Climate Change – No Problem. We Must Act Now!

Climate change is inevitable. Reason enough for entrepreneurs and managers to think about sustainable solutions in all areas:

  • What is the role of executives in implementing sustainable transformation?
  • Can renewable energy sources fully meet our overall needs?
  • How can we identify and counter “greenwashing”?
  • How can we increase the resilience of our agriculture systems to deal with diminishing natural resources and food price volatility?

One of our hot topics at the Global Female Leaders Summit 2023 is climate change. We are pleased to give you a sneak preview of this exciting block of topics.

From Limits to Growth to Earth4All – Systems Solutions for the Planetary Emergency?

Spotlight – Monday 24th April 2023

Instead of continuing to live in old patterns where power imbalances, relentless profit orientation, and a culture steeped in patriarchy are causing the global economic system to crumble, Dixson-Declève sees an urgent need to invest in the people, the planet and prosperity.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève is an international and European climate, energy, sustainable development, sustainable finance, complex systems thought leader. She is currently the Co-President of the Club of Rome and divides her time between lecturing, facilitating difficult conversations and advisory work. She currently Chairs the European Commission, Expert Group on Economic and Societal Impact of Research & Innovation (ESIR) and sits on several Boards & Advisory Boards including Climate KIC, Laudes Foundation, Imperial College Leonardo Centre, EDP, BMW, UCB and is a Senior Associate and faculty member of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).  In addition, she is an Ambassador, for the Energy Transition Commission (ETC) and the Well Being Alliance (WeAll) and a Fellow of the World Academy of Science & Art. In 2017 Sandrine co-founded the Women Enablers Change Agent Network (WECAN).

Left unchecked, rising income inequality, growing poverty and the lack of gender equity in the next 50 years will lead to increasingly dysfunctional societies, making co-operation to deal with existential threats like climate change more difficult. These are the conclusions of my new collaborative book, Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity.  However, the world can still stabilise global temperatures below 2°C and approach an end to poverty by 2050 by enacting five ‘extraordinary turnarounds’ that break with current trends and bring forward an optimised systems approach to achieving well-being and operating within planetary boundaries by around 2050.

Our economic and financial systems are broken, and we are reaching dangerous levels of inequality.

In the next 50 years, the current economic system will drive up social tensions and drive down wellbeing. We can already see how inequality is destabilising people and the planet and the current poly-crisis has only intensified the disparity between the haves and have nots. Yet not building resilience across our current economic and financial systems is a recipe for disaster. Citizens across the globe recognise we need a new paradigm. And the investment needed for this shift is small, just 2-4% of GDP annually with a focus on 5 key turnarounds: Poverty, Inequality, Empowerment, Energy and Food. 2-4% is less than our current annual subsidies to fossil fuel industries. This is easily affordable, and it will create millions of jobs. What is missing is coalitions of politicians willing to make it happen.

Ultimately, we need to think about building societies that value prosperity for all rather than profit for the few on a finite planet fit for the 21st century. Let’s be clear, a more equal society benefits everyone, even the very rich and this entails a focus on “Systems Change Not Climate Change” and “People Not Profit”. It means developing a new economic paradigm that goes beyond the current “green growth” and “de-growth” models into a better understanding of 21st century economics that enhance well-being and the creation of an Earth for All.

Hot Topics need Cool Heads: The Future of Energy

Executive Panel Discussion – Monday 24th April 2023

Are you curious about what the future holds for energy? A future that is GREEN, where fossil fuels are a thing of the past, and renewable energy sources reign supreme. A future where the demand for fossil fuels hits a roadblock and where the growth in the world‘s energy needs is met by the rise of renewables. We are well underway in creating this future.

Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, have made significant strides in recent years, with fossil fuel demand reaching a plateau. The world’s growing energy needs will be met by the growth in renewables. as they offer not only affordability and environmental friendliness, but also security. Putin helped accelerate this trend by making the world understand how important local energy sources are for energy independence.

What is the key to unlocking this green energy future? The answer lies in a combination of factors: political will, scaling of existing technology, and capital investment.
Scaling up commercial technologies, such as solar, wind, battery storage, and efficiency improvements, should now be the world’s top priority.

