I spent Climate Week in New York, with key events including: the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit on 20 September; a UNGC Breakthrough Innovation parallel event which I co-hosted the day before; our Carbon Productivity Roundtable (again on the 20th), followed by a dinner, downstairs at the wonderful Il Gattopardo; and then various meetings around town with the Covestro team – Patrick Thomas (CEO), Markus Steilemann (CEO designate) and Richard Northcote (Chief Sustainability Officer). All aided and abetted by Lorraine Smith, our wonderful anchor in NYC.
Patrick was speaking as part of a Breakthrough Innovation panel during the UNGC Leaders Summit, for which I had also briefed Alan Middleton (CEO of PA Consulting) who chaired the session. (So I had a vested interest in the thing succeeding, which it definitely did.)
Before that session, a real highlight for me – and I think everybody – was a seemingly extempore speech by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. The man who challenged Donald Trump’s assertion that in spurning the Paris Climate Accord he was representing Pittsburgh, not Paris.
Fascinated to visit the Purpose Climate Lab one evening with Richard, steered in by a key contact from IKEA. Met many people I know – and a fair few I didn’t.
On the last day, Friday, Lorraine, the Covestro team and I had a great lunch at Da Noi with Lise Kingo and Lila Karbassi of UNGC. After which I headed across to the Pershing Square Café, for separate sessions with Jed Emerson (who has recently built a 3,000 volume library on capitalism) and Mira Merme (who is developing a vertical farming project in Amsterdam).
Grisly flight back, with Virgin using Delta as a carrier, and Delta shoving me into the worst of Economy seats, despite the fact that I was booked in Business. No apologies. And no intention of flying with either airline in the future, if I can avoid it.
As I flew I was reading Omar el Akkad’s brilliant dystopian novel American War, which didn’t exactly boost my sense of optimism about the deep future – despite having enormously enjoyed the NYC trip overall.