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#61—Bruce Usher: The Role and Impact of Business in Climate Change

#61—Bruce Usher: The Role and Impact of Business in Climate Change

Bruce Usher is professor of professional practice and the Faculty Director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School. He teaches on the intersection of finance, social and environmental issues, and is a recipient of the Singhvi Prize for Scholarship in the Classroom, the Lear Award, and the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

In 2019, Bruce published Renewable Energy: A Primer for the Twenty-First Century, the first in the Earth Institute’s sustainability series of books. His latest book is Investing in the Era of Climate Change. Bruce has written numerous cases for use in business school courses, with a primary focus on climate change and business.

Prior to joining Columbia University, Bruce was CEO of EcoSecurities Group plc, which developed greenhouse gas emission reduction projects in developing countries. EcoSecurities completed an IPO in 2005 and was acquired by JPMorgan in 2009. He was previously the co-founder and CEO of TreasuryConnect, which provided electronic trading solutions to banks and was acquired in 2001. Prior to that, he worked in financial services for twelve years in New York and Tokyo. He is an active investor and advisor to entrepreneurial ventures focused on climate change and clean energy, and is Chair of the Tamer Fund for Social Ventures.

In this podcast, he shares:

  • Why—and how—a climate catastrophe can be avoided, and why investors and business play a central role to avoiding it

  • Which of the remarkable advances in energy technology forward-looking investors and people pouring money into it are likely to have the greatest impact

  • Why clean energy is about to become remarkably inexpensive and what the implications might be for businesses and industries around the world


  • Episode Timeline:

    00:00—Introducing Bruce + The topic of today’s episode

    2:23—If you really know me, you know that...

    3:43—What is your definition of strategy?

    4:15—What got you interested in strategy?

    4:58—What was your main motivation to use capitalism to solve social and environmental problems?

    6:50—How can this recent capitalistic interest "doing good" help us deal with climate change, and why now?

    8:30—Just to clarify, when we talk about climate change, is it inevitable or is it preventable?

    10:12—Could you give us examples of some of your favorite inventions or technologies

    12:35—Expanding on your last point, some countries are already moving toward a hydrogen-based energy plan. Could you tell us about this?

    13:50—What should I be thinking about climate change in terms of its impact on business?

    15:44—What do most people get wrong about everything we've talked about in this podcast?

    17:08—How can people connect with you and your work; what's the next step?


Additional Resources:

Columbia Faculty Page:


Newest Book:

The 4th Option Junto
The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.