BofA, BlackRock and State Street CEOs talk stakeholder primacy — and fall short

December 14, 2020 by  
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BofA, BlackRock and State Street CEOs talk stakeholder primacy — and fall short Sara Murphy Mon, 12/14/2020 – 01:45 Some of the world’s biggest asset managers have been talking a lot lately about sustainable capital markets, stakeholder capitalism and how improved environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure can contribute to more resilient markets. While these organizations are taking steps in the right direction, their companies’ actual behavior in the marketplace often falls short of their leaders’ proclamations, and those leaders’ visions for capital markets fail to rise to the increasingly urgent challenges that confront our society. At the recent 2020 Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Symposium , the CEOs of Bank of America (BofA), BlackRock and State Street provided their views on the role of the private sector in addressing societal challenges and why ESG integration is no longer optional. They led with their thoughts on stakeholder capitalism, a concept that has exploded since Aug. 19, 2019, when the Business Roundtable (BRT) updated its Principles of Corporate Governance to redefine “the purpose of a corporation to promote an economy that serves all Americans.” CEOs from 181 publicly traded companies — including those addressing the SASB Symposium — signed the principles, which purportedly signaled an end to Milton Friedman’s doctrine of shareholder primacy established in the 1970s, and the beginning of a new era of stakeholder capitalism. “The concept of just one stakeholder — shareholders — has evolved and changed,” said Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager. He noted the need for businesses to work with their employees and clients, and in a globalizing world, to work with the societies in which businesses operate. We’re not looking for short-term blips as a shareholder but rather durability. “This creates some difficulties but companies that manage this set themselves up for long-term profitability,” Fink said. “We’re not looking for short-term blips as a shareholder but rather durability. In challenging cycles like the pandemic, those companies are the ones that make it through and endure. That’s how management and boards need to think about this.” Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan concurred, adding that a long-term focus on all constituencies helps to attract talent and customers. State Street Global Advisors CEO Cyrus Taporevala remarked that asset managers and owners are reacting to three trends: a growing correlation between ESG factors and investment risk; end investors wanting to see their ESG preferences expressed in their investments; and regulators around the world signaling an intention to require more around ESG criteria, reporting and investing. A clarion call to convergence All three CEOs repeatedly asserted an urgent imperative for the financial services industry to “coalesce” and “converge” around standardized disclosure of ESG information and data, perhaps unsurprising given that SASB — the symposium’s host — is a leading disclosure framework. Their general argument was that standardized disclosure is less burdensome for companies, which will enhance the quality of reporting and encourage smaller companies to participate. It allows for collection and analysis of large data sets that help investors, regulators and the public to assess and compare companies’ ESG performance, they said. In addition to SASB, the CEOs pointed to the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) as a leading standard. Moynihan recommended convergence with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “If that’s what the world told us we need to do across 90 countries in 2015, then that’s what we should be aiming to achieve,” he said. The CEOs also emphasized the value of transparency. “We need people to say what they’re doing so they can be encouraged to do more,” Moynihan said. “When we [at Bank of America] make decisions about whom to lend to, we have the information, but the world may not. It’s a little behind the curtain. Standardized disclosure will cascade down the system, even to a middle-market private company where employees and customers will ask, ‘Where’s our disclosure?’” “Transparency reveals the good and the bad,” Fink said. “Better financial and sustainability disclosure forces management and the board to have laser focus. It lifts us faster, even if we’re embarrassed at times when we’re not moving as quickly as we should.” Too little too slowly And indeed, they’re not moving as quickly as they should, and the actions of these three companies are not entirely setting the examples these CEOs espouse. Bank of America is the world’s fourth leading financer of fossil fuels , even as the imperative to decarbonize the economy to stave off the worst effects of climate change grows more urgent by the day. In 2019 the company agreed to pay $4.2 million to resolve employment discrimination allegations brought by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Nevertheless, Bank of America maintains it is fulfilling its commitment to stakeholder primacy. Standardized disclosure will cascade down the system, even to a middle-market private company where employees and customers will ask, ‘Where’s our disclosure?’ Among 60 of the world’s largest asset managers, BlackRock was the fourth least supportive and State Street the 13th least supportive of shareholders’ efforts to promote better social and environmental stewardship among companies in their portfolios, according to a recent analysis by campaigning organization Share Action. Both companies’ own reporting and disclosure on their social and environmental stewardship lacks the sort of transparency and meaningful information they purport to champion in the marketplace. This may be because a pernicious tension is built into the entire stakeholder capitalism construct. A question of purpose and prosperity “We’re not trying to disrupt a company or destroy their footprint or business,” Fink said. “I know some people would like for us to do that, but that is not our fiduciary responsibility. Our fiduciary responsibility is to maximize profit.” “State Street Global Advisors is looking to get the best risk-adjusted return for investors, and we come at ESG from a perspective of value, not values,” Taporevala said. “It’s not up to us as a fiduciary to decide what the right values are.” Therein lies the conundrum: What’s best for the social and environmental systems on which our economy depends won’t always align with an individual company’s profit maximization. Companies, investors and shareholders will have to reckon with this reality. Rick Alexander, founder and CEO of The Shareholder Commons, expounded on this point in a February article : Most investors hold broadly diversified portfolios and rely on their job as their primary financial asset. They need a healthy economy and planet in order to have solid portfolio returns, decent wages and good lives. They know that some companies need to surrender shareholder value in order to preserve the critical systems we all rely on (think coal, oil, tobacco and, not coincidentally, large financial institutions that threaten systemic stability). A recent study determined that publicly traded companies create annual social and environmental costs of $2.2 trillion. While any given company may profit by ignoring costs that it can externalize, its diversified shareholders ultimately pay the price. Moynihan emphasized that the world’s problems cannot be solved without leadership from the private sector. He pointed to the SDGs, noting that all the charitable spending in the world doesn’t amount to the estimated cost of delivering on those goals. “You could go to governments, but they’re running huge deficits, and they don’t have the money,” Moynihan said. The three CEOs talked at length about the importance of coalescing around a common set of metrics and data, but that’s only a partial solution. If the objective is truly to assure our ongoing prosperity, then everyone involved in capital markets must prioritize the vital systems upon which a thriving economy depends, rather than profit margins at any one company. At the end of the day, only that approach will serve both shareholders and stakeholders. Pull Quote We’re not looking for short-term blips as a shareholder but rather durability. Standardized disclosure will cascade down the system, even to a middle-market private company where employees and customers will ask, ‘Where’s our disclosure?’ Topics Finance & Investing Reporting TCFD GreenFin Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off “The Fearless Girl” statue facing Charging Bull in Lower Manhattan, New York City (June 2017) Shutterstock Quietbits Close Authorship

