WBCSD North America Annual Meeting: September 18, 2023

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04 October, 2023


WBCSD insights



Bill Sisson, Executive Director, WBCSD North America

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and our members were actively engaged this year, participating in various events throughout Climate Week, including various United Nations gatherings, the UNSecretary-General Climate Ambition Summit, and the SDG summit. The week commenced on September 18 with the WBCSD North America meeting, where 100+ members convened to share practices and solutions aligned with stakeholder and societal expectations.

The WBCSD North America Annual Meeting took place at the Nature Positive Hub. The event was facilitated and moderated by Byron Pitts, an experienced journalist with numerous Emmy awards and over two decades of news reporting, and the current host of ABC Nightline News.

WBCSD Executive Vice President Diane Holdorf contextualized the day’s proceedings within the broader WBCSD agenda during Climate Week, specifically in preparation for COP28. Diane emphasized the significance of nature in combating climate change. She discussed the release of a suite of tools and guidance to better prepare the finance and business community for nature disclosures, stating that they will follow a journey similar to climate but toward nature-positive.

The Current ESG Landscape

The initial session, “Navigating the ESG Landscape,” discussed the prevailing challenges and resistance to ESG principles, especially in the United States, and acknowledged the evolving nature of the ESG landscape while recognizing consistent expectations. Moderated by Byron Pitts, the session featured keynote addresses by Peter Bakker, President and CEO of WBCSD; Lane Jost, Head of ESG Advisory, Edelman; and Mark Golovcsenko, KPMG US Climate and ESG Advisory Leader.

Peter Bakker stressed the importance of accountability for a company’s performance to cultivate trust and recognition. Mark Golovcsenko emphasized that the “business case for sustainability remains the ultimate defense against criticism.” Byron concluded the session by highlighting that “doing the right thing for the right reasons is universal to all.”

Panel Discussions: Enhancing Trust and Accountability in Business 

Concluding Remarks and Reflections

To conclude the meeting, Dominic invited Byron to share his observations and key takeaways from the proceedings. Byron addressed the audience by highlighting the dominant areas in news coverage: the economy, environment, equity, race, and culture. He emphasized that these areas offer opportunities for us to effectively tell our stories, stating that “WBCSD members can engage the media with compelling human stories, while feeding the media with hard data, facts and statistics.”