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The roundtable

‘Efforts must go beyond awareness’ to achieve emission targets

DUBAI, November 27, 2023

Despite collective efforts, carbon emission reduction targets are still being missed, which is exacerbating global warming beyond the agreed 1.5°C level set in Paris. 
 
“Our efforts must go beyond awareness to drive tangible change,” said Julian Birkinshaw, Vice Dean and Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School (LBS), which hosted a roundtable with experts in energy transition and technology just days out from the start of COP28. 
 
Titled “Aligning Expectations with Actions”, the event at its Dubai campus focused on ensuring the success of the two-week conference in combatting climate change.
 
Distinguished speakers included Simon Birkebaek, Director of Energy Transition at COP28, and Sherif Tawfik, Chief Sustainability Commercial Officer - Central, Southeast Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Microsoft.
 
Pivotal role
“Business schools have a pivotal role to play in driving this change. As educators, we must redefine education - teaching not just content, but also the foundations on which these courses are built. Learning isn't merely absorbing information; it's about experiential growth. We must cultivate problem solvers, nurturing their capacity to confront real-world challenges,” Prof Birkinshaw said.
 
“Lastly, as institutions, we must exemplify what we teach. Getting our own house in order is paramount if we are to foster the leadership and change in others that we advocate. Indeed, the magnitude of this challenge is mindboggling, but it's within our capacity to surmount it, starting with the transformation of education and the commitment to lead by example."
 
The roundtable discussion provided a comprehensive roadmap of anticipated developments and key focal points to note when COP28 begins in Dubai’s Expo City later this week.
 
Intricate challenges
Guest speakers explored intricate climate change challenges faced by global businesses, highlighting essential considerations for those aiming to adopt sustainable practices. Key issues discussed included lack of finance, supply chain disruptions, and cost inflation.
 
A paradigm shift in business strategies and the use of technology was encouraged, with speakers stressing the urgent need for a transition towards clean energy and a balance between profits, people, and the planet. A heightened focus on inclusivity in climate action was also discussed and companies’ embrace community-focused and socially responsible practices was advocated.
 
Birkebaek said: “We are far off track to deliver on the Paris agreement, but it is still possible to keep 1.5 within reach. In order to do so, everyone must act. Governments must come together at COP28 to deliver substantial progress, and companies must accelerate their efforts to drive decarbonization and clean energy expansion. While we have much more to do, we are seeing positive trends, especially for renewables, energy efficiency and electrification in transport. This momentum needs to be increased and broadened out across the globe."
 
Defining issue
Tawfik said: “Climate change is the defining issue of our generation, and addressing it requires swift, collective action and technical innovation. No organisation will be able to solve the climate crisis in isolation. As a global technology leader, we are committed to helping build the enabling societal conditions that will support a net zero economy, especially with regard to giving organisations the right tools to understand and analyse their climate impact. Microsoft is committed to meeting our own climate goals and enabling others to do the same by promoting rapid policy action, supporting the development of sustainability markets, and accelerating progress through AI-enabled solutions.”
 
LBS faculty, alumni and community members attended the evening. It followed an earlier thought leadership event, ‘The Road to COP28 – Aligning Expectations with Actions’ hosted at the School’s London campus. That event brought together experts from industry, NGOs and academia to discuss the evolving role of business schools in confronting the climate challenge, expectations of the business community from COP28 and complex climate trade-offs. Navigating the complexities of climate regulation, finance, energy, and climate transitions were also explored.--TradeArabia News Service
 



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