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BofA, BlackRock and State Street CEOs talk stakeholder primacy — and fall short

Episode 248: Mastercard CSO, parsing plastics policy, Paris Agreement at 5

December 11, 2020 by  
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Episode 248: Mastercard CSO, parsing plastics policy, Paris Agreement at 5 Heather Clancy Fri, 12/11/2020 – 00:10 Week in Review Stories discussed this week (5:30). HSBC invests in world’s first “reef credit” system Does 2020 mark a turning point for delivering on the Paris Agreement goals? How do you avoid getting distracted and stay focused on the mission? Features What will Biden mean for the circular economy? (18:20)   Don’t expect the incoming administration to use that nomenclature, but plastics pollution and recycling are far more likely to get national attention. Associate Editor Deonna Anderson chats with GreenBiz’s senior analyst for circular economy issues, Lauren Phipps. How Mastercard is helping spenders restore trees (26:45)   Big brands are leaning into growing consumer interest in supporting products and services that do “better” for the planet. Kristina Kloberdanz, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer of Mastercard, discusses the recent expansion of the Priceless Planet Coalition — which aspires to restore 100 million trees.  Happy 5th anniversary, Paris Agreement (39:25)   Maria Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business Coalition, chats about signs of progress, the power of alliances and how companies can improve disclosure without engaging in greenwashing.  Climate change and healthcare (53:45)   What’s the emissions profile of the powerful healthcare sector? Can we create a circular supply chain for supplies? How should training evolve? Alan Weil, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, visits with perspective from the journal’s recent report on these issues.  *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere: “Curiosity,” “Keeping Stuff Together,” “Southside,” “Night Caves” “New Day,” “Sad Marimba Planet” and “As I Was Saying” *This episode was sponsored by Salesforce and WestRock Do we have a newsletter for you! We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Deonna Anderson Lauren Phipps Topics Podcast Policy & Politics Finance & Investing Consumer Products Paris Agreement Health & Well-being Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 1:06:56 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 248: Mastercard CSO, parsing plastics policy, Paris Agreement at 5

Following the money: A sustainable finance odyssey

December 8, 2020 by  
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Following the money: A sustainable finance odyssey Joel Makower Tue, 12/08/2020 – 02:11 I’ve been following the money this past week. “The money,” in this case, is the sprawling and spiraling world of sustainable finance. The occasion, as you may have guessed, was our announcement  Nov. 30 of our newest annual event:  GreenFin , taking place in April. It drew the attention of a number of friends, colleagues and veritable strangers who wanted to discuss the event’s themes, tracks and topics. The ensuing conversations — and, no doubt, many more to come — are a continuation of the learning journey I’ve been on for the past few years, seeking to understand the role of the financial sector in advancing sustainability solutions and a clean, decarbonized economy. For someone who’s quickly out of his depth when it comes to money matters, it’s been a steep learning curve. Even still, last week’s conversations were a real eye-opener. Let me explain. In 2019, when we first started holding our GreenFin Summits — the precursor events to GreenFin 21 — the focus was relatively narrow: the role of environmental, social and governance (ESG) data in the investing world. Specifically, the alignment of company ESG reporting with the needs of investors, particularly institutional investors and pension funds, which are increasingly viewing high ESG scores as a proxy for good management and reduced risk. This by itself is a complex topic. There is a lack of consistency among various ratings methodologies, a cacophony of ESG standards and frameworks, and a lack of clarity about which data is, in fact, material. “So, sustainable finance is about aligning and harmonizing the needs of both investors and companies,” I concluded some time ago. Not so fast. It was soon evident that the topic of sustainable finance was bigger than just ESG and investors. Hence, the addition of sustainability-linked finance — bonds and loans with terms tied to environmental (and, in some cases, social) outcomes. That’s the realm of banks and other financial institutions. “OK, then,” I ventured. “Sustainable finance covers how ESG scores are being used by investors as well as by financial institutions to determine risk and, thus, capital allocation.” I was getting warmer, but just getting going. For one thing, ESG data is just that: data. It must be sourced, verified and scored consistently across companies to be meaningful to investors, banks and other interested parties. We’re just not there yet. Did I mention the cacophony? Implements of instruction ESG data, it turns out, isn’t being used solely by investors and lenders. It is increasingly becoming a management tool as companies take ESG data, both structured and unstructured, and apply artificial intelligence to assess potential business decisions. “They create a virtuous ESG Loop, where goal-setting, bench-marking and course-correcting reinforce sustainability,” wrote Richard Peers, founder at ResponsibleRisk Ltd, a London-based consultancy, in the blog Finextra . Me again: “So, the ESG data that serves as the foundation for sustainable finance is increasingly driving not just investment decisions but also management decisions.” Yes, but sustainable finance is far bigger than just the companies seeking capital to expand their operations or invest in clean technologies and other things. In fact, companies may represent a relative pittance compared to what’s needed to finance public infrastructure: all those airports, highways, ports, water districts and other critical needs for which cities, states, provinces and nations routinely drop a billion dollars here and there. Can ESG data help ensure that they are built in a manner that makes them resilient in a climate-changing world, even mitigate the threats of droughts, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and all of the other calamities in the first place? Sustainable finance can help. There’s gold in all that green: a bond’s quarter- to a half-point lower interest rate for a green 30-year, billion-dollar bond could translate into tens of millions of dollars in lower costs, money that could go to any number of other worthy causes, or into taxpayers’ pockets. Me: “OK, I think I’m finally getting it. Sustainable finance is a way of deploying investment capital to create sustainable outcomes at a societal and economy-wide level.” Well, almost. Financing the transition If you broaden the aperture a bit more, you’ll see a much, much bigger opportunity: to finance the transition of the global economy to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. According to a 2019 report, Climate Finance Strategy 2018-2023 , from the Hewlett Foundation: To put the world on the path to solving climate change, the current level of funding for climate-friendly activities must be tripled to at least $1.5 trillion annually. Fortunately, the multi-trillion-dollar capital sources needed for climate already reside in the current global financial system many times over. Based on publicly available data, it is estimated there is nearly $250 trillion of commercial capital available globally in five primary capital pools (Asset Owners, Retail Bank Deposits, Development Finance Institutions (DFI)/Multilateral Development Banks (MDB), Private Equity and Venture Capital). That’s a monstrous opportunity, and it broadens the definition of “sustainable finance” even further to include vast pools of capital to take on humanity’s most pressing challenges. In other words, the capital it will take to get from here to sustainability. “So, sustainable finance is how we align capital flows with the opportunity to address the world’s biggest social and environmental problems,” I concluded. I’m still not sure I’ve nailed it, but I’m getting closer. At minimum, I’ve taken a much broader view of what sustainable finance means and what GreenFin could address. To be sure, we won’t be addressing all of these things at GreenFin 21; I’m guessing it will take a couple of event cycles to find our footing. We’ll focus, as my learning journey did, primarily on ESG investing and green bonds and loans. But my quest for understanding has helped to create a roadmap of how this event — and the convening power of GreenBiz and its remarkable community — can meet the moment. Over time, I suspect, much of this will become commonplace, simply the way business and finance are conducted. We’ve seen that in many other aspects of sustainability, from renewable energy purchasing to the circular economy. Visionary ideas become commonplace and, eventually, the status quo. And at that point “sustainable finance” will become, well, just finance. I invite you to follow me on Twitter , subscribe to my Monday morning newsletter, GreenBuzz , and listen to GreenBiz 350 , my weekly podcast, co-hosted with Heather Clancy. Topics Finance & Investing GreenFin ESG Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

