Climate Challenge is Changing the way CEOs do business
Posted on May 12, 2023 | By Ashely Fitzpatrick | 0 Comments
For decades, climate change was tucked away as a niche area of discussion for corporate leaders—usually under the environmental policy and practice umbrella. Now that climate change is more pronounced, governments are taking stronger policy actions and stakeholders are calling for immediate attention to long-term solutions. Meanwhile, the changing world is already affecting operations and challenging some CEOs with new costs and new management demands.
“We can’t live and work in today’s environment and not think about the impacts of climate change,” said president and CEO of The Shea Group of Companies, Dean Shea. The Shea Group includes Castone Construction, EcoPilot Canada, EcoPilot US, Shea Investments and six other property companies.
In the construction sector alone, there are discussions around materials, building codes and methods of achieving greater energy efficiency. There are also shifting supply chains to consider, increased risks from weather-related disruptions, changing labour demands, and more. Then there are the accounting complexities around the carbon tax, plus demands from corporate customers for proof of environmental protection and sustainability in their purchases. It’s a lot for a CEO like Shea to take into account.
“New legislation, ESG goals, carbon taxing and rising energy costs are all major factors our clients are thinking about, so it’s important to us,” Shea told Atlantic Business Magazine.
The Shea portfolio has the added consideration of providing energy reduction and carbon cost-cutting as a service. Ecopilot, for example, is an AI-based product aimed at reducing HVAC-related energy consumption in large buildings. It is meant to help meet the demands of the climate-related energy transition by helping companies shorten their carbon footprint. However, as Shea said, climate change is also “a huge factor” in policy and planning across the Shea Group of Companies. There is the drive to satisfy clients in meeting their climate-related goals. “As well, we strive to do our part, so implementing tools and policies to mitigate climate change is important. Plus, it just makes good business sense,” he said, giving a nod to both the ethics and competitive nature of environmentally-friendly innovation.
On the macro level, the climate crisis demands change in corporate operations to minimize—to the greatest extent possible—climate change and its negative impacts on future generations through cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. A small company in Atlantic Canada won’t independently, directly move the needle on global emissions. However, there are contributions to be made. Perhaps most importantly, there is a sense that collective action by corporate leaders can push a speedier change agenda on national and international levels.
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