Why the IPCC report is a ‘must read’ for corporate boards

August 16, 2021, 10:00 AM UTC

Good morning,

“Anyone who’s read [The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] IPCC report that came out on [August 9] is still trembling,” Emma Stewart, Ph.D., sustainability officer at Netflix, said. “The findings, agreed to by 195 countries, show that humanity has delayed curbing our fossil-fuel emissions for so long that we can no longer stop global warming from intensifying over the next 30 years, though there is still a short window to prevent the most harrowing future,” said Stewart, a scientist, who has worked in countries including Brazil, Mexico, and Kenya. “As Bill Gates put it, ‘COVID is awful; climate change could be worse.'”

Stewart spoke at Fortune’s CFO Collaborative event, in partnership with Workday, on August 11. The theme was environmental, social, and corporate governance, so the IPCC report was a hot topic. In the document, the world’s top climate scientists said it’s “unequivocal” that humans—largely through our use of fossil fuels—are the cause of climate change. 

Stewart penned a piece on the IPCC report, The Climate Science Report Everyone’s Talking About—A Summary for Corporate Executives. It delves into why the IPCC’s findings are of great significance. “Former Bank of England Governor and Vice Chair of Brookfield Asset Management, Mark Carney, called the report ‘a must-read for Boards, and its implications are an imperative for immediate strategic action,'” she writes. “The world’s top scientists must be working very hard not to say, ‘we warned you!’ In fact, as one distinguished atmospheric scientist put it, ‘it takes children literally protesting in the streets for people to pay attention.'”

She also said three words describe the report—unequivocal, inevitable, and preventable. “At Netflix,” she shared at the CFO event, “we’re addressing the ‘inevitable’ through risk assessments of the physical, technological, and operational shifts associated with the 1.5C degrees of warming that’s now locked in.” As for prevention? Netflix says it will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022. To reach this goal, the company is reducing its internal emissions by 45% by 2030, a target that’s been validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative as being in line with the latest climate science.

Then, said Stewart, they’re investing in external projects around the world that remove carbon from the atmosphere, such as protecting forests above-and-below water. In addition, to address the indirect emissions of Netflix’s supply chain, they’re financing projects that retain and restore nature’s ability to store CO2. Finally, Stewart noted, in order to transform the entertainment industry, something no company can do alone, they’re working with their partners, suppliers and peers to realize a low-carbon production process.

So, what does this mean for other corporate leaders? Read Stewart’s assessment to find out.

See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada


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Big deal

Companies have been navigating supply chain issues, including a global semiconductor shortage. But consumers are now increasingly feeling the squeeze. A Gallup report released on August 11 found, in the past two months, 71% of U.S. consumers surveyed haven't been able to get a product they wanted or have experienced significant delays. The poll also found that 83% of adults surveyed have experienced "significant price increases." The data is based on a July 19-26 Gallup online survey.

Going deeper

CUSIP Global Services (CGS) released its Issuance Trends Report for July 2021 on August 13. It  tracks the distribution of new CUSIP codes to serve as an early indicator of debt and capital markets activity over the next quarter. The codes are assigned to U.S. and Canadian registered stocks, and U.S. government, and municipal bonds, for example. In July, CUSIP identifier requests for U.S. and Canadian corporate equity and debt in total (5,530), was higher than June totals (4,876). This uptick was driven predominantly by medium-term note and Canadian corporate issuance, according to CGS. However, on a year-over-year basis, corporate CUSIP request volume was down 1.3%. Meanwhile, the total of all CUSIP municipal securities requests, such as municipal bonds and long-term and short-term notes, dropped 18.7% compared to June totals, the report found. "Municipalities have been busy with new debt issuance this year, and while the volume of new requests has slowed this month, it's important to note that seasonality could be playing a role in the trend," Gerard Faulkner, director of operations for CUSIP Global Services, said in a statement. CUSIP codes are a way to identify securities across different issuers, financial firms, and exchanges.


Michael Keogh was named CFO at Bright Machines, a software and robotics company with a focus on the electronics manufacturing industry. Keogh joins Bright Machines from Stanley Black & Decker, where he was the president of the business unit STANLEY X group. Prior to that position, he was the CFO for the company’s emerging markets business. Keogh also held leadership positions at Apple and Intel.

Kari Dixon was named CFO at WellAir, a clean air and surface products provider. Most recently, Dixon served as VP of financial planning and analysis at Dentsply Sirona, a professional dental products manufacturer. Prior to Dentsply Sirona, she served as VP of corporate development and treasury at Form Technologies.


"As for exchanges, traditional crypto brokers and exchanges such as Coinbase and Gemini should comply with new laws approved by Congress. But increasingly, exchanges are fully distributed. There is no central authority to identify and report on individual transactions on the network."

—Don Tapscott, a bestselling author, cofounder and executive chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute, on the 2021 infrastructure bill's attempt to regulate and tax crypto brokers, as written in a Fortune opinion piece.

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