Many companies still have no net-zero climate plan

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Good morning.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink yesterday challenged companies to disclose plans for how they will achieve “net zero” global emissions by 2050—meaning they emit no more carbon dioxide than they remove from the environment. Fink’s letter is a clear indication of the rapidly changing business attitude toward combatting climate change.

But how many companies can actually meet Fink’s challenge? Fortune, in collaboration with Deloitte, has just completed a survey in which we asked more than 100 CEOs (mostly large companies): “When does your organization plan to reach net-zero global carbon emissions?” The majority of those responding—more than 60%—say they already have a plan to reach net zero by 2050. Indeed, most of those say they have plans to reach the goal even sooner.

But that still leaves almost 40% who don’t yet have a plan to reach “net zero.” Given that BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager, the other companies may soon join the growing climate-concerned crowd.

Separately, I believe history will look back on 2020 as the year when big business got serious about diversity, equity and inclusion. Our new poll supports that 94% of the CEOs said DEI is a “personal strategic priority goal.” Even more significant, in my view, are two new programs created by CEOs to ensure the commitments extends to actions, not just words. 

The first is the OneTen Coalition, a group of companies organized by Merck CEO Ken Frazier and IBM Executive Chair Ginni Rometty that have made specific commitments to upskill, hire and advance one million Black Americans over the next decade into well-paying jobs.

The second is Measure Up, a partnership between Fortune and data company Refinitiv to challenge companies to disclose their data on ethnic diversity—which is still rare. Our view is that transparency is necessary to ensure accountability and drive real change.  

Refinitiv CEO David Craig and former Infor CEO Charles Phillips, one of the founders of OneTen, joined Ellen McGirt and me this week on our podcast Leadership Next to talk about these groundbreaking programs.  You can listen to the podcast here—Apple/Spotify—learn more about OneTen here, and sign up for our Measure Up here.

More news below.

Alan Murray


Roz Brewer

Rosalind Brewer will become CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, making her the only Black woman to currently run a Fortune 500 company, and only the third in history to do so. Brewer will take the reins at a crucial moment for the company, namely the U.S.'s historic COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Fortune

Fossil downgrades

S&P has warned the likes of Shell, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Total that they face imminent downgrades because of the challenge posed to their businesses by renewables. The rating agency has increased its risk rating for the whole oil and gas sector from "intermediate" to "moderately high." Guardian

AstraZeneca defense

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot has defended his company against EU criticism over its 60% cut to vaccine deliveries this quarter, saying their contract only committed AstraZeneca to its "best effort", because it was already committed to delivering 100 million doses to the faster-moving U.K. government. Meanwhile, some investors have sued AstraZeneca over alleged flaws in its vaccine trials. Politico

Stimulus checks

It's increasingly likely that many Americans will get $1,400 stimulus checks, as per Democratic campaign promises, but who exactly will get them? That's now the subject of strong debate, with many calling for the checks to be targeted at lower and middle income families. Fortune


Stakeholder capitalism 

As more than 60 global companies committed at this week's virtual Davos to support common "stakeholder capitalism metrics", Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and WEF chief Klaus Schwab write for Fortune that this "shows there can be alignment between the long-term interests of shareholder and stakeholders. And it shows there is a willingness to reach convergence in ESG standards." Fortune

Minimum wage

Fran Marion, a McDonald's worker in Kansas City and a single mother with two teenagers, writes for Fortune about the need for a $15 minimum wage: "I get up every day and go to work for McDonald’s, one of the richest corporations on Earth, but my kids and I have had to deal with homelessness, lack of transportation, and lack of health care because my wages are so low." Fortune

Vaccine inequality

New research by the Economist Intelligence Unit suggests over 85 poor countries will lack widespread access to COVID-19 vaccines until 2023, if at all. Much of the problem lies with developed countries pre-ordering more doses than they need. Middle-income countries are expected to complete mass immunization by mid-2022. EIU

Holocaust denial

Facebook, Reddit and Steam are among the worst-performing social networking services when it comes to combating Holocaust denial, according to the U.S. Anti-Defamation League. The ADL gave those companies a D-grade on the anti-anti-Semitism front, while Twitter, YouTube and TikTok got Cs. The best grade was a B, which was awarded to Amazon's Twitch streaming service for gamers. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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