City of Boston, added that he “thinks it’s imperative at this point in time that our recovery from Covid-19 be equitable. And I think it’s gonna include public health, public safety, racial justice and a healthy environment. So now it’s time to, as an organization, whether it’s Climate Mayors or mayors individually around the country, to really have an administration that we want to move forward on our plans. Climate change is real, and the impact is the biggest threat to human beings in this world. So I am excited about what the future holds, but that excitement can only last for a short period of time. There is lots of work that we need to do.”
On the role that companies play in setting and achieving climate commitments:
- Edgar E. Blanco, Ph.D., Director of the Worldwide Net Zero Carbon Team. Amazon, emphasized the importance of partnerships across all industries. “We all want to achieve these goals and we cannot do it alone. The Climate Pledge includes 31 signatories of all kinds of organizations. Now we have Unilever, Verizon, Siemens, Microsoft, Best Buy, Uber, Infosys, Henkel and others, many other great companies that are stepping up to the challenge. And in the Climate Pledge, we’re very excited and proud of all the companies that have stepped up and signed to the challenge.”
- Richard Batten, Global Chief Sustainability Officer, JLL, also discussed the importance of collaboration. “Our clients make up 95% of our footprint, where we’re managing property on their behalf. So working with our clients it’s just great for us. We need to change behaviors. And the best way of changing behaviors is actually to prove the benefits of doing so. And if we’re reducing the energy intake, then it’s actually saving money. We need to look for that going forward. It’s a great way for us, as a service company, to have those discussions with our clients.”
- Jonathan Cole, Managing Director, Iberdrola Renewables Offshore Wind Division, discussed the importance of scaling technologies and innovation. “Your electrification and decarbonization plan only works if you can get the price of electricity down to a point which makes sense, and thankfully that’s what we’ve managed to do. Because of that scaling-up, because of that technology advancement, renewable energy is now the cheapest way to produce electricity. I think it’s been a really important contributor to the whole climate movement, is this scaling-up and innovating on renewable energy technology and showing an affordable pathway to decarbonization.”
- Ellen Jackowski, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer, HP Inc., shared her thoughts on goals for the future. “While setting big goals is clearly important and this decade 2021 to 2030 is being termed the decisive decade, the UN decade of ecosystem restoration. We understand the urgency, but for us it really is about action. So living into those commitments, turning out results, inspiring others across our industry, across other industries and working together to collaborate. Break down those barriers and make big things happen, make big change happen. So we’ve got a whole host of commitments and actions that we’re delivering every day. Things around the forest programs that I mentioned, our ocean-bound plastic programs, delivering towards a circular economy. Lots of work to do and we’re gonna continue to take action.”
- Amazon, HP Inc., JLL and Iberdrola are all our Bloomberg Green Solutions Summit Founding Partners.
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