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Live blog: GSBQ - scaling sustainability

Live blog: GSBQ - scaling sustainability

Good event, here is a short report of the intro session:

The first in our 2012 series of quarterly events, GSBQ, takes place this evening around the theme of scaling sustainability. We'll be live blogging during the opening plenary session, capturing the latest insights from the panel and their answers to questions from the floor.

Shifting sustainability from the margins to the mainstream will be critical to providing for 9 billion people by 2050 with increasingly limited resources, whilst also dealing with the effects of climate change and environmental degradation.

A recent report by the World Economic Forum, More with Less: Scaling Sustainable Consumption and Resource Efficiency, suggests that focusing on consumer engagement, value chains and regulation provides a useful framework for mainstreaming sustainable consumption.

At Davos earlier this year, a key strand of debate centred around the lack of pace in bringing sutainability initiatives to scale. Instances of best practice, where innovation and creative thinking have sparked projects that respond to the big challenges, have existed in the corporate realm for some time. So how can these projects be scaled-up at the pace that is required?

Joining us to discuss the issues are the following panellists:

Mikele Brack is director of public sector initiatives in GE's Global Operations Team. She is responsible for new market development and managing the implementation of city infrastructure solutions in London and the UK.

Rupert Howes is chief executive of the Marine Stewardship Council and received a Skoll Award for Social Entrpreneurship in 2007 for his work in establishing the MSC as the world's leading fishery certification and eco-labelling programme.

David Stubbs is head of sustainability for the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. He is responsible for developing and coordinating the sustainability programme.

Simon Zadek is an independent advisor and author and a senior visiting fellow at the Global Green Growth Institute and the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Sally Uren, deputy chief executive at Forum for the Future, will be chairing the discussion. If you'd like to suggest a question for Sally to ask the panel, please post it in the comments section below.

We'll be live from 6-7pm so please join us then. You can also follow the discussion on twitter using #GSBQ.

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5.43pm: Just arrived at the venue for the event. The speakers and delegates are arriving and we're just getting set up. The plenary discussion will start at 6pm (GMT) and last for an hour.

6.17pm: And we're off...

Sally Uren is standing in for Jo Confino as chair for tonight's event and we're sure she'll do a sterling job.

6.22pm: Sally's first question to the panel is: in your view, what will it take to move sustainability from the margins to the mainstream?

6.40pm: Simon Zadek answers this by highlighting some big, global trends to look out for, including that in the next 4 years China will increase its outward investment by a cool $1 trillion and the huge opportunity to green public procurement on a big scale in many parts of the world.

Mikele Brack's view is that the case for social and economic sustainability is widely accepted, but the economic case seems weaker and needs to be demonstrated to a mainstream audience to bring sustainability to scale.

David Stubbs brings an interesting perspective in the shape of the London 2012 Olympics, which provides an opportunity to embed sustainability in a project from the very start, without having to alter any pre existing unsustainable culture. Procurement and workforce training have shown themselves to be effective touch points for really driving sustainability into the centre of decisions.

Rupert Howes talked about the food sector as a tipping point for mainstreaming sustainability. The pressure has never been greater but this sector touches everyone and cross-sector partnerships and collaboration will be crucial to success in this case.


Flic Howard-Allen@FlicHowardAllen
Interesting view that sovereign wealth funds as drivers of change #GSBQ
29 Feb 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
6.49pm: Will sovereign wealth funds be the driver for sustainable change?

Tracey RawlingChurch@traceyrc
Sovereign wealth funds are policy driven, and their actions often reflect the way their government wants to shape the global agenda #gsbq
29 Feb 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
Gavin Starks@agentGav
Sovereign wealth funds are about $20 trillion globally. About 10% of global markets. SWF's are tied to more than profit. #gsbq
29 Feb 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
7.05pm: The numbers need to big, we need proof of concept - vision of the future should be tangible and exciting and partnerships will be vital to success.

And with that we're now moving on to questions from the audience...

7.16pm: A question about the potential effect of getting procurement departments to look for the right thing when working with smaller businesses:

David Stubbs says that clarity is key and standards need to be appropriately mandated.

Simon Zadek focuses on the rules of the game and thinks about systems level change. There is a real danger that green procurement policies, particularly in the public sector will punish small businesses.

Richard Waters@UK_Richard
Managing corp. supply chain sust. might be less 'procurement stick' and more of an 'education, co-investment, collaborative carrot' #gsbq
29 Feb 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
7.20pm: How do we go about embedding the economic wins associated with sustainability in the public psyche?

Forum for the Future's experience suggests that sustainability is still treated as niche by corporates.

Rupert Howes suggests that marketing and communications have a vital role to play in changing this.

7.26pm: The main discussion is wrapping up now so we hope that we've managed to give you a flavour of some of the varied and fascinating insights the panel have given. The delegates here at the event are now moving on to round table discussion groups which take place under Chatham House rules so our live coverage finishes here. We will be publishing summaries of the discussions in a couple of weeks time so do look out for those if you'd like to delve further into the issues around scaling sustainability.

Thanks go to our panel and to Sally for stepping in as chair at the last minute!