Critical Conversations: The Climate Imperative Post-COP
In partnership with Credit Suisse
There are tensions in the crusade to protect the planet’s natural habitats. Countries with advanced, service-based economies can more easily pass legislation that protects swaths of natural land. Countries whose economies rely on agricultural production face a much tougher decision – whether to risk their economic stability by taking steps to protect forests and reduce emissions or prioritise economic production with current, fossil-fuel emitting practices. On the local level, prioritising the protection of biodiversity poses a risk to communities whose livelihood is dependent on industrial and agricultural production.
How do we protect the world’s natural ecosystems and preserve biodiversity in a way that also protects people who have worked the land for generations, and have few alternative sources of income?
Simon Mundy – Moral Money Editor at the Financial Times. Simon covers environmental and sustainability issues for the award-winning Moral Money platform and across the wider FT. He began his reporting career in Johannesburg, where he covered Southern Africa for the FT before a period writing on the London financial sector. He then spent seven years in Asia, heading the FT bureaux in Seoul and Mumbai – before two years travelling across six continents to research Race for Tomorrow (October 2021), a book on the global scramble to respond to climate change. Simon is the author of a new book ‘Survival, Innovation and Profit on the Front Lines of the Climate Crisis’ based on interviews across twenty-six countries with people on the front lines of the climate crisis.
On the panel:
Sandra Guzman Luna – Manager of the Climate Finance Programme at the Climate Policy Initiative in London. Sandra’s work at CPI focuses on the development of tools to mainstream climate change in the financial sector, improving reporting systems and accelerating the investments on adaptation measures. Her areas of expertise are climate finance tracking, elaboration of national strategies on climate finance and mainstreaming climate change in public finance systems. Sandra has experience of over sixteen years in Climate Policy and Finance and has been working as a consultant of the Standing Committee on Climate Finance at the UNFCCC, with twelve years of experience in climate negotiations. She is the founder of the Climate Finance Group for Latin America and the Caribbean and the former General Director of Climate Change Policies at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico. She is also the author of the Sustainable Finance Index and has created other methodologies related to climate finance tracking. Sandra was awarded as the Intellectual of the Year 2018 by the Marie Claire Magazine and was also, selected as one of the 34 Global Change-Makers by the Chevening Scholarship of the UK Government.
Jojo Mehta – Co-founder of Stop Ecocide International, an organisation that supports the establishment of ecocide as a crime at the International Criminal Court. She is Chair of the charitable Stop Ecocide Foundation and convenor of the Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide chaired by Philippe Sands QC and Dior Fall Sow. Jojo has contributed to law conferences, diplomatic events, environmental summits and climate rallies as well as podcasts, interviews and articles for publications and broadcasters ranging from TIME Magazine to the New York Times and from The Guardian to the BBC. She was a keynote speaker at the official side event “Investigating and prosecuting ecocide: the current and future role of the ICC” in December 2019, hosted by the Republic of Vanuatu as part of the 18th Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. This Assembly saw Vanuatu call for member states to consider amending the ICC’s Rome Statute to include a crime of ecocide. Jojo is a graduate of Oxford and London universities and has a background in communications, entrepreneurship and on-the-ground environmental campaigning.
Dr David Obura – Founding Director of CORDIO East Africa, a knowledge organization supporting sustainability of coral reef and marine systems in the Western Indian Ocean. CORDIO takes research to management and policy, builds capacity, and works with stakeholders, managers and policy makers. David’s primary research is on coral reef resilience, in particular to climate change, and the biogeography of the Indian Ocean. At the boundary between science and action, David works to integrate conservation and development through inclusive blue economy principles and links provided by global sustainability goals and targets. He works from the local scale, through fostering innovative action to promote sustainability, through regional scale alignment and integration, to global scales, bringing knowledge and local-regional practice into decision-making contexts. David serves on the Earth Commission (2019-2022), contributing to describing a ‘safe and just corridor’ into the future, for people and planet.
Oliver Withers – Biodiversity lead within the Sustainability Strategy, Advisory and Finance Group at Credit Suisse. Oliver was previously the head of conservation finance and enterprise at the Zoological Society of London, with ultimate responsibility for the successful resourcing and management of projects and programmes to deliver biodiversity impact. This included leading the Rhino Impact Investment Project and the development of an outcomes-based financing mechanism to direct additional funds to priority rhino populations. He initiated the spin-out of the Net-Works™ programme into an independent social enterprise, Coast 4C, which facilitates the exchange of value (currently nylon-6 into the circular economy and sustainable seaweed) between coastal communities and global markets to accelerate conservation-linked sustainable development which reduces marine plastic, increases fish stocks and improves the lives of marginalised coastal communities. At ZSL he also had oversight for the Sustainability Policy Transparency Toolkit (SPOTT), a platform supporting transparency and sustainability of commodity producers. Oliver began his career in financial services, where he ultimately became the head of asset management for a pan-African investment bank before pursuing a career in sustainable and biodiversity finance. Oliver has extensive experience working and living in Africa and Asia. Oliver read economics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, which is where he was born.
Ana Yang – Executive Director, Sustainability Accelerator at Chatham House. Ana’s interests focus on how to drive change for a fairer and more sustainable future. Ana has strong interdisciplinary work experience and is now working on understanding how finance and innovation can enable the deep sustainability transition. Prior to Chatham House, Ana worked at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, where she led the land use and finance workstream of the Climate Change Programme. Between 2005 to 2008, she was the Executive Director of FSC Brazil’s Forest Stewardship Initiative and later joined the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Sustainable Business Advisory team advising companies and investors on impact investments in the Amazon. She is now chair of the board of Instituto Clima e Sociedade (iCS), a grant making organisation based in Brazil focussed on climate change and social development.