How much capital investment is required? The estimates for investment range, but most experts agree that an annual 2-3 trillion USD, representing only 2-3% of global GDP. The future of energy is green, and with the technology and capital available, there is no excuse not to make it happen.

Join our Executive Panel Discussion! We look forward to our panellists:

Magali Anderson | Chief Sustainability & Innovation Officer | HOLCIM | Switzerland  
Erin Beilharz |
Managing Director CleanTech Hub | Lufthansa Group | Germany
Doris Honold |
Member Board of Directors | The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market | UK
Kristin Myskja |
Director General | Ministry of Petroleum and Energy | Norway

Moderated by Melinda Crane

Climate Change Think Tank Academy

The one-hour Think Tank Academy is designed to establish up-close networking opportunities while discussing cutting-edge topics in an interactive and content-driven environment. Parallel sessions give participants the opportunity to select their topic of interest. This format enables in-depth and open discussions and exchange of insights and experience amongst senior leaders.

Choose your favorite topic:

1) How to use the ESG regulatory momentum for sustainable business transformation

Eun-Hye Cho | Partner | KPMG | Germany

Thimo Stoll | Partner, ESG Strategy & Value Creation | KPMG | Germany

Nadine-Lan Hönighaus | Partner & Head of Governance in the KPMG EMA ESG Hub | KPMG | Germany

The plethora of current and future reporting requirements, metrics and increased stakeholder expectations on sustainability can overwhelm companies and executives. Complexity has increased, companies are required by a new understanding to consider the interests of a broader stakeholder group and to address the impact of the company on its external environment in addition to the impact on its own business. It would be only natural if in this increasingly challenging situation companies would focus on only meeting sometimes very ambitious legal requirements. However, this would mean missing the unique push for transformation sustainability can offer. Sustainability can be a value driver for companies and can point the way to the future viability of a business model. Particularly in view of the current increase in legal regulation of a wide range of sustainability issues, it is essential for companies to reflect on the opportunities offered by sustainability. Join us in this workshop to shed light on how this can be achieved.

2) Journey and Experiences Towards Gender Equality – EQUAL-SALARY Global Certification

Noémie Storbeck | Co-CEO | EQUAL-SALARY Foundation | Germany
Petra Angstmann |
SVP Human Resources | Wintershall Dea AG | Germany

In their think tank “Let’s Talk Equal Pay”, Noémie Storbeck and Petra Angstmann share their experiences with the EQUAL-SALARY global certification process and Petra reports candidly about the facts and figures, lessons learned and changes within the organisation.

Noémie Storbeck makes the case that getting certified by EQUAL-SALARY isn’t just the right thing to do, it is also good for business. It establishes a culture of trust and transparency, boosts employee loyalty, and it attracts a new generation of talent.

We wish to look ahead into the future with you in the think tank, what topics and certification processes will be on the agenda for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the next 5 years? Is the EQUAL-SALARY Certificate only the first step on the way to even more Diversity, Equity & Inclusion?

3) Changing the World – Bite by Bite with Planted Meat

Judith Wemmer | Executive Board Member – Product Development, IP, Regulatory | Planted Foods| Switzerland

Animal meat production is one of the largest instigators of the climate crisis; has been linked to a higher risk of various wide-spread diseases; and yet, meat plays a crucial role in our diet from a socio-cultural and physiological view point.

Current plant-based meat are not able to replace more than 2.5% of meat consumption, and therefore aren’t having the required impact on our food system. Consumers argue that this is due to: lack of taste, high price, and questionable ingredients. In order for meat-eaters to make these switches, we need to create ‘better meat than animals’ – better taste, price, environmental impact, efficiency and healthiness.

To achieve this, we need to invent new technologies, re-design value chains, update regulations, get more talent into the industry, allocate financial resources, re-shuffle subsidies… How do we accelerate the shift towards a more plant-based diet? What is the role of industry players, politics, retailers, consumers? And how do we deal with road blockers?

