Five Key Takeaways
Bloomberg Green Festival, Day 4
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 4 speakers included the following:
- Christian Ulbrich, President and Global Chief Executive Officer, JLL
- Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund
- Jamie M. Gentoso, Chief Executive Officer, US Cement
- Dr. Urs Bitterling, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Allianz SE
- David Cox, Head of Practice Incubation, Microsoft
- Truman Semans, CEO, OS-Climate
- Dr. Ana Pinheiro Privette, Senior Program Manager, Amazon
- Richard Batten, Global Chief Sustainability Officer, JLL
- Cynthia Curtis, Senior Vice President, Sustainability Stakeholder Engagement, JLL
- Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council
- Paul Simpson, CEO, CDP
- Jessica O. Matthews, Founder & CEO, Uncharted Power
- Gregor Robertson, Global Ambassador, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy
- Mayor Jan Vapaavuori, Helsinki
- Amanda Eichel, Executive Director, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy
- RJ Scaringe, Founder & CEO, Rivian
- JB Straubel, Co-Founder & CEO, Redwood Materials
- Ross Rachey, Director, Global Last Mile Fleet and Products, Amazon
- Matt Peterson, Director, Corporate Development, Amazon
- Rob Niven, Founder & CEO, CarbonCure Technologies
- Diego Saez Gil, Founder & CEO, Pachama
- Ryan Morris, Executive Chairman, Turntide Technologies
- Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Gary White, CEO and Co-Founder, Water.org and WaterEquity
- Jennifer Schorsch, President, Water.org
- Peter ter Kulve, President Home Care, Unilever
Bloomberg moderators included:
- Nat Bullard, Chief Content Officer, BloombergNEF
- Nicole Flatow, Editor, City Lab
- Adam Freed, Principal, Bloomberg Associates
- Caroline Hyde, Anchor, Bloomberg Television
- Jason Kelly, Co-Anchor, Bloomberg Businessweek
- Lauren Milian, Reporter, Bloomberg Green
- Eric Roston, Reporter, Bloomberg Green
- Erik Schatzker, Editor-at-Large, Bloomberg Television
Five Key Takeaways from Day 4
The penultimate day of the inaugural Bloomberg Green Festival got underway with a discussion on the business case for climate action. One industry that creates an enormous amount of carbon is the concrete business. Jamie M. Gentoso, Chief Executive Officer, US Cement, stressed that her company and its customers are serious about the need to reduce their carbon footprint. But carbon capture technology is costly — US Cement is looking at installing the technology at one of its U.S. plants at an approximate cost of $300 million — and Gentoso said long-term government policy would make it easier for the company to make such investments.
Gentoso is part of the CEO Climate Dialogue, a group of 21 companies with more than $1 trillion in combined annual revenue that is pressing the U.S. Congress and the White House to adopt enduring, bipartisan climate policy with a market-based approach. Such a comprehensive approach also will ensure U.S. economic competitiveness, she said. Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund, agreed. “We’re in a transition from the economy we’ve had to the economy of the new century which is going to be a cleaner economy,” he said. Those countries that take the lead in developing “rules” that give industries and business certainty and help them make the transition will be the economies that ultimately win.
The Green Festival then took up the critical role cities — according to C40, cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70 percent of global CO2 emissions — can play in moving towards carbon neutrality. The number of cities that have set net-zero carbon goals is growing, said Paul Simpson, CEO, CDP, which operates a global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts. In many cases, cities — Simpson cited Los Angeles and Seattle for the progress they have made — have set more ambitious targets than national governments. The U.S. has more cities that have set such goals than any other country, followed by Sweden and the U.K. “Every single action we take in Helsinki is also a climate action,” said Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor, Helsinki, which means that a “comprehensive” and “holistic” approach is needed to find balance between all the stakeholders.
Amazon (a Founding Partner of the Bloomberg Green Festival) announced the first five investments from its Climate Pledge Fund, a $2 billion program backing sustainable technologies and services that will help it and other companies to meet a commitment to be net-zero carbon by 2040. They included Redwood Materials, Rivian, Pachama, Turntide and CarbonCure– whose top leadership all spoke exclusively to Bloomberg today. JB Straubel, Co-Founder & CEO, Redwood Materials, said the funding, “helps us scale, and advance the technology including around recycling.” Straubel is a former Tesla executive whose company captures metals and components from used electric-vehicle batteries for future use. Once these batteries reach scale, the trick is to maintain cutting-edge technology, he said. Electric vehicle maker Rivian is working directly with Amazon, and RJ Scaringe, Founder and CEO, Rivian, said the latest investment will help it, “deliver three different products next year including a truck, an SUV, and at the end of the year deliveries of our Amazon vehicle.” Matt Peterson, Director, Corporate Development, Amazon, said there are more investments to be made and the fund is focused on the areas of recycling, aviation, and much more.
Headlining the afternoon of the Bloomberg Green Festival was a conversation with Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates told Bloomberg Television’s Erik Schatzker that fighting climate change is going to be more difficult than fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. “The pandemic illustrates that the government didn’t look out for us despite the warnings that were out there. Climate fits that same paradigm,” he said. “Sadly, the problem gets worse and worse, and there isn’t a solution like a vaccine where you can spend tens of billions of dollars and bring it to a close.” On the topic of politics, the Microsoft co-founder would not go so far as to endorse any U.S. Presidential candidate, but he did comment on the consequences of voter’s growing distrust in science surrounding both the pandemic and climate change. “We should pick somebody who believes in experts and can admit mistakes and is willing to come up with a long-term plan,” he said.
We closed out the day with a conversation on climate and the international water crisis. Jennifer Schorsch, President, Water.org said a third of the world’s population lives in water-stressed areas. Schorsch stressed to Bloomberg’s Jason Kelly that, “we have to address stewardship, quality, health, and accessibility of safe water and sanitation.” Gary White, CEO and Co-Founder, Water.org and WaterEquity, spoke about how capital markets can now meet those needs and get involved through social impact investing. “We saw this incredible demand, an $8-billion demand, bubbling from the bottom up,“ White said. WaterEquity’s funds invest in a portfolio of water and sanitation enterprises to increase the availability of capital needed to support loans.
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