Green Careers Forum
The Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness (SERC) organized a Green Careers Forum on April 17, 2013 to inform students about career opportunities in the burgeoning green economy. In the first part of the event, a panel of UMASS Boston alumni shared their personal journeys in finding a path to a job in the sustainability and clean energy field, and discussed their motivations, their educational preparation, and their daily challenges. The panel was skillfully facilitated by Kevin Doyle of the New England Clean Energy Council, who is an expert on green careers. In the second part of the event, students engaged in more intimate roundtable discussions t career opportunities with participating companies and non-profits.
Some of the main themes that emerged from the panel and the roundtable discussions included:
- There is a wide variety of jobs today that require knowledge and expertise related to sustainability and clean energy, ranging across sectors and functions. Most large firms have sustainability and CSR functions, and a much larger number of jobs, from marketing to accounting to supply chain management, require some familiarity with the topic. The Boston area contains a vibrant clean tech sector, a strong energy and carbon management consulting and software sector, as well as many non-profits.
- Networking is key to finding the right opportunity, and students should be active in going to events and using online media.
- Experience is crucial and internships are one of the best ways to develop relevant skills.
- Passion for what you want to do is key. Don’t be afraid to take a job with less initial pay to get onto the track you want.
- Most employers are looking for a functional skill set first and foremost – accounting, engineering, marketing etc. – and an interest in and knowledge of sustainability/clean energy in addition to that
- Taking an entry level job can sometimes be the best way to grow and "design" your own sustainability-related position.
- In the sustainability field where things change so fast, ongoing education is very important. Taking additional classes, obtaining a certificate or any other educational opportunity can improve job prospects.
- The best way to show value to a current or prospective employer is to think about the problems we face today and seek innovative solutions.
In the second part of the event, fifteen organizations from a wide range of sectors discussed with interested students the opportunities and needs of their companies as well as the sustainability skills and knowledge they seek in future employees. Participating companies included Partners Health, Raytheon, EBI Consulting, Sustainability Roundtable, Trillium Assets Management, EnerNOC, and Conservation Law Foundation, among others. A complete list the participating companies and panelists can be found at:
Sustainability in the Supply Chain: Risks and Opportunities
By Vesela Veleva, Sc.D., Lecturer and Associate Director, SERC, UMass Boston
View event photos
In a panel discussion organized by the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness (SERC) and attended by over 140 students, faculty and local businesses, representatives from Staples and Ernst & Young discussed how sustainability concerns such as energy costs, packaging, and reputational risks affect supply chain management, and how leading companies are able to turn such risks into business opportunities through establishing an effective value chain management system.
Mark Buckley, VP Environmental Affairs at Staples, began the discussion by introducing Staples and its journey toward sustainability. Founded in 1986 in Brighton, MA, Staples is today the world’s largest reseller of office products and services with operations in 26 countries, $25 billion revenues, and 88,000 associates worldwide. Similar to many other companies, 20 years ago Staples was focused on compliance. But an NGO campaign claiming that Staples is responsible for large areas of deforestation changed this and for the first time the company realized the need for greater transparency. Today Staples has an integrated sustainability strategy including five pillars:
- Sell green products and services
- Own customer recycling solutions
- Eliminate operational waste
- Maximize energy efficiency and renewable energy use
- Drive positive change in the world community.
For each of these pillars the company has aspirational targets (e.g., achieve zero waste in operations, zero carbon emissions in operations and help customers pursue the same goal). Mr. Buckley shared some of Staple’s main achievements in energy and carbon management such as:
- 26.3% reduction in energy intensity per sq. ft. since 2006
- 90 LEED certified buildings
- 513 EnergyStar certified buildings
- EPA #6 Green power purchaser in the U.S.
- The first company in the U.S. to sign 3rd party Solar PPA
- 58 all electric trucks which alone have saved Staples 1.2 million gallons of fuel and $1.3 million dollars.
Yet, a 2009 life-cycle assessment study revealed that 93% of Staples GHG footprint is embedded in the products they sell. The company realized that in order to really address sustainability challenges today, it needs to improve its supply chain management. A new position was created - Director Supply Chain Sustainability – to specifically focus on the challenges and opportunities of building a more efficient and resilient supply chain.
Cynthia Wilkinson, Staples Director Supply Chain Sustainability, who came from the logistics part of the business, shared with the audience some of the key challenges that Staples faces today:
- Communication: how to communicate to suppliers and stakeholders its goals and achievements (there is a need for a common language and metrics)
- Packaging: how to reduce packaging and respectively Staples environmental and economic impacts without impacting product quality.
- Products: how can Staples offer more sustainable products by using alternative materials such as sugar cane, wheat straw, and bamboo; recycle or reuse a greater number of products; and eliminate all chemicals of concern.
- Reporting: how can Staples measure and report on all key impacts.
Two recent initiatives to improve supply chain management include: “Staples Race to the Top” and Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab. Staples Race to the Top is a partnership with the company’s top 24 vendors asking them to identify plans for innovation and collaboration, optimize packaging, use the Staples product scorecard and eliminate chemicals of concern from products and packaging. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to reduce packaging by 20%. The Staples Sustainable Innovation Lab was launched in April 2012 and builds on a 12-year relationship with the Rochester Institute of Technology, where the goal is to create a lab as a testing bed for sustainable products and packaging with focus on the office and business environment. One of the company’s recent innovations includes the elimination of secondary packaging by purchasing a machine that can build the right size of box on site. According to Mr. Buckley, “the business opportunities in the area of product innovation and sustainability are huge”.
Rich Goode, Senior Manager Climate Change & Sustainability Services, Ernst and Young, discussed the role of the accounting industry in advancing transparency, reporting, and better supply chain management. Ernst and Young has more than 700 climate change and sustainability professionals globally. Mr. Goode, a graduate of UMass-Boston’s MBA program, emphasized the importance of metrics and measurement if sustainability processes are to be effectively managed and targets met. Companies need to report not just their achievements but also their challenges to build trust among shareholders. “You need to engage with your harshest critics to become a better business,” stated Mr. Goode, as you learn most from your critics. Assurance on sustainability metrics adds another layer of credibility. The movement toward integrated reporting (reporting both financial and sustainability risks and achievement in one document) is also gaining momentum. Fifty percent of Fortune 1000 companies are hiring consultants presently to look at their carbon emissions.
One of the biggest challenges today is embedding sustainability in the value chain. Apple for example does not make anything. They own innovation, patents, but others make their products. They face significant supply chain risks. Many companies today ask “how do I measure and manage sustainability risks in the supply chain?” People usually have insurance for their house but not many companies are taking steps to ensure against supply chain risks. Globally there is a trend to do more with less. In the future companies will have to compete for water, energy, precious metals, and other materials for their business. If you can do more with less you are better positioned to be a successful business.
Mr. Goode shared some preliminary findings from the forthcoming Ernst &Young CEO survey on corporate sustainability:
- “Tone from the top” matters – CEOs and CFOs at leading companies are more engaged
- Businesses do not see governments and multilateral institutions as playing a key role in their sustainability agenda
- There is a heightened risk related to natural resource shortages (water is seen as the resource at highest risk, followed by oil and metals/other minerals)
- Corporate risk response is not well paired to the scale of sustainability challenges
- Integrated reporting is slow to take hold
- Companies see an increase in inquiries from investors/shareholders.
At the end of the discussion, the speakers provided practical guidance for students interested in pursuing sustainability careers. Sustainability should not be seen as a separate area but instead a skill that any professional will need in the future – from finance and accounting, to IT, management and HR. Having such expertise will provide students will better opportunities to compete in the job market. Staples, for example, shared that just as job candidates research a company’s sustainability practices before applying for a job, they also have begun to evaluate the sustainability knowledge and expertise of job candidates as an additional hiring criteria. It is just a question of time before sustainability management becomes the standard way of doing business just like the quality and IT movements. Mr. Goode, MBA alumni of UMASS Boston, shared his own experience in creating a sustainability position for himself at his previous employer Lucent Technologies (he was Director of Sustainability there before joining Ernst & Young). And there are numerous other examples how having a passion for sustainability can help propel a career in this area. Students can better prepare themselves by taking sustainability-related classes and/or getting sustainability certificate, engaging with companies, and completing sustainability internships to improve their knowledge and skills.
The SERC Center at UMass Boston has five programs in Clean Energy and Sustainability (CES) and in November 2012 launched a green internships program for interested students (for more information see www.umb.edu/serc). It is also holding a Green Careers Event on April 17, 2013).
Environmental Sustainability at State Street:
Performance and Opportunities for the 21st Century
By Vesela Veleva, Sc.D., Lecturer and Associate Director, SERC, UMASS Boston
In a public lecture to over 100 students and faculty at UMass Boston, organized by the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness, Peter DeBruin, Vice President Office of Environmental Sustainability at State Street, discussed the business benefits of environmental sustainability, the company’s achievements and future opportunities.
State Street is well positioned to talk about “sustainability”– the company was founded more than two centuries ago, in 1792. As a purely business-to-business enterprise, State Street is best known in the Boston area, but often unfamiliar to the average person. Yet, it is one of the largest financial institutions globally with 29,000 employees in 29 countries, $9.6 billion in revenue in FY2011, assets under management of $2 trillion and investment servicing covering $23 trillion of assets. In 2012 State Street was #262 in Fortune 500. More importantly, the company was among the few large financial institutions not implicated in the financial scandals of 2008-2009.
So, why should a company like State Street care about environmental sustainability and what does it really mean for a financial institution with a relatively small environmental footprint? What are the business benefits and future opportunities for financial companies embracing environmental sustainability? These are some of the questions Peter DeBruin faces every day as he works with people across the business to better understand, define and implement State Street sustainability strategy.
To better understand and help define sustainability, Mr. DeBruin considers State Street’s key stakeholders – employees, community, shareholders and clients – and what sustainability means to each of them. State Street’s sustainability journey began 11 years ago in Europe, where employees raised the issue as part of the growing environmental movement. The company Chairman and CEO recognized the importance of having a formal governance structure to manage sustainability and in 2008 State Street established its corporate environmental policy and principles (for more information see http://www.statestreet.com/wps/portal/internet/corporate/home/aboutstatestreet/corporatecitizenship/environmentalsustainability).
State Street’s corporate environmental sustainability policy states that the company is committed to:
- Be a leader in environmental sustainability
- Define environmental sustainability
- Create long–term value for shareholders.
As Mr. DeBruin shared, “We are not waiting for climate change legislation in the U.S. State Street is already subject to legal disclosure in the U.K., and climate change strategies bring bottom line benefits, including cost savings, attracting new customers and improving talent management.”
Mr. DeBruin shared with the audience some of State Street’s most significant sustainability accomplishments and their business value:
- As result of improved energy efficiency the company not only reduced its carbon footprint but also saved $1.7 million in 2011 alone. Over the last 5 years the cumulative savings from reduced energy use reached $10-$12 million, an amount going directly to company shareholders.
- Ten of State Street offices around the world have implemented ISO14001 – an environmental management system for continuously evaluating and reducing environmental impacts. Such a strategy helps differentiate the company from competitors and secure new business. For example, in the UK some clients demand ISO14001 certification as a requirement for doing business.
- State Street reduced its global water consumption from 666 cubic feet per person in 2009, to 583 in 2011, significantly exceeding its 2013 goal of a 3% reduction. According to Mr. DeBruin, “water is the oil of the 21st century and companies need to begin preparing for doing business in a world with limited supplies of drinking water.”
- It is much harder to measure the non-financial value of sustainability initiatives but it could be much greater than the cost savings. Large institutional clients are increasingly asking about the company’s sustainability strategy and accomplishments as a prerequisite for doing business. To date, State Street has 78 distinct pieces of recognition, including such prestigious awards and achievements as being a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Newsweek Green Ranking, FTSE4Good Index, EnergyStar, EPA Green Power Partner, and 100 Best Corporate Citizens.
- State Street’s external verification of its corporate responsibility report not only brings greater value and credibility among stakeholders, but also sets the company apart from its competitors.
- Increasing number of State Street offices are LEED certified and in 2012 about 40% of its employees worked in green buildings, bringing not just cost savings but also reduced absenteeism and increased productivity and retention and well as brand recognition.
- The launch of its Green Bond investment strategy, ESG (environmental, social and governance) screening for $126 billion in assets and ESG reporting service, has helped the company create more opportunities to expand its market share and attract new clients and investments.
Peter DeBruin shared some key lessons learned from State Street’s sustainability journey:
- Transparency brings bottom line benefits such as attracting and retaining clients, employees, and building a strong brand and reputation.
