Breaking the tradeoffs:
Climate change vs. energy, work, and growth
Thursday, November 18th, 2021 at 3:00- 4:30 pm CET/9AM EDT
In 2015, the United Nations established seventeen Sustainable Development Goals as the outcome of three years of deliberations on the urgent environmental, political, and social challenges that must be addressed by 2030 to sustain human systems on the planet. The goals include a broad range of sub-topics and intermediate objectives that were widely vetted and considered by stakeholders from diverse backgrounds. Through this process, the goals themselves include a number of objectives that exist in tension. For example, the goals promote the development of decent jobs and economic growth simultaneously with reductions in consumption; they promote the transition to a low-carbon economy that might increase unemployment among low-income communities, amplify economic inequality, and intensify poverty; and they promote universal access to energy and at the same time a decrease in emissions.
In this session, we will focus on the tension between climate action, universal access to affordable energy, and decent work & economic growth. Some of the themes that may arise include (i) how electrification would accelerate climate action, and what it will take to get electrification to begin at scale soon, (ii) the role of large established energy companies in affecting change, (iii) the role that the investment community can play in cultivating breakthrough change, (iv) the implications of effective climate action for job growth, (v) the challenge to economic growth of effective climate action, and (vi) the differential burden of climate change on high- versus low-income countries and communities.
The panel for this session will be moderated by Professor Anita M. McGahan of the University of Toronto, and will include experts with broad perspectives on the challenges of fulfilling the SDGs on reduced inequality with growth in jobs and other economic, societal, and environmental outcomes. Our panelists are Prof. Rodolphe Durand (HEC Paris), Prof. Caroline Flammer (Columbia University and Boston University), and Matt Pawa (SeegerWeiss LLP).
Rodolphe (Rudy) Durand is the Joly Family Professor of Purposeful Leadership at HEC-Paris and the founder and academic director of the Society and Organizations Institute (S&O) which he launched in 2009. As a scholar, Rodolphe’s primary research interests concern the normative and cognitive dimensions of firms' performance, and especially the consequences for firms of identifying and coping with the current major environmental and social challenges. For his work, Rodolphe received the American Sociological Association’s R. Scott Award in 2005, the European Academy of Management/Imagination Lab Award for Innovative Scholarship in 2010, was inducted Fellow of the Strategic Management Society in 2014, and granted a Doctor Honoris Causa from UC Louvain in 2019. As an advisor, senior advisor, and non-executive board member, Rodolphe works with multiple firms on their competitive advantage, and developing and implementing social and environmental impact strategies.
Caroline Flammer is a Visiting Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and an Associate Professor and Dean’s Research Scholar at Boston University. She is an expert in sustainable investing and the recipient of numerous prestigious awards. Her research examines how, and under which conditions, firms can enhance their competitiveness and long-term profitability while strengthening—instead of undermining—the very system in which they operate and hereby play a critical role in addressing climate change, inequality, global health, and other grand challenges related to society and the natural environment. The Web of Science ranked her among the top-100 Highly Cited Researchers in the economics and business profession in terms of impact over the past 10 years. Among other roles, she serves as the Chair of the Academic Advisory Committee of the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the largest network of responsible investors to date. Moreover, she serves as Associate Editor for both Management Science and the Strategic Management Journal. At Boston University, she serves as the Academic Director of the Social Impact MBA program and the university-wide Minor in Sustainable Energy. For further information: http://sites.bu.edu/cflammer/.
Matt Pawa is Partner and Chair of the Environmental Practice at SeegerWeiss LLP. He is a pioneer in the use of tort theories against polluters, including the climate change cases American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut and Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp. He was named Massachusetts Lawyer of the Year in 2013 for his work representing the State of New Hampshire in a groundwater contamination case dealing with the gasoline additive MTBE that resulted in over $100 million in pre-trial settlements with some of the nation’s largest oil companies and a $236 million verdict against Exxon Mobil Corporation—the largest verdict in New Hampshire history. He currently represents states, counties and cities in environmental toxic tort cases across the country. Attorney Pawa is a frequent guest lecturer at law schools and speaker at bar association symposia on environmental law. He also is the founder and host of the Mother Earth Podcast, which features discussions with environmental leaders focused on solutions to the climate crisis and other pressing environmental problems.
Anita M. McGahan is University Professor and George E. Connell Chair in Organizations and Society at the University of Toronto. Her primary appointments are at the Rotman School of Management and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.
Watch the Webinar