I first heard about ClimateCAP 2022 through an interest group called Goizueta Sustainability Initiatives (GSI). Although there are many opportunities in business school to participate in activities that may not fall into your “wheelhouse,” this opportunity stood out to me. In my four years of medical school, I was pained by the amount of medical waste that was generated in the hospital daily. Consider the statistic that although the United States makes up less than five percent of the world’s population, it still generates more than 50 percent of the world’s medical trash. Although I had no prior experience in the sustainability industry, I saw how climate change was inextricably intertwined with inclusion and equity, wealth and disparity, sickness and health; all topics I care about deeply. I hoped an educational and engaging experience like this one would help motivate me to make an impact on sustainability no matter what industry I ultimately landed in. So, I packed my bags and headed to Chicago with Emory University’s student delegation to join students from 23 other business schools learning to lead a climate through crisis.
The summit outlined the basics on what business risks and opportunities climate change presents. Climate change is already interrupting supply chains, affecting markets, and impacting investment decision making. We learned how climate factors into board discussions, investment decisions, and corporate operational considerations into companies like Unilever, General Motors, Apple, Patagonia, and Boeing. We learned about companies like ProjectCanary and Persefoni that were developed to help rocket the world towards a fully decarbonized economy. It was easy to see that because the implications of climate change ranged far and wide, it could not be tackled as solely a policy issue, a political issue, or business issue—integration of all three issues are required to generate a positive impact on the health of planet Earth.
I left ClimateCAP 2022 with the knowledge that climate risk would be the uniting call for action for my generation. “B-school” students were a far cry from the “bottom line” warriors I expected to meet—they were passionate, talented, and collaborative. Although there is a lot of work to be done, I left this experience with more resources than ever to engage more deeply and thoughtfully on our planet’s climate future.
A delegation of 18 MBA students from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School recently attended the ClimateCAP Global Summit to discuss the enormous influence and responsibility business leaders hold in driving toward a climate-smart world. Along with hundreds of leading students and professionals from across the nation, they explored the financial risks and opportunities of climate change along with important stakeholder responsibilities that define how a climate-smart business operates. Through the Business & Society Institute, students, faculty, staff, and partners focus on addressing complex challenges confronting people, the planet, and the business community through academic discovery and purposeful action. To learn more about Goizueta Business School and how principled leaders are driving positive change, visit goizueta.emory.edu.