GreenBiz19: Are We Staring at the Threshold of Significant Change?

“GreenBiz is like coming to summer camp and catching up with your best friends.”

Best friends come in all shapes and sizes, but one truth of all best friends is that they are trusted companions, celebrating your successes and supporting you through challenges. Most importantly, they are always there during the biggest moments of your life – and this may be one of those moments for the corporate sector.

More than any other year to date GreenBiz19 made it clear that significant action on climate is just around the riverbend, and the world’s largest companies gathered in Phoenix, Arizona this week to do as best friends do – showcasing a level of collaboration like we’ve never seen before.

Why Now?

“All systems a go, Captain.”

The most influential climate leaders are no longer sitting around the table talking about the types of people and solutions we need to tackle the world’s biggest problems – those now exist. Just as the perfect combination of machinery brought along the world’s first flight, corporations are now equipped with the systems needed to truly take off.

The GreenFin Summit, a closed-door event held for the top investors and corporations to engage in honest conversation, is the only testimony needed to prove that the time is now.

The data is in. The technology is available. The people are ready. The partnerships are multiplying. It seems to be that we’ve reached a minimum viable product at a global scale, with the investors, the suppliers and the consumers all lined up.

Of course, there are more solutions, better solutions, to be discovered and brought to fruition, but there in enough in place to make it possible to take a leap. Kevin Hagen of Iron Mountain and Lyrica McTiernan of Facebook put it plainly: the amount of time spent responding to supplier questionnaires is debilitating, and though it was once revolutionary to track information on suppliers, it’s now time to start spending our resources collaborating across the value chain to create scalable solutions.

What Then?

“Who would’ve thought?”

Nearly every company in the Fortune 1,000 has some level of commitment to corporate social responsibility. But it is no longer enough to have standalone programs that do not engage with all facets of ESG to produce system solutions. And why would you? “$1 in every $4 is invested in ESG – would you cap your company’s earning potential to 75%?” asks Audrey Choi of Morgan Stanley. The question you must ask, then, is what role does your company play in the global and local system that you operate in? Who do you need as a partner to achieve the solutions being required by global goals?

As a leading office furniture provider, it is obvious to address the materials used in your products. But what is your responsibility in reducing the waste stream of your customers? Should your company commit to only offer timeless fabric designs to avoid excess turnover in trendy workspaces?

Your standard ketchup bottle is produced by four different manufacturers: the bottle, the lid, the label, and the contents. Not to mention the supply & distribution chains of each of those parts. A single product touches more supply chains that one can fathom. What common goals are you helping your value chain achieve? How can your product contribute to a better world? What journey can you embark on that in ten years from now will make you think, “Who would’ve thought?”

Conclusion

The attendees of GreenBiz19 were challenged to think systemically and understand how their business is can engage with the global solutions being presented today. The bottom line is: the solutions and the systems exist, and if you’re not cross-collaborating with your peers, competitors, suppliers, and distributors, you’re quickly lagging behind the competitive plane.

We are on a threshold of significant change, and it’s about time as the IPCC tells us we only have 12 years left after all.

Be a Part of the Conversation.

Don’t miss these exciting resources being discussed at the thought leadership table:

Resources:

Insights:

Coming Soon:

  • MAY SDG Progress Report: update four years into the goals; how are organizations and governments reaching expectations