A new call to action is rising from the corporate world. “If we wait for a policy enabling environment, we will be waiting a long time,” says Stuart Hart, Professor at Cornell University and Director of the Indian Institute for Sustainable Enterprise. “It is our job as innovative entrepreneurs to design and develop new models. The problem with the government is that it can create incentives; however, it cannot create new models.” The world’s problems are social and environmental and they are mostly centered in the developing world.
Article is co-written by Tim Lehmann. In the face of global catastrophic climate change, emptying natural resources and worldwide scarcity, the United Nations Environmental Programme needs an upgrade, or so argued Nick Nuttall, United Nations Development Programme (UNEP) spokesperson at Rio+20 (see interview at the bottom). For too long, the environmental and social pillars of sustainable development have tip -toed along behind the economic pillar. The ambition to deliver full sustainable development is still a long way behind reality. One problem is that UNEP lacks universal membership, with only about 30 percent of UN countries involved, which seems to be inappropriate in an era in which we have acknowledged the international scope of environmental problems. Nutall argues that a stronger UNEP will increase capacity to deliver services to the world’s environmental ministers, with a resultant influence on national economic policy and international trade.
I spent two weeks tracking Rio+20 as a student reporter seeking to make sense of the sustainable development talks, listening to ministers, CEOs and scientists who opened up trail-blazing perspectives on changing economic and societal paradigms.
Most media judged it as meaningless, mainly due to its lack of political commitment, but to only focus on this would be wrong. As important was the momentum and narratives it created, which are seeding ideas among the younger generation that may actually change the way they will lead society and the economy in years to come. Rio+20 was a great platform for networking, conversations and knowledge exchange, bringing together experts from all over world to discuss specific topics such as climate change mitigation, social inclusion and ethical finance. The major ongoing impact from the conference will probably come from the world of business. There appears to have been a shift of thinking among corporates towards inclusive growth.
Social capital markets attempt to connect social entrepreneurs with impact-oriented investors. The ability to measure “impact” is still considered to be important in order to create such marketplaces, even though this measurability might often not be given. To create market structures that efficiently transfer resources from investors to entrepreneurs, an old resource rises anew – trust! This would be a lesson from SOCAP 2012. The promise
A new understanding of value creation is at the core of a social capital market.
What is the value of Rio+20 beyond the negotiations? The true value of the Rio+20 conference does not consist of its political outcome. Discussing the political relevance of the outcome document only distracts from the true value of this conference. Conversations and Networking: Connecting the World
We all know Forest Gump. The great and extraordinary man sitting on the bench – alone. I felt reminded of that situation when taking a break from the negotiations of the Rio+20 conference to have lunch at the park. Not far from me on a wooden bench was sitting a man, eating his sandwich – alone.
The complexity of the Rio+20 Conference is overwhelming. Just to give you an impression, some interesting figures:
Every morning when waking up, our outlook welcomes us with approximately 40 new Rio+20 announcements and event invitations. The entire Rio+20 conference will cover 500 on-side events and again as many off-side events. Selecting the events to attend takes 1 day of preparation. 50.000 people are expected to attend the Rio+20 conference.
Imagine we had solutions to build a better tomorrow – starting today. The beautiful thing is, we do! Sustainia, the exhibition at the Global Compact’s Corporate Sustainability Forum during Rio+20, shows us a sustainable world that is possible today – by presenting 100 sustainable solutions that are already available. It comes up with smart ideas and solutions for the CEO; the advocate; the engineer; the venture capitalist; and the politician that aim to benefit economic, social, and environmental sustainability. From solar power in Sudan to smart buildings in Sydney, Sustainia presents solutions based on their readiness and availability, scalability, collaborative nature, transformative nature, cost effectiveness, environmental benefit, and improved quality of life.
Friday June 15, Rio De Janeiro, Impanema district. My first walk around the town leads me to the “favela” or shanty town close by. It is located on a hill, so I take the elevator to the top. From the elevator, the view across Ipanema and Cocacabana is breath-taking. The favelas of Rio are like islands, most often located on the numerous hills of Rio city. Noticing the security standing at the entrance of the favela, I worry that my adventure may be reckless for a foreigner traveling alone.
This article is cross-posted in NextBillion. The Earth Security Initiative is bringing attention to the new investment agenda emerging around the notion of ecological limits. Among other things, argued its founder Alejandro Litovsky at SOCAP in Malmo last week, the limited quantity of resources like water and fertile land present a series of risks to investors, as well as opportunities for creating long-term value.
Changing Perspectives: Risk and Resilience
This initiative aims to focus financial markets and political leaders on ecological limits as an issue of economic risk and national security. Over the last year the Earth Security Initiative has launched high-profile agendas on resources like the the Amazon (Amazonia: The Focus on Risk) and fisheries (Fisheries: A Security System) which show why investors and policy makers must factor the risks of losing the resilience of these ecosystems. At the same time, the Earth Security Initiative calls upon investors and businesses to allocate capital in ways that build the resilience of natural capital and human security.
Nicolò Wojewoda is the charismatic director of Road to Rio. This coalition of 100 youth-led organisations is collaborating to realize the full potential of the Rio conference. They are devoting their time to raise awareness and to build momentum around the final negotiation round taking place in Rio. Nicolo and the Road to Rio team are closely collaborating with the Major Group for Children and Youth, the official entrypoint for young people in the Rio+20 stakeholder engagement process. In the podcast at the bottom of the post, Nicolò shares his perspective on the power, importance and possibilities of the younger generation to engage in the final negotiation round during the Earth Summit in Rio. Events to build momentum.
How to make conferences productive? The Pop-Up Hub is a co-creation space beyond networking and idea development – it is creating action steps – a crucial element that is often missing at conferences that fail to walk the talk. We probably might all come across a certain kind of conferences: we are running from one session to another – while hardly having any time for networking and proper conversations. We are chasing other peoples’ thoughts in sessions – while hardly giving ourselves the time to develop our own ones. We are listening to panel discussions where issues of interest are defined by the moderator – while having almost no chance to discuss what really matters to us.