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The Economist Sustainability Summit 2016

Sustainability is no longer optional; business leaders call for greater ambition and imagination to address the world’s sustainability challenges.

economist sustainability summit 2016

Leading figures from business, academia, finance and policy have called for greater ambition and imagination from industry and governments worldwide in order to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Gathering in London for the two-day Sustainability Summit 2016, hosted by The Economist Events, prominent industry figureheads discussed the key environmental challenges facing the world in 2016 and beyond – including the cost of inactivity on climate change, the growing poverty divide, the state of renewable energy, inadequate working conditions in the developing world and the refugee crisis.

Delegates heard from Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation and Commissioner of The New Climate Economy, that the next fifteen years would be critical, and that business and government leaders must work together to stop global warming.

Daniel Franklin, Executive Editor of The Economist, said: “Despite global agreements on climate change and on the Sustainable Development Goals, what mostly comes through from the discussion today is that there is still a vast amount to be done to go from grand goals to real gains. That said, it’s been encouraging to see investors now focusing more on sustainability.”

Miranda Johnson, Environment Editor of The Economist, said: “Sustainability has moved on significantly, from an optional “bolt-on” to something that needs to be “built in” as a core business strategy on the agenda of every organisation. What happens in the coming years will be critical.”

Taking place at London’s Banking Hall, the two-day summit brought together senior executives responsible for sustainability at global organisations, leading industry commentators, entrepreneurs, media and analysts.

Speakers included:

  • Mark Suzman, President, Global Policy and Advocacy and Chief Strategy Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Kyung-Ah Park, Managing Director, Head of Environmental Markets Group, Goldman Sachs
  • Maria Neira, Director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization
  • Spencer Lake, Global Head of Capital Financing, HSBC
  • Per Bolund, Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs and Deputy Minister for Finance, Sweden
  • Peter Williams, Chief Technology Officer, Big Green Innovations, IBM
  • David Landsmanm, Executive Director, Tata Limited
  • Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Aviva Investors
  • Alejandro Agag, Chief Executive Officer, Formula E
  • Rintaro Tamaki, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD

Key topics on the table included: the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the role of private and public sectors, the way governments can embed sustainability into their national policy, holding investors to account, how sustainability can be measured and the steps that different sectors are taking to become more sustainable.

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