Tackling Net Zero Targets with Cox Enterprises
My Climate Journey podcast
Today's guest is Ira Pearl, Vice President of Environmental Sustainability at Cox Enterprises. Ira is also the leader of Cox Conserves.
In his role, Ira leads Cox's efforts to tackle sustainability challenges while driving its goals to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2024 and become water and carbon neutral by 2034. Cox Enterprises is interesting because they are a privately held global conglomerate headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with approximately 55,000 employees and $21 billion in total revenue. Its major operating subsidiaries are Cox Communications and Cox Automotive. Not only is the scale of Cox Enterprises pretty shocking, but the proactive role they've taken in trying to do the right thing with climate change and the clean energy transition is also noteworthy.
Jason and Ira unpack a lot in this episode, including Ira's career and what led him to Cox in the first place. They talk about Cox's approach to sustainability, some of the progress the company has made in reaching net zero goals, as well as some of the barriers that they've come across along the way. They also cover where Cox is going in the future and have a great discussion about some of the things Ira thinks will help everybody move faster and what gets him most excited about the future. Enjoy the show!
In this episode, we cover:
[3:20] An overview of Cox Enterprises, including Cox Communication, Cox Automotive, and their clean tech division
[5:37] Ira's personal climate journey
[10:39] How Cox approaches organizational change at the functional level
[15:01] The reason behind Cox’s pursuit of climate-related and philanthropic projects
[18:09] How public companies can focus on the longtime horizons of the collective good
[21:15] Ira’s views on solutions that need improvements
[25:40] An overview of Cox Enterprises' clean tech division
[27:45] How Ira's sustainability department collaborates with their clean tech group
[29:00] The importance of data tracking in reducing emissions and how Cox evolved from energy conservation to energy production
[34:14] Balancing the tension between barriers to accelerated adoption and issues associated with changing too quickly
[37:36] Ira's thoughts on the Inflation Reduction Act
[41:39] Some of Cox's partnerships and community work in disadvantaged areas
[45:09] How the company inspires employee action for climate-related activities
[49:36] Ira's thoughts on offsets
Visit our website for a full transcript of this episode.
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Episode recorded on November 3, 2022.