Media CEOs Face Challenges After Trump Withdraws U.S. From Paris Climate Agreement

When President Donald Trump told the world the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate accord in hopes of renegotiating a better deal for the United States, it set off a backlash from well-known U.S. CEOs, such as Apple's Tim Cook.


The move could cause major confusion for U.S. businesses, whose CEOs vow to continue their quest to quell global warming.

Those in the media and technology industry that support online advertising are continuing their attempts to influence politics. Cook, along with Elon Musk, tweeted on Twitter that they would withdraw from the President's Council in protest of Trump's decision.

One of the biggest challenges that companies will face in the wake of this decision involves uncertainty around policies, procedures and regulatory issues -- especially for those companies with CEOs vowing to "stay the course."

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Without clear regulatory issues, key business decisions will not be as clear or as simple to make. 

"In full candor, I completely support [the decision]" to follow the Paris accord, said Nels Stromborg, EVP at Retale. He spoke to Media Daily News on his way back to Chicago after attending Recode, where LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman and others spoke. "And I've been mildly encouraged the tech community has risen up in revolt."

The tech community seems to run on a different ethical track.

Stromborg pointed to what happened after Marc Benioff said he would pull all of Salesforce's business out of the state of Indiana after then-Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a bill that made it legal for individuals to use religious grounds as a defense when they are sued by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The political environment is now closely intertwined with technology, leading Hoffman to spend potentially "hundreds of millions of dollars" to resolve some of the country’s lingering political, social and economic problems. To date, he has spent in the millions, and he is calling on other companies to take social responsibility for creating tech platforms and opportunities for consumers.

Kevin Lee, executive chairman of Didit, believes the issue is not so much political, but rather focused around public relations and branding.

"Companies like Apple, Google, Tesla and others know that their target audiences overwhelmingly support reduction in greenhouse gases and the development of alternative energy sources," he said. The company founders probably have a strong opinion on the importance of the issue, but since they essentially report to a board of directors and shareholders, the move to "stay the course" has to be a good business decision.

In fact, Lee said, the decision for these companies to continue to position themselves as progressive not only appeals to Millennials, but a variety of consumers who support action around climate change. If a company has taken a pro-Paris agreement position, consumers will stick with the brand even if the company moves in another direction.

"It's about catering to your audience and also doing what one thinks is right," Lee said. "When the two align for a business, it makes it far easier to execute. With respect to it 'getting too political,' politics is marketing, like it or not."

Lee said it's not about capitalizing on Trump’s low approval rating. It’s about target audiences for these brands, many of whom want to see change in current policies. Those people who feel passionate about an issue vote for a brand with their wallets.

After hearing Trump's decision, many companies have "vowed to stay the course" and continue to invest in technology to alleviate global warming.

 

9 comments about "Media CEOs Face Challenges After Trump Withdraws U.S. From Paris Climate Agreement".
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  1. Jeff Martin from IMF, June 2, 2017 at 7:20 p.m.

    "The tech community seems to run on a different ethical track."
    The middle class may have a different opinion of these "ethics"...

    "And I've been mildly encouraged the tech community has risen up in revolt."
    The tech community, that this person refers to, lives in a bubble. This decision was about the economics of the accords. Maybe they need a translator.

    The US (who has achieved reductions to 1992 levels of emissions) doesn't need to lose jobs and billions of it's dollars to countries who want to pick up the very things, the very things, the US was to put down in this agreement so that they can profit, at the expense of the US middle class, and can raise emissions unchecked for decades. This was to be a transference of wealth on mass-scale. Paid for by middle-class workers to the Green Fund.

    Not one person from these countries (namely China, Iran and India) gives a damn about the money and opportunities that the US middle class would have to give up. They are seeking what's in their best interests - first. As they should. Exactly as the US plans to do now - finally.

    "Companies like Apple, Google, Tesla and others know that their target audiences overwhelmingly support reduction in greenhouse gases and the development of alternative energy sources,"
    NOT at the expense of middle-class jobs and billions of dollars leaving the US to other countries. Again, it looks like a bubble.

