4 min read

Post-COP27: Corporate and Local Leaders Must Emerge from the Shadows

Post-COP27: Corporate and Local Leaders Must Emerge from the Shadows
Photo by Tim Foster / Unsplash

Global climate talks will not save us. Though many a person who attended the non-official "world's fair" rooms at COP27 has written up a "It was bad, but here are glimmers of hope" debrief blogpost, we have to get real. In the U.S. especially, it's down to corporate leaders and city/state policy-makers to catalyze the change themselves. There are so many ways that leaders in those spaces can move the needle on key decisions about transportation, food systems, affordable housing and more.  (I'm interviewing some of them for Episode 1 of my Living Change podcast, which will launch in January 2023.) They just have to get bolder and louder. Hopefully, a few of them have been building social capital they can activate...

Which leads me to the implosion of Twitter. I'm in this mess too, like the many of you who've long found that platform, with all of its flaws, to be the place to find collaborators and new research, to forge relationships with influencers and to find progress and ways to name and fame it. I'm holding on until the bitter end. I'm also checking out Mastodon, but am most closely watching Post.News . Whatever happens, we'll all be re-building our networks and I'd suggest we use this as the re-set it can be. (I may write more on this. Stay tuned.)

Climate Activism Gets Extreme (I'm Here For It)

As I participated in the recently held GreenBiz VERGE22 and then observed happenings at #COP27 (with a lot of help from Twitter, of course), I'm reflecting on a George Monbiot  piece on the climate activists who threw soup at a Van Gogh painting. Particularly, this quote:

"Who are the criminals here? Those seeking to prevent the vandalism of the living planet, or those facilitating it?"

Even if leaders are not involved in activities that clearly "vandalize" our living planet, a whole lot of them  are facilitating such. They have clearly put blinders on and hope we don't catch on.  

Here's the thing. We need a handful of "unicorn" CEOs who are ready to be anywhere near as bold as the Van Gogh painting activists. Corporate communications folks need to get louder about how their organization's founder or  has personal values and professional decisions that have shifted thanks to climate change. You need to make the dotted line to the related corporate changes visible.  

We can't keep pointing only to Patagonia as our one big example of a leader living change and making climate-informed professional calls. They'd be happy to share the limelight, I am certain.

You, dear leader, are a walking, breathing, living climate influence solution, should you choose to accept that call (please, please, do). I'm among the many who'd love to amplify your moves and help you grow your platforms.

Ignore Agricultural Methane Reduction Potential At Our Peril: COP27 Redux

We have a world and U.S. government super-focused on reducing methane emissions (apparently) , and yet still ignoring the "cow in the room" as so many great articles have phrased it. Case in point: during COP27, President Biden announced the allocation of $20 billion to reduce methane emissions .

To which, Theresa Lieb replies in her excellent GreenBiz Group#FoodWeekly newsletter:

"Unsurprisingly, no money is earmarked for reducing meat and dairy consumption."

Could that be because the U.S. continues to be beholden to big agriculture, including via the affiliations of its Secretary of Agriculture? Argh. If more of you, corporate leaders, talked about  tending to Scope 3 emissions by moving food service/catering/events policy in the plant-based direction, for example, we might be able to shame the U.S. government into action (though, I so prefer the #NameAndFame angle).

Corporations are primed to be the leaders on this front.

On that note, a video shown during the LinkedIn, Better Food Foundation/Greener By Default panel I moderated (at Greenbiz VERGE) should be amplified.  Their pilot effort sure seems to indicate that moving a cafeteria away from a meat and dairy emphasis can be done. Study that video, and learn. (Huge kudos to the LinkedIn team and Chef Alicia / the team at Good Eating Company)

A big methane reduction opportunity awaits corporations, even if the Global Methane Pledge is pretty much ignoring the agricultural source. May you be on the next COP stage to tell us all about it.

What I'm Up To

GreenBiz Verge 2022: I had a blast moderating the aforementioned LinkedIn food-focused panel, hosting a lunch discussion on why building climate influence matters and networking in real life again. These are the types of things I'd love to do at other climate, sustainability and social responsibility leadership events - either live or virtually. You know where to find me.

Interviews for Season 1 of Living Change: A Quest for Climate Leadership are in full swing at the Larj Media studios in Seattle. I'm in post-production on recorded conversations with a few local political leaders who "live change" by biking for transportation, and a cultural influencer in the global music space who has incorporated his climate values in his plant-based bar. This week I'm talking with a climate tech genius-finder who was driven by environmental focus from childhood, and a CFO who forwards corporate culture positivity and impact via sustainability policies that include plant-forward food. I seriously can't wait for you to listen to these wonderful surprising validators who are truly living change.

See you on Twitter (for now) or LinkedIn, until next time. If you have tips on news that reflects the sort of "climate influence" I advocate for, please send them along. And, have a great holiday season.