On the 18th of January, following the conclusion of the COP26 meeting in Glasglow and the release of the IPCC’s sixth assessment report, Future Leap held a hybrid event on the topic of ‘Tools to Navigate the Climate Emergency’. Before the event began, the attendees enjoyed some pre sessional networking both in-person over coffee and online.
Katherine Piper of Future Leap welcomed the attendees before giving an insight into The Future Leap Network, Future Leap Hub and the many benefits of membership, as well as the Festival of Sustainable Business. She began by highlighting the need for widespread grassroots climate action and leadership, as governments are failing to move decisively in order to enact the rapid pace of change that is necessary. She then introduced the speakers:
- Professor Dan Lunt, Professor of Climate Science, University of Bristol
- Ed Garrett, Founder, Garrett Creative
- Peter Lefort, Innovation, Impact and Business, University of Exeter
Dan Lunt, University of Bristol
Dan is one of the 234 co-authors of the IPCC’s sixth assessment report. This report is released every seven years to present the scientific consensus on climate science in that period. He took us through the key messages of the report before moving on to give us a quick overview of COP26. He spoke on the issue of climate injustice, showing two confronting maps of the world (shown below), with country size distorted first by greenhouse gas emissions, then by the number of deaths caused by climate change. Despite this, the issue of finance continued to be a major sticking point at the COP, especially regarding Loss and Damage.
As far as he could see, this was the first COP where there was no climate scepticism in any of the language, and a spirit of cooperation was often remarked upon. Perhaps as a result of this, he summarised that probably no one is happy with the outcome. He informed us 1.5 is just about alive but on “intensive care life support”.
Ed Garrett, Garrett Creative
Ed shared insights from a messaging perspective about how to communicate around the climate emergency. Messaging around climate issues has often been highly focused on the negative, but this has limited capacity to spur action and can lead to apathy, anxiety and paralysis. The current climate narrative also relies heavily on data and figures, even though the majority of people don’t respond to this. Good design and clever messaging are critical tools to communicate effectively. For example, select data can be made more accessible using eye-catching design (see McCandless in resources list).
He also described how illustration can be useful, not only in depicting positive “utopian” visions of a sustainable future, but also as a way to be more inclusive and better represent the population. In this vein, he recommended the website Coloradobe.com which can check your content to ensure it is readable and accessible. Finally, he remarked on the importance of language, for example how using words like “we” and “together” can directly implicate and involve the audience. You can get support from professionals to work on your messaging.
Peter Lefort, University of Exeter
Our last speaker’s talk focused on the vastly underutilised potential for businesses to connect with academic institutions and make use of climate research and tools. One example of such a tool is NEVO (Natural Environment Valuation Online), whose primary purpose is to help explore, quantify and make predictions about the benefits that are derived from existing and altered land use across England and Wales. It has the potential to be very useful for a lot of organisations, but often they may not know it exists or how it is useful to them. He made a meme to illustrate how organisations and funders are often drawn in by the prospect of innovation, at the expense of resources which already exist.
He also mentioned the Research Excellence Framework 2021 which provides funding to academic institutions from the government. A quarter of this funding relates to research impact, examples of which are listed in the slide below, many highly relevant to business. He concluded with recommendations to businesses seeking to engage with research including ‘If in doubt, ask!’.
After all of the speakers had presented, time was given for a rigorous and insightful hybrid Q&A.
60 second pitches
One of our 60 second pitchers and Network members, Katharina from Invivo Healthcare, would like to connect with academics and students that would like to take part in a Business Declares Supply Chain working group. You can get in contact at email@example.com .
Katherine presented the attendees with some next steps, including signing up to Bristol’s Climate Ask, joining Future Leap’s Network and applying for our 2022 Sustainable Business Awards. She then brought the event to a close, thanking all the speakers and attendees for their insight and interest. Those who attended virtually went into breakout rooms and those in person enjoