Race for our planet – our Climate team report back
UN staff, start-up founders and sustainability professionals for large multinationals attended the Race for our Planet online event last week, to encourage action and build momentum towards COP26. Megan Gallagher reports back.
October is shaping up to be a big month on the climate action calendar and thanks to an invitation from the British High Commission, we kicked it off by attending the virtual event ‘Race for our Planet’ as part of the pre-COP26 build-up in Milan. Hosted by the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the event covered off initiatives aligned with Race to Zero and Race to Resilience, and shared opportunities and challenges to drive climate action further faster to reach net zero 2050 while ensuring people are at the heart of decisions.
Shifting from ambition to action was a key focus following recent criticisms about world leaders’ words not being matched by real change on the ground. There was plenty of discussion about what actions are actually working and how, for example, connecting with innovators and incubators can gain access to solutions that large bureaucratic organisations may not be able to create. This included thinking about how existing technology can be scaled for different solutions than it was created for, such as drone technology for remote planting.
Another theme that echoed in our conversations was the need for indigenous voices to be at the table to ensure their knowledge of nature is captured and their vulnerability to climate change is properly accounted for. The International Union for Conservation Nature (IUCN) spoke about the benefits they had experienced after introducing seats for indigenous voices, and the value of nature-based solutions. Discussions also challenged how we view climate resilience given our broken relationship with nature – we need business, communities, individuals and governments acting now to ensure we don’t just survive climate shocks but thrive in spite of them.
On SBC’s part, we talked about the success of the Climate Leaders’ Coalition ambition loop with Government to gain unanimous support for the Zero Carbon Bill. We also highlighted the benefits we’ve seen with industry collaborations such as the low freight carbon pathway, which help systems-wide change and can set a shared vision to enable greater economies of scale, increased purchasing power and shared risk in innovations. It was encouraging to see how willing participants were to engage and share their knowledge, and overall the event was a nice little momentum builder as we head toward the main event in Glasgow.