Business leaders around the world are currently focused on the discussions and negotiations taking place at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12. The outcome of these international negotiations will have long-lasting implications for business and its critical role in global society. In the lead-up to COP26, the Business and Environment Initiative asked HBS alumni business leaders from a wide range of sectors and disciplines what they see as the role of business and business leaders in this important moment.

Specifically, we posed the following question: The data and analysis in the latest IPCC report amplified the reality that climate change is widespread, rapidly intensifying, and attributable to human activity. It also signaled both a responsibility and a real opportunity to change course. What is the role of business leaders in this moment? What new business opportunities could come from the efforts to both mitigate and adapt to climate change?

Over the course of several days, we are releasing a selection of alumni responses in the hope that this spurs further dialogue, action, and connection among our alumni and beyond about the key role business leaders have to play in confronting climate change—and the power of HBS alumni to make a positive difference.

President, J Adams Strategic Communications; co-author of A Blessing: Women of Color Teaming Up to Lead, Empower and Thrive
Reasons for Optimism: Younger Black Knowledge Workers

Chief Sustainability Officer, PepsiCo

Chief Sustainability Officer and CEO, Institute for Sustainable Investing, Morgan Stanley
Now Is the Time for Bold Leadership

+Charmian Love (MBA 2007)

Cofounder and activist in residence, B Lab UK
Business as a Tool for Activism

Kim Coupounas (MBA/MPA 1995)

Global Ambassador, B Lab and Head of Impact, B Lab US & Canada

Chairman and cofounder, High Meadows Foundation and High Meadows Fund
Climate Change Is Driving Business Change and Adaptation

Managing Partner, Burnt Island Ventures
Bake Sustainability into the Core of What You Do

Chief Creative Officer, Disney Studios Content
Business Should Lead the Way

CEO and cofounder, Generate

Sustainable Infrastructure Is a Gateway to a ‘Resource Revolution’

Managing Director of ESG, Blackstone
We Have Never Had More Power to Fight Climate Change than We Do Right Now

Chairwoman and Lead Operating Officer, Resilient Infrastructure Group
Collaborate Globally with Governments

+Yumiko Murakami (MBA 1994)

General Partner, MPower Partners
Maximizing What Japan Has to Offer

President, TotalEnergies Ventures
A Cri de Coeur

Partner, Energy Sector Lead, TPG/The Rise Fund
Setting the Course for Long-Term Success

Chairman and CEO, State Street
Investing in Climate Remediation

Founding Chair, Resilience Action Fund
Unlocking the Emerging Market for Consumer Resilience

Managing Director ESG Investment Management, Temasek International
Act on Opportunities Where There Are Challenges

+Stephen Renter (MBA 2013)

Chief Operating Officer, Commonwealth Fusion Systems
Seize the Opportunities

Founder, FiftySix Investments LLC
Turn Climate Challenges into a Competitive Advantage

CEO, Aveeram Wind
Being Responsible Towards the Environment Is a Great Financial Investment

Integrate Water Strategy into Business Strategy

CEO, Grid United
Rise Above Corporate Interests

Founder and CEO, Drawdown Fund
Investing in Climate Opportunities

Chief Executive Officer, FCLTGlobal
Climate is the New Digital