4) Taking Action – How Companies Can Act on Climate Change

Wiebke Thünnesen | Corporate Responsibility Manager |

Find your data. That’s the starting point of BABOR BEAUTY GROUP’s sustainability initiatives that reduce the company’s carbon footprint by 50 % until 2025. With an inhouse digital carbon dashboard that monitors emissions almost in real time, the German family company won awards, attracted the interest of tech giants and secured attractive ESG-linked loans to build a new production site. In this Think Tank sustainability Expert Wiebke Thünnesen explains how the company found its data, how it uses it and invites to a discussion beyond industry boarders: Which actions can we take? Is the obvious measure the most effective one? How can we set-up a team of experts to drive initiatives? How do we deal with our limitations?

Sustainable Mobility: Next Moves?

Executive Panel Discussion – Monday 24th April 2023

A shift to zero emission vehicles is underway but the implications of a net zero – circular supply chain where we seek to reuse, recycle and reduce consumption of all natural resources – are wider. Transformative zero carbon technologies for air and sea are still years away. Yet customers, consumers and civil society are demanding the transport and logistics sector to transition to a zero-carbon business model.

People and goods have always moved in the history of mankind. Today, global trade is dependent on shipping, air transport and long-haul trucking. As the transport and logistics industry has been a key driver for global trade and socio-economic development across the globe, it also is a big contributor to climate change.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), transport – sea, air and road combined – represents the highest reliance on fossil fuels of any sector and accounted for 37% of GHG emissions from end‐use sectors in 2021, with trade related freight playing an important role. Transport may have been one of the sectors most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, but 2022 saw it rebound.

A shift to zero emission vehicles is underway but the implications of a net zero – or more ambitiously a truly circular supply chain where we seek to reuse, recycle and reduce consumption of all natural resources – are wider. Transformative zero carbon technologies for air and sea are still many years away. Yet customers, consumers and civil society are demanding the transport and logistics sector to transition to a zero-carbon business model.

With most of the movements over international air space and international waters, technologies that can move long distances at a time and which can also support heavy loads and volumes, and which are resilient to extreme weather conditions are needed. This makes the transition to clean technologies in the transport and logistics industry particularly challenging. Nevertheless, there are many ways today to avoid and reduce C02 in transport and logistics.

Our panel of experts will discuss not only the challenges but the solutions and what actions need to happen.

Join our Executive Panel Discussion! We look forward to our panellists:

Andrea Debbané | Head of Global Sustainability | Kühne & Nagel | Switzerland
Fatima da Gloria de Sousa |
VP Sustainability | Air France – KLM Group | France
Angelika Huber-Straßer |
Managing Partner Southern Region KPMG Germany | KPMG | Germany
Sabine Mueller |
CEO | DHL Consulting | Germany

Moderated by Melinda Crane

The Need for Transformation in the Fashion Industry on the example of C&A

Spotlight – Monday 24th April 2023

Giny Boer‘s strategy to transform the over 180-year-old brick-and-mortar fashion house into a modern European omnichannel fashion brand. Focussing on more modern styles, digitalization, sustainability, and speaking about pro-actively and transparently.

Giny Boer took over the role as C&A Europe’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on 1 January 2021. She chose to work for C&A because it is an icon in the retail industry, offering fashion for everyone. Giny herself has a passion for fashion, as it supports her to bring out the best of herself. Her favourite product is denim.

Giny brings in years of experience in leading international companies and is committed to strengthening C&A’s brand. She wants to change the business model to contribute to circular economy. In her opinion, sustainability in fashion cannot just be a niche product.

Also, she wants to strengthen the image of C&A by modernizing through her “ONE C&A-plan”, which describes the strategic priorities for the coming years.

But Giny’s favourite topic is people, and she is for instance supporting women in leadership positions, sharing the lessons she learned and working towards a future in which leadership is never a question of gender, but solely about talent and delivering results.

One pen, one notepad. Armed with this simple set-up C&A’s CEO Giny Boer started her first weeks in the middle of the pandemic only seeing her new colleagues on the laptop screen. To listen and to learn. Learn how C&A works, what works well, what doesn’t work at all.

