On climate change, business awakens

By Frank Convery, EDF Chief Economist

This regular column honors the memory of Robert W. Wilson, a longtime EDF supporter and champion of harnessing market forces to drive environmental progress.

In A Sand County Almanac (1948) the conservationist Aldo Leopold wrote that it was time to “enlarge the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants and animals.” In the 70 years since he made this call, most governments have set rules that reflect the community interest in conservation. But in the U.S. today, it is private business, not the backsliding federal government, that’s taking the lead in the fight against climate change. Increasingly, business is defining its “community” to include the environment. For example, in just the past year:

  • Credit rater Moody’s implemented a new policy to require bondholders to account for the potential impacts of climate change, or risk downgrades.
  • Larry Fink of BlackRock (the world’s largest asset manager), wrote to CEOs: “Your company’s strategy must understand the ways that broad, structural trends—from slow wage growth to rising automation to climate change — affect your potential for growth.”

EDF has a long history of working with companies who want to take on environmental responsibilities beyond those that are required by law. We applaud those who choose to lead when politicians do not.