Asia House in collaboration with Accenture organised a hybrid conference on Thursday 11 May which aimed to address the gap between ‘doing green’ in developed and developing economies. The speakers, from a range of global brands, looked at re-examining the western idea of sustainability and its applicability in emerging markets.
Click here to watch a full video of the event.
In his opening keynote speech, Toby Siddall, Managing Director & Sustainability Lead, Accenture UK & Ireland highlighted the importance of bridging the gap between developed and developing economies through a collective focus on sustainable business practices and climate conscious decision making. In his speech, Toby shared that today’s businesses should be thinking about sustainability as “the biggest investment opportunity in history”. Toby asserted that there is a need for exponential change through radial collaboration between governments, investors, businesses and consumers. Toby then went on to highlight the ‘three principles’ to stand on and build collaborations on:
- Recognise that climate change is going to transform every industry and business, whether we engage with it or not.
- To “do green differently”, we need to stop leading with sustainability – we need to stop trying to make humans more sustainable and start making sustainability more human.
- Technology and Sustainability are inseparable – this is a ‘twin transformation’. The opportunity that technology is presenting us with to solve them has never been greater.
Toby then spoke about developed countries recognising and addressing the growth, aspirations and prosperity of communities in developing nations.. He concluded by reaffirming that growth and prosperity can only be achieved when billions of individuals and businesses work towards a common global mindset.
Steve Howard, Vice Chairman, Sustainability, Temasek and Yap Mun Ching, Chief Sustainability Officer, AirAsia & Executive Director, AirAsia Foundation followed with a discussion which highlighted how businesses are focusing on sustainability goals by re-asserting the need for decarbonisation compliant infrastructure. Steve also highlighted the need to create value in future businesses, along with a framework towards socially aligned public policy. Meanwhile, Mun Ching reiterated that companies must lead the charge towards net zero emissions.
In the second panel discussion, global sustainability leaders came together and critically engaged on the importance of evolving business practices on the principles of green innovation. Tanah Lee Sullivan, Group Head of Sustainability, GoTo and Dr Emma Keller, Head of Sustainability, Nestlé UK&I both highlighted the need for affordability and market accountability for businesses to switch to climate conscious alternative products. Rohini Behl, Head of Sustainability, L’Oréal SAPMENA (South Asia, Pacific, Middle East and North Africa) spoke about the need to invest in sustainability to work towards climate neutrality.
The conference, chaired by Asia House Chief Executive Michael Lawrence OBE, welcomed over 200 attendees both in-person at Asia House and online, and provided a unique insight into the future of sustainability in emerging markets.
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