In the US, and throughout the globe for that matter, the private sector is increasingly being looked to as a source of leadership for combating climate change. And many companies are stepping up, especially with the lack of leadership coming from Washington.

Consider the family-owned company Mars, the world’s largest candy maker — it produces iconic brands like Snickers, Skittles and M&M’s.

“We are worried about climate change and the ability of the world to move fast enough,” says Barry Parkin, Mars’ chief sustainability officer.

More companies are talking about climate change, but Mars, which is based in McLean, Virginia, is putting a big pile of money behind that talk — $1 billion toward cutting its greenhouse gas pollution by two-thirds by the year 2050.

Parkin said the move is definitely about investing in a healthier planet. But it’s also about investing in the company itself.

“Using less energy in your factories just saves you money,” said Parkin. “The world has reached a tipping point on renewable energy where it’s actually cheaper now in many countries than fossil fuel energy. So, it’s just good business.”[Andy Hoffman quoted at 3:06 and 3:35]

“We have to shift the focus from reducing unsustainability, doing less bad stuff, to doing more good stuff. And that requires a fundamentally different approach,” said Andrew Hoffman, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business who teaches sustainable business practices.

Hoffman likes that Mars is taking a public stance on climate change, but he says the company’s efforts aren’t enough considering the urgency of climate change.

“Scientists are expecting that 90 percent of the world’s coral reefs will be gone by 2050. There are expectations that by 2100 as much as half of all present species could be extinct. There needs to be some really bold thinking, and I do look to the corporate sector to do it,” said Hoffman. “I’d like to see [Mars] go carbon neutral.”

Read the full article here.