Mark Tercek avatar

Introducing The Instigator

A newsletter aimed at tackling huge environmental challenges in ways that make business sense.

The Quick Rundown

I’m launching a newsletter. The idea is to push the private sector to take bold action on the environment — now, before it’s too late. This won’t be about business as usual. Rather, we want to challenge business leaders and institutional investors to think big, engage all stakeholders, and partner with civil society in new ways. We’ll also ask the environmental community — NGOs, donors, activists, and academics — to strengthen these private sector initiatives. And we’ll present strategies for individuals to maximize their impact too. Our goal is to tackle huge environmental challenges in ways that make business sense. I hope you’ll subscribe for what’s next.

I remember arriving at Northwest Arkansas National Airport in late 2015 and being struck by the sight of so many fancy businesspeople milling about.  It’s a small airport, you know, so they stood out. Some of them I even recognized as leaders of Fortune 100 companies. Of course, I knew why they were there. They, like me, had been summoned to Bentonville by Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, on the eve of his announcing Walmart’s audacious climate initiative.  

I was there as CEO of The Nature Conservancy. I also recognized several of my counterparts at other environmental NGOs, who presumably, like me, had recognized the momentousness of the occasion.  But the vast majority of our group were representatives of Walmart’s biggest suppliers — a literal who’s who of consumer-facing companies. For many of these suppliers, Walmart accounted for up to a third of their total sales. Such is the purchasing power of Walmart. When they call, the CEO doesn’t just run; she hops on a plane.