This notepad filled with handwritten learnings turned into the “ONE C&A plan”, Giny Boer’s strategy to transform the over 180-year-old brick-and-mortar fashion house into a modern European omnichannel fashion brand. Focussing on more modern styles, digitalization, sustainability, and speaking about pro-actively and transparently.

Giny Boer tackles the challenge of bringing C&A back to growth with a new style of leadership. The first woman at the top at C&A leads with cooperation, kindness, and vulnerability. She emphasises to always keep it simple even in complex economical environments facing high pressure. Keeping it simple – like starting a huge task with just a pen and a notepad.

The Great Food Transformation: The Breakthroughs we Must Have to Secure a Liveable Future

Spotlight – Monday 24th April 2023

The effects of climate change have helped trigger a global crisis, with supply-chain disruptions and record high food prices. As millions more are driven into extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition, the situation also threatens to erase hard-won achievements in development.

Dr Gunhild A. Stordalen, a physician who also holds a PhD in pathology/orthopedic surgery, and an environmentalist, is the Founder and Executive Chair of EAT, a global, non-profit platform for food system transformation, and the co-founder of the Food Forward Consortium (FFC).

She sits on several boards and advises on councils including the United Nation’s Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Lead Group, the World Economic Forum (WEF) Stewardship Board on Food Systems, member of Africa Europe Women Leaders Network, the UN Climate Change Global Innovation Hub (UGIH) on Nutrition and Health working group, and the international Advisory Board of the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC).

In addition, Gunhild is an ambassador for Friends of Ocean action, a member of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (HLP) for the Blue Economy, and a part of the International Leadership Committee for a Net Zero NHS. She has also been listed among the most influential female leaders shaping the climate agenda in 2019, and powerful rankings on the top 100 leaders influencing Norwegian agriculture by Nationen.

The science is loud and clear: unless we get a fundamental transformation of food production and consumption underway during this decade around the world, there is no chance to avoid catastrophic climate disruption and nature loss, we will fail to reverse the spread of hunger and diet-related ill health, and the risk of new pandemics will continue to rise. Gunhild Stordalen will present the big shifts we need to get underway to secure a livable and safe future, and the breakthroughs that can drive those shifts — across policy, business practices, finance and consumer behavior, and the role that technology and innovation can play to accelerate positive change.

Social Entrepreneurship: Centering Social Impact

Interview – Monday 24th April 2023

Growing inequalities are a global challenge. By centring social impact, social entrepreneurship has the potential to address disadvantage and empower people, families and communities. Through improved income opportunities and access to products and services essential for an inclusive and sustainable society, people, planet and business will benefit.

  • How can business be a force for positive impact and inclusivity?
  • How can corporates and social entrepreneurs’ partner and leverage shared expertise?
  • How can systems change improve livelihoods for people who are the most vulnerable?

Åsa Skogström Feldt is the managing director of IKEA Social Entrepreneurship BV. Through partnerships, programmes and investment, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship supports social entrepreneurs across the globe, creating new opportunities for people distanced from the labour market and those living in vulnerable communities, while tackling root causes of poverty and inequality.

Åsa has a background working in business and NGOs. She was previously global president and CEO of The Hunger Project in New York and CEO of The Hunger Project, Sweden. She also introduced social entrepreneurship into the supply chain at IKEA of Sweden, was the head of marketing for Sony Ericsson in Germany, corporate communications director for Aspiro and marketing communications manager for Ericsson Mobile Communications in the Middle East and Africa.

Throughout her career Åsa has championed women’s empowerment, whether through board assignments, co-founding women’s organisations, on exchange programs, in grassroots activism around the world and in her everyday life.

Growing inequalities are a global challenge. And a global threat. Positive social impact is an essential ingredient in all our efforts to create a more sustainable future. People and planet can both benefit when we centre social impact in our decision making – whether as individuals, in business, or when we advocate and influence policy.

