Guest Author
Helen Clarkson

Newsletter: Welcome to Climate Week NYC!

Can you say that you are getting it done when it comes to truly ambitious climate action?
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Canary Media has partnered with The Climate Group to highlight content throughout the event. Visit our Climate Week NYC content hub here.

Climate Week NYC 2021 is here, and we invite you to join us, whether you’re in New York, Norway, Nairobi or beyond. This year’s theme: Getting It Done.

We’ve got more than 500 events lined up, and you can explore and join many of them online. This is a week for businesses, cities, states, regions and civil society groups to showcase what we are doing to solve the climate crisis and inspire others to do more as we all race to build a fair and just net-zero-carbon economy.

At The Climate Group, we refer to the current moment as the Climate Decade. We must halve emissions by 2030 to hope to have a shot at net zero by 2050, and the decisions we make now are going to determine our success. This means that all parts of society must put climate at the core of decision-making. For those of you reading this today — many of whom are or will be leaders in your field — that means shaping your approach to leadership around how best to use your position of power to accelerate climate action.

Just last week, we published a report with Oliver Wyman called Getting Real, showing how some of the world’s most influential companies have driven best practices in the climate space. There are two big themes in this report, and they are informing much of the work we’re doing with partners this week.

First: Own the problem, don’t offload it. Leaders should embrace the reality of climate change and look beyond their own operations toward the overall impact of their value chain. Greenwashing continues to be a concern, particularly when it comes to the messaging around the steps businesses are taking to avert a climate crisis. It’s vital that you describe your plans and actions accurately and transparently, rather than merely attempting to make yourself look good for PR. Owning the problem has a profound impact — it requires a high level of collaboration, understanding and trust over time, but ultimately it’s the only effective way to address complex and urgent challenges.

Second: Innovate the business, not just the technology. We encourage businesses to get involved with all the fantastic technology that can help them along their path to net zero — including renewable energy and electric vehicles. But don’t stop there. We encourage you to take many steps beyond that as well. Strategically rethinking the business design and working tactically with customers, investors and colleagues are as important as innovations in enabling technology. Does your business model serve a net-zero world? If not, it needs to change now.

There are hundreds of exciting events happening globally, and you can participate in many of them online. Take this opportunity to challenge your peers, your team and yourself to find out more or listen to a new perspective. We don’t have time to learn the same lessons over and over again, and it is only through collaborative learning and the sharing of ideas that we can achieve the change the world needs.

Can you say that you are getting it done when it comes to truly ambitious climate action?

Helen Clarkson joined Climate Group in 2017 as its Chief Executive Officer. In addition to leading the growing Climate Group team, Helen sits on the board of the We Mean Business Coalition and chairs the Finance & Audit Committee for the Sustainable Development Capital Energy Efficiency Income Trust. She was awarded an OBE in June 2022 for her climate work and her support role at COP26.