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A Conversation with John Kerry: Business Leadership for a Net-Zero Future | Mainstage

John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, former U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State
Ryan Roslansky, CEO, LinkedIn
Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Apple

Climate change is the pressing issue of the 21st century. It is a decentralized crisis, happening everywhere at once. Secretary John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, former U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State, explained the need for urgent comprehensive and cooperative action. No individual government can solve this alone; it will take all of us, especially the 20 countries—including the U.S.—that contribute most to global warming. The private sector, he added, needs to accelerate the marketplace to save us from ourselves. 

Building on that idea, Ryan Roslansky, CEO of LinkedIn, reinforced the necessity for business and government to work together, describing LinkedIn’s plan to help companies make environmental commitments, providing access to insights and talents, and fostering entrepreneurship. Rolansky noted that LinkedIn is working to provide knowledge to smaller entrepreneurs who may lack the expertise required to undertake more environmentally-friendly practices.

Hope remains in the face of these climate challenges, Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy & Social Initiatives at Apple, said. Apple has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030, across its entire supply chain and over the lifespan of its products. Doing the right thing, she announced, is never the wrong thing. Apple plans to work with its small- and medium-sized suppliers to provide guidance in sourcing green, renewable resources.

Combating climate change will take massive investment. Secretary Kerry explained that the Biden Administration is working with the company’s six largest banks to lay out a plan to invest trillions of dollars into green entrepreneurs. Addressing climate change will take a World War II-level effort. Secretary Kerry reminded the audience of the need for a multi-front campaign: planting trees, cutting coal, investing in renewable energy and vehicles, and deploying solar energy plants. The magnitude of the challenge requires brave, meaningful action.

One of our most important partners in this journey is business. . . It’s going to be the private sector that saves us from ourselves.

Secretary John Kerry

There remains tremendous passion and hope for channeling the work of everyonefrom local grassroots activists and local community organizers to G20 leaders to corporate CEOs, who bring their resources and their voices to this effort.

Lisa Jackson

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Ryan Roslansky

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • The climate crisis affects the entire world and poses a clear and imminent threat to lives and livelihoods. Governments must mobilize as if we were on a wartime footing.
  • Private industry can be a driving force for change. In fact, they may be our best chance to accelerate the marketplace for green technologies and sustainable practices.