Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF)


ICEF 2018 Concurrent Session “SDGs for Business Activity”

Posted by ICEF Secretariat on May 31, 2019


[Photo]Ismail Serageldin
Ismail Serageldin (Chair)

Founding Director Emeritus,
Library of Alexandria

[Photo]Ismail Serageldin
Kanako Fukuda

General Manager, CSR Office,
Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.

[Photo]Ismail Serageldin
Masafumi Okuda

Assistant Manager,
Corporate Citizenship Dept.,
AEON Co., Ltd

[Photo]Ismail Serageldin
Nicolette Bartlett

Director of Climate Change, CDP

[Photo]Ismail Serageldin
Jim Falk

Professorial Fellow,
Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute,
The University of Melbourne

Discussion Summary:

“What do you think is missing?”

It is wonderful that a number of business leaders have been addressing climate change in a serious way and the civil society is active in many parts of the world. In 2015, we had a global consensus like never happened. We got every country in the world to sign up to the Paris accords. We had the SDGs adopted by the United Nations. We had the Sendai Declaration, which is for disaster risk reduction, adopted as well. And it seemed like finally the political will which was the missing ingredient in practically everything that we used to say since 1992 when we started with the Earth Summit. And these parties are winning more support among the public. At the same time, new anti-science, anti-environment political movements are fueled by rising of social splitting. Some politicians consider that talking about climate change is negative aspect politically. They don’t want to hear it, because this will disrupt their programs and aspirations for the next election, short sighted cycles.

Toward SDGs, we must find our ways to avoid the sort of abyss that such retrogressive force would take us into, using all the collective wisdom, power, technology and money.

Even in one individual, each person has multiple diverse aspects and positions, much more the different individuals. Between us and government or the civil society, and in many different stakeholder parties, we have to be patient to continue a long-lasting dialogue so that you can come to the common ground, the common vector towards the common direction. What we need is very hard dialogue. B to C business can contribute to it as a platform where companies send messages directly to their customers.

Companies need to disseminate their activities for SDGs and financial sector can encourage their activities. Advocacy on efforts related to SDGs is the starting point. By announcing new challenges such as charging money for plastic shopping bags, companies get opinions of both positive and negative. However this may also lead to get support from stakeholders and outside partners including customers. Although it may be difficult for some companies to accomplish activities for SDGs by themselves, it is necessary to encourage collaboration such as gathering a little bit from their budgets as well as promote dialogue.

The impact of the industrial farming to SDGs is significant because of water withdrawals volume, area of land use and pollution effects. We need investment in this area, which is replaced from investment in high tech companies, to promote the innovation in the industrial farming, especially Nature-based Solutions. When we go ahead with the industrialization of the natural world by changing the natural order of things, we need regulation and ethical concerns. The sustainable fisheries are also important as well as agriculture. All of us, of course, solemnly do want to live in harmony with nature and not to harm the ecosystem on which we all depend. We can know from meetings such as this one especially when we look at all the innovations that are taking place around the planet in many fields that people are active and thinking and doing and there is nothing beyond the ingenuity of human beings.

We are off to a good start and certainly by having these kinds of discussions, we, all of us, are taking another step forward to the right direction.


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