Show cover of Climate Rising

Climate Rising

Climate Rising is about the impact of climate change on business. It brings business and policy leaders and Harvard Business School faculty together to share insights about what businesses are doing, can do, and should do to confront climate change. It explores the many challenges and opportunities that climate change raises for managers, such as decisions about where they choose to locate, the technologies they develop and use, their strategies with respect to products, marketing, customer engagement, and policy—in other words, the full spectrum of business concerns.


McDonald’s’ Climate Change Efforts
In this special episode produced jointly with the Degrees podcast, Jenny McColloch, McDonald’s Chief Sustainability Officer, shares the challenges of meeting decarbonization goals at one of the world’s largest food service companies. She talks about how their climate action has evolved, and the critical role of their suppliers and franchisees, who operate 90% of McDonald’s restaurants. Jenny also offers advice for those interested in careers in business and climate change. Co-hosted with Yesh Pavlik Slenk. For transcripts and other resources, visit   EDF Degrees podcast host: Yesh Pavlik Slenk, Senior Manager, Climate Corps   Guest: Jenny McColloch, Chief Sustainability Officer, McDonald’s  
38:58 21/09/22
How Environmental Defense Fund Engages Companies on Climate Policy
Victoria Mills, Managing Director of Environmental Defense Fund’s EDF+Biz program discusses how some companies are starting to advocate for more stringent climate policies as they see climate change affecting their operations, supply chains, and communities. She also describes how EDF acts as both advisor and catalyst to their engagement, shares some challenges and opportunities of working with companies on climate policy, and offers advice for those interested in pursuing a career in climate and business. For transcripts and other resources, visit Guest: Victoria Mills, Managing Director, Environmental Defense Fund+Business
36:51 07/09/22
How CDP Drives Corporate Climate Disclosure
Paul Dickinson, Founder Chair, CDP, shares how CDP works with investors to drive companies toward greater transparency by disclosing carbon emissions and other environmental indicators. He talks about how CDP is evolving in the face of new disclosure regulation, corporate disclosure trends, including expanding CDP’s reach to include water and forestry. Paul also offers advice for those interested in careers in business and climate change. For transcripts and other resources, visit   Guest: Paul Dickinson, Founder Chair, CDP.
48:35 24/08/22
How Ceres Supports Corporate Boards to Accelerate Climate Action
Steven Rothstein, Managing Director, Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets, shares how Ceres works with corporate boards to facilitate systemic change in private sector climate action, including why boards are a critical part of the equation. He also talks about how the recent proposed SEC disclosure rule could change boards’ roles on climate change, and offers advice for those interested in careers in business and climate change. For transcripts and other resources, visit   Guest: Steven Rothstein, Managing Director, Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets
42:17 10/08/22
How RMI Collaborates with Companies to Accelerate the Energy Transition
Jules Kortnenhorst, CEO of RMI, shares how RMI works with companies in the transportation, cement, and steel sectors to encourage the rapid energy transition necessary to mitigate climate change. He also talks about RMI’s global partnerships, innovative energy programs, and accelerators—and describes how his experience in the HBS MBA program shaped his career journey, and offers advice for those interested in careers in business and climate change. For transcripts and other resources, visit   Guest: Jules Kortenhorst, CEO, RMI  
58:19 27/07/22
How World Wildlife Fund Partners with Companies on Climate Change
Carter Roberts, President/CEO of World Wildlife Fund-US, shares what successful climate collaborations between companies and environmental nongovernmental organizations (ENGOs) look like in practice, and how ENGOs can help by sharing their expertise and even pushing companies to take bolder action on climate change. Carter also talks about how being an HBS MBA student shaped his career in the private sector and nonprofit space, and offers advice for others interested in careers in climate and business. For transcripts and other resources, visit Guest: Carter Roberts, President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund-US
43:00 13/07/22
How New Belgium is Fighting Climate Change One Pint at a Time
Katie Wallace, Chief ESG Officer of New Belgium Brewing Company, and Adam Fetcher, Senior Director of Communications and Public Engagement, discuss how climate change’s impacts on their operations and ingredients led them to engage with policymakers and take their climate message to their beer customers. They share how the company has integrated climate action into its operations and supply chain, how they encourage customers to hold companies accountable for the climate plans, and offer advice for those interested in pursuing a career in climate and business. For transcripts and other resources, visit Guests: Katie Wallace, Chief ESG Officer, New Belgium Brewing Company & Adam Fetcher, Senior Director of Communications and Public Engagement, New Belgium Brewing Company