- It is important to set more aggressive environmental goals in order to challenge the organization and promote innovation and greater impact.
- Every little thing we do makes a difference in terms of costs and impacts.
- Intangibles are hard to measure but they bring the greatest business value.
At the end of his presentation, Peter DeBruin provided practical advice for students interested in pursuing a career in sustainability such as volunteering for an organization, expanding their contacts, using social media, exploring the different aspects of “sustainability”, following some non-profits and considering a non-linear career path like his own. His enthusiasm and engaging presentation clearly fired up the room and created a lot of excitement and interest in UMass Boston programs such as the MBA Environmental Management track and Certificates in Clean Energy and Sustainability (for more information see http://www.umb.edu/serc/sustain).
Green Chemistry and Clean Energy
In December, the University of Massachusetts, Boston (where I work) hosted three leading proponents of green chemistry for a panel discussion of the potential and challenges of the field. John Warner, widely considered the father of green chemistry, is a former chair of the UMass Boston chemistry department and is currently the president and chief technology officer of the Warner Babcock Institute of Green Chemistry. Berkeley “Buzz” Cue, an alumnus of UMass Boston, retired from his position with Pfizer in 2004 as vice president at Groton R&D Laboratories. He has since founded BWC Pharma Consulting, focusing on green chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences. Richard A. Liroff founded the Investor Environmental Health Network in 2004, where he serves as executive director, following a twenty-five year career at World Wildlife Fund. The event was co-sponsored by our University’s Center for Green Chemistry and the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness.
The speakers discussed the potential for green chemistry to make production processes and final products safer in a variety of sectors, and to reduce waste and the use of toxic substances. At the same time, green chemistry can save companies money by reducing the need for costly chemicals, reagents and solvents, lowering insurance and legal costs, reducing waste disposal costs (which can exceed $5 per kg for some toxics), and saving energy. In the pharmaceutical industry, Buzz Cue noted that the ratio of waste to final product, called the E-factor could often reach 50 or 100. Applying green chemistry principles has the potential to cut this by a factor of 5 or 10. Pfizer has reduced the E-factor for Viagra from 108 to 8. Given that more than 1 billion kgs of pharmaceutical drugs are produced each year worldwide, the savings can quickly mount into the millions of dollars.
John Warner has developed a set of 12 principles that have become the cornerstone of green chemistry, and there are at least three common elements with the potential for substantial environmental benefits and cost savings: (1) simplifying the overall process, reducing the number of steps, and hence the need for solvents and reagents, and the attendant risks and energy use for heating and drying at each step (2) switching to safer processes and chemicals, frequently based on aqueous (water) solutions instead of organic chemicals (3) continuous process production with real time monitoring and control and (4) recycling chemicals used in the process.
UMass Boston hosts screening of Carbon Nation, a documentary about climate change solutions, with Director and Producer, Peter Byck.
On October 11th, the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness hosted a Boston area exclusive screening of the documentary film, Carbon Nation. The director and producer, Peter Byck, flew in to introduce the film and lead the question and answer session. The event attracted an audience of more than 200 students and environmental professionals and advocates from the community. The film weaves together the stories of business pioneers from all walks of life, from military leaders to community organizers, from cotton farmers to research scientists. These individuals differ broadly in their backgrounds and political views; however, they have all found creative ways to incorporate clean energy into viable business models. A farmer in Texas helped develop contracting mechanisms for wind turbines that suited smaller farms, providing a more steady source of revenue that offsets the economic hazards of agriculture. The US military developed a method of insulating tents in Iraq with foam, not just saving energy and expense, but also dramatically reducing the need for vulnerable fuel trucks to resupply bases.
These stories convey the challenges but also vast opportunities as our business climate reacts to the changes in our ecological climate. Carbon Nation is a refreshingly positive dose of creativity and innovation that breaks from the “doom and gloom” tradition of climate films, which can leave viewers feeling hopeless. At the same time, it doesn’t pull punches regarding the scale of the challenge of addressing climate change, given our global appetite for fossil fuels for energy and transportation, and deforestation to open land for development and agriculture.
