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On Tuesday, April 27, Axios business editor Dan Primack and markets reporter Courtenay Brown unpacked how businesses are now making sustainability integral to their strategy and minimizing their own carbon footprint, featuring Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert and Ceres CEO & president Mindy Lubber. Ryan Gellert unpacked how businesses play a critical role in addressing climate change, highlighting decisions in supply chain management and utilizing recyclable materials.

  • On centering long-lasting and reusable materials for consumer products in business strategy: "Collectively we're trying to have a lower footprint in the [materials] that we use...We continue to push [this] deeper into the center of the business, partnering with our customers to incentivize them to keep their product and use as long as possible because, ultimately, the most responsible and the most sustainable jacket or pants are ones that already exist."
  • On the need for government and private sector collaboration to address climate issues: "I think that business is now begrudgingly stepping into a space that I think has been under-supported by government...Given the existential nature of the climate and ecological crisis, I think that we're going to need government."

Mindy Lubber discussed the need for CEOs and boards of directors to prioritize sustainability initiatives across their companies and consistently measure themselves against industry benchmarks.

  • On corporations responding to the threat of climate change: "There's no question that there's been a change within the corporate and the financial community. Part of that change has come from the fact that the data is just clear. I mean, let's just think if you have 20 events in the year that cost a billion dollars from climactic changes, that's telling us something."
  • On the need for businesses to support their supply chains with sustainability efforts: "They have to help their suppliers meet those [climate] goals as well. That's training. That's resources...You've got to be consistent on policy at a board level, and you've got to help your supply chain."

Axios Vice President of Communications Yolanda Brignoni hosted a View from the Top Segment with Salesforce Head of Sustainability Patrick Flynn, who discussed climate change as an equity issue and the need for companies to be transparent about their impact on the environment.

  • "Within ESG—environmental, social and governance—the most important letter is actually 'C' for the climate. Climate [initiatives] are a way to create jobs, create quality, and support human health while also supporting our environment...For companies, their climate data needs to reach the same level of quality as their financial data."

Thank you Salesforce for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

CEOs feel the pressure to act on climate change

Axios' Courtenay Brown and Ceres CEO Mindy Lubber. Photo: Axios

CEOs feel the pressure to take action on climate change in the absence of government regulation, executives at Patagonia and Ceres said at an Axios virtual event on Tuesday.

What they're saying: Federal and state regulators, starting with the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve, should not let policies to offset climate change be voluntary for businesses, Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of the sustainable investment advocacy group Ceres, said.

Updated Apr 28, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on the future of greening industry

On Wednesday, April 28, Axios energy reporter Ben Geman and business reporter Hope King unpacked global sustainability initiatives across the private sector and key learnings from the White House climate summit, featuring Global Optimism founding partner Christiana Figueres and White House climate adviser Melanie Nakagawa.

Christiana Figueres discussed global collaboration and the 2020s as the "decisive decade" in determining the planet's future climate.

  • On the capacity of the U.S. to be a role model in its investment in addressing climate change: "The United States is definitely taking a leadership role here and showing other countries how that is done and most importantly, what the benefits are of that all-government approach."
  • On getting the U.S. to zero carbon by 2035 and its economic impact: "It will create millions of jobs, and it will make the U.S. economy much more competitive in a decarbonized global economy."

Melanie Nakagawa unpacked President Biden's climate agenda and the economic impact of ambitious, policy-driven climate goals.

  • On the U.S. International Climate Finance Plan: "Many of these investments we're looking to make are about creating jobs at home. Many of these opportunities are ways that we increase our ability to export more...We really see that that kind of investment is not only good at home, but also help others overseas become more resilient to the impacts of climate change."
  • On accountability in government and the private sector and setting far-reaching climate goals: "What are countries, what are private sector institutions, what are cities and towns and others doing in this decade to get us on that path to 2050? It's great to have a net-zero 2050 timeline out there. What's even better is to show us how you're getting there by 2030."

Axios Chief Revenue Officer Fabricio Drumond hosted a View from the Top Segment with Gerry Keefe, Head of Global Banking, Americas at HSBC who discussed how large companies can support the world's transition to net-zero, and what it will take to get there.

  • "I think the greatest need that we have in addressing these challenges is innovation. I think if you understand the math of carbon, and where we stand globally, you realize very quickly...that we only get to net zero through innovation, whether that's power generation, [or] storage usage."

Thank you HSBC for sponsoring this event.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 27, 2021 - Economy & Business

Citigroup declined 11 coal transactions last year

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Banking giant Citigroup said that last year it declined 11 "transaction opportunities" around coal mining or coal-fired power as a result of recently launched climate policies.

Why it matters: The tally, part of a wider ESG report released Monday, provides a rare glimpse at specific business fallout of Wall Street giants' growing restrictions on certain types of fossil finance.