Let's not reinvent the wheel

Anna Triponel
November 17, 2023
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Would you want to reinvent the wheel? 🛞 Perhaps you’d want to see if you could tinker around the edges of the wheel? Or perhaps try out a whole new shape altogether. But what if that wheel was the only way to get from danger to safety - and to bring your tribe along with you? Would you want to reinvent the wheel then? 🤔

I’ve been having A LOT of discussions of late with senior execs and CEOs in the lead up to COP28. Here are four key messages that we’ve been discussing over and over:

1) We have the UN Guiding Principles which guides companies on how to bring a rights-based approach to their business - including as they transition to a new net zero future. Things like no cherry-picking, being grounded in meaningful stakeholder engagement, and looking out for your suppliers - it’s all in there. We also have the ILO’s Just Transition Guidelines which provide guiderails to companies for how to advance on a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all. We know what’s expected to bring a rights-based approach to the transition ahead and ensure a just transition takes place. 🌏

2) We’re no longer in a debate of whether, or which one first. 🤷🏼‍♀️ That changed in Glasgow two years ago - I know, I was there. Taking a rights-based approach to climate action is the only way to actually succeed. 🌏Respect for people; dialogue, co-creation and partnership; and meaningful steps to mitigate human rights risks and impacts that arise become the very foundation for climate work. Not an after-thought. Imagine a world where we’ve lost the people. 👥

3) ⏳ We don’t have time for delay. Ever since starting our weekly updates four years ago, we’ve been reading all of the reports we can get our hands on and we have hours in the day for (outside of our consulting practice and our personal lives of course!). 📖 They all concur: every day that goes by is another day of rising climate crisis, nature crisis and inequality crisis. ⏱ There is no other time to turn things around. As the Systems Change Lab put it in its recent report which we highlight below, we now need a shift from business-as-usual, incremental change into emergency mode. 🛑

4) This has to be a collective effort. Let us bring governments back to stand tall in their Pillar 1. The short-termism that is baked into our political and financial systems will literally be the death of us. Humans are the ones who created these systems in the first place, we can change them - together.

I leave you with this statistic: a recent global survey found that smallholder farmers are spending a minimum of US$368 billion of their own income every year 💰 on measures to adapt to climate change including through conserving or restoring biodiversity. Couple that with the rise in severe mental health challenges faced by smallholder farmers who are on the front lines of climate change.

On a more uplifting note 🙌🏼, I’m so looking forward to the many discussions I will have with many of you in Geneva 🇨🇭 (UN Annual Forum) and Dubai 🇦🇪 (COP28). I know that they will be inspiring and impactful 🌟. Let’s makes this pledge to ourselves: how will each conversation we have turn into meaningful action? How will we bring others along with us?  

Do you remember that report that was lodged alongside the UNGPs on the status of the laws in the field of business and human rights? I know. It was that long ago that I started working with Vanessa Zimmerman. I’m really happy we’ve partnered up again this year - with the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights - to bring you a thought-provoking session on… salience 2.0 (Wednesday afternoon of the UNAF).

I hope you all enjoy the weekend and can rest and recharge before the travels begin. 🚂

Anna 💫