Following the film, UMass Boston students, faculty, and community members engaged in a lively Q&A session with the film’s director and producer, Peter Byck. Mr. Byck has been travelling the country for the past 18 months to promote this film, and has actively been trying to bring his message to as many audiences as possible. His vision for the movie was hatched after watching Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, but his approach to the topic is distinctly different. Although Byck stated clearly that he stands with the 98% of climate scientists who understand that humans are causing serious and potentially irreversible disruption to our planet’s climate system, the film is positioned to appeal to everyone, whether they “believe” or not. He simply wants to inspire people to DO something about it, and points to some ways to capture economic benefits. He also acknowledged that national policy to put a price on carbon is needed to accelerate the pace of change. Above all, the film highlights that addressing climate change is not just a matter of finding the right technologies or enacting specific policies. In fact, much of the technology needed already exists. Rather, we have to find innovative ways to incorporate these low-carbon technologies and practices into our ways of conducting business and lifestyles, to save money and reduce emissions.
The event was organized in partnership with the Department of Environmental, Earth and Ocean Sciences, the Center for Governance and Sustainability, and the Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate and Security at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and the New England Clean Energy Council, and sponsored by ML Strategies.
Dan Reicher, Google’s (former) Directorof Climate Change & Energy Initiatives, speaks at UMass Boston
Dan Reicher, until last week Google’s Director of Climate Change & Energy Initiatives, told a UMass Boston audience of several hundred people that the US needs to do much more to “invent the future of clean energy”, using a combination of smart policy, technology, and finance. Reicher told the Wednesday night gathering, “We’re not going to get to where we want to go without taking a more integrated view. Otherwise we’ll miss the biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century.” In an interview with the Boston Business Journal at the event, he noted that “even when there are good technological advances, there aren’t policy signals or adequate capital to make changes.”
Reicher’s appearance celebrated the launch of UMass-Boston’s new interdisciplinary professional education programs in clean energy and sustainability, which include an MBA track, a graduate certificate, a Professional Science Masters, and an undergraduate certificate and minor. These programs have been developed by the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness (SERC) with funding from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and represent a collaboration between the College of Management and the Department of Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences (EEOS). These programs will equip “green and white-collar” professionals, policymakers, and business managers with the skills and knowledge needed for the transition to a clean energy economy.
Reicher’s presentation emphasized the need to address systemically and comprehensively the global energy and climate challenge—which means advancing energy efficiency, developing and deploying renewable energy, addressing economic and financial barriers, aligning policy goals, and preparing ahighly skilled workforce. “We welcome Dan Reicher to UMass Boston because he understands deeply the interrelated dimensions of the transition to a vibrant clean energy, low-carbon economy,” said Prof. David Levy, Chair of the Department of Management and Marketing and SERC director. “Success depends on developing partnerships among government, business, policymakers, and universities in promoting the clean energy economy.”
Reicher is now leaving Google to become Executive Director of Stanford’s new $7 million Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, a collaboration of Stanford Law School and the Graduate School of Business. Reicher plans to continue his life’s mission from this new position. "U.S. and global energy systems are plagued by serious economic, environmental and national security problems”, said Dan Reicher. “In their resolution lie vast opportunities for job creation, pollution control, and reduced international tensions. The successful integration of policy and finance is key to addressing these problems and seizing the unprecedented opportunities. We need smart policy to set the stage for fundamental change in our energy systems and innovative finance to make things happen – from early stage innovation to the broad-scale deployment of clean energy technologies.”
UMass Boston celebrates new Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness (SERC) with “Green Education for the Next Generation” events
On May 1st, 2010, UMass Boston celebrated the launch of our new Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness (disclosure – I’m the director) and other sustainability initiatives on campus with a gala dinner featuring keynote speaker Gina McCarthy, a graduate of UMass Boston and currently the EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. In this capacity, she directs EPA’s policy on climate change.
Gina McCarthy gave a powerful and passionate talk, highlighting the EPA’s achievements on clean air, energy efficiency, and climate change, while pointing to the challenges ahead. She also discussed the important role played by UMass Boston in her own education and now in training the next generation of environmental leaders. Ms. McCarthy put climate policy in the context of the huge oil spill near New Orleans and federal approval last week for the Cape Wind project. More than two hundred people attended the event in the new Campus Center, which offers stunning views over the Boston harbor.
