Corporate Strategies Workshop

"Getting Ahead of the Curve: Corporate Strategies That Address Climate Change" Corporate Strategies Workshop

October 18, 2006
Washington, DC

At this workshop, over a hundred business, academic, and NGO leaders convened to discuss the findings of a new Pew Center report, Getting Ahead of the Curve: Corporate Strategies That Address Climate Change. View the agenda by clicking here.

The report, authored by Dr. Andrew Hoffman of the University of Michigan, lays out a step-by-step approach for companies to reshape their core business strategies in order to succeed in a marketplace where greenhouse gases (GHGs) are regulated and carbon-efficiency is in demand. A number of key themes surfaced from the report and workshop discussions:

  1. Timing needs to be strategic. Some companies acknowledge the dangers of starting too early on climate action, while others highlight the risks of starting too late.
  2. The ultimate goal is a game-changing strategy. Such a strategy allows a company to leap far ahead of competitiors by creating or reshaping key markets that they can dominate. This requires a concerted effort, combining key functional areas of a company, such as research and development, marketing, supply chain management and policy engagement.
  3. An appropriate level of commitment needs to be made. While the companies in this report are leaders in their industries, some caution against getting too far ahead of the competition.
  4. Companies need to influence policy. Any policy that regulates GHG emissions will constitute a major market shift, setting "new" rules of the game. Companies in the report feel they cannot leave the ultimate form of such regulations to chance and must earn a seat at the policy making table.
  5. Companies need to create business opportunities. Companies with a history of climate-related activity are shifting their strategies from a focus on risk management and bottom-line protection to instead emphasize business opportunities and top-line enhancements.
  6. Climate strategies cannot be an add-on to business as usual. Instead, sustainable climate strategies must be fully integrated into core business activities.

Corporate Strategies Workshop Agenda

Lunch Keynote Speaker

  • John Ranieri, Vice President and General Manager of Bio-Based Materials -- Energy and Specialties, DuPont (pdf of presentation - 10MB).

Overview of report process, key findings, and future research

  • Andy Hoffman (pdf), Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan
  • Truman Semans (pdf), Director for Markets and Business Strategy, Pew Center on Global Climate Change
  • Representatives from Report Case Study Companies
    • Randy Armstrong, Manager, Compliance Assurance, Shell Oil Company
    • Eric Kuhn, Manager, Climate Change Programs, Duke Energy
    • Ed Mongan, Director, Energy and Environment, DuPont
    • Mark Way, Head, Sustainability Issue Management & Reporting Team, Swiss Re

Click here to view streaming video of a subsequent workshop on the Pew Center's Corporate Strategies report held November 10, 2006, at the University of Michigan, which featured a detailed question and answer period between conference attendees and case study company representatives.

Panel #1: McKinsey & Company

  • Kenneth Ostrowski, Director of the Americas Electric Power and Natural Gas Practice, McKinsey & Company (Chair)
  • Jon Creyts, Principal, McKinsey & Company
  • Rick Duke, Engagement Manager, McKinsey & Company
  • Per-Anders Enkvist, Associate Partner, McKinsey & Company
  • Christoph Grobbel, Senior Practice Expert of the European Electric Power and Natural Gas Practice, McKinsey & Company
  • Steve Mitnick, Senior Advisor, McKinsey & Company

The presentations from the McKinsey & Company panel discussion are confidential. Those interested in McKinsey's work on climate change should contact Sally Lindsay, Senior Practice Manager, McKinsey & Company (202-662-2201, or Sally_Lindsay@mckinsey.com).

Panel #2: Perspectives on Sustainability, Legal, and Communications Dimensions of Climate Change

  • Chuck Bennett, Senior Research Associate, The Conference Board
  • Ken Berlin, Attorney and Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
  • Bob Knott, Executive Vice President, Edelman

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