We Need to Talk about the Future
With less than 7 years left to realize the 2030 Agenda, increased global efforts are needed to ensure a sustainable future. In the light of the ongoing climate crisis, and a global increase of authoritarianism, right-wing populism, shrinking space for civil society, and women’s and girl’s rights being threatened, strengthened cooperation and partnership between like-minded countries and global actors is key.
The latest IPCC report (April 2022) recognizes the interdependence of climate, ecosystems, and biodiversity with human societies, and stresses the need for urgent action. Furthermore, the report reveals that limiting global warming to around 1.5°C (2.7°F) requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest and be reduced by 43% by 2030. A societal transition is necessary to preserve our habitat, but the remaining question is how. We need to ensure the wellbeing of both the planet and humans everywhere.
To this background, Global Utmaning and the U.S Embassy in Sweden are organising a series of Sustainability Talks. We want to offer a space for dialogue and shed light on the nexus between climate change and inequality, and promote sustainable forerunners from Sweden and the United States. The purpose of this initiative is to carry out an exclusive series of conversations, where a panel of Swedish and American experts from different sectors meet to discuss challenges and solutions. The series focuses on the major challenges that must be resolved across borders. The breakfast dialogues will have a curious, exploratory, and co-creative approach.
The value of having a series of talks with a “house moderator”, is that the conversations can influence and feed into one another. This will further highlight the synergies between chosen topics and interlinkages between these complex issues. This is the basis of Global Utmaning’s expertise, and our hope is that this series will provide an added understanding of the synergies between Sweden and America in times of uncertainty. To ensure constructive and educational conversations the project team will continue to work on the themes outlined below and pinpoint relevant experts to be part of the panel.
Talk 1: A Strong Transatlantic Partnership
With the world’s largest economic relationship, the cooperation between the United States, European Union, and Sweden is highly focused on trade and investments, but what can be done in terms of sustainability? There is a mutual commitment to the Paris Agreement and ambition to establish a comprehensive transatlantic green agenda, to jointly lead efforts for ambitious global agreements starting with a joint commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050. What can be done to ensure longevity and secure implementation?
The need for innovation and green tech to provide solutions for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, and slowing global warming has become more acute. Innovations and new technologies create new opportunities to finance climate action that delivers emissions reductions alongside economic, health, and social benefits.
Social innovators can provide scalable and sustainable solutions to the climate crisis at the same time as social entrepreneurship can provide long-lasting employment as well as showcase the societal benefits of employing people far from the labor market. As such, social entrepreneurship can be a tool to both increase gender equality and mitigate the effects of climate change. The ambitious climate goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 makes the United States and Sweden well-positioned to contribute to the green energy transition with their prosperous innovation environment and good growing ground for tech and social entrepreneurship. How can the Swedish – American partnership foster a beneficial environment for sustainable innovation?
Women play a crucial role in crafting innovative solutions to the climate crisis. However, away from many decision-making spheres, women’s innovative force is systematically being overlooked when it comes to funding. This waste of intellectual capacity will not benefit the pool of solutions put forward to address this global emergency. Diversity and inclusion are important elements to unlock innovation and promote new solutions to the climate crisis but are also fundamental factors in making sure policies reflect the actual needs of all global citizens.
Therefore, new systems need to make sure that no one is left behind. Making diverse gender-conscious investments is proven to increase performance, creativity, and profitability and hence is a pathway to sustainable development. In order to find and fund the great solution providers of tomorrow, we need to look closer at the investment community and understand why female entrepreneurs are being overlooked. What shift can be made in the investment landscape regarding regulation and/or norms? And how do we take advantage of startup companies’ innovative power to meet societal challenges?