Business Can Play a Profitable Role in Combating Climate Change, with Andrew Winston


I believe that the challenges we’re facing
globally as a business community and as a species are getting so large and so complex
that the way we do business has to fundamentally change. And The Big Pivot is about a deep
change in the priorities of business, kind of a flip from worrying about short term earnings
first and then getting to some of these kind of shared challenges we have only when, you
know, there’s pressure from outsiders or there’s maybe quick wins or kind of easy
wins that companies can pursue. And flipping that so that we’re operating businesses
in a way that tackles our biggest challenges and works back from there and says how do
we do that using the tools of capitalism and markets and competition to do it most profitably. Often what people call sustainability which
is not, I think, always the perfect word but the things that fall under that that are environmental
or social challenges – there’s this assumption in business quite often that trying to tackle
these issues will be expensive, that there’s this tradeoff, this fundamental tradeoff between
trying to manage these big challenges in a profitable way and just managing your bottom
line in a normal way and that it’s going to be expensive. This myth was based in some
reality for a long time. There were things that did cost more money and green products
or green services – they weren’t very good for a long time so there’s a sense
that green was somehow not good for business. It wasn’t out of nowhere but that’s really
a dated view. We now have a situation where the challenges are so vast and the world is
changing so fundamentally that the only path we have forward is to manage these issues.
That’s the point of The Big Pivot so that we will find a profitable path to do it and
we have so many options now. There’s a whole category of things that companies do that
save money very quickly. All things that fall under kind of the banner of eco-efficiency
or energy efficiency or using less. I mean in part green is about doing more with less.
That’s just good business and so that part of the agenda has become much more normal
in companies and they’re finding ways to cut costs dramatically. That’s the easy
stuff. But we’re now finding even the things that
seemed very expensive for a while like say going to renewable energy – that’s one
of the examples people always use of if we’re going to go green, we’re going to put solar
on our roof and it’s going to cost so much. The cost of that has been dropping dramatically,
70-80 percent reduction in cost of, you know, using solar power in the last five years.
So the economics have shifted. This is now very good for business. Almost all of the
agenda of The Big Pivot is good for business in the long term, in the medium term and very
often in the short term. So there isn’t this tradeoff. This is the path to growth.
This is the path to innovation, to building your brand, to cutting costs and to cutting
risk. All the value drivers that you can create in business, this pivot will help you enable. Climate change is arguably, and I believe
really, the greatest challenge we face for humanity and I’m not alone in this. There’s
now voices coming to the table that are from unusual places. You know former U.S. Treasury
Secretaries have put out a report called Risky Business that talks about how expensive this
has become just for the economy and for all of our cities and how expensive it will be,
how dangerous it is. They call it an existential threat. I mean these are aggressive statements.
And so you’re seeing people starting to create a bigger social movement because we
need that too. For a change this big it isn’t just business or government but citizens need
to be involved. Recently in New York City there was a very large climate march. I took
part with my family and me and 400,000 of my closest friends. And it got very little
attention in the press. There’s a very strange thing that’s happened where, I don’t know,
climate change is boring, it’s not sexy, it doesn’t seem exciting and so it doesn’t
get the coverage it needs. And it’s kind of shocking because this was
one of the largest public demonstrations around anything environmental, I think, ever. And
it was one of the larger marches in New York history. And yet it kind of missed the boat
for the press and I think that’s the fault of the press more than of people. I think
people and I find businesses are much more aware of these issues and are moving on them
than anybody covering it will give them credit for. And it’s a shame. I think there’s
an opportunity to highlight how far we’ve come and the opportunities we have to change
our lives for the better and make business a part of the solution and make it, you know,
more prosperous and more profitable. And I think we’re missing out on telling that
story.

Comments 20

  • There is no market incentive for advanced states of efficiency. As efficiency always reduces the amount of labor, resources and service needed for a given purpose and hence reduces monetary circulation. Therefor a new synergistic systems view of industry focused explicitly on material and labor efficiency along with an optimized strategy for sustainability is needed.

