Key Takeaways from Bloomberg Green Festival: Day 1

Five Key Takeaways

Bloomberg Green Festival, Day 1

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.

Click here to view video of today’s event.

Day 1 speakers included the following:

  • Matt Damon, Co-Founder, and WaterEquity
  • Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg LP and Philanthropies & Co-Chair, America’s Pledge
  • Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • Jerry Brown, Former Governor of California & Co-Chair, America’s Pledge
  • Gina Raimondo, Governor, Rhode Island
  • Vi Lyles, Mayor, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Fawn Sharp, President, National Congress of American Indians
  • Melvin Carter, Mayor, Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Eric Garcetti, Mayor, Los Angeles, California
  • Matthias Petschke, Director for Space at the European Commission, Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DEFIS)
  • Carlo Buontempo, Director, Copernicus Climate Change Service, ECMWF
  • Mark Lewis, Global Head of Sustainability Research, BNP Paribas Asset Management
  • Niels Strange Peulicke-Andersen, Head of ESG Accounting, Ørsted
  • Rebecca Moore, Director, Geospatial Initiatives, Google
  • Ted Danson, Award Winning Actor and Environmentalist 
  • Ellen Jackowski, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer, HP Inc.
  • Dune Ives, Executive Director, Lonely Whale 
  • Janis Searles Jones, CEO, Ocean Conservancy 
  • John Burke, CEO, Trek Bicycle
  • Enrique Lores, CEO, HP Inc.
  • Mark Machin, President & CEO, CPP Investments
  • Christopher J. Ailman, Chief Investment Officer California State Teachers’ Retirement System

Bloomberg moderators included:

  • Sonali Basak, Financial Correspondent, Bloomberg
  • Emily Chang, Anchor, Bloomberg Television
  • John Fraher, Senior Executive Editor, Bloomberg
  • Eric Roston, Reporter, Bloomberg Green
  • Jess Shankleman, Reporter, Bloomberg Green
  • Antha Williams, Head of Environmental Programs, Bloomberg Philanthropies

Five Key Takeaways from Day 1:

The Bloomberg Green Festival launched today with a call to action from actor and co-founder of and WaterEquity Matt Damon. “Extreme weather is not a matter of science fiction anymore. Climate change is an existential threat to the planet and humanity,” Damon said. “We don’t have the luxury of ignoring it if we want to build a better future.” Climate change must be tackled even amid a global pandemic, several refugee crises and extreme poverty, and “it is possible to make progress,” he said. To that end, Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg LP and Philanthropies & Co-Chair, America’s Pledge, announced the release of a new America’s Pledge report that shows that, despite the pandemic and political divisions, U.S. cities are transitioning to clean energy faster than ever before.

 The Covid-19 pandemic is a wake-up call for oil investors. “We might be seeing the peak in global oil demand,” said Mark Lewis, global head of sustainability research at BNP Paribas SA, France’s biggest bank. “The fact that aviation has taken such a big hit is a major problem for the oil industry because that’s been the major driver of oil demand growth.” Aviation demand for fuel has grown at more than double the rate of total oil demand for the past 50 years, Lewis said. Oil demand may contract by 8 million barrels a day this year as a consequence of the coronavirus lockdowns that have resulted in flights plummeting. “This is by a long way the most significant drop in oil demand — it will accelerate the energy transition,” he said.

Covid-19 has given the world the opportunity to hit pause and think more about sustainability while standing still — which was no more evident than in the satellite images of Earth which revealed a drastic reduction in the levels of pollution, particularly in the early months of the pandemic shutdown. Rebecca Moore, Director, Geospatial Initiatives, Google, said it’s now about, “turning those pixels into knowledge and cities can be the center of action for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” The company today announced a series of sustainability goals which Moore said includes “pledging to help more than 500 cities reduce a gigaton of carbon emissions by 2030.” In a blog post Monday, the tech giant updated its climate pledge saying every unit of electricity it consumes will be 100 percent carbon-free by 2030.

The global pandemic is overwhelming the plastic recycling industry, with the amount of plastic waste increasing dramatically and small businesses that specialized in collecting and recycling struggling from the economic impact of the coronavirus. Since the virus started spreading, the world has used 129 billion single-use face masks and 65 billion plastic gloves every month, said Dune Ives, managing director at Lonely Whale. “In general, only 9 percent of plastic ever produced has been recycled.” And plastics and carbon issues are inextricably linked. “If plastics production continues on a business-as-usual trajectory, plastics will take up about 13 percent to 15 percent of global emissions by 2050,” said Janis Searles Jones, CEO, Ocean Conservancy. Climate change is “the thousand-pound gorilla in the room,” said Ted Danson, an actor and former board member of the Oceana environmental group. “Climate change is going to wreck everything. Itwill undo everything we’ve done on oceans if it goes unchecked,” he said.

To close out Day 1 of the Bloomberg Green Festival, we spoke to some of the leading minds in business and finance about how they’re investing in climate action. Enrique Lores, CEO, HP Inc. told Bloomberg Technology anchor Emily Chang that, “innovation is going to help us create a better world.” Lores outlined the ways in which he’s making the company’s supply chain more sustainable, including the use of ocean-bound plastics, engaging in programs where ink cartridges can be recycled, and reducing the energy it consumes both in its factories and offices. (HP Inc. is a Founding Partner of Bloomberg Green.) On the finance front, we heard from two investors who collectively oversee $600 billion dollars. When discussing the biggest changes and opportunities that will happen in the next five years, Mark Machin, President & CEO, CPP Investments predicted, “there will be a lot more investment in renewables — in all flavors and geographies.” Christopher J. Ailman, Chief Investment Officer, California State Teachers’ Retirement System, closed by adding, “we have to adapt. The world is going to have a low carbon future and investors and the markets are going to have to adapt.”

Bloomberg Green Festival is Proudly Sponsored By


Join the Conversation: #BloombergGreen
Instagram: @BloombergLive
LinkedIn: Bloomberg Live
Twitter: @BloombergLive

Interested in more Bloomberg Live virtual events? Sign up here to get alerts.