November 16, 2022
Senior Government Affairs Director, Dow
Head of Climate and Environmental Strategy, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Director of Fuel Efficiency, Norfolk Southern
As the effects of climate change continue to impact transportation, agriculture, and human health globally, many companies are taking a proactive stance on climate action. Efforts to help lower the carbon economy and develop sustainable technologies have been a focal point for private sector organizations on the leading edge of environmental initiatives.
During the 2022 Business Solves Corporate Citizenship Conference and Awards, Hicks Winters, Senior Government Affairs Director at Dow, and Hiba Mooney, Head of Climate and Environmental Strategy at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to discuss the role private sector leaders can play in driving global sustainability goals.
Private Sector Leaders Are Driving Climate Action
The panelists discussed how sustainability commitments from key stakeholders had incentivized businesses to become leaders in climate action.
“There's this incredible groundswell of not only companies, but the employees within those companies, really caring about the environment in which they're working [and] living,” Mooney said.
“This is based on customer demands … not based on some government mandate that we’re taking action early,” Winters agreed.
Mooney added that investing early in sustainability has positioned private sector leaders as drivers of climate action.
“We continue to see corporations … on the leading edge of decarbonization before any governments get involved,” she said.
“I think there’s an opportunity for businesses [that] are willing and committed to being early actors … to provide products and solutions that accelerate our path toward decarbonization,” Winters added.
Effective Sustainability Initiatives Require Collective Action
When asked about the path toward sustainability goals, the panelists emphasized the need for cooperation and collective action from global leaders.
“Harmonization of standards is still an issue that’s outstanding,” Winters said. “Being able to talk across borders would be an important step toward [a] global lower carbon economy.”
Mooney noted that while taking early action on sustainability initiatives can lend businesses a competitive advantage, private and public sector leaders should view climate action as a shared responsibility.
“We’re all trying to work toward the same goal,” she said. “We talk about this race to zero [emissions], but it’s not a race that any one person should be winning. It’s a finish line that we all need to cross together.”
“This is not something you are out there leading on your own,” Winters agreed.
Innovations in Technology Provide Promising Sustainability Solutions
The panelists also shared their optimism about the promise of innovative climate technology.
“There’s so much disruption that is going to happen, and it’s just amazing,” Winters said, citing cutting-edge developments such as carbon capture and small modular nuclear technologies. “There’s some really cool stuff out there.”
Mooney echoed the enthusiasm for new climate solutions.
“It’s really encouraging to see the amount of investment that is being infused into the startup industry,” Mooney said. “The people who I’ve talked to are so passionate about decarbonization … That makes me wake up and have hope in the morning because there are a lot of challenges in what we do.”
From the Series