4 CornellSp08_GreenBegetsGreen HILITE

4 CornellSp08_GreenBegetsGreen HILITE - e n te r p r is e C...

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Unformatted text preview: e n te r p r is e C O R N E L L THE JOHNSON SCHOOL AT CORNELL UNIVERSIT Y S P R I N G 2 0 0 8 Green Begets Green Plotting a clear course through the carbon age Joe Thomas named the Johnson School’s 10th Dean All in the Family Cornerstones of successful family-owned businesses Milestones: 10th anniversaries for Sage Hall, the Parker Center and Cayuga Fund, and the Park Fellows Leadership Program Profile in Leadership Mark Pettie, MBA ’81, chairman and CEO of Prestige Brands Alumni Blogspots 32 cornell enterprise • spring 2008 Plotting a clear course through the carbon age BY SHARON TR EGASKIS On Valentine’s Day 2008, the United Nations assembled 500 of the nation’s top investors and asset managers, a group that collectively manages upwards of $20 trillion, to consider the role of climate change in shaping how they do business. The keynote speaker, Nobel laureate Al Gore, had a message of tough love for Wall Street’s heavy-hit- ters: carbon-intensive assets have a corrosive potential to rival the speculative real-estate ventures that sent the U.S. economy skidding toward recession in late 2007. “If you re- ally take a fine-tooth comb and go through your portfolios,” declared the former vice president, “many of you are going to find them chock-full of sub-prime carbon assets.” Green Begets Green 33 www.johnson.cornell.edu illustration: Murray Kimber 34 cornell enterprise • spring 2008 Climate change spurred by human emissions of greenhouse gases — primarily carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels — threatens not only a re-ordering of the natural world as we know it, with rising sea levels, erratic weather patterns, mass extinctions, and agricultural disruptions, but also a transformation of global markets. Already, foreign governments have begun regulating carbon emissions in hopes of slowing climate change, and it seems merely a matter of time until the United States institutes controls of its own. Success in that emerging context will demand a paradigm shift, in which efficient use of natural resources and energy prevails, entrepreneurs monetize and exploit the niche carved from carbon constraints, rising fuel prices drive out inefficiencies, and exploding consumer sophistication forces new accountability and transpar- ency in green marketing. “There is an incredible opportunity if you can change the thinking of capital markets and corporations,” says Peter Knight ’73, a founding partner and president of Gore’s three-year-old London-based Generation Investment Management, whose strategy emphasizes rigorous analysis of the long-term environmental, social, and geopoliti- cal opportunities and challenges facing global equity prospects. “Our mission is to prove the business case [for sustainability] through achieving superior performance.” Gore and Knight aren’t alone in their vision for the transformational role businesses can play in the face of climate change. Lehman Brothers has declared global warming a “tectonic force” likely to “gradually but power-climate change....
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This note was uploaded on 03/16/2010 for the course NBA 6030 taught by Professor Dowell during the Spring '10 term at Cornell.

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4 CornellSp08_GreenBegetsGreen HILITE - e n te r p r is e C...

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