Cliff Majersik: You can't manage what you don't measure

One key element to getting business to get serious about climate change is to make financial markets take environmental impacts into account. Cliff Majersik, executive director of the Institute of Market Transformation, is trying to get investors to care about another kind of green.

Talking with GreenBiz's Mike Hower at VERGE 2014 in San Francisco, Majersik said that getting cities and the companies that reside on them on board with the idea of measuring their impacts.

"When you look at greenhouse gases contributing to climate change, 70 percent globally are coming from cities," he said. Majersik also noted that in the U.S., most of those impacts come from buildings.

Taking accurate measurements of emissions, water and other metrics are critical to the success of sustainability efforts.

"You can't manage what you don't measure," Majersik said. "Unfortunately, markets don't have information about the energy and water performance of buildings. They need to have that so they can value it and drive innovation."

Majersik offered some advice to companies and organizations working to mitigate and reverse climate change: Focus on your own strengths, leverage partnerships and swing for the fences.

"The problem of climate change is an enormous problem. No one group is going to solve it," he said.