Posted in: news

16th November 2016

Crane & Brabeck-Letmathe: Activating US Companies on Climate

In 2006 David Crane saw that dirty energy wasn’t sustainable, for the plant and for the company he was leading: NRG Energy. With this conviction he began the journey to transition from "brown to green" energy.

Speaking at the New York Times Energy for Tomorrow Conference in Paris, alongside Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of the Board, Nestlé S.A, David addresses how, despite creating the largest solar power company in the United States, he was fired as CEO of NRG Energy in 2015. Unlike our European counter-parts he laments, US companies do not have parties at the corporate goverance level who have the expertise in, nor prioritise environmental and sustainability issues. Brabeck-Letmathe concurs, sharing how environmental and societal issues have had a seat at the Nestlé board table for more than 25 years, and are a large part of all board and investor conversations. In contrast, says Crane US boards and the investor community pose a major obstacle to a clean energy transition.

The pair agree that to be successful in the future companies must have boards which understand climate change, both as an opportunity, and as a risk. And that building a climate competent board is critical for US company's competitiveness. A climate competent board, explains Crane, is one with knowledgeable and forceful “Climate Champions”, coupled with a board that is generally educated and informed on the risks and opportunities presented by climate change to the company. To help companies assess their own board’s climate competence, and work towards a fully climate competent board The B Team has prepared a brief for business leaders, which you can read here.

And watch David Crane and Peter Brabeck-Letmathe's full discussion here.