Climate Rising is about the impact of climate change on business. It brings business and policy leaders and Harvard Business School faculty together to share insights about what businesses are doing, can do, and should do to confront climate change. It explores the many challenges and opportunities that climate change raises for managers, such as decisions about where they choose to locate, the technologies they develop and use, their strategies with respect to products, marketing, customer engagement, and policy—in other words, the full spectrum of business concerns.
Making a Marketplace for Captured Carbon: Steve Oldham, Carbon Engineering
Many of the innovators we’ve spoken with this season are launching technologies or business models that produce less carbon than status quo approaches – leather made from mushrooms instead of cows, for example, and vehicles that run on electricity instead of fossil fuels. Other guests are finding new ways to finance those new technologies or business models. In this episode, we meet Steve Oldham, the CEO of Carbon Engineering, who is tackling climate change from a different angle – by developing a technology that captures carbon already in the air. The potential benefits of this approach are huge, but the challenges are at this point significant.
Investment Management for the Carbon Potential of Forests: David Brand, New Forests
David Brand is founder and CEO of New Forests, a business that manages forests for long-term returns for institutional investors. He has an unusual climate vision. Right now the forestry business, together with agriculture and land use, is responsible for about one-quarter of the emissions that cause climate change. By unlocking the value of the carbon sequestered in forests, in conserved land, and other real natural assets, Brand aims to reverse this: Forestry, agriculture, and land use are currently responsible for producing one quarter of global emissions, but Brand wants to make the forestry industry responsible for capturing well over that percentage of emissions—all within 10 years. And he foresees a profitable way to achieve this.
Electrifying Mass Mobility: Uday Khemka, SUN Mobility
Decarbonizing our economy will require shifting transportation from fossil fuels to electricity generated by carbon-free sources. Uday Khemka (HBS MBA 1995), co-Founder and Vice Chairman of SUN Mobility, aims to accelerate mass adoption of electric mobility in India by making it affordable and accessible. SUN Mobility’s battery swapping model has the potential to overcome the factors that have held back market penetration of electric vehicles in many places: high upfront costs, “range anxiety” (concern about a battery running low in the middle of a trip), and long charging times.
Critical Climate Infrastructure: Scott Jacobs, Generate Capital
Generate Capital invests in and operates technologies that provide distributed clean energy and energy efficiency, electric vehicles and charging depots, and waste transformation—technologies important to efforts to mitigate climate change. CEO Scott Jacobs (HBS MBA 2007) describes how Generate Capital’s keys to success involve applying new business models and new financing models to tried and true technology and existing infrastructure, and in many cases taking on both financing and operating roles, much like a utility. Its approach seeks to bring to scale technologies critical for addressing climate change.
Ensuring a Resilient Future: Shalini Vajjhala and Jamie Rhodes, re:focus partners
Shalini Vajjhala and Jamie Rhodes of re:focus partners share new thinking on how they are helping communities design and finance climate resilience projects needed to protect municipalities from the physical impacts of climate change, including more intense storms, sea level rise, droughts, and wildfires. They discuss resilience bonds, an innovative financial instrument that is enabling communities to finance large-scale infrastructure projects by capturing value from the costs they avoid to create a “revenue stream” from those savings.
Innovation in Materials for a Better Climate: Matt Scullin, MycoWorks
Matthew Scullin, CEO of MycoWorks, is attempting to reduce the carbon impact of the fashion industry by producing leather made from mushrooms as an alternative to leather made from cow hides or plastic. His product is called Reishi, and unlike conventional leathers it produces very little greenhouse gases. And because it’s grown in a laboratory to precise product specifications, it produces far less waste as well.