41:50 18/05/22
How Footwear Startup Allbirds is Decarbonizing Fashion
In this bonus episode, sustainable footwear brand Allbirds co-founder and co-CEO Joey Zwillinger, Prof. Michael Toffel, and Cold Call host Brian Kenny discuss the growing environmental impact of the fashion industry, and how Allbirds is balancing a critical tension between sharing its know-how and material innovations with competitors to scale its efforts to decarbonize fashion, while also retaining brand differentiation. This was originally broadcast on the HBS Cold Call podcast episode profiling the HBS case, “Allbirds: Decarbonizing Fashion,” which Prof. Toffel wrote with Ken Pucker and Eren Kuzucu. For transcripts and other resources, visit Guest: Joey Zwillinger, co-founder and co-CEO, Allbirds
34:14 04/05/22
XPRIZE: Accelerating Climate Change Solutions
Marcius Extavour, XPRIZE’s VP-Climate and Energy, discusses how his organization designs competitions to spur innovations for carbon removal and carbon utilization (converting greenhouse gasses into products). In discussing the Carbon XPRIZE and Carbon Removal XPRIZE competitions, Marcius explains how the prize model fosters solutions that address certain climate problems. He describes what makes for a successful climate-tech pitch, and shares specific resources for those interested in innovating and investing in climate tech. For transcripts and other resources, visit
51:11 20/04/22
How Harvard is Going Fossil-Fuel Free
Jaclyn Olsen, Associate Director of Harvard’s Office for Sustainability, and Erin Craig, Vice President of 3 Degrees, a climate solutions firm hired by Harvard, discuss the University’s goal to be fossil-fuel neutral by 2026 and fossil-fuel free by 2050. Jaclyn and Erin discuss Harvard’s carbon footprint, its efforts to reduce emissions and realize health benefits, and its emerging strategy on carbon offsets. And they share with us their advice for those interested in entering a climate and business career.   For transcripts and other resources, visit Guests: Jaclyn Olsen, Associate Director of Harvard University’s Office for Sustainability and Erin Craig, Vice President of 3Degrees.
43:18 06/04/22
Strengthening Carbon Offsets: The Oxford Offsetting Principles
Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science at the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Net Zero initiative, discusses the controversy over carbon offsets and how the Oxford Offsetting Principles can help organizations reduce risk and improve transparency in their use of carbon offsets to support their net zero goals. Myles also talks about what the University of Oxford is doing to address its own emissions, and shares the advice he gives his students interested in embarking on climate change careers. For transcripts and other resources, visit; Guest: Myles Allen, Professor of Geosystem Science in the School of Geography and the Environment and Department of Physics at the University of Oxford, and Director of the Oxford Net Zero initiative.
54:03 23/03/22
The Aspen Institute’s Shipping Decarbonization Initiative
Ingrid Irigoyen, Director of the Aspen Institute Shipping Decarbonization Initiative, discussesthe importance of decarbonizing global maritime shipping, the opportunities and challenges, andhow the Aspen Institute is working with Amazon, IKEA, Unilever, Michelin, and othercompanies to accelerate the effort. Ingrid also talks about how her background in mediationhelps her convene and collaborate with diverse stakeholders, and she reflects on why a career inclimate mitigation is a rewarding long-term strategy. For transcripts and other resources, visit Guest: Ingrid Irigoyen, Director, Aspen Institute Shipping Decarbonization Initiative; AssociateDirector, Ocean and Climate, for the Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program
43:43 09/03/22
Supply Chain Decarbonization: Walmart’s Project Gigaton
Kathleen McLaughlin, Chief Sustainability Office at Walmart, Inc. and President of the WalmartFoundation, discusses how Walmart plans to achieve its goal to avoid a gigaton–a billion metrictons–of greenhouse gas emissions in its global supply chain by 2030. She shares some of thechallenges and opportunities of operating on such a large scale and offers advice for thoseinterested in working in the business and climate change space. For transcripts and other resources, visit   Guest: Kathleen McLaughlin, Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer,Walmart, Inc.; President, Walmart Foundation
42:01 23/02/22
How BlocPower is Decarbonizing Buildings
Donnel Baird, founder and CEO of BlocPower, a climate tech startup, describes why decarbonizing the buildings sector is both a challenge and an opportunity, why he chose this corner of the climate tech space, and how BlocPower is working with the city of Ithaca to electrify its entire building stock. Donnel shares lessons learned on his journey as an entrepreneur and a few recommendations for launching climate tech startups. Guest: Donnel Baird, founder and CEO, BlocPower. For transcripts and other resources, visit
43:51 09/02/22
The HP Way to Net Zero
