Last month, the leaders of seven of the world’s largest economies came together for the G7 summit, and committed to ending reliance on fossil fuels by 2100. In concert with that goal, they pledged to reduce carbon emissions 40-70 percent below 2010 levels by 2050. While the practical details of how these reductions are to be achieved have yet to be outlined, the commitment is a strong signal of how climate change has risen to the forefront of the global environmental and geopolitical discussions. Now, according to Sir David King, the top climate change diplomat in the United Kingdom, we can expect a climate deal to be reached during November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
The following originally appeared in the most recent issue of The Corporate Citizen, the Center’s magazine, and outlines Dell’s Legacy for Good Plan, a set of corporate citizenship goals for the year 2020. Come to the Center’s 2015 International Corporate Citizenship Conference to learn more about this ambitious program from Dell, the event’s convening sponsor.
In May 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed Boston College’s graduating class and urged them to meet the threat of climate change head-on. His challenge to the next generation of leaders echoed his recent call to action to diplomats across the world, urging them to elevate the environment in everything they do and work together to adopt a new, ambitious environmental agreement by 2020.
While I was on the road for Center business a couple of weeks ago, I caught BlackRock CEO Larry Fink on Squawk Box. Fink is bullish on U.S. equities. With $4.4 trillion under management, he is someone who a lot of investors listen to, whether they agree with him or not. The panel of Squawk Box interlocutors was discussing with Fink how our dovish Fed is dampening volatility (and trading volume) in the markets, reducing the opportunity to make quick money. Fink’s position in this conversation caught my attention. “Lack of volatility is not an investor problem,” he said, “It is a trader problem.” During the 20 minutes or so I watched, Fink talked about a longer-term perspective as being important to the future of our national and global economy—promoting longer-term corporate governance, public and private capital investments, and public policy. He and others have noted that many large corporations are sitting on a lot of cash that can be put to work to create more business value and more social good.
As we start 2014, we have taken some time to reflect on the work of the last year and where we see the field headed. The Center has had the privilege to work with companies in the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Africa this year and our membership reflects this diversity. While the individual issues being addressed by companies may differ across global regions, the questions are essentially the same at their core:
Are we helping to create the type of world we want to do business in?
Even more importantly, are we helping to create the kind of world we want to live in?
Corporate citizenship, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and corporate responsibility (CR). These are the most frequently used terms by companies to describe the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) dimensions of business, according to the most recent Profile of the Practice study.