An Unprecedented Opportunity: Message From Mike Bloomberg
As 2019 came to a close, a period of enormous upheaval was just beginning.
The past few months have been extremely difficult for communities all over the world and for businesses in every industry — and most of all, for those who have lost loved ones to coronavirus, or who have lost their jobs because of it. The pandemic has brought about the most severe economic downturn the world has seen in many years, but it can also be a turning point that propels us forward — including in the fight against climate change.
As governments in every region pursue policies to get their economies back on solid footing, we have an unprecedented opportunity to make smart investments that accelerate our transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy and lay the foundation for strong and sustainable growth in the years ahead.
The fact is: Fighting climate change and growing the economy go hand in hand. Investments that reduce carbon emissions also create jobs and protect businesses and investors from risks. Because much of the world’s carbon emissions and air pollution are produced by the same sources, actions to address climate change also clean the air, which helps cities attract more private sector investment. People want to live where they can breathe clean air — and where people want to live, businesses want to invest. Clean air also leads to better health and less vulnerability to respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 — as well as chronic conditions like asthma and lung disease. So fighting climate change brings immediate benefits that can save lives and make our communities stronger and more resilient.
At Bloomberg, we’re committed to doing our part. We are a member of RE100, a global coalition of companies committed to using 100 percent clean energy. In 2019, just under 50 percent of the power our company used came from renewable sources, ahead of our original target of 35 percent clean energy by 2020. We have also improved the energy efficiency of our operations by nearly 50 percent. These steps don’t just benefit the environment — they have saved us over $120 million since 2008. And over the next year, we will develop a new set of strategic targets across our business to raise the bar for sustainability in the years ahead.
More businesses and investors want to take similar steps — and to help them, we have continued to expand the environmental, social and governance (ESG) data and in-depth research we provide, and we’re working to make that data and information easier to access and put to use. In 2019, we released new tools that help our clients visualize risks and opportunities and incorporate ESG data into their existing decision-making processes. We also created Bloomberg Green, a new global multi-platform media brand fully dedicated to covering climate change, which launched in early 2020.
We have also formed coalitions of business and civic leaders to make financial markets more transparent and help them price in climate risks. Two industry-driven organizations that Bloomberg helped launch — the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Financial Stability Board Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) — are providing guidance on assessing climate-related risks. Meanwhile, the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative (CFLI), which I chair, is mobilizing private finance to address climate change in ways that also spur economic growth.
Virtually all of our company’s profits go to fund the work of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which continues to expand its efforts to drive action on climate change. In June, we launched Beyond Carbon, a coordinated national campaign to speed the adoption of clean energy. And in 2019, Bloomberg employees contributed more than 158,000 volunteer hours in cities and countries around the world, including projects that are helping us protect the environment and cut carbon emissions.
Climate change, like the coronavirus, is a global challenge that no country or industry can defeat alone. But by working together and forming partnerships, we can build a stronger economy and a healthier planet for the generations to come.
For more on Bloomberg’s approach to sustainability, view the 2019 Impact Report.