10 key messages from day one of the Sustainability Leaders Forum
Day one was and went to edie’s award-winning Sustainability Leaders Forum, with keynote addresses from Sir David King and Jeremy Gilley and in-depth discussions on net zero goals, leaving delegates feeling invigorated. Here, Edie summarizes 10 key messages from the Forum.
Hundreds of delegates flocked to the Business Design Center in London to mark the first day of the Sustainability Leaders Forum – with many more attending virtually across the world. As the day facilitated a series of high-level and thought-provoking discussions across all areas of the sustainability agenda, delegates received plenty of advice and insights to take in.
As such, edie has extracted 10 key messages from day one of the Sustainability Leaders Forum that can be used to keep sustainability professionals motivated and focused on achieving ambitious corporate goals over the years to come. to come. Enjoy!
1) Inform, inspire and engage
Kicking off the Sustainability Leaders Forum, Jeremy Gilley, Founder of Peace One Day, used the stay to deliver an energetic speech on how sustainability professionals and business implementation that support conflict prevention and resolution and how these relate to the climate crisis.
Gilley warned that “cynicism kills” and businesses must continue to climb the mountain ahead of them when it comes to tackling social inequality and planetary degradation. Instead of taking cynicism to heart, Gilly said sustainability professionals could “inform, inspire and engage” society at large to tackle the climate crisis and create a peaceful world.
2) Companies support net zero
It would seem that the audience at the Sustainability Leaders Forum is already listening to this advice on cynicism. The same week that political tapeworm Nigel Farage launched another political campaign, this time calling for a referendum on net-zero, sustainability professionals noted that net-zero was their top global ambition.
A public survey showed that almost a third (29%) believed that net zero was the “biggest opportunity” for businesses to build a better future. Other responses included technology and innovation, circular economy, and collaboration and partnerships.
3) Reduce, delete and repair
From the three I’s (finally two is and one e) of Gilley’s speech to the three R’s of Sir David King’s opening speech afterwards. During the Forum, Sir David King, Founder and Chairman of the Center for Climate Repair, delivered a virtual keynote address for delegates.
Sir David noted that the world needed to focus on ways to ‘reduce, remove and repair’ the planet, through reducing emissions, protecting and enhancing natural carbon sinks and repairing the planet through action such as the regeneration of marine biomass. “What kind of world are you really ready to face?” he asked delegates, adding that if we don’t come together to focus on solutions, “frankly, we’re done”.
4) Empowering women is the path to peace
Let’s stick with Sir David for message number four, how essential diversity is to delivering climate solutions. Sir David, speaking on International Women’s Day, noted that women everywhere must be empowered to take action on the climate crisis, saying it would “give us all a better world”.
edie does her best to empower women in energy and sustainability. In addition to delivering its most diverse Forum yet, the editorial team marked International Women’s Day with three exclusive interviews with women in the energy sector on the latest podcast episode.
5) Progress is like making a sculpture
A key theme running through many of the Forum’s breakout discussions was how to make progress on ambitious Sustainable Development Goals. The old adage says “don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress”, but embarking on a sustainability journey that relies on ambitious goals can be a tricky case of where to start.
During a virtual roundtable on Scope 3 emissions – always one of the most problematic areas for sustainability professionals – one delegate noted that calculating emissions is like sculpting, and that it “starts with the rough outline before chiselling and improving over time”. So for those wondering where to start on their sustainability journey, one step will likely unveil the next.
6) What is your purpose when your back is against the wall?
During a morning panel discussion, Natalie Campbell, Managing Director of beverage company Belu, explained what a business should ideally look like. Campbell said that goal involves “leading from the heart” and that if your default and legal position is to generate profits for shareholders, it might not fit today’s needs.
“What is your purpose when your back is against the wall? Campbell asked the delegates, saying that when times get tough, companies risk missing out on their key goals. Whether it benefits the planet is a key question to find out.
7) A renovation of the whole planet is necessary
During that same roundtable, Harriet Lamb, chief executive of climate change charity Ashden, noted that companies needed to look outside of carbon to show they were focused on more than profit.
Lamb noted that a “planet-wide renovation” is needed, one that tackles societal inequality and suffering as well as the planetary problems that carbon cuts aim to solve. This point was backed by Steve Kenzie, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Network UK, who felt that companies could look to the Sustainable Development Goals to ensure they perform well against a wider range of issues. urgent.
8) No business is immune
Kenzie also gave a rallying cry for all business-oriented delegates. Every business currently operates in a failing economic system and depends on a deteriorating planet for its products and services.
As such, Kenzie asserted that no business, no matter how small, would be immune to the climate agenda. It was pointed out that your Scope 1 and 2 shows are likely to be someone else’s and that only collective action will bring lasting change.
9) Fairness may be the answer
The links between nature and well-being are well known, but remain uncertain in terms of responding to the mega- and macro-trends facing the planet and society. During a discussion on the topic of biodiversity, Forum Chair Solitaire Townsend noted that nature can play a key role in finding a range of solutions.
“Equity is the answer to so many of the issues we face globally – to so many of the world’s thorny issues,” Townsend said. “We sometimes struggle to coordinate a response. But, in reality, nature tends to sit at the center of Venn diagrams of these problems and their solutions. It is a major solution. »
10) A positive mindset change is needed
During that same conversation, Akanksha Khatri, head of the Nature Action Program at the World Economic Forum (WEF), explained how many companies look at ecological and climate breakdowns through the lens of risk. This, in turn, leaves out a process of thinking about how solutions and opportunities can emerge in combating these crises.
“Of course, we need conservation and restoration results,” Khatri said. “It has to be at the very center of how we design our economy. What grabs companies’ attention is first and foremost the risks – where they won’t be able to make money. Second are the positive statements around opportunities.
“If we move away from the status quo and take a pro-nature economic path, we create $10.1 billion in business opportunities and 395 million jobs. We need to change our mindset – investing in nature shouldn’t be an expense item, it can be a way to unlock new business models.
You can follow the Sustainability Leaders Forum as it unfolds with edie’s live blog here.