The 8th Sustainable Innovation Forum brought climate leaders together in Bonn
On 13-14 November, Climate Action, in official partnership with UN Environment held the 8th edition of the Sustainable Innovation Forum alongside COP23 in Bonn, Germany.
Chaired by Nik Gowing, International Broadcaster, the 2-days conference started with a keynote address from the COP23 Hosts, Fiji, on “Achieving Measurable Global Action” by Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fijian Attorney-General, and Minister for Economy, Public Enterprises, Civil Service and Communications where he presented the country’s climate policies stressing that Fiji constitutes the first emerging country to launch green bonds.
An inspiring keynote speech was delivered by Bertrand Piccard, President of the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions and Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, where he addressed the importance of innovation for climate action urging for a “paradigm shift”.
The first day of the forum saw 6 panels on the energy transition, the energy storage revolution, decarbonising the transport system, the roadmap to a sustainable mobility system, climate-smart agriculture and solutions to address the clean air crisis.
Alongside political leaders, key speakers from the private sector included Markus Duesmann from BMW Group, who announced that by 2020 the company will procure 100% renewable energy electricity and Christof Ehrhart from DHL who presented DHL’s CubiCycle.
Some of the highlights of the first day were the intervention of Lewis Pugh, UN Patron of the Oceans, live from the Antarctica who analysed the unprecedented speed of climate change in the polar regions, pollution of the waters and the dangerous sea level rise.
A ground-breaking presentation of the potential of hydrogen technologies by Hydrogen Council members and the on-stage launch of the first ever globally quantified vision of the role of hydrogen closed the Day1 of the Forum. With the release of the “Hydrogen Scaling up”, the coalition explains how hydrogen can account for one fifth of the global final energy consumption by 2050 and contribute to almost 20 percent of the abatement required to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius reducing pressure on renewables and other clean energy technologies.
Both days of the Forum saw regional and local government leaders committing to take action to combat toxic air pollution in their regions by signing up to the BreatheLife campaign, led by UN Environment and WHO. In partnership with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD), the campaign saw the first ten regional governments as well as Mayors of Bonn (Germany), Tshwane (South Africa), Mount Baker (Australia), Bristol (UK), and Västra Götaland County (Sweden) signing up to the campaign.
A keynote speech was addressed by Ashok Sridharan, Mayor of Bonn, who urged private companies to offer coalition platforms with governments calling them “the key to success” and underlying that “cities and regions are ready to engage with their stakeholders”.
The theme of the day was particularly focused on climate financing, with two panel discussions taking place focusing on ways to scale up financing for a low-carbon future and the role of carbon pricing in the fight against climate change. Important insights to these important matters where shared by the likes of Carole Dieschbourg, Minister for the Environment, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, Luxembourg, Stephen Lucas, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Canada.
CLIMATECOIN, Solvay, US Climate Leadership Council, CDP and Deutsche Bank were some of the financial industry representatives who challenged the traditional financial system to shift focus on climate action through innovative financial instruments and services, such as cryptocurrencies and green bonds.
Disruptive ideas circulated the room; for example Ted Halstead from the US Climate Leadership Council explained how there is an opportunity for a first-mover advantage for a country to set up an ambitious carbon pricing system with aggressive border carbon adjustment compelling trade partners to adjust.
Other key topics included sustainable, liveable cities, or circular economy, with expert opinions on public policy insights including Ministers of Environment from Finland, Ecuador, Estonia.
The Forum closed with an inspiring speech from David Hochchild, Commissioner of the California Energy Commission who outlined California’s efforts of decarbonisation, explaining its plans to expand renewable energy integration and to aggressively pursue further deployment of electric vehicles.
Nick Henry, CEO and Founder of Climate Action, commented on the outcome of this year’s extremely successful Sustainable Innovation Forum by saying: “The event has highlighted the journey taken, but also the road we need to build in order to stop runaway climate change in its tracks. There was no shortage of ideas which could have an immediate impact on emissions levels and also global public health”.
“What’s come across clearly over the past two days is the need to think of climate change as an emergency that is already impacting millions of lives. The good news is we have both the tools and the will to do something about it”.
Climate Action was proud to host the only US pavilion at the climate talks, where “We Are Still In” exhibited the US Climate Action Centre. The coalition, co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, and Jerry Brown, California Governor, launched the America’s Pledge report- its first communication of plans to the international community, analysing how US states, cities, businesses, citizens, and universities can support the Paris Agreement even without federal action.
The 8th Sustainable Innovation Forum wouldn’t have been possible without the enduring support of UN Environment and Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment. Climate Action also worked closely with SIF sponsors, without which the success of the event wouldn’t have been achieved. BMW Group was the Headline sponsor, and DHL Group was the Official Venue Partner, as the 8th edition of SIF took place in DHL’s premises in its Headquarters in Bonn.
Platinum sponsors were Siemens, UN Global Pulse and Western Digital. Gold sponsors were Autodesk, CLIMATECOIN, Eaton, Fortum, Hydrogen Council, Orsted (former DONG Energy), Solvay and Westport Fuel Systems.
Silver sponsors were Aclima, Deutsche Bank, Ramboll and SkyMining.
Strategic Partners were the Climate Leadership Council, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Indonesia Biofuels Producer Association (Aprobi), NextGen America and the US Climate Action Centre.
Climate Action is looking forward to the 9th edition of the Sustainable Innovation Forum, which will take place alongside COP24 in Katowice, Poland next year!