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GreenBiz 350 Podcast

Episode 152: Tom Steyer's call for corporate activism; from parking lots to paradise?

Week in Review

Tune in around 8:47 for a roundup of news.

  1. Uber is expanding and rebranding — is that a good thing?
  2. Tyson gears up for test of emerging, emissions-busting engine
  3. Why companies should pay for biodiversity

Featured Stories

Digging for ESG data (22:30)

There's a mismatch between what investors need when it comes to environmental, social and governance disclosure and what companies are actually reporting (not to mention how), observes Corrine Bendersky, associate director of the Sustainable Finance Team, Corporate and Infrastructure Ratings at S&P Global. What's needed? For one thing, simpler standards around the metrics that businesses use to make their declarations — making comparisons across industries more straightforward.

Tom Steyer: 'We're not doing nearly enough' (34:35)

In this interview recorded at COP24, the billionaire hedge manager and activist is "hopeful" about an American future in which combating climate change spurs economic growth, brings more people into the workforce and improves the health outlook for millions. But that will require more engaged leadership from U.S. businesses large and small to fight back against the hegemony of the fossil fuels industry.

IKEA wants customers to take solar home (41:52)

IKEA has invested significantly in renewable energy — its goal by 2020 is to produce as much power from solar (much of it on facility rooftops) and wind farms as it consumes within its own operations. The Swedish retailer also believes it can play a role in helping customers make the clean energy transition: it sells solar panels and energy storage technology in six countries including Poland, the site of COP24, but not including the United States. Karol Gobczynski, climate and energy manager for IKEA, discusses the factors driving customer interest, behavior and sales. 

What if we could unpave parking lots? (49:50)

The car culture in Los Angeles has spawned a sprawl of parking lots and structures across the region — covering land that's 4.4 times the size of all of Manhattan. If that space could be dedicated to other uses, such as affordable housing, what would the future city look like? GreenBiz Senior Writer Katie Fehrenbacher chatted with Christian Derix, principal at architecture firm Woods Bagot and director of Superspace, a digital agency that is using computers to simulate the possibilities of reclaiming that land for more productive uses. Here's some perspective from that interview.

*Musical interlude from COP24 by cellist Ben Sollee. The rest of the music in this episode by Lee Rosevere ("As I Was Saying," "Try Anything Once" and "Wandering")

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