UMass Boston part of new international research project on corporate climate strategies
The transition to a global low-carbon economy will require the large-scale mobilization of financial, technological, and organizational resources. With government coffers depleted, the vast majority of these resources will have to come from the private sector. Understanding the decision processes behind corporate strategy is therefore essential. Exxon’s recent $41 billion investment in unconventional gas is a case in point (see Climate Inc. blog on this). We need to know the factors that lead some companies to invest billions of dollars to develop new low-carbon products and technologies, which sectors they are choosing, and how policy can best leverage these investments. In light of current concerns about green jobs and regional competitiveness, it’s also important to know how companies choose where to invest.
The Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, is part of a new international comparative study of corporate climate strategies in energy intense industries, a project designed to tackle these important questions. The research is a collaboration among Oxford University’s Smith School for Enterprise and Environment, the University of Western Sydney, and UMass Boston, and is funded by a AUD300,000 3-year award from the Australian Research Council under the National Competitive Grants program. We’ll be examining corporate strategies in several energy-intense sectors, including oil, utilities, automobiles, chemicals, and metals, in the US, Germany, the UK, and Australia. We will also be looking at the influence of governmental policies and NGO strategies on corporate strategies.
UMass Boston awarded $187,000 for Clean Energy Workforce Training
The University of Massachusetts, Boston was awarded $187,000 for a program entitled Business and Professional Education for the Clean Energy Economy. The project will be coordinated through the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness (SERC) in the College of Management at the University, in collaboration with the Department of Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences.
The initiative will provide the skills and knowledge needed for professionals, policymakers, and business managers to be more effective in the clean energy economy. New interdisciplinary degree and certificate programs will be developed that build on existing campus strengths in the science, business, politics, economics, and policy dimensions of clean energy and climate change. The core programs are being designed for students and returning professionals seeking focused, compact, and low-cost career development.
For more information, see Training the “Green and White” Collar Workforce and the official announcement on Sept. 1, 2009 of nearly $1 million in grants for educational programs to enhance training for the state’s burgeoning clean energy industry.
Climate Inc. - A New Blog on Business and Climate Change
SERC director David Levy recently launched Climate Inc., a blog devoted to discussion of business and climate change. Climate Inc. will examine the risks and opportunities created by climate change, the steps business can and should take, and how public policy might affect corporate strategy. It will bring together the views of academics, business managers, policymakers, journalists, professionals, and other thought leaders on climate change. Guest contributions are welcome.
Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness hosts workshop on Carbon Leadership Strategies for the Financial Sector
The new Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness (SERC) at UMass Boston’s College of Management, hosted its first major event Friday, May 8, 2009 on the topic Carbon Leadership Strategies for the Financial Sector. Nearly fifty attendees from finance, accounting, consultancy, law, the policy world, and academia gathered at the impressive UMass Club overlooking the harbor in downtown Boston to wrestle with the challenges and opportunities that climate change presents to business and the financial sector, in particular.
The overarching message of the workshop was that business is going to inhabit an increasingly carbon-constrained economy in which emissions will carry a price tag. Indeed, climate change could well be the single most important strategic issue facing business this century. Despite considerable uncertainties regarding the pace of climate change, the regulatory response, or the rate of innovation in low-emission technologies, it is clear that climate change is going to transform entire industries. Markets for renewable energy and clean technology are growing rapidly, and will benefit from the ‘green’ character of federal stimulus funds. However, nearly every sector will be challenged to redesign processes and products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The financial services industry holds center stage because of its key role in allocating capital, valuing assets, measuring performance, and assessing risk. Banks need to find new ways to incorporate carbon risk into their loan portfolios, accounting firms need to develop expertise in counting carbon, equity analysts need to incorporate climate change into their asset valuations, and venture capital firms need to channel funds to promising clean technology companies. Large numbers of new “green and white” collar jobs will be generated and the Boston region should benefit if local firms respond to the challenge. A focused dialog on some of these topics will continue online using the 2degrees networking platform.
Speakers at the event included David O’Connor, Senior Vice President for Energy and Clean Technology, ML Strategies; Donald Reed, Chief Financial Analyst, PricewaterhouseCoopers; Daniel Goldman, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of GreatPoint Energy; and Helen Sahi, former Senior Vice President in Bank of America's Environmental Services Department.