Ellen Jackowski, HP’s Chief Impact Officer, describes the company’s climate targets and how HP is shifting its business model to respond to climate change. She explains how HP is both engaging their employees in the effort and meeting customer demands for increased climate action.  For transcripts and other resources, visit    
33:49 26/01/22
Making Infrastructure Climate Ready: Alice Hill, Council on Foreign Relations
In early 2021, a severe winter storm knocked out Texas’ power grid for days, leaving millions shivering in the dark and killing hundreds of residents. Other states have also been caught off guard by extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change. This episode of the Deep Background podcast features , Alice Hill who led the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s effort to develop its first-ever climate resilience plan, being interviewed by Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman. Hill explains what Texas’ electrical grid collapse means for the United States’ infrastructure at large. She also makes recommendations to start preparing infrastructure to be more resilient to extreme weather events.     For transcripts and other resources, visit      
41:48 19/01/22
Climate Change Lessons from the U.S. Navy: Forest Reinhardt & Michael Toffel
Climate change poses two very different challenges to the U.S. Navy. First, the Navy has to buttress its billions of dollars of shoreline assets against rising sea levels. Second, it has to plan to be called on more often to address both military threats and humanitarian crises caused by climate change. In this episode of HBR Idea Cast, Climate Rising host Harvard Business School professor Mike Toffel and his colleague Forest Reinhardt discuss how the U.S. Navy is both addressing climate change and adapting to it. They explain what the private sector can learn from the Navy’s scientific and sober view of the world. Reinhardt and Toffel are the authors of the Harvard Business Review article, “Managing Limate Change: Lessons from the U.S. Navy”.      For transcripts and other resources, visit Resources: S. Department of Defense report: DOD Installation Exposure to Climate Change at Home and Abroad (April 2021)        
24:02 12/01/22
Rebecca Henderson: Can Capitalism Address Climate Change
As the impacts of climate change mount, questions have arisen about whether the capitalist economic system we have in place is able to adequately address them. But what if, rather than upending the system, we recognized the power capitalism offers when it is properly regulated? In this episode of the Ask a Harvard Professor podcast, Harvard Business School Professor Rebecca Henderson talks through her own efforts to reconcile the climate crisis with her faith in the ingenuity of capitalism. “I believe that at the moment, our capitalism is also neither free nor fair,” she says. “The free market works when everyone can take part, and prices reflect real costs”—when polluters have to pay the cost of emitting fossil fuels. Henderson walks us through her vision for reimagining the system to address climate change by returning to its roots and building just and sustainable capitalism. For transcripts and other resources, visit
41:12 05/01/22
Making a Marketplace for Captured Carbon: Steve Oldham, Carbon Engineering
Many of the innovators we’ve spoken with this season are launching technologies or business models that produce less carbon than status quo approaches – leather made from mushrooms instead of cows, for example, and vehicles that run on electricity instead of fossil fuels. Other guests are finding new ways to finance those new technologies or business models. In this episode, we meet Steve Oldham, the CEO of Carbon Engineering, who is tackling climate change from a different angle – by developing a technology that captures carbon already in the air. The potential benefits of this approach are huge, but the challenges are at this point significant.
42:01 20/05/21
Investment Management for the Carbon Potential of Forests: David Brand, New Forests
David Brand is founder and CEO of New Forests, a business that manages forests for long-term returns for institutional investors. He has an unusual climate vision. Right now the forestry business, together with agriculture and land use, is responsible for about one-quarter of the emissions that cause climate change. By unlocking the value of the carbon sequestered in forests, in conserved land, and other real natural assets, Brand aims to reverse this: Forestry, agriculture, and land use are currently responsible for producing one quarter of global emissions, but Brand wants to make the forestry industry responsible for capturing well over that percentage of emissions—all within 10 years. And he foresees a profitable way to achieve this.
30:15 13/05/21
Electrifying Mass Mobility: Uday Khemka, SUN Mobility
Decarbonizing our economy will require shifting transportation from fossil fuels to electricity generated by carbon-free sources. Uday Khemka (HBS MBA 1995), co-Founder and Vice Chairman of SUN Mobility, aims to accelerate mass adoption of electric mobility in India by making it affordable and accessible. SUN Mobility’s battery swapping model has the potential to overcome the factors that have held back market penetration of electric vehicles in many places: high upfront costs, “range anxiety” (concern about a battery running low in the middle of a trip), and long charging times.
