June 13, 2024

South West News

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Business leaders must adopt “bigger, faster and stronger policies” to effectively battle climate change, according to one of the world’s leading experts on sustainability.

Lucas Joppa, Microsoft’s former Chief Environmental Officer, also said individuals can help society by pursuing their passions “through the lens of climate” and urged people to “go forth and conquer”.

Mr Joppa, a Professor Adjunct at Yale University and Honorary Fellow of the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, is now one of the world’s leading thought leaders in this area and has been voted in the top 15 sustainability keynote speakers.

Speaking in a new interview about his work he said: “We’ve seen how transformational change can be delivered in a short amount of time,” he says. “But you’ve got to start early and you’ve got to follow the science policy side. We need bigger, better, faster, stronger policies on climate if we are going to solve this at a societal scale.

“The climate crisis really presents itself as one of the few things operating at the scale of the overall human experience and overall human diversity. And I mean that because it impacts every single thing that we do and that also means, on the reciprocal, every single thing that we do, all of our unique skills can help.

“None of them individually are enough, but every single one needs to be brought to bear. My point is, whatever you are good at, whatever you are passionate about, look at that through the lens of climate and look at climate through the lens of what you do, and then go forth and conquer because that’s what we need everybody to actually pay attention to.
“We have to do them all and all at the same time. And we’re only going to do that if everybody has a deep sense of self-confidence about what they’re uniquely positioned to contribute and then they act on contributing.”

Mr Joppa also revealed how Microsoft is on a path to being a carbon negative company by 2030 by moving to 100% renewable energy across the business and setting up a fund to promote innovation.

He says: “This fund that we put in place, a billion dollar climate innovation fund, is intended to ensure that the steps Microsoft takes on a carbon negative path, the cost and the scale and availability of those solutions, are more widely deployed around the world.

“The climate crisis isn’t going away. You see the economic engine that’s driving the emissions is the same core of the engine that’s keeping the food delivered to our houses, that’s keeping the electricity delivered to our houses. These are not easy challenges.”