  • They find cost cuts, and they do find some "green solutions" but they are inevitably not enough to combat climate change.
    And as he said, "it leads to growth", which is inevitably a greater strain on the environment…. 

    What we need is a state lead initiative which suppress the destructive forces of the market.

  • No one wants to talk about the real problem, that there are to many people.

  • "Green is about doing more with less, that's just good business"

  • if you want efficiency you have to get rid of scarcity if you do that ……. that's the end of money can capitalism. and i say hell ya.   

  • "Let's talk about profit: a totally selfish and self-maximizing affair, and talk about it like we actually care about each-other and the Earth…" -.- I'm not buying it. The idea of profit does not mesh well with the idea of a unified society in which people actually care about one another. Capitalism has made you people so individualistic and selfish that you're taken aback with confusion when people bring up ideas like equality and sustainability for all. Why do you even want to combat climate change? Probably so you can continue to comfortably fly your private jet to all the hotels and day-spas you own?… This channel makes me sick.

  • Firstly business is the sole reason why we have climate change there is a demand everyone company looks to fill. The system itself incentivises a company who is able to secure reserves. But hey we can all have iPhones

    The only way you can make them pay is by enforcing a global tax within the system as the externalities thus far have not been paid by the oil companies. But hey we can all have iPhones

    Funny thing is almost every publication I read has the amount consumed by the human race going up. 100 mmb per day is very much a possibility who is everyone going to look to when the climate becomes inhospitable the scientists. The new cohort of engineers is more equipped at tackling a test than any meaningful type of engineering. But hey we can all all have iPads

    Then you have people like the Koch brothers telling you it's a myth because they will be long gone by then and they are trying to protect their interests but hey we can all have iPhones

  • You're going to keep pushing the "Climate Change" agenda???? Bloody hell! When will they stop this nonsense! Please stop it. People aren't that stupid anymore!

  • They aren't going too.

  • Building your network?! We can spread the climate change message and movement on the new free social media TSU that pays the users! I'm at MotivationMike 

  • We can't move forward on fixing the climate if Republicans keep on getting elected. Just look at all the core Republican/Libertarian voters who are commenting on here. It's sad. They are the ones that want to stop us from helping to try to change the climate for the better.

  • In the words of Rage Against the Machine: "If we don't take action now, we settle for nothing later"

  • I can't believe this guy does not know why the media did not report the climate change rally much.  The main media is owned be GE which is owned by big banks which owns 40% of 43,000 transnational corporations – this is corporate capture.  Needs to change folks start by using digital currency then move corporation law having more say from employees.

  • Well…of course business has to fucking change.

    The actual issue is how, though.

    It's obvious that big corporate would love to keep their share of the pie in the process of this change, but at what price? Do we really want another oligopoly, this time with green energy?

    I don't think so. We had the unionbusters when we needed them, where are our corporatebusters? Fortunately, we'll probably see them when big corporate will prove itself to be inevitably outdated and unable to adapt; It's going to happen someday, all things come to an end eventually and hey, no hurt feelings and thanks for all the schnitzel.

  • sherlock xD ofc id could

    Good thing that the fact is being enlightend tho!

  • It's all about grass roots action. Stop buying crap you don't need and the amount of resources used will shrink dramatically.
    Relying on a government to fix a problem will lead nowhere except to a worse problem.

  • Why not use wind and solar to store power as hydrogen?

  • Attention INDIVIDUALS!!!  If you're concerned about climate change, stop waiting for Government and Big Business to fix it.  Throw of your, "Bigger, better, newer, more, more, more," mentality, and stop over-using resources in the name of Convenience and Entertainment.  This is NOT somebody else's responsibility.  Climate Change is driven by the profits YOU contribute to ecological offenders by CONSUMING the goods and services they provide…most of which are totally unnecessary for survival.  If you care about the planet, LIVE SIMPLER!!! 

  • All corporations are concerned with are short term earnings.  By law, they are obligated to earn the most they can for their shareholders.  If companies played the long game they would see that not fucking up the planet beyond repair is a good investment, but they don't care about the long game.  They care about this quarter.

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