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Following the money: A sustainable finance odyssey

Introducing … GreenFin 21

November 30, 2020 by  
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Introducing … GreenFin 21 Joel Makower Mon, 11/30/2020 – 02:11 The world of environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting and investing has ramped up significantly over the past couple years, even more so during 2020, when social risks and reporting became front and center for many companies and investors. Combine that with the growth of related finance products and services — sustainability-linked loans and bonds — and you can find sustainability sitting squarely on Wall Street. We call it GreenFin, our portmanteau for “green finance.” It may well be the most dynamic and impactful aspect of sustainable business today. Which is why GreenBiz Group is pleased to announce GreenFin 21 , the launch of a new annual event, virtual for now, taking place April 13-14. GreenFin will join our other annual event brands — GreenBiz , Circularity and VERGE — on the sustainability conference calendar. For all the sustainability reporting that companies serve up each year, it doesn’t always represent the kinds of data that investors need to assess corporate risk and opportunity. GreenFin 21 is the natural evolution of the GreenFin Summits we ran at our GreenBiz conferences in 2019 and 2020 . There, we convened a small group of professionals (100 in 2019, 200 in 2020) representing the ESG and sustainable finance ecosystem: corporate reporters (including those in sustainability, investor relations and corporate finance roles); institutional investors and pension funds; ESG rating and ranking organizations; and financial institutions, notably the world’s largest banks. Tower of Babel What spurred us to launch the summits back in 2019 was the realization that these parties weren’t always speaking the same language or understanding one another’s needs. For example, for all the sustainability reporting that companies serve up each year, it doesn’t always represent the kinds of data that investors need to assess corporate risk and opportunity. For their part, investors may not be asking the questions companies most want to answer. And neither side may fully understand how various parties are using this fast-growing cache of data. At the 2019 and 2020 summits, our goal was to have a candid conversation in a safe space to address this financial Tower of Babel. Based on the enthusiastic feedback we received, we succeeded. GreenFin 21 will build on that success, adding in the rapidly evolving world of sustainable finance products and services, to share what’s working, what can work better, and the path forward. It’s no small matter. ESG, as we’ve noted , has been one of investing’s bright spots in 2020, with tens of billions of dollars flowing into ESG-themed funds every quarter. According to Morningstar, ESG funds reached the $1 trillion milestone sometime during the second quarter of the year. Much of the action is taking place in Europe, where PwC predicted that ESG funds — “a central tenet of the investment landscape” — could outpace traditional funds by 2025. U.S. investors, for their part, are catching up. So, too, the growth of ESG-related bonds and loans . Corporate bond offerings focusing on sustainability and social issues are growing each quarter, and there’s a burgeoning market for loans linked to a company’s ESG performance or other sustainability metrics. As we reported recently , global green bond issuance shot past the $1 trillion mark in September. Still, there’s massive room for growth. Fully 96 percent of U.S. institutional investors, and 91 percent across six global markets, expect their firm to increase prioritization of ESG as an investment criterion, according to a recent Edelman Trust Barometer survey of institutional investors. Three in four U.S. individual investors said they are not familiar with the concept of sustainable investing, having heard little or nothing about it, according to a Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index survey released in April. Wild West The explosive growth of green finance makes sense. Increased investor interest in climate risk and, more recently, biodiversity risk is fueling the growth of several funds, as is an increased societal focus on economic, gender and racial equity. All of these issues are heading inexorably toward tipping points. Investors are increasingly moving money accordingly. Still, the markets for sustainable investing and finance are young and the standards are evolving or, in some cases, don’t yet fully exist. It’s still the Wild West out there. There are glimmers of hope . Just last week, for example, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the International Integrated Reporting Council announced their intention to merge into a unified organization, the Value Reporting Foundation, “providing investors and corporates with a comprehensive corporate reporting framework across the full range of enterprise value drivers and standards to drive global sustainability performance,” according to the press release . Earlier this year, SASB and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) announced their intention to collaborate. Such consolidation and collaboration are sorely needed to truly catalyze the full potential of sustainable finance. Ultimately, all of this relies on lots of data — ESG data — being compiled by a relatively small number of firms whose ratings can wield outsized clout among investors. The data is used to analyze stocks, of course, but also to assess creditworthiness and possibly even help determine whether a company is a great place to work. But where is this data coming from? How is it compiled? Who owns it? Is it accurate? Why do different ratings organizations assess the same company differently? These are among the questions still to be addressed. And these are among the topics we’ll be covering at GreenFin. We’ll be joined by our convening partner, S&P Global, along with a who’s who of community partners, including BSR, Capitals Coalition, CDP, Ceres, Competent Boards, GRI, Intentional Endowments Network, National Investor Relations Institute, Responsible Asset Owners, SASB, United Nations Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. We’re also excited to have a growing corps of advisory board members and sponsors, including from Citi, CDP, ERM, HP Inc., Intel, Morgan Stanley, SASB, S&P Global, State Street and Wells Fargo — with more to come. ( Let me know if you are interested.) Today, we’ve launched a call for speakers as well as a page to request an invitation . I hope you’ll join us for this landmark event. Pull Quote For all the sustainability reporting that companies serve up each year, it doesn’t always represent the kinds of data that investors need to assess corporate risk and opportunity. Topics Finance & Investing Reporting ESG GreenFin Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Introducing … GreenFin 21

