Super Cities №59 — How To Signal Leadership

Brendan Hart

One Big Thing

Stripe is carbon-neutral

As a result of growing greenhouse gas emissions, climate models predict that our planet will get significantly warmer, that ecosystems will be changed or destroyed, and that enormous human and economic costs will be incurred. These scenarios aren’t guaranteed, but avoiding them will be very hard. At Stripe, we’re trying to take small steps to mitigate our impact.


No regulation requires Stripe — a billion dollar technology startup in an extremely competitive market — to be carbon-neutral.

As a growing company in the payments space, no one would fault Stripe for de-prioritizing climate change. After all, Stripe’s owners require — demand! — it to maximize shareholder value. Or at least that’s what they told us in business school.

Crazy as it sounds…

Imagine if Stripe became carbon-neutral because — wait for it — it is the right thing to do.

When I read Stripe’s announcement, I thought this is leadership. And leadership is inspiring. Leadership works. Leadership separates the average from the good, and the good from the great.

Imagine if we all did more in our space — and rather than consider it a cost or investment, we instead called it leadership.

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