On February 26, 2022, a cohort of HBS MBA students attended ClimateCAP, the Global MBA Summit on Climate, Capital, and Business. This year, ClimateCAP was hosted by Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and drew over 260 students from 25 business schools. ClimateCAP is an annual event for MBA students to come together to learn and discuss the business implications of climate change. At ClimateCAP, students were able to gain a deeper understanding of the tangible business impacts of the climate crisis and how companies are currently responding, including perspectives from over 40 speakers from a range of companies, including Morgan Stanley, Unilever, Apple, Patagonia, Google and more. Through conversations with business leaders and experts from around the world, students learned about where some of the biggest risks lie and what innovations and opportunities are emerging.

The impacts of the climate crisis are already being felt as the world experiences more frequent extreme weather events, with substantial coastal, urban, and agricultural assets at risk. Climate change is a crucial driver of business today, providing an opportunity for sustainability-focused leaders to drive innovation in technology and infrastructure solutions.

Following ClimateCAP, a handful of students provided input and perspectives, including some key take-aways from the summit:

“It was incredible to join over 200 MBA students in discussions on business solutions to the climate crisis. I was particularly blown away by the Circular Economy panel. Closed Loop Partner, Levi’s, Morgan Stanley, and Boox.eco came together to discuss the integration of reuse and sustainability into our supply chains. For those working in the climate space, climate change can feel inescapable. Climate Cap, and its speakers, are a welcome reminder of the passion, capital, and innovation being directed toward climate mitigation and adaptation. There is hope yet.” - Lee Scott (MBA 2023)

“I was particularly moved by meeting MBAs from over 24 different programs that plan to dedicate their careers to developing, supporting, and progressing solutions to address the climate crisis. In the Food & Agriculture breakout panel, the likes of Indigo Ag, Apeel Sciences, and Benson Hill discussed the importance of thinking about solutions within the food system, which accounts for 31% of GHG emissions. These included addressing food waste throughout the entire supply chain, working with farmers, suppliers, and big retailers on innovation, and using ESG metrics effectively. Finally, as Klaus Weber from Kellogg shared, “Climate change is for each and every one of us in every industry, not just the scientists and policy makers.” - Mariah Cushman (MBA 2023)

“Attending ClimateCAP emphasized to me both the massive size of the climate problem as well as the equally impressive number of robust, innovative solutions to combat it. Hearing from different leaders on their approaches to incorporating sustainability showed the wide variety of ways we can adapt, from Patagonia’s internal Environmental Profit and Loss metric which comes way before financials in their product evaluations, to Representative Sean Casten’s #HotFERCSummer campaign focused on implementing policies to reduce carbon dioxide. During the Venture Capital (VC) and Entrepreneurship session, speakers from Equilibrium, Unreasonable Group, Lowercarbon Capital, and Project Canary touched on the importance of systems change and tackling climate from multiple angles. For example, the panel highlighted that while VC can be a powerful tool to drive capital to start-ups tackling climate change, there are potential drawbacks and the need for other solutions and capital providers, as longer-term climate projects may not be complete by the time VCs need to return capital to investors. I felt inspired by the energy at the summit and enjoyed meeting other MBA students looking to help make the world a better, more sustainable place.” - Laura Romine (MBA 2023)

“Not only was it a pleasure to meet delegates (both MBA students and professionals) from across the world in Evanston at ClimateCAP, but it was also inspiring to feel the electric energy of attendees wanting to make practical progress on the climate crisis. In terms of speakers, I was particularly excited to hear from both early stage entrepreneurs and investors in the climate-tech space such as Lowercarbon Capital, Equilibrium and Unreasonable Group. Coming from a background in renewables and utilities, I was excited to see that there is real progress being made across more challenging decarbonisation frontiers such as materials, heating and transport. I can’t wait to bring my new-found energy into both the HBS classroom and my future professional endeavors.” - Ashwin Bhanot (MBA 2023)