About the speakers & Mediation:
Mediation: Ricardo Gravina (Climate Ventures)
Haysam Azhar (Climate Finance Advisors & YCL Fellow)
Helen Clarkson (The Climate Group)
Ludovino Lopes (Ludovino Lopes Lawyers).
Lesson: There is a sense or urgency to change our mindset to allocate our capital to the development of our society and rethink about the social and natural dimension. We can produce a different way of living on this planet and avoid the adverse effects that climate change is having on our homes through an holistic view.
Ricardo introduced Climate Ventures, of which he is the founder. Climate Ventures is a multi-sectoral innovation platform with the purpose of accelerating a regenerative and low-carbon economy through entrepreneurship. Ricardo was leading the conversation with Helen Clarkson, Haysam, Azhar, Linda Murasawa and Ludovino Lopes.
The first speaker was Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, an international non-profit founded in 2003, with offices in London, New York and New Delhi. In that time, their network includes over 300 multinational businesses in 140 markets worldwide. The Under2 Coalition, for which they are the Secretariat, is made up of over 220 governments globally, representing more than 1.3 billion people and over 43% of the global economy. Her career path is really interesting - her degree in college is in philosophy, but switched to accountancy because of the lack of opportunities back then as a philosopher. She had always been interested in humanitarian aid, so she started to work for Medicins Sans Frontieres. She started to work in finance here, but later moved to project management. The last project she did was in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she learned the relationship between health and the environment. She gives the example of the link between health and rainfall, especially for women. A poor year of rainfall would lead to malnutrition and stress, effects that were not experienced in a year with an abundance of rain. Especially interesting for Helen is the link between all the issues related to development, such as the effect of climate change on development issues. As stated before, Helen currently works for The Climate Group, which has the mission to drive climate action through creating initiatives through collective action. There are 5 key systems: Transport, energy, built environment, industry and food. Each of these has collaborations within them with at heart a commitment. They use this commitment to work directly with members to create change!
The second speaker was Haysam Azhar, one of the first YCL fellows! He is currently working for Climate Finance Advisors and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Finance and Economics. Haysam has an interesting background. He is originally from Pakistan and got prompted to think about climate change after an unexpected heat wave that ended up killing thousands of people in Karachi and other parts of Pakistan. Haysam got into a university program in San Francisco from Minerva Schools, where he is currently finishing his last year. He is majoring in Business and Social Science with a focus on Strategic Finance and Economics and Society. During his studies, he had the chance to visit 5 different countries, all in the context of solving global issues within a local context. Haysam explained that he is especially interested in climate finance and impact investing, with a special focus on the balancing act between environmental conservation and economic development. Haysam also talks about the inside (e.g. politicians/decision makers) and outside (e.g. activists) of climate change, which was especially visible in the COP25 in Madrid. Haysam was also part of one of the first YCL immersions in Kenya in 2018, where he worked with other YCL’ers on models for sustainable primary schools. This led to the realization of the difference in opportunities in different parts of the world. The equality of opportunity is really important, especially for the world’s most vulnerable populations. After the immersion, Haysam started to work for E. co and began to build his network, where he grew further into his current job as a Climate Finance Intern. Haysam especially highlights the importance of finance in achieving a zero carbon society, for example through blended finance. This is exactly what keeps Haysan engaged until today: The daunting finance gap. There is still a lack of investment to make real change possible and to achieve a zero carbon economy!
The third speaker was Linda Murasawa, she is a Low Carbon Economy Specialist with a history in finance and banking (e.g. Santander/ABN AMRO). She gives advice to companies about the finance transition to a low carbon economy and sustainable development. Last 20 years she worked to include sustainability in the financial instruments in Brazil, which is part of Linda’s life philosophy. Linda explains that she comes from a Japanese family and her father always told her to find a way to create peace (and avoid war) and create a better life for people on this planet. Linda is especially interested in how we can help society to not only make this world a better place for ourselves, but also for everyone else. Linda strongly believes that if you have a great society, you will also have great opportunities. This same society is facing great risks because of climate change, we need to understand how climate will impact our businesses and society as a whole. One example would be energy, one might think automatically about Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GGE), but also think about how climate change could impact your business through for example storms. Extreme weather events could completely paralyze or damage supply chains and production processes, which will have adverse consequences for the society as a whole. It is really important to have a holistic and long-term view of society. Until now, Linda has spoken about the ‘natural side’ of disasters, but now continues with the ‘human side’. This side is all about our behaviour. This is all about what impact humans can make to conduct themselves towards a low carbon economy. We need to think about how we can introduce certain measures into the system. For all of these impacts, finance will be paramount. When we finance, we need to understand the market, societal behaviours and have certain strategies to bring forth change. Linda gives the example of transport, we will have to think about how to transform this sector into a more sustainable model. As it might sound quite easy to replace fossil fuels with more sustainable ones, Linda points out that we need to think on a system level to grapple with the complete consequences of this transition. We will need to take a holistic view and think about the entire supply chain (not only the fuel), such as motors, cars, infrastructure, and much more. In order to achieve this entire transition, finance is really important. How can we make this transition without causing an economic disaster? Linda’s answer is to change our mindset, we need to allocate our capital to the development of our society and think about the social and natural dimension. We can produce a different way of living on this planet and avoid the adverse effects that climate change is having on our homes through an holistic view. In order to achieve this, finance will be paramount!
The last speaker was Ludovino Lopes, he works at Lopes Advogados. He grew up in a small town in Portugal. He explains that at that time, they didn’t talk a lot about climate change, but more about the quality of the environment. During his youth, he sometimes crossed this topic with his family and friends. He was trying to understand what was happening to the world around him. He became especially interested in laws, why does society choose some specific pathways? How did society choose what to include in a law and what not? How to determine if something is a crime or not? These type of questions brought him to the university of Lisbon to study law to see why those choices were made by society. The answer is that we gave the state the authority to decide this complex structure of legislative, judiciary and executive powers. In his mind it started to become really clear that there is a difference between what you do as a state and what you do as a citizen. As a citizen you can contribute a lot to change the present and the future, especially if you are part of the legislative/judiciary/executive power. That experience of the law brought him to Rio 1992 in Brazil, he started to think how he could contribute as a lawyer to build a different world. That became really important in the way he thinks. Ludovino talks about the fact that both citizens/private companies and the state have different possibilities. The government in the public sector can only do what is written in the law, if you are a private company you can do everything in the law that is not forbidden, so you have a broader range of action. Ludivino makes clear that if you want to make really big changes in the world, you will have to change the law. Yet to make these big changes really happen, it’s fundamental to have the legal and economic instruments for people and companies to use.
See the record of the conversation below;
About the Day of the Climate Professional:
The Day of the Climate Professional (DCP), celebrated on November 24, is an annual date to celebrate and catalyse the professionals accelerating solutions to the climate crisis. The 2020 inaugural edition was marked by an all-day virtual summit—networking activities, workshops, keynote presentations, interactive Q&As, and more—fostering reflections and actions on the interdisciplinary of climate change, its urgency, and the importance of working to tackle it through varied professions and sectors of society. Learn More.