35:12 06/05/21
Critical Climate Infrastructure: Scott Jacobs, Generate Capital
Generate Capital invests in and operates technologies that provide distributed clean energy and energy efficiency, electric vehicles and charging depots, and waste transformation—technologies important to efforts to mitigate climate change. CEO Scott Jacobs (HBS MBA 2007) describes how Generate Capital’s keys to success involve applying new business models and new financing models to tried and true technology and existing infrastructure, and in many cases taking on both financing and operating roles, much like a utility. Its approach seeks to bring to scale technologies critical for addressing climate change.
37:55 29/04/21
Ensuring a Resilient Future: Shalini Vajjhala and Jamie Rhodes, re:focus partners
Shalini Vajjhala and Jamie Rhodes of re:focus partners share new thinking on how they are helping communities design and finance climate resilience projects needed to protect municipalities from the physical impacts of climate change, including more intense storms, sea level rise, droughts, and wildfires. They discuss resilience bonds, an innovative financial instrument that is enabling communities to finance large-scale infrastructure projects by capturing value from the costs they avoid to create a “revenue stream” from those savings.
37:59 22/04/21
Innovation in Materials for a Better Climate: Matt Scullin, MycoWorks
Matthew Scullin, CEO of MycoWorks, is attempting to reduce the carbon impact of the fashion industry by producing leather made from mushrooms as an alternative to leather made from cow hides or plastic. His product is called Reishi, and unlike conventional leathers it produces very little greenhouse gases. And because it’s grown in a laboratory to precise product specifications, it produces far less waste as well.
34:14 15/04/21
Bringing Scale Capital to Climate Game-Changers: David Crane, Climate Real Impact Solutions SPAC
David Crane tried to lead the NRG utility to transition from fossil fuel energy sources, but was ousted in 2015. He shares his lessons learned, reflects on what’s changed since then, and describes his newest venture raising funds for a climate-tech SPAC.
25:03 08/04/21
Investing in No-Sacrifice Models for Climate: Nancy Pfund, DBL Partners
Nancy Pfund is founder and managing partner of DBL Partners, one of the first and largest impact investing venture capital firms in the world. DBL seeks to achieve “Double Bottom Line” results for its investors: top tier financial returns as well as meaningful social and environmental impact. It currently holds over $400 million in assets under management. Through her early stage investments in Tesla and support for companies in sectors from fashion to agriculture, Nancy has shaped the field of impact investing and demonstrated the power of venture capital to address climate change. In this episode, she describes the how she identifies double-bottom-line opportunities and some of the companies she's excited to be investing in now.
33:37 01/04/21
Financial Regulation and Climate Risk Management
Explore different approaches to modeling and managing climate risk from the vantage points of industry leaders Robert Litterman, a seasoned risk management expert; Nushin Kormi, a specialist in sustainable finance; and Kevin Stiroh, a financial regulator. The discussion, moderated by Professor Ramana Nanda, focuses on the concept of transition risk—the potential consequences if climate regulations are imposed gradually or suddenly—and investment strategies to prepare for and mitigate this risk. This is one of 4 new episodes this summer based on live content from the Harvard Business School Climate Risk conference held earlier in 2020.
29:01 07/07/20
Uncovering and Pricing Climate Risk
How do managers within the different sectors of financial services identify and value climate risk? Professor George Serafeim talks with an asset manager, an insurer, a hedge fund manager, and an investment banker about their approaches to identifying and valuing climate risk. The discussion highlights both the bridges and the gaps between ESG metrics and climate risk management. This is one of 4 new episodes this summer based on live content from the Harvard Business School Climate Risk conference held earlier in 2020.
43:23 07/07/20
Incorporating Climate Risk in Pension Fund Investment Decisions
Hiro Mizuno, former head of the Japanese Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), and Professor Vikram Gandhi discuss the steps GPIF has taken to incorporate climate risk in its investment process. Mizuno highlights the need to address the entire investment universe and challenges of his approach. This is one of 4 new episodes this summer based on live content from the Harvard Business School Climate Risk conference held earlier in 2020.
21:28 07/07/20
Leading State Street Corporation in the Era of Climate Change
State Street Chairman & CEO Ron O’Hanley describes leading one of the world’s largest financial institutions in the era of climate change. In a discussion moderated by Professor George Serafeim, he describes the roles of asset managers, shareholders, and asset owners with a focus on the concept of values vs. value in approaches to investment decisions. This is one of 4 new episodes this summer based on live content from the Harvard Business School Climate Risk conference held earlier in 2020.
22:35 07/07/20