Forests filter the air we breathe, mitigate climate change, and are home to 80% of our terrestrial world’s biodiversity. Historically, conversations on deforestation have focused mainly on the Amazon rainforest. However, today’s youth climate movement and advances in climate science and technology have brought to the forefront the intricate relationship between forests and the health of our environment. Deforestation is a global issue that requires global perspective, along with the immediate attention of our governments and industries, regardless of region.
Our esteemed panelists provided an international perspective on the compounding issues surrounding deforestation and the role of innovation in addressing today’s challenges, from the pandemic and biodiversity loss to the depletion of major resources that fuel our everyday lives. With the need to preserve our planet’s ecosystems requiring actionable solutions, these expert speakers shared what’s needed to reshape the paradigm of our climate’s future.
Senior Vice President, Public Affairs & Sustainability, Bayer
Chief Executive, Forest Service, Work Environment and Performance Office, USDA
Executive Director, Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental de Amazonia (IPAM)
Managing Director, Youth4Nature
Former Director-General, UNESCO
This discussion highlighted how critical inclusive partnership design is to a project’s success. To truly design a sustainable intervention, beneficiaries must be engaged from the onset and in a meaningful, decision making manner. In the context of combating deforestation, this includes reaching out to local communities, indigenous communities, and youth, and developing a shared understanding of the drivers of deforestation as well as a shared commitment to the proposed intervention.
1) Are their business leaders rewarded for impacting sustainability? In other words, are there quantitative targets for how a leader should be paid? For Bayer, “20% of the long term incentives are linked to achieving non-financial targets, and are measured the same way that financial KPI’s are measured.”
2) What is needed from the R&D budgets to effectively create positive change? Bayer invests €5.5 billion every year in R&D. Matthias states that if the R&D budgets are not aligned with sustainability, momentous change can not be achieved.
3) How can certain commitments, and following through with those commitments, lead to a positive impact on deforestation? For example, how can the commitment to achieve global sustainability also achieve carbon neutrality by mid of the century? These commitments cannot be successful if the other two elements aren’t also included in the process.