Nobel laureates have advice for business

Nobel Peace Prize winners Al Gore and head of United Nation's top climate panel Rajendra Kumar Pachauri had some advice for businesses like Hydro at a reception at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo Tuesday.

December 11, 2007
Hydro President and CEO Eivind Reiten had a simple request for the co-winners of the Nobel Peace Prize for calling attention to global warming: What can a company like Hydro do?

"We are proud to be a sponsor of the Nobel Peace Center," Reiten told the gathering of several dozen guests. We sincerely congratulate both of you on the prize and on the contribution you are making to bring climate change on the global agenda.

“It is about taking action, of course, but we are faced with dilemmas and challenges. On the one hand, aluminium is needed. Imagine, it would not be possible to fly here from America without aluminium.

“On the other hand, we are quite aware that we have a carbon footprint, but we are striving to make it as small as possible. Business cannot solve the climate challenge alone, but the climate challenge cannot be solved without business.

“How should a company like ours become part of the solution?” Reiten asked.

Head of United Nation's top climate panel, Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, answered first: “The straightforward answer is that it is clear the future is a low-carbon future. It has to be. We cannot allow emissions to continue to increase. Companies like yours should start focusing on the future. The ones who make that carbon-free future will be the winners. You have to constantly strive to produce in a way to reduce your carbon footprint.”

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said the challenge is to give business a level playing field and a tax regime that encourages climate-friendly behavior.

“I would like to thank Hydro for being the principal sponsor for this exhibit. It demonstrates a social consciousness and commitment. I would like to honor those business leaders who have provided leadership in the climate challenge.

“In the U.S., business is ahead of government. If business leaders who want to play a positive role are undercut by others, over time that discourages those who want to do the right thing.

“The rest of us have to make laws that reward positive contributions.

“We should replace employment-based taxes with pollution-based taxes. Then business leaders will be required to take global warming pollution into account.

“I trust business to do what they’re supposed to do – create shareholder value and profits. But we have to make sure the rules of the road reward good behavior and punish bad behavior.

“Business can raise their voices to get the laws we need to solve this crisis.”

Following the remarks, Gore and Pachauri together pushed a button that illuminated an aluminium sculpture commissioned for the Nobel Peace Center.

"This aluminium sculpture by Magne Furuholmen is made of reused aluminium, mainly from an airplane," Reiten explained. "It may be reused again, symbolizing the important qualities of aluminium.

“This sculpture signifies the fragile state of the world. I would like to welcome the artist, Magne Furuholmen, who will give you a deck of cards, made of aluminium, with his interpretation of the Kyoto Protocol inscribed on the cards. So you can build your own ‘house of cards.’ ”

 


Updated: October 11, 2016