For These Companies, Climate Action Is a Business Imperative

Jan 30, 2020 9:00 AM ET

When the world’s largest asset manager talks, business leaders listen. And what they heard last week, from BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, is that climate change is triggering “a fundamental reshaping of finance.” 

In his annual letter to executives, Fink warned that ignoring the financial risk inherent in climate change will make it harder for companies to find investors. 

“Because capital markets pull future risk forward, we will see changes in capital allocation more quickly than we see changes to the climate itself,” Fink wrote. “In the near future—and sooner than most anticipate—there will be a significant reallocation of capital.” 

BlackRock’s warning is just one more recent signal to companies that they need to take climate change seriously. But embarking on sweeping operational changes to reduce climate risk exposure could take the business world decades. So how can multinational corporations implement effective sustainability measures quickly?

A growing number of companies are leading this charge, using innovative approaches and partnering with nonprofits to help contain climate change with urgency. Companies such as HP, Walmart, Goldman Sachs and global cosmetics manufacturer Estée Lauder are putting their carbon footprint on a diet by investing in renewables, encouraging transport electrification and implementing other emissions reduction programs. 

At the same time, they’re getting a boost from market incentives that make a strong business case to invest in sustainability. 

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