In a move to actualise a 1.5 degree future, Climate Action convened 623 sustainability and climate leaders at the 10th Annual Sustainable Innovation Forum 2019 (SIF19) at COP25 in Madrid from 10-11 December 2019.
As World Leaders and Environment Ministers entered the final stages of the COP25 negotiations, the 10th edition of the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2019 commenced. Whilst the COP negotiations felt the effects of weeks of uncertainty, the role of side events became ever more apparent in uniting the public and private sectors for action and ambition.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, Hon. Josaia V. Bainimarama (above), opened the Forum on 10 December with a strong reminder: “The clock is ticking until Paris next year… Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees is the only target ensuring climate impacts can be managed. We need a rapid and fundamental shift in our economy.”
This message was reiterated by Ambassador de Alba and the IPCC’s Chair, Hoesung Lee, both calling for businesses to align their strategies to a 1.5C scenario. Lee (right), underlined the opportunities in doing so, stating: “investment will give us a tremendous beneficial spill-over effect by creating a cleaner, healthier, and more resilient economy and society.”
In its 10th year alongside the UNFCCC COP negotiations, the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2019 brought together 623 delegates representing 69 countries. In attendance included 1 Prime Minister, 2 former Heads of State, 29 ministerial delegations, and Headline Partner BMW Group among 54 key sponsors and partners. These leading stakeholders from both public and private sectors positioned the Forum as the largest business-focused official side event of COP25. SIF19 created and deepened the type of collaborations and cross-sector partnerships needed to tackle the existential crisis we face.
Day One continued with core aspects of the sustainability discourse. Nik Gowing, the Forum Chair, facilitated dynamic discussions and interactions from the delegation whilst vital talks on mobility, the energy transition, the circular economy, climate finance, and the governance of natural capital framed the day.
Day Two opened with a high-level Deep-Dive discussion between the Forum Chair, and two former Presidents Mary Robinson (Ireland) and Ricardo Lagos (Chile). Both former Presidents (left) set the scene as they called for greater responsibility from the private sector and increased calls for cross-sector and cross-border collaboration.
The FAO’s Director General Qu Dongyu (right) and Deputy-Prime Minister of Sweden, Isabella Lövin, shared insights into how they will use innovation and technology to drive the sustainable transitions in agriculture and heavy industry. As technology and innovation took centre stage on Day Two, the Roundtable Solution Sessions and Start-Up Lightening Pitches brought engagement, interactivity and solutions-based outcomes to round-off an exciting and constructive 10th Edition of the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2019.
EIT – European Institute of Innovation and Technology Climate-KIC’s CEO Kirsten Dunlop delivered a keynote speech, “Climate Leader Insights: Innovating for the Climate Emergency”. The speech explored what innovation could look like at a systems level, proposing integrated and coordinated interventions in economic, political and social systems as a way to tackle the climate emergency.
The Forum wrapped up with the interactive Lightning Pitches from the five Start Ups showcasing their innovative solutions addressing climate challenges. After a three-way tie from live voting from the audience, the judges’ deciding vote awarded Gael Lavaud’s mobility Start-Up Gazelle Tech as the Sustainable Innovation Hub’s ‘Innovator of the Year 2019’.
Climate Action would like to thank all sponsors, partners, speakers, and of course our delegates who joined the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2019. Without their input and insights, the Forum would not have created the platform needed to accelerate climate ambitions.