Five Key Takeaways
Bloomberg Green Festival, Day 2
By Chelsea Hoon & Mark MIller, Bloomberg Live
The Bloomberg Green Festival is a true thought leadership experience operating at the crossroads of sustainability, culture, food, technology, science, politics and entertainment. Built to foster solutions-oriented conversations, the five-day festival features a mix of panels, presentations, fireside chats, and interactive elements. Focused on core issues of climate action, the Green Festival is a celebration of the thinkers, scientists and practitioners leading the way in the climate era.
Day 2 speakers included the following:
- Jeffrey Ubben, Co-founder, Inclusive Capital Partners
- Frans van Houten, CEO, Philips
- Carter Roberts, President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund
- Topher White, Founder & CEO, Rainforest Connection
- Corey Brinkema, President, Forest Stewardship Council U.S.
- Sophie Beckham, Chief Sustainability Officer, International Paper Company
- Lynn Scarlett, Chief External Affairs Officer, The Nature Conservancy
- Jigar Shah, President and Co-founder, Generate Capital
- Nico Rosberg, Sustainability Entrepreneur and Co-founder, Greentech Festival
- Steve Varley, Global Vice-Chair, Sustainability, EY
- Diego Díaz, Head of New Ventures, Iberdrola
- Lisa Jacobson, President, Business Council for Sustainable Energy
- Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group
- Luiza Demoro, Power Transition Trends Lead Author and Global Climatescope Project Manager, BloombergNEF
- Ignacio S. Galán, Chairman and CEO, Iberdrola
Bloomberg moderators included:
- Ed Hammond, Senior Deals Reporter, Bloomberg
- Anna Edwards, Co-anchor, Bloomberg Daybreak Europe, Bloomberg Television
- Adam Majendie, Senior Editor, Bloomberg
- Leslie Kaufman, Reporter, Bloomberg Green
- Carol Massar, Co-anchor Bloomberg Businessweek, Bloomberg Television and Radio
- Ethan Zindler, Head of Americas, BloombergNEF
- Annmarie Hordern, Journalist, Bloomberg Television and Radio
Five Key Takeaways from Day 2
The Bloomberg Green Festival began its second day with a focus on the business case for climate change. On that topic, Bloomberg Deals Reporter Ed Hammond spoke with activist investor Jeffrey Ubben, Co-founder, Inclusive Capital Partners. Ubben outlined a recent shift in his investment approach, categorizing himself as one of the only “environmental and social activist, return-driven investors.” He says at his new firm Inclusive Capital, “we’re trying to change the system, we’re not trying to build an asset management business.” Ubben is known for his constructive approach in engaging with companies at the board level, of which he’s been on 15 across his career. “For 20 years, the health of the planet has never come up in any board meeting I’ve been in,” he said. Ubben added now it’s about convincing executives to “go find the long-term shareholders who want to want to invest in companies that are fixing the problem.”
Frans van Houten, CEO, Philips, said that by investing in ESG goals his company is able to attract talent that is “amazing.” “We’re seeing a generation of people who are much more aware of what is happening around them in the world,” van Houten said. “This is a very positive development and we are early in being part of this transformation and it has paid us dividends.”
The effects of climate change are happening all around us, and when it comes to the state of our forests, Carter Roberts, President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund, said that is no more evident than by looking at pictures coming out of California where wildfires are ravaging the region. Carter said, “we’re seeing forests declining, particularly in the tropics at a rate of 20 soccer fields a minute.” While climate change is part of the equation, he said there are ways consumers and companies can influence governments to prevent further erosion. “People can choose what they eat and choose what they buy. People can also choose to elect politicians. People are powerful in this equation,” he said. When it comes to making our forests more sustainable, Sophie Beckham, Chief Sustainability Officer, International Paper Co. said “more transparency in supply chains is a key part.” Beckman said, “If you don’t know where your wood is coming from, you can’t do anything about your supply chain” and ensure supplies are coming from land with good forest management. She pointed to one big shift in recent years which is more partnership between the forest-product industry and environment-focused NGOs and other groups.
Bloomberg Live polled its global audience to ask “what role does the well-being of the planet play in your consumer habits?” Slightly more than 75 percent answered “whenever possible” (and another 18 percent answered “with every decision I make.”). Jigar Shaw, President and Co-founder of Generate Capital, said that, “It wasn’t really that easy to live a plastics-free lifestyle 10 years ago, but today it is.” Investors are taking note of this shift in consumer behavior. “It’s unbelievable what a hype there is now growing in this space and that’s fantastic to see,” says Nico Rosberg, a former Formula 1 world champion and now an active investor in green technologies, particularly in the mobility sector. Critical to growing the green tech economy is the need to create jobs. Lisa Jacobson, President, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, said that although green energy jobs have taken a hit during the pandemic, there are signs of hope. “There are tremendous opportunities to bring in new workers into the professional clean energy space,” she said.
We closed out today’s Bloomberg Green Festival sessions with a chief executive that says green is good for business. Jesper Brodin, CEO, Ingka Group whose core brands include IKEA Retail, said on the topic of climate, “it’s time for the world to come together and time for leadership.” The company’s sustainability goals include a €2.5 billion investment in wind and solar, and it has set a goal to be climate positive by 2030. Brodin told Bloomberg’s Carol Massar that sustainability is top of mind for company executives, but also its global customers. “Consumers can have an impact by deciding which brands they buy from—they hold the power. Especially the younger generation, they are very picky and they do their research,” he said.
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