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WJI 2030 Roundtable at ChangeNOW Summit Calls for Immediate Action

Paris, March 26, 2024

Since its inception in 2017, ChangeNOW has been on a mission to accelerate environmental and social transition, uniting minds and innovative solutions to confront the greatest global challenges. At this year’s summit in Paris, WJI 2030 hosted a roundtable discussion, “Facing the Challenges Towards 2030: Bridging an Interconnected Pathway for Climate, Nature, and Human Rights.”

Moderated by WJI 2030 Executive Director, Iris Van der Veken, the session served as a platform for business leaders and change-makers to delve deep into pressing sustainability issues and catalyse actionable solutions.

Speakers included recognized business leaders and change-makers: Paul Polman, Business Leader, Campaigner, and Co-author of “Net Positive”, Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief of Sustainability and Institutional Affairs at Kering, Dr. Anino Emuwa, Founder of 100 Women @ Davos, Julien Rivals, Partner, Sustainability at Deloitte & Associés, and Elisa Niemtzow, Vice-President at BSR.

Bringing his wealth of experience to the discussion, Paul Polman shed light on the urgency of our situation and emphasised the need to move from competitive to cooperative leadership. He highlighted the stark reality that humanity has already exceeded six of the nine planetary boundaries, with two more teetering on the brink. Merely incremental improvements are insufficient; a paradigm shift towards restorative and regenerative action is imperative.

The staggering cost of inaction could lead to an estimated $170 trillion loss by 2070 if sustainability issues are not promptly addressed. These figures starkly illustrate the high stakes involved and the urgent need for collective action.

The roundtable discussion echoed Polman’s sentiments, emphasizing the interconnected nature of the challenges we face. Panellists discussed the importance of a holistic approach that transcends traditional silos, integrating sustainability considerations into every aspect of business strategy and decision-making.

Throughout the session, the need for collaborative action emerged as a recurring theme. An estimated 80% of current issues could be solved through collective action. However, panellists also acknowledged the systemic barriers that hinder progress, including embedded economic systems, political agendas, and technological limitations.

These challenges are symptomatic of a broader societal problem rooted in greed and short-term thinking, but the cost of doing nothing is now higher than doing something. The imperative to work together to find regenerative, equitable, and sustainable
solutions for all is urgent and undeniable. It is incumbent upon us to rise to the
occasion, transcending individual interests and embracing collective action to safeguard the future of our planet and generations to come.