Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sat down with Video4Good at the 2012 COMMIT!Forum in New York. In an extended interview, Kennedy discusses his career in the environmental movement and the impacts of business on the planet. He explores the roots of environmental problems, analyzes the current situation and offers solutions for creating a healthy, prosperous future for society and the natural world.
In this video, Part Five of the interview, he explores the dilemma CEOs face when the interests of corporate shareholders and the needs of the society are not aligned. Kennedy believes that corporate leaders should be empowered to use their talent and find creative solutions to this problem.
Jim Rogers is the head of Duke Power which runs the second biggest coal fleet in America and Jim Rogers hates coal. He wants to get his company entirely off of coal but under the rules, the irrational rules that were written, by the incumbents that regulate energy in this country and they were written by the incumbents to reward the dirtiest, filthiest, most poisonous, most destructive fuels from hell rather than the cheap, clean, green, wholesome and abundant and patriotic fuels from heaven. And he’s operating under those rules so the way that his campaigning makes money is by burning as much coal as possible so even though he wants stop burning coal his shareholders want him to get his customers to leave their lights on all night, to leave their refrigerator doors opened. So, and we put Jim Rogers in a terrible position. You know, he’s a very smart CEO and where we have a system that forces him to wake up every morning and make a decision about whether he is going through that day, serve the interests of America, of his country, of humanity, of civilization or whether he’s going to serve the interests of his shareholders because they are two opposite things.
So, and we — it’s a really silly thing for us to do to just, some of the smartest CEOs in our country, we should allow them to make, rationalize the market place, to allow them to make money by doing good things for our country.