Six tips for a successful Rio+20
Last week @AlexSturdza & I discussed our mutual frustrations with the lack of meaningful progress, not just in the last twenty years since Rio, but over the last 40 years since the United Nation’s first environmental conference, held in Stockholm in 1972. So I asked Alex do provide a guest post for my Blog which would outline some simple changes that could make a big difference…..
Looking at the build up to Rio+20, I’m feeling a rather predictable sense of déjà vu…
Maybe my consulting brain has distorted my thinking over the years, but it seems like we’ve got another poor brief on our hands. If delegates are yet again unwilling to concede to the issues at hand, be realistic about the need to develop long-term solutions and pragmatic about the means of delivery, few meaningful outcomes will be achieved.
Do we need to remind global leaders that Rio+20 presents the perfect opportunity to take some decisive, disruptive, globally binding actions on key sustainability challenges? Almost two generations of leaders have now been talking about sustainability, with seemingly little weight or action behind their words. This, on top of waning commitment to mechanisms such as Kyoto, should ring alarm bells.
So, to avoid yet another underwhelming conference, here’s my advice to delegates ahead of the summit:
Adopt a global mindset
Rather than continuing to focus on national and commercial self-interests and pointing the blame at others, delegates need to adopt a more systemic perspective. With the understanding that everything and everyone is inter-connected, including our problems and solutions.
In order to make complexity simple, delegates need to break global challenges down into containable issues and recognise that each has a cause, an effect, stakeholders and a solution.
Make it simple
The talking points at Rio+20 should be simple. We need to think big and work together in smarter ways so everyone has food, education and a decent life now and in the future – whatever that future looks like politically.
Think about your epitaph
Uniliver’s CEO Paul Polman will be a case study in every business school in the world. While saving the world isn’t all about ego, think about how you want to be remembered. Taking a stand also makes it easier for whoever replaces you to raise the bar even higher.
Joining the dots
There are partnership opportunities at all levels, and all parties need to get involved to incentivise, manufacture and finance the transition from a volume based model to an efficiency one. Seeking these opportunities benefits everyone.
Think urgent over important
It’s not advice we’d usually give, but strangely enough, there’s opportunity here in the fact that a CEO’s term is about the same as a politician’s. That means there’s a window to agree on the urgent quick wins – before getting to the important.
@AlexSturdza has obviously done a lot of thinking on this and I would like to thank her for sharing her ideas. If you’d like to chat further with her you can always say email@example.com.