    These people believe that the very people their ideas would put out of work, the geographic areas that would be devastated, would overwhelmingly support their actions. This bubble mentality assumes there are no American people, no families, that come out losers or that these people matter not. That is a unicorn.

    ...
    Stromborg pointed to what happened after Marc Benioff said he would pull all of Salesforce's business out of the state of Indiana after then-Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a bill that made it legal for individuals to use religious grounds as a defense when they are sued by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
    ...
    In fact, Lee said, the decision for these companies to continue to position themselves as progressive not only appeals to Millennials, but a variety of consumers who support action around climate change. If a company has taken a pro-Paris agreement position, consumers will stick with the brand even if the company moves in another direction.

    Right. Being on one-side of nation-polarizing issues, within a country who voted almost straight down the middle, is always how you gather a "majority." Utter bubble nonsense and self-righteousness which is blinding these people from seeing anything else.

    I find it no surprise, that this publication, who's political agenda has been made clear since the election, either 1) never bothered to talk to tech CEOs on the other side or 2) just didn't want to hear any positions or statements of facts that ran counter. And this article is not even marked a commentary.

  2. Curt Brubaker from BCAT, llc, June 3, 2017 at 6:29 a.m.

    The tech community (of which I’m a part) indeed runs on a different ethical track— we have since birth and our early fascination w/computing.  The more successful of us build companies, acquire target audiences then go out of our ways to never disappoint them.  That alone puts us in a career/lifestyle bubble…  but with a little time & wisdom we pop out.
     
    Meanwhile, maybe it's wise for us to put P.R. & P.C. in the back seat and view such things as Climate Accords in terms of personal global risk/reward (considering we’re all long-term investors) and contribute by directing our creative energies into political, business, financial and yes, tech solutions that will actually WORK globally and have global TEETH and TIMELINES.
     
    We don’t click fossil fuels OFF and solar ON at the same switch at the same time… there are transitions in between that both require and buy us TIME.  Elon should be happy about coal miners going back to work.  They'll churn out a third of America's electricity next year and a lot of it may get pumped into his Teslas.

  3. Jeff Martin from IMF, June 3, 2017 at 12:28 p.m.

    To the writers, if you were to use this publication's social network to ask for CEOs with counterpoints you would have the sources you need to bring light to the other side of this issue. That is part of journalism according to my college professor on the subject.

  4. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network replied, June 3, 2017 at 5:24 p.m.


    You're basing your opinion on instruction received from just one college professor? 

    Where's the fairness and balance in that?


  5. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, June 5, 2017 at 1:05 p.m.

    Is there a credit (or year) for that photo?

  6. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2017ac.com network replied, June 5, 2017 at 6:54 p.m.

    It's a stock photo, shot by Alexey Kuzin, who is based in the Russian Federation.

    https://www.123rf.com/portfolio/lexaarts/1.html

  7. Jeff Martin from IMF, June 5, 2017 at 10:54 p.m.

    @Chuck Lantz. Nope. Are you inferring that I am because of how you read one post? 

    That is in response to a journalist from MediaPost who contacted me. I am providing a response from a source type that they (as a journalist) might be able to relate to.

  8. Laurie Sullivan from lauriesullivan, June 5, 2017 at 11:52 p.m.

    You're correct, Chuck Lantz. And Jeff Martin, I appreciate comments because it provides another perspective. And I did just what you suggested prior to your suggestion. I wrote to you through the MP social network asking for names and contact information of others who might have another view. In return I received the public comment from you: "To the writers, if you were to use this publication's social network to ask for CEOs with counterpoints you would have the sources you need to bring light to the other side of this issue. That is part of journalism according to my college professor on the subject." 

  9. Jeff Martin from IMF, June 6, 2017 at 8:41 a.m.

    True, you asked me, one person, in a private message. My point was that with the reach this publication has, surely a public solicitation would have a much much better chance of netting responses from multiple sources. Although I am not a CEO, I have already laid out my response in my first comment.

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