By centring social impact, social entrepreneurship has the potential to address disadvantage and empower people, families, and communities. Improved income opportunities and access to products and services essential for an inclusive and sustainable society help build resilience in the face of global challenges.

Established businesses can play an important role, diversifying their supply, integrating social impact measures, or supporting social entrepreneurs to scale solutions – be it through organisational development or more transformative interactions in society. Working together, corporates and social entrepreneurs can leverage and multiply shared knowledge, expertise and impact.

Join Åsa Skogström Feldt to hear how IKEA Social Entrepreneurship has developed their social impact agenda over the last ten years, supporting and working with social entrepreneurs and learning what it takes to be a force for positive impact and inclusivity. Jenifer Colpas, founder of the social enterprise, Tierra Grata in Columbia, will share the stage and provide perspective on how social interventions in energy, water and sanitation can transform communities from the ground up and how their approach is improving livelihoods for people in under-served communities.

Jennifer Colpas is a 32-year-old Colombian, passionate about rural development, a specialist in Social Responsibility with more than seven years of experience in leading social development programs in Brazil and Colombia. She is a Chevening scholar and is a Master’s in Social Development.

She is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tierra Grata, a social enterprise that provides access to basic energy, water, and sanitation services to rural communities in Colombia, as well as being part of youth networks that are changing the world as Global Shaper and One Young World.3^1

How can we develop solutions adapted to the most remote and vulnerable contexts to generate real transformations and boost community development?
From our experience working for more than 7 years in rural communities in Colombia, we will tell our lessons learned and success stories in our journey to develop people-centered solutions to solve social problems.

How Climate Change can Stimulate Innovation

Spotlight – Monday 24th April 2023

Teresa Rodó will share concrete examples – incepted within the function she is heading – showing how climate change can drive us to think differently, to find new solutions, and ultimately add value for our stakeholders. For her, a combination of science & technology and human factor are always part of the solution!

Teresa Rodó is Executive Vice President Head of Global Healthcare Operations and a Member of the Healthcare Executive Committee of Merck.

Under Teresa Rodó’s leadership, the 7,000 people of Global Healthcare Operations are responsible for the manufacturing, supply and quality of Merck’s biotech and pharmaceutical medicines, as well as for medical devices. Besides serving more than 90 million patients across the world each and every day with Merck’s current medicines, the Global Healthcare Operations organization is also preparing for the future through development activities, such as process development, to ensure that Merck’s next generation of therapies of increasing sophistication are available in a timely manner for clinical trials and future commercial use upon approval.

Is climate change a barrier or a stimulus to innovation? Teresa Rodó has a very clear point of view on this!

Teresa will share concrete examples – incepted within the function she is heading – showing how climate change can drive us to think differently, to find new solutions, and ultimately add value for our stakeholders. For her, a combination of science & technology and human factor are always part of the solution!

The successive crisis of the past years left us with a clear lesson: there is no going back to the world we knew. We shut the light dark on our old model based on cheap energy, cheap raw materials, and cheap labour. The challenges ahead are certainly big, but this is our chance to shape the world the way we want it to look. This means a digital transition that makes technology work for us all. And a deep transformation of our economies where competitiveness goes hand in hand with the preservation of our planet. By achieving these two goals, we will be able to recognise ourselves in the world we’ll help to build, as consumers, as citizens, as women.

Isabella Beyer

At Management Circle, I am part of the content marketing team. Amongst others, I manage and oversee the Global Female Leaders blog. I am also responsible for the topics secretariat & assistance on the Management Circle blog as well as our social media accounts. I am delighted to inform you about current topics, trends and creative ideas.

Further Readings

Investing – Harnessing the Power of Our Choices

Cristina Jaeger emphasizes the importance of aligning our financial decisions with our values to actively contribute to a more sustainable and socially responsible future by investing in companies that offer both financial returns and positive impact.


Looking back at Global Female Leaders Summit 2023 – Review

Relive the inspiring Global Female Leaders Summit 2023: Discover the valuable insights and empowering experiences shared by renowned speakers that left us energized and motivated. Explore the highlights and gain fresh perspectives on pushing boundaries and pursuing your goals with passion.

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