Any leader who ignores the climate imperative is not a leader at all
At its annual flagship meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this year, the World Economic Forum called on companies from around the world to commit to reducing their greenhouse-gas emissions to net-zero by 2050 at the latest.
Climate science shows us that such reductions are necessary both to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement and to prevent catastrophic climate change.
It is both timely and appropriate. It makes clear to business leaders that, as members of the "Davos elite," they have a responsibility to set an example by taking bold, immediate action to reduce emissions. And this year's meeting, the WEF notes, "is a perfect opportunity" to demonstrate leadership on this critical issue.
This year especially, acting responsibly means taking concrete steps to address the climate crisis. If global business leaders fail to meet their obligations on this issue - if they do not fulfill the duty that comes with their privileged position - society, and particularly younger people, will no longer have any reason to accept their leadership.
Moreover, if the world's governments do not implement the policies that climate science has already shown to be necessary, those in power will bear the blame.
The climate crisis has made environmental stewardship an essential feature of leadership itself. Any leader who ignores the climate imperative is not a leader at all.
There is also a growing recognition among the Davos elite that sustainable solutions are also often the most profitable. There are countless business opportunities along the path toward a clean-energy transition. Along with Fink, the BlackRock breakfast included many of the business and finance leaders who will be on the front lines of shepherding their sectors into a low-carbon future. Together, these members of the Davos elite are starting to realize this point.
- Jules Kortenhorst is CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute.
- Project Syndicate
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