Net Zero: Investment Imperative and Operational Application

On April 7, LMU Net Impact, Institute for Business Ethics and Sustainability, and the Center for International Business Education presented a webinar titled “Net Zero: Investment Imperative and Operational Application” featuring panelists Alexandra Hirsch, Director, Sustainable Investing at Blackrock; Isabella Todaro, Certification Manager and Caitlin Drown, Brand Engagement Manager with Climate Neutral Certified; and Bri Decker, Sustainability & Social Responsibility Manager at Avocado Green Brands.

Hirsch kicked things off by discussing Blackrock’s shift toward sustainable investing and the company’s focus on net zero. The term net zero refers to achieving an overall balance between emissions produced and emissions taken out of the atmosphere.

“Climate risk is investment risk, and the physical risk of climate change greatly affects the risk of investment portfolios,” said Hirsch.

She said that there are two drivers of sustainability. The first driver is environmental, social and governance (ESG) integration, where traditional investment strategies are integrating and risks and opportunities are evaluated. The second driver is the fact that investors have access to more data and are able to make better decisions.

Hirsch answered a variety of questions from the audience about the process of getting to net zero, sustainability regulation, and sustainable assets.

Todaro and Drown then joined the conversation and spoke about what companies can do to track, reduce and verify their carbon footprints. Drown explained that Carbon Neutral’s mission is to recruit and give brands the tools they need to become carbon neutral certified and to help consumers identify those carbon neutral companies. They went on to describe Carbon Neutral’s three step certification plan: measure, offset and reduce.

“Global consumers are four times more likely to purchase from a brand that has a strong purpose behind it,” said Drown.

Consumers are looking for brands that are committed to sustainability, and Drown emphasized the fact that this is a trend that is likely to grow in the future. Decker also spoke about Avocado Mattress’s experience with climate neutral practices.

LMU Net Impact moderator Mara Ley then led another Q&A session in which the panelists answered questions regarding the importance of taking action on climate change from a consumer standpoint and what reduction strategies and practices look like for companies.

Decker offered some intriguing insights into Avocado Mattress’s reduction strategies, stating “The company strives to keep the growth of emissions slower than the growth of the company.”

She further explained that sourcing organic resources and also owning the shipping aspect of the chain allows the company to have much more control in reducing emissions.

The webinar generated a well-rounded discussion of both company and consumer sustainability responsibility and offered important insights into the positive environmental and sales impacts that a brand can gain by working with a company like Climate Neutral Certified.

View the webinar here.