The Annual World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland took place recently. The Forum is a great opportunity for the world’s leaders to combine their knowledge and ideas in a way that will make our world more efficient. At a time when sustainable solutions are emerging at an accelerated rate thanks to companies like Tesla, it was a chance for leaders across numerous industries to establish their stance on the climate debate.
A few big names were among the guests who were in attendance of the Davos meeting. U.S. President Donald Trump, Billionaire George Soros, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Environmentalist Greta Thunberg are few notable names who were present.
During the event, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan suggested that oil companies need support now more than ever as the world begins its transition to more sustainable and environmentally-conscious forms of energy. “We should lend to those companies to help them make progress faster, rather than divest from them which won’t help them at all,” he said in an interview with Andy Serwer.
Moynihan’s comments were a response to Thunburg’s claims that no progress has been made toward reducing the emissions of environmentally-damaging carbon gases. He believes that plenty of progress has been made, but he also believes that it could be expedited if more steps were taken.
He’s right, more companies should do more to assist the cause. But there are not enough companies taking the global crisis of climate change seriously enough. While companies continue to make pledges toward reducing carbon emissions by a certain amount before a certain year, what is funding oil companies going to do toward making the world a more environmentally-friendly place?
Moynihan was on a panel with Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good at the Davos Forum. Duke has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by the year 2030.
“Think about that. That’s a power company. If they’re moving with that kind of pace, and we are saying we need more alternative energy to meet our goals, that business system will get more progress,” he said. “And so yes, we’ve got to make more progress. We’ve got to make it faster. But we’ve got to do it in an aligned way.”
But there are other companies that have the mindset to take two steps forward and one step back.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the head of one of the biggest companies in the world. The e-commerce giant made huge strides toward environmental sustainability when it became an investor in electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian, whose zero-emissions R1T is set to compete with Tesla’s brutalist Cybertruck. Amazon also purchased 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian in an attempt to reduce the amount of carbon emissions from its vehicles.
A few weeks later, a press release from one of the world’s biggest oilfield service companies stated Amazon was one of the main contributors to the U.S. Oil and Gas Industry’s “Production 4.0” forum that would help accelerate and improve oil production. Amazon’s employees pushed Bezos to make changes that would help the Earth. While he promised electric vans and more conscious packaging, Bezos was directly contributing to an industry that continues to harm the Earth in many ways.
As the head of a large bank like Bank of America or one of the biggest companies in the world like Amazon, the responsibility is huge. The environmental impact of these companies is huge and requires extra attention from large corporations. The power these companies hold is the possible key to environmental longevity, and it starts with the halting of oil funding. If the Bank of America CEO’s statements are any indication though, the transition to sustainability may end up being a bit longer than expected.