Corporations critical in mitigating climate change and influencing policy – Chicago Corporate Sustainability Meeting

Yesterday, I joined Ceres President Mindy Lubber in addressing a gathering of Chicago sustainability leaders led by Adele Simmons and hosted at the Chicago Community Trust.  Mindy emphasized the need for effective policy to achieve the scale, scope, and pace required to mitigate climate risk to businesses, investment markets, and human communities.  She argued for putting a price on carbon to achieve an honest signal that creates a level playing field for sustainable solutions. The Fourth National Climate Assessment suggests that, in the U.S. alone, climate-related economic damage could reach 10% of GDP by the end of the century.  Increasingly, corporations are identifying climate change as a significant risk to their operations and rallying around the need for collective action supported by effective public policy. Financial regulators, including the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Reserve Board, have been slow to recognize climate risks to financial markets, but recent events have shown that they are heeding the call. Greenleaf shares this call to action for climate policy as expressed in research prepared by Dr. Roy Wehrle and Dr. Don Wuebbles (see National Energy Transition Plan here).

Climate change aggravates risks to human health from heat waves, exposure to pathogens and disease, as well as stress on water infrastructure.  To address climate change, Greenleaf works on many solutions highlighted in Project Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.  Since Greenleaf was founded in 2002, we have worked with partners on intelligent solutions such as clean energy systems, regional coordination of stressed water resources, and improved agricultural practices that protect soil health.  This spring, we will convene a diverse group of experts on soil sensors to achieve means of measuring carbon sequestration, soil moisture, and nutrient values.  The food and agricultural industry are hungry for data to inform best practices that protect resources, and farmers want to be paid for their contributions.  We aim to feed that hunger with enhanced tools that sustain the livelihoods of hardworking farm communities and all who depend upon them.

This next decade will be decisive – we must step up our fight against climate change to prevent devastating human and economic consequences. We look back at the lessons we have learned and the progress that has been achieved through partnerships and collaborative, interdisciplinary efforts. It is through collective intelligence that we progress as a society, solving problems, resolving conflicts, and transacting services that protect the commons.  This makes us a ‘community’ and gives me hope for the future.

Please contact us to collaborate on land, water, material, and energy resource protection.

Posted in climate.