4 Business Leaders on Addressing the Climate Crisis: The Broadsheet
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Part-time work isn’t a full solution to keeping women in the workforce, Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird get a power couple profile, and we get highlights from Fortune’s Global Sustainability Forum in China. Have a wonderful weekend.
- Green grows up. It’s Friday evening here in Yunnan, China, where I’ve been attending Fortune’s inaugural Global Sustainability Forum for the past three days. That makes it the perfect time to reflect on the big ideas that were debated at the Forum, which took place on the shore of China’s beautiful Fuxian Lake.
Cristiana Paşca-Palmer, executive secretary for the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity, helped paint a stark picture of the kinds of challenges we're up against when it comes to solving the world's biggest and most daunting environmental problems. "When we are losing the species, we are losing the fabric that keeps together all these ecosystems and the services nature provides for us. Let us not forget our food comes from nature, the air that we breathe, the water we drink," she said, characterizing the loss of biodiversity as an economic problem. "Economic development policies need to put nature at the center. It's the capital on which our economic and societal system stays."
Meanwhile, Debra Tan, director of the think tank China Water Risk, pointed to the vast opportunities available to those who are able to crack climate's toughest quandaries. In particular, she made the business case for cleaning up China’s Yangtze River, whose basin—incredibly—is the third-largest economy in the world, eclipsing those of Canada and Japan. Because of its massive scale and the integral part it plays in global trade, addressing the Yangtze's environmental threats represents “a huge opportunity to green the supply chain,” she said.
Despite the dire climate forecasts, there was plenty of optimism at the Forum. Priscilla Lu, managing director of Sustainable Investment Alternatives at DWS asset management, talked about how corporations’ eagerness to present themselves as environmentally-progressive is having a trickle-down effect. Her firm is facilitating a $300 million fund for Apple to invest in green businesses across China. “One positive result is that it is really creating accountability among suppliers,’’ Lu said.
Consumers are also due a great deal of credit for demanding that brands do more than pay lip service to sustainability, said Vanessa Wright, Pernod Ricard’s vice president for sustainability. Interestingly, she says that demand for authentic green initiatives are present in workplaces too. “Consumers are… looking to join companies who are doing that,” she said. “It’s a real winner, I think, in terms of talent attraction.”
At the heart of the Forum was the question of how to balance economic demands with efforts to preserve the planet. Those objectives are often seen as in conflict, but Big Business's eagerness to engage on the topic and the money it's finally putting behind it seem to acknowledge that the two can work in concert. As Wright of Pernod Ricard put it, profit and sustainability “don’t have to sit apart.”
If you're hungry for more information on corporate environmentalism, I urge you to subscribe to Fortune's newest weekly newsletter, The Loop, which promises to keep you in, ahem, the loop on all things energy, technology, and sustainability. Check out the first edition and subscribe here.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Part-time hours = part-time cash. The Economist takes a big-picture look at the effect of part-time work on women's earnings. The option to work fewer hours does keep women in the workforce, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows: In the Netherlands, where three-quarters of female workers are part-time, women receive much less in pension and monthly income and contribute only 33% of the country's GDP via paid work. Economist
- Blessed be the yelling. Before the release of the Handmaid's Tale sequel The Testaments, Margaret Atwood weighs in on the TV show and how she continued the story of Gilead. "I’ve done some yelling" about parts of the show she disagrees with, she said, namely because "it’s a bit of a problem for people that know about real totalitarianism that some of these characters have survived for as long as they did." New York Times
- A slam dunk of a profile. Power couple Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird get a joint profile, with details and reflections on their routines, life together in Seattle, activism for female athletes and equal pay, and being recognized in public a lot more now. The photos alone are worth the click: InStyle
- Protect your investment. Ginny Fahs, a technology policy fellow at the Aspen Institute, writes about co-founding #MovingForward, an organization has convinced 89 VC firms to publish their harassment policies on VentureMovingForward.org (an additional 33 made their policies available via email). She also urges more states to consider legislation that would officially protect against harassment in third-party business relationships and forbid investor-entrepreneur harassment. So far, California and New York have put such laws on the books and Massachusetts is expected to follow suit this year. The Atlantic
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Former Hollywood Reporter and Us Weekly editor Janice Min left her role leading daily news shows at Quibi before the launch of the short-form video platform led by Meg Whitman. GM named Cadillac CMO Deborah Wahl global CMO, its first since 2012. Under Armour hires Duluth Trading Company's Stephanie Pugliese as president, North America. The Council of Fashion Designers of America, as it attempts to diversify, named Maria Cornejo, Carly Cushnie, Virgil Abloh, and Kerby Jean-Raymond to board seats; after controversy over hosting a Trump fundraiser, Mimi So and Kara Ross became an emeritus member as did Georgina Chapman, whose seat was also a source of controversy. Bustle Digital Group hires T Magazine's Elizabeth Webbe as EVP of revenue. PagerDuty advisory board member Julie Herendeen is now the company's CMO.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Music to my ears. In a women in music issue, Elle has covers with Billie Eilish and Lizzo and interviews with songwriter Linda Perry and Spotify chief content officer Dawn Ostroff. "We really have to work hard to move the needle for women so that the next generation is not saying the same thing," Ostroff says of challenges facing women in the music industry.
- VC for good? Olivela, the online luxury retail startup founded by CEO Stacey Boyd, has raised a $35 million Series A round led by Morgan Stanley. Olivela, which donates 20% of the proceeds for each purchase to charitable causes, is part of a wider trend toward startups with business models that include a charitable component seeking VC funding. WSJ
- MIT oh no. MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte told the lab's staff that he still supported the institution's decision to take money from alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. "If you wind back the clock, I would still say, ‘Take it.’” MIT Technology Review
- A tale as old as time. Despite the fact that we often talk about women choosing not to have children acts as a new phenomenon, it's actually anything but. Historian Rachel Chrastil puts it in context: In the late 1800s, white women in the United States began to limit their childbearing within marriage. An especially interesting stat: at least 1 in 5 American women born between 1885 and 1915 never had children. Washington Post
ON MY RADAR
’90s erotic thrillers and the satisfaction of watching women burn the world Vox
Sarah Huckabee Sanders is writing a memoir Politico
The hustle behind Hustlers Vulture
The work diary of Parisa Tabriz, Google’s ‘security princess’ New York Times
-Kara Swisher in an interview about ambition