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Can Corporations Stop Climate Change?

11 March, 2020

Every year, in the second or third week of January, Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of Black Rock, writes a letter to CEOs of the world. As one of, if not the, largest investors in the world – BlackRock oversees $7 trillion – these letters have impact. CEOs and Boards pay attention, and they react. As the New York Time’s Michael Barbaro says, his letters have ‘a kind of biblical quality in the world of business.’

This year he writes, “Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects. Last September, when millions of people took to the streets to demand action on climate change, many of them emphasized the significant and lasting impact that it will have on economic growth and prosperity, a risk that markets to date have been slower to reflect. But awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we’re on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance….We will be increasingly disposed to vote against management and board directors when companies are not making sufficient progress on sustainability-related disclosures and the business practices and plans underlying them.”

Increasingly, and often in the absence of government leadership in the area, the corporate sector is responding to the issues outlined in Larry Fink’s letter, some with greater than impact than others. Some are looking to off-set their emissions. Some, like Microsoft which is already carbon neutral, are going further. By 2030 Microsoft wants to remove all the carbon the company released since their founding in 1975.

Can leadership from the private sector bring about the kind of substantial change governments seem unable or unwilling to?

Listen to the podcast (or read the transcript) here.

via The New York Times 24 February 2020

Image credit- NASA

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