“If you could lead a big movement that would do the most good, what would it be and how would you start?”

I answered that question during a 2019 interview by saying,  “I’d bring every world leader together with the CEOs of the largest companies in the world. I’d ask them to pause and think about the impact their current business decisions have on the world. Then, I’d ask them to imagine the positive impact they could have on the world if they committed to kindness- if they committed to leaving everyone and everything better.”

I thought about that question today as I listened to an NPR discussion. Experts were weighing in on the staggering gravity of the most recent U.N. Climate Change Report. The key themes that stuck out for me are:

  • Every effect is now accentuating every other effect.

  • Changing a lightbulb is no longer enough. We have to do all of the things now.

  • We cannot innovate our way out of this.

  • Companies have to value much more than GDP.

I started thinking about kindness and how this actionable capacity has been grossly overlooked and underestimated. I thought about the deep, positive implications kindness holds for business, people and the planet. I found myself wondering why the biggest companies in the world haven’t all sprung into action to embrace kind business practices that could create systemic change to help save the planet we share.

Check this out. Forbes reported that in 2021, the total revenue for the world’s biggest companies (Global 500) is $31.7 trillion. These companies have an obscene amount of wealth which means they hold an obscene amount of power. They are irrefutably well positioned to lead the way in fighting climate change and make a significant move toward better for all. They can. Deciding to use their wealth and power for good boils down to choice and valuing something beyond profits.

What if the Global 500 committed to doing kind business that would leave everyone and everything better?

That singular commitment would cause them to do things like:

  • Rethink their plans for bringing masses of people back into physical offices. (We’ve proven we can successfully work from home.) They would know less travel means lower emissions. Fewer people in buildings means smaller office spaces and lower energy usage.

  • Seek out and commit to using only sustainable and renewable materials

  • Change the  way they source and dispose of materials

  • Change the way they manufacture goods

  • Embrace sustainable logistics

  • Select partners who share the same

  • Beg every Global 500 CEO to pause and get curious about how they could use their position, power and wealth to lead systemic change that would have an even larger, positive global impact

  • Place intention, value and worth in how much they create and give back

I’m barely scratching the surface of the massive change that’s possible. Now some good news. There are a few large publicly traded companies who have gotten onboard to fight climate change. The changes they have made are a start to leaving everyone and everything better.  Leafscore created a list of the top ten publicly traded companies who are leading the way. More importantly, the list shares how they’re doing it. While there is much more work to be done, the choices they’re making are examples of kind business. Countless others need to get onboard. If they do, they will send a strong statement to the world about what they stand for and what they value. They will demonstrate the immense power business holds to positively impact our world and everyone who calls this place home.

If you or your company would like to learn how to offset your carbon footprint and fight climate change, head to Terrapass. This organization founded by Dr. Karl Ulrich, has empowered millions of people to make small changes that lead to big change. They have consulted with thousands of businesses on choices they can make to positively impact climate change.

If you’re curious about the highlights of the U.N. report,  Reuters wrote a summary.