Investors call on major US polluters to clean up lobbying activities

October 29, 2020 by  
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Investors call on major US polluters to clean up lobbying activities Cecilia Keating Thu, 10/29/2020 – 00:10 Carbon intensive companies in the U.S. are facing growing pressure to clean up their lobbying activity, with a host of institutional investors this week issuing an urgent call to 47 of the largest greenhouse gas emitters to disclose how their corporate advocacy aligns with the most ambitious climate goals of the Paris Agreement. BNP Paribas Asset Management, Boston Trust Walden, California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and the New York City Comptroller’s Office are among institutional investors which have signed an open letter calling on greater climate lobbying transparency and accountability from their U.S. portfolio companies, in a move spearheaded by the Climate Action 100+ initiative. The letter, sent to 47 company chairs and chief executives, calls on emissions-intensive firms to align all direct corporate lobbying activity and indirect lobbying activity managed by trade associations with the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, noting that any advocacy inconsistent with climate goals presents a raft of regulatory, economic, reputational and legal risks for investors. “The private sector cannot address the full range of impacts from climate change without strong public policy designed to help stabilize the climate. Companies should establish the Paris Agreement’s goals as their North Star when meeting with regulators and legislators,” said Adam Kanzer, head of stewardship for the Americas at BNP Paribas Asset Management. “Their lobbying activities should be consistent with the Paris Agreement and the best available science, well governed and transparent.” It is just the latest intervention from Climate Action 100+, which is backed by more than 500 global investors representing $47 trillion of assets worldwide and aims ramp up climate ambition from companies it has identified as collectively responsible for up to 80 percent of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Companies targeted by the campaign span a number of polluting sectors, including oil and gas, consumer goods, power and transportation, and have been identified as “systematically important” to the net zero transition by the campaign. Companies have an important and constructive role to play in enabling policy-makers to close the ‘ambition gap’ which would also contribute positively to the long-term value of our investment portfolios. Investors signing this week’s letters have called on the 47 U.S. companies to leave trade associations unable or unwilling to ensure their advocacy activity is compliant with global climate goals. While trade associations will not always speak for all of their members on some issues, climate change on the other hand represents “a unique challenge that requires alignment at all levels of an organization,” the letter argues. Companies therefore have a responsibility to their investors to encourage climate-friendly government policies, the letter emphasizes. “Currently, there are critical gaps between the pledges and commitments national governments have made and the actions required to stave off the worst effects of climate change,” the investors write. “Companies have an important and constructive role to play in enabling policy-makers to close the ‘ambition gap’ which would also contribute positively to the long-term value of our investment portfolios.” Climate Action 100+ is also working on a report set for publication next year aimed at benchmarking how 161 of the world’s most polluting companies are faring on climate action, with Paris-aligned corporate lobbying a “key indicator” in the metric, it said. The letters come as firms worldwide face growing pressure from investors to ensure that corporate engagement with policymakers helps advance a resilient, net zero economy. Shareholder proposals that demand companies disclose how their climate lobbying aligns with the Paris Agreement reached a record high in 2020, with Chevron shareholders approving such a proposal in a landmark vote in June. In Europe, meanwhile, oil firms such as Equinor, Shell, BP and Total have published the results of internal audits of their trade association memberships following long-running investor pressure, detailing where groups’ climate policies were misaligned with their internal goals. There also have been instances of companies exiting trade groups over disagreements over environmental policy in recent years. Unilever, Nestle and Mars left the Grocery Manufacturers Association in 2018 over disagreements on sustainable food policy, while Coca-Cola and PepsiCo cut ties with the Plastic Industry Association one year later over green policy issues. “The urgency of the climate crisis means that companies must not only take bold in-house actions to reduce emissions to net-zero and improve governance of climate risk, they must also look beyond their four walls and publicly advocate for federal and state policies to mitigate climate change,” said Ceres CEO and president Mindy Lubber, a member of the Climate Action 100+ global steering committee. “Investors are looking at those advocacy efforts and if corporate trade association lobbying matches what companies are publicly stating.” Pull Quote Companies have an important and constructive role to play in enabling policy-makers to close the ‘ambition gap’ which would also contribute positively to the long-term value of our investment portfolios. Topics Finance & Investing Risk & Resilience GreenFin Investing Greenhouse Gas BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Photo by  worradirek  on Shutterstock.

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HSBC is latest bank to pledge net-zero financed emissions by mid-century

October 13, 2020 by  
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HSBC is latest bank to pledge net-zero financed emissions by mid-century Cecilia Keating Tue, 10/13/2020 – 00:46 HSBC has become the latest bank to commit to achieving net-zero financed emissions, announcing Monday that it intends to align its portfolio of investments and debt financing with global climate targets by mid-century. The bank, currently Europe’s second largest financier of fossil fuels, has committed to reaching net-zero across its supply chain and operations by 2030, before reaching net-zero across its customer portfolio 20 years later. The pledge does not include any firm commitments to phasing out support of fossil fuel companies, but confirms the bank’s plans to channel between $75 billion and $1 trillion of financing and investment over the next 10 years to support its customers’ transition towards net zero emissions. In an open letter to its clients, HSBC CEO Noel Quinn said the bank had been motivated to ramp up its environmental ambition by customer concern about climate change. “We know this is an issue that many of our 40 million customers care deeply about, particularly in our retail and private banking businesses,” Quinn wrote . “They care as citizens, consumers and business owners. We are committed to developing products that allow them to invest or participate in efforts to bring about a more sustainable global economy.” While the pledge provides limited detail on the measures it will take to slash the carbon emissions of its portfolio or operations, the bank said it would establish “clear, measurable pathways” to net-zero using the Paris Agreement’s Capital Transition Assessment Tool (PACTA). We know this is an issue that many of our 40 million customers care deeply about, particularly in our retail and private banking businesses. HSBC said it would “apply a climate lens” to all its financing decisions and disclose its climate risk in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). It also said it would work with the broader finance sector to create a standard to measure financed emissions and support a functioning carbon offset market. Ben Caldecott, director of the Oxford sustainable finance program and COP26 strategy adviser for finance, hailed the announcement as a “big deal,” noting that HSBC faced particular challenges due to its being more exposed to emerging markets than many of its peers. Elsewhere, the news elicited a more lukewarm response, with a number of environmental campaigners slamming the commitment as “empty” due to its lack of a phaseout timeline for its support of fossil-fuel companies and businesses responsible for deforestation. “HSBC’s net-zero commitment is a bit like saying you’ll give up smoking by 2050, but continuing to buy a pack a week or even smoking more,” said Becky Jarvis, coordinator of campaign group network Fund Our Future UK. “Any further financing of oil, gas and coal expansion today is utterly at odds with a net-zero commitment by 2050. That’s just science, not finance.” Adam McGibbon, energy finance campaigner at Market Forces, said the proposals represented “zero ambition, not net-zero ambition.” “If you want to know what HSBC’s stance on climate change really is, look at what they fund, not their fluffy marketing,” he added. “This is a bank that owns stakes in companies seeking to build enough coal power plants to emit carbon emissions equivalent to 37 years of the UK’s annual emissions.” HSBC, which provided $87 billion in financing to top fossil fuel companies since the Paris Agreement and nearly $8 billion in loans and underwriting to 29 companies developing coal plants between 2017 and Q3 2019, has faced growing pressure from shareholders to cease financing companies heavily dependent on fossil fuels. In May, 24 percent of shareholders voted in favor for an independent resolution that called for clear phaseout targets and in 2019 a group of investors, including Schroders, EdenTree and Hermes EOS, wrote a letter to the bank’s then-CEO urging him to end support of companies dependent on coal mining or coal power. This week’s announcement is the latest in a growing wave of pledges from across the financial sector from banks and investment firms looking to fully decarbonize not just their operations but also their portfolios. In the past month alone, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase have made similar pledges, while earlier this year Barclays and Natwest promised to move their investment activities into line with the Paris Agreement. Pull Quote We know this is an issue that many of our 40 million customers care deeply about, particularly in our retail and private banking businesses. Topics Finance & Investing Corporate Strategy Net-Zero BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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HSBC is latest bank to pledge net-zero financed emissions by mid-century

San José’s bold new plan for climate-friendly transit

October 13, 2020 by  
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San José’s bold new plan for climate-friendly transit Elizabeth Stampe Tue, 10/13/2020 – 00:22 San José is rolling out the green carpet for biking, thanks to the city council’s unanimous passage of the Better Bike Plan 2025 . With the plan’s adoption, the city commits to building a 550-mile network of bike lanes, boulevards and trails to help thousands more people ride safely. The plan is realistic about the past, acknowledging San José’s sprawling 180-square-mile spread, its car-oriented layout and its inequitable history of transportation decisions, which continue to shape people’s lives. But the plan also looks ahead, aiming to create a city where anyone can comfortably bike to any neighborhood.  The planned network includes 350-plus miles of protected bike lanes, 100 miles of bike boulevards and 100 miles of off-street trails. Already, the city has built over 390 miles total.  First, make it safe The numbers are impressive. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story.  With this plan and its creation, the city lays out a thoughtful approach to who feels comfortable biking, who doesn’t and how to invite more people out onto bikes. Many cities have been finding creative ways to help their residents get around safely, healthily and affordably. For too long, bike lanes — not just in San José but nationally — have been created for the few people who feel fine biking on a street full of fast traffic, protected by only a line of white paint. The new plan acknowledges that’s often not enough for people to feel comfortable, instead offering “the evolution of a bike lane,” first by just widening that painted lane into buffer to create more separation from traffic, then putting parked cars between bikes and traffic when possible, and then building a whole raised curb between cars and the bike lane. Sometimes, instead of adding miles, it’s important to go back to make existing miles of bike lanes better and safer. The plan emphasizes that many of San José’s quiet residential streets can connect to create a “low-stress” network of “bike boulevards,” along with safe ways to get across the big busy streets. To create the plan, city staff talked with residents. They also partnered with community-based organizations such as Veggielution , Latinos United for a New America (LUNA) and Vietnamese Voluntary Foundation (VIVO). At meetings and focus groups in Spanish and Vietnamese as well as English, city staff and partners asked residents: What would help make them more likely to bike?  Paramount across communities was concern for safety.  Build quick, aim high  The city already has shown that it can move quickly. With its Better Bikeways project and with the assistance of the Bloomberg Philanthropies American Cities Climate Challenge, San José will have built 15 miles of protected bike lanes between 2018 and 2020.  The “quick-build” model is impressive. A few of us from the Climate Challenge got to tour San José’s downtown by bike last year with Mayor Sam Liccardo and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). We pedaled along new green lanes, protected by sturdy green posts and complete with ingenious bus islands that are wheelchair-accessible and allow bus riders to cross bike lanes safely. The green posts that protect bikers look reassuringly solid but they’re actually plastic, making them low-cost, easy to install yet imposing enough to form a kind of low wall between bikes and car traffic. It felt safe. Now the trick is to build out from downtown, connect to neighborhoods and get more people using them.  The city has set ambitious goals for “bike mode share,” which means the percentage of all trips people take in the city by bicycle. San José’s current General Plan aims for 15 percent bike commute mode share by 2040, and its Climate Smart plan seeks to reach 20 percent by 2050.  These are tall orders. Today, just 1 percent of commute trips in the city are made by bike, although a city survey found that 3 percent of people reported biking as their primary way of getting to work and even more residents using a bike as a backup mode of transportation. Of commute trips to downtown, 4 percent are by bike. These numbers might sound small, but it’s important to consider that bike commuting is on the rise: Between 1990 and 2017, San José saw a 28 percent increase in commute trips made by bike. But not all trips are commute trips; in fact, in San José, only one in five trips are to and from work. That’s especially true in these teleworking times. Encouragingly, the plan notes that 60 percent of all trips people make in the city are less than 3 miles long. Those short trips, combined with the city’s mild climate and flat terrain, make biking a good option, creating the opportunity for the city to achieve its bold goals. The Better Bike Plan 2025 includes a five-year action plan of prioritized projects to implement and coordinates with the city’s paving program to save money. It offers a range of costs to make these changes, from quick and temporary to more permanent, that total roughly $300 million.  The prioritized projects listed in the plan — the list of streets where bike improvements will go — were chosen with three aims: Increase biking mode share: Areas where bicycle trips are most likely, based on factors such as population, employment and connections to transit, downtown and the existing bike lane network. Increase safety: Projects that will fix “high-injury” streets where collisions are most serious and frequent. Increase equity: Low-income and historically underserved neighborhoods, also called “Communities of Concern,” especially just to the south, east and north of downtown. People living in these neighborhoods are likely to have fewer transportation options, less access to a private car and may be essential workers, required to show up at a job in person every day. More safe, healthy, affordable transportation options are needed, and soon. What comes next: A time for action In this difficult year, many cities have been finding creative ways to help their residents get around safely, healthily and affordably. Biking nationally has boomed . San José has launched an Al Fresco program that repurposes streets for outdoor dining. In March, nearby Oakland launched the nation’s first and most ambitious “Open Streets” program along its planned bike network, acting quickly to make those streets safer by discouraging most car traffic. Oakland’s Open Streets program also creates more safe outdoor areas for people in neighborhoods with less access to open space, reduces crowding at Lake Merritt and other parks and frees up more space for social distancing than sidewalks typically offer. Oakland recently released a report to help cities in the Bay Area and beyond learn from its example.  San José has a less dense footprint than Oakland, but its residents still have a great need for safe, affordable transportation in these times. The city can take its thoughtful Better Bike Plan as a starting point to act quickly, and rebuild its streets to bring safe biking to all. Pull Quote Many cities have been finding creative ways to help their residents get around safely, healthily and affordably. A city survey found that 3 percent of people reported biking as their primary way of getting to work. Topics Cities Transportation & Mobility NRDC Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A shark appears in a San Jose bike lane, a nod to the local ice hockey team. Shutterstock Anna MacKinnon Close Authorship

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San José’s bold new plan for climate-friendly transit

David Crane is back, with a climate-tech SPAC

October 8, 2020 by  
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David Crane is back, with a climate-tech SPAC Heather Clancy Thu, 10/08/2020 – 01:45 One of the hottest 2020 trends in raising capital is infiltrating climate-tech investing.  As of mid-September, the stock market had welcomed at least 82 initial public offerings this year by special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) — organizations that collectively raised more than $31 billion. Last week, former NRG Energy CEO David Crane joined the frenzy.  Crane was instrumental in leading NRG into renewables and other clean energy sectors and was ousted in late 2015 after its stock tanked. (Disclosure: Crane is a former GreenBiz editor at large, and you can read his body of work here .) As of Monday, his new company, Climate Real Impact Solutions (CRIS), had raised more than $230 million for the purpose of merging with a company focused on solving the climate crisis.  “Over the past decade, American entrepreneurs have brought forth a wide array of exciting products and services which are clean, green, smart and affordable,” Crane said in a statement. “We have formed Climate Real Impact Solutions to help those entrepreneurs gain access to the capital, the connections and the talent they need to take their businesses to the next level while amplifying their climate impact.”  The public markets have this appetite for companies that want to change the world. The “we” in that statement includes high-profile clean energy veterans: former Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell (the chairperson), ex-Credit Suisse energy group executive John Cavalier (CFO) and onetime GE vice chair and GE Ventures lead Beth Comstock (chief commercial officer).  A SPAC , also known in financial circles as a “blank check” company, is a corporate structure created with the mission of merging with another firm — usually within a two-year timeframe. After the merger, the acquired company becomes listed.  Why would a startup do this? You can think of it as an alternative for a late-stage venture capital round, Crane told me last week when we chatted about the venture. It’s of interest to companies that feel capital-constrained, and the current uncertain state of the economy has galvanized interest.  There isn’t as much scrutiny on the company going public as there would be with a traditional IPO, which is why SPAC-enabled deals are a controversial topic right now. One of the most vivid examples of what could go wrong is the hoopla surrounding Nikola Motors, the electric truck maker. The company’s founder, Trevor Milton, resigned in September after being accused of fraud and sexual misconduct. Quite a few next-generation transportation companies have used SPACs to go public this year, including EV maker Fisker and autonomous vehicle sensor company Velodyne Lidar. Even former Uber executive Emil Michael is getting into the act: He registered plans for a $250 million SPAC late last week. Crane told me he actually considered creating a SPAC three years ago but decided the market wasn’t ready. But now, investors are far more interested in startups looking to raise capital that have strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) stories. “The public markets have this appetite for companies that want to change the world,” he said. What is CRIS looking for? A SPAC can only buy one company but the team plans to evaluate carbon removal and avoidance businesses. There’s a long list of categories that fit that bill, including ones where Crane and company have a lot of expertise in their background: distributed generation plays (such as rooftop solar), utility-scale renewables ventures, energy storage startups, renewable natural gas, energy efficiency service providers and green energy retailers, electric vehicle infrastructure or decarbonized fuels. There’s also a chance the company could focus more on organizations removing carbon from the atmosphere, such as a reforestation, regenerative ag or carbon capture company, although those startups tend to be at an earlier stage given the dynamics of carbon pricing, Crane said.  CRIS plans to use both traditional financial evaluation methods and “climate-focused environmental metrics” to make their decision, and you can expect the CRIS crew to be actively involved with mentoring and supporting the acquisition target’s management team. The CRIS board also includes Mimi Alemayehou (Black Rhino Group), Richard Kauffman (former New York energy and finance czar) and Jamie Weinstein (managing director of PIMCO, which helped organize co-sponsors for the offering). I’m eager to see who CRIS targets, aren’t you? Pull Quote The public markets have this appetite for companies that want to change the world. Topics Climate Change Finance & Investing Climate Tech Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off NRG.com Close Authorship

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This new cooling technology also prevents viral spread

October 8, 2020 by  
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This new cooling technology also prevents viral spread Gloria Oladipo Thu, 10/08/2020 – 00:40 In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air-conditioned cooling centers . Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus. “Air conditioners look like they’re bringing in air from the outside because they go through the window, but it is 100 percent recirculated air,” said Forrest Meggers, an assistant professor of architecture at Princeton University. “If you had a system that could cool without being focused solely on cooling air, then you could actually open your windows.” Meggers and an international team of researchers have developed a safer way for people to beat the heat — a highly efficient cooling system that doesn’t move air around. Scientists lined door-sized panels with tiny tubes that circulate cold water. Stand next to a panel, and you can feel it drawing heat away from your body. Unlike air conditioners, these panels can be used with the window open — or even outdoors — making it possible to cool off while also getting some fresh air. This reduces the risk of spreading airborne viruses, such as the coronavirus. “If you look at what the health authorities and governments are saying, the safest place to be during this pandemic is outside,” said Adam Rysanek, an assistant professor of environmental systems at the University of British Columbia who was part of the research effort. “We’re trying to find a way to keep you cool in a heat wave with the windows wide open, because the air is fresh. It’s just that it’s hot.” Cooling panels have been around for a while, but in limited use, because scientists haven’t found a good way to deal with condensation. Like a cold can of Coke on a hot summer day, cooling panels collect drops of water, so they have to be paired with dehumidifiers indoors to stay dry. Otherwise, overhead panels might drip water on people standing underneath. Meggers and his colleagues got around this problem by developing a thin, transparent membrane that repels condensation. This is the key breakthrough behind their cooling technology. Because it stays dry, it can be used in humid conditions, even outdoors. We’re trying to find a way to keep you cool in a heat wave with the windows wide open, because the air is fresh. In air conditioners, a dehumidifier dries out the air to prevent condensation. This component uses an enormous amount of energy, around half of the total power consumed by the air conditioner, researchers said. The new membrane they developed eliminates condensation with no energy cost, making the cooling panels significantly more efficient than a typical AC unit. The research team involved scientists from the University of British Columbia, Princeton, UC Berkeley, and the Singapore-ETH Centre. They published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “This study demonstrates that we can maintain comfortable conditions for people without cooling all the air around them,” said Zoltan Nagy, an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Texas who was not affiliated with the study. “Probably the most significant demonstration of this study is that humans can be provided with comfort in a very challenging thermal environment using a very efficient method.” Researchers developed their technology for use in the persistently hot, muggy climate of Singapore, where avoiding condensation would be particularly difficult. To test their design, they assembled a set of cooling panels into a small tunnel, roughly the size of a school bus. The tunnel, dubbed the “Cold Tube,” sat in a plaza in the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore. Scientists surveyed dozens of people about how they felt after walking through the tunnel. Even as the temperature neared 90 degrees F outside, most participants reported feeling comfortable in the Cold Tube. We can maintain comfortable conditions for people without cooling all the air around them. Scientists said they want to make their technology available to consumers as quickly as possible, for use in homes and offices, or outdoors. Climate change is producing more severe heat , which is driving demand for air conditioners. Researchers hope their cooling panel will offer a more energy-efficient alternative to AC units. If consumers can use less power, that will help cut down on the pollution that is driving climate change. Before they can sell the panels, researchers said they need to make them hardy enough to survive outdoors. The anti-condensation membrane is currently so thin that you could tear it with a pencil, so it must be made stronger. Scientists also need to demonstrate that the panels work efficiently indoors. Hospitals and schools in Singapore already have shown interest in the cooling system. “We know the physics works. Now we need to do one more test so we have a bit more of a commercially viable product,” Rysanek said. “It’s really about trying to get this into people’s hands as quickly as possible.” Pull Quote We’re trying to find a way to keep you cool in a heat wave with the windows wide open, because the air is fresh. We can maintain comfortable conditions for people without cooling all the air around them. Topics HVAC Nexus Media News Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Cooling panels draw heat away from people standing nearby. Lea Ruefenach Close Authorship

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New leaders at Patagonia, McDonald’s, Netflix

October 7, 2020 by  
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New leaders at Patagonia, McDonald’s, Netflix Elsa Wenzel Wed, 10/07/2020 – 02:01 Heading into fall, this batch of career updates from the worlds of sustainability and business is somewhat top-heavy. It’s not necessarily that the game of musical chairs has intensified in the C-suite, but you’ll note major executive moves at big apparel, food, energy, finance and technology corporations, some of which have enlisted a chief sustainability officer (CSO) or equivalent for the first time. Amid myriad social, health and political crises, business sustainability is alive and well and living the Paris Agreement. Who’s news McDonald’s has formed a Global Impact Team to be overseen by EVP and Global Impact Officer Katie Beirne Fallon , who is departing Hilton Worldwide as EVP and head of corporate affairs. Fallon served President Barack Obama as director of legislative affairs and senior advisor. Emma Stewart , recently with Engie Impact and WRI, was named Netflix’s first sustainability officer. The streaming media giant just started reporting on its renewable energy usage last winter. Stewart is known for her longtime service to Autodesk, whose first Sustainability Solutions product group she founded. Stewart also launched and ran research and development at BSR. At Ventura, California-based Patagonia, Ryan Gellert is stepping into the shoes of longtime CEO Rose Marcario , who departed in June after leaving a high water mark for corporate activism. He’s at the helm of Patagonia Works, the parent company. From Amsterdam, Gellert oversaw the company in Europe, Africa and the Middle East for nearly six years, working before that at outdoor gear maker Black Diamond. That brings former VP  Jenna Johnson up to CEO of Patagonia, Inc. Lisa Williams , former chief product officer, becomes head of innovation, design and merchandising. HP Inc. has a new chief sustainability and social impact officer, Ellen Jackowski , who has led there for 12 years as global head of sustainability strategy and innovation. Jeffrey Hogue is slipping into the CSO role at Levi Strauss, moving from the same role at C&A, where he was involved with the launch of the world’s first Cradle to Cradle T-shirt . In addition to his circular economy efforts in apparel, he has been McDonald’s senior director of global CSR. Meanwhile, Michael Kobori left Levi Strauss at the start of the year to become CSO at Starbucks.  Mattel appointed Pamela Gill-Alabaster as head of global sustainability. She brings more than two decades of sustainability expertise honed at Centric Brands, L’Oréal, Estée Lauder Companies and Revlon. Katherine Neebe is the new president of the Duke Energy Foundation, as well as CSO and VP of national engagement and strategy at Duke Energy Corporation. Prior to this, she led ESG and sustainability stakeholder engagement at Walmart, after having spent six years with WWF on a partnership with Coca-Cola. Jeanne-Mey Sun is NRG Energy’s new CSO, joining from Baker Hughes, where she led the oil field services company’s clean energy transition strategy. Applied Materials hired Chris Librie as director of ESG, corporate sustainability and reporting. He held the same title at Samsung Semiconductor, after leading ESG and sustainability at eBay and HP Inc. Green chemistry pioneer John Warner , president of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, joined the biomanufacturing startup Zymergen as a distinguished research fellow. He’s also co-founder of Beyond Benign , an effort to integrate sustainability principles into K-12 chemistry education. Chantelle Ludski is serving as the North America and Asia Pacific COO for the Anthesis Group sustainability consultancy. Previously she served as chief administrative officer for the Americas at Renewable Energy Systems, and global chief risk officer at engineering consultancy Arcadis. Former JetBlue CSO Sophia Mendelsohn is the new chief sustainability officer and global head of ESG at IT services company Cognizant. Richard Threlfall , a 17-year veteran of the Big Four firm KPMG, is now global head of KPMG IMPACT in addition to partner and head of infrastructure. Former Microsoft sustainability director Josh Henretig became VP of global partnerships at Higg Co, known for the Higg Index for apparel. Edelman named Heidi DuBois as special ESG adviser, coming from the Society for Corporate Governance via BNY Mellon and PepsiCo. Former CEO of the Tides Foundation Kriss Deiglmeier just made a move to become chief of social impact at Splunk for Good, billed as a “data for everything” platform. BNP Paribas is enlisting Christina Cho , in her 13th year at the bank, as co-head with Anne van Riel of Sustainable Finance Capital Markets Americas. Jennifer Silberman has joined the hip cooler maker Yeti as VP of ESG, bringing her corporate responsibility background earned at Target , Hilton and BeyondBrands. Former Sephora Director of Sustainability Alison Colwell moved to Novi , a safer chemistry-AI startup, as VP of business development and partnerships. Kabira Stokes became CEO of circular economy startup Retrievr after nine years as co-founder and CEO of Homeboy Recycling. Tod Durst advanced to president from EVP at PolyQuest, which manufactures rPET, recycled plastic resins. Founder and former EVP John Marinelli is serving as CEO and chairman. Advocating The Institute for Sustainable Communities , which advances equitable community solutions to climate change, has appointed Deeohn Ferris as president and CEO. The environmental lawyer leaves the Audubon Society, where she was VP of equity, diversity and inclusion. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) welcomes Managing Director for Climate and Energy Claire O’Neill . The former U.K. Energy and Clean Growth minister also served as COP President for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference. B-Lab co-founder Jay Coen Gilbert is the new co-chair of the new Imperative 21 campaign to “reset capitalism.” Cortney Worrall is the new president and CEO of the nonprofit Waterfront Alliance , which pushes for resilience along the New York and New Jersey coasts. She comes to the organization as former National Parks Conservation Association northeast regional director. Former Energy UK Chief Executive Lawrence Slade is the new CEO of the Global Infrastructure Investor Association . The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) brought on Nora Wang Esram from the Pacific Northwest Laboratory as senior director for research, and promoted Lauren Ross to senior director for policy from local policy director. The roles were previously held by Neal Elliott , now director emeritus, and Maggie Molina , who joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a branch chief. Andrew Howley , a longtime National Geographic director, joined the Biomimicry Institute as chief editor of its AskNature resource of biomimetic solutions. Thought for Food announced Melissa Ong as its Southeast Asia CEO. On the move Energy equipment maker GreenGen added its first director of healthy buildings, Dominic Ramos-Ruiz , who comes from the International Well Building Institute (WELL). Global asset management firm Neuberger Berman brought on Caitlin McSherry as its ESG Investing Team director of stewardships. She’s a former VP and ESG analyst at State Street. The Walton Family Foundation named its new environment program director, Moira Mcdonald , a freshwater conservation program officer there for a decade. She spent 12 years as a senior advisor with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Jenna Jambeck, known for advancing an understanding of marine plastic waste, has been named Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering at the University of Georgia. She’s associate director of the university’s New Materials Institute and directs its Center for Circular Materials Management. Pax Momentum startup accelerator brought on Senseware co-founder and CEO Serene Al-Momen as a professor. Nikki Kapp came to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as a research analyst, leaving Circularity Capital. Radha Friedman is now a senior adviser with the Uplift Agency, a woman-led social impact agency specializing in marginalized populations. She brings experience as a former Weber Shandwick VP of social impact and director of programs at the World Justice Project. The experimental Ray Highway in Georgia, named for Interface carpet’s late sustainability hero Ray Anderson, has brought on Matthew Quirey as landscape design and research fellow. Clare Castleman , a 2018 GreenBiz 30U30 honore, formerly of Eaton, has moved up at Self-Help Credit Union to small business support associate from clean energy intern. Mike Pratl became market leader for KAI Design’s Civic and Municipal market in St. Louis. On board General Mills Foundation Executive Director Nicola Dixon is ReFED’s new board chair, succeeding co-founder Jesse Fink , who remains on the board. Stacey Greene-Koehnke , COO at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, also joined the board of the food waste think tank, while Circularity Capital Founder and CEO Rob Kaplan , moving to Singapore, has left. The board of directors of the Green Seal product certification nonprofit brought on former U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator Jim Jones and Edward Hubbard Jr. , general counsel for the Renewable Fuels Association. Mike Werner , Google’s circular economy lead and Veena Singla , senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), joined the board of the Healthy Building Network . CHEMForward pulled Kimberly Shenk , CEO of Novi, into its advisory board. Forest carbon credit company Pachama formed an advisory board, bringing on Josh Henretig ; forest scientist and Old-Growth Forest Network Founder Joan Maloof ; and Scott Harrison , founder of Charity:Water. Tom Popple , senior manager at Natural Capital Partners, is now a steering committee member of the Irish Forum on Natural Capital. All in the GreenBiz family Former GreenBiz Senior Editor Lauren Hepler has joined CalMatters as economy reporter. Keith Larsen , who worked under Hepler as a GreenBiz reporter , now reports on New York real estate for the Real Deal. Former GreenBiz Senior Account Manager Shaandiin Cedar brought her New Zealand adventure to GreenBiz readers this summer. Topics Leadership Collective Insight Names in the News Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Clockwise, from top left: Deeohn Ferris, ISD; Ryan Gellert, Patagonia; Jennifer Silberman, YETI; Dominic Ramos-Ruiz, GreenGen; Jeff Hogue, Levi Strauss; Veena Singla, NRDC; Chris Librie, Applied Materials; Katie Beirne Fallon, McDonald’s; Jeanne-Mey Sun, NRG Energy; John Warner, Warner Babcock Institute.

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New leaders at Patagonia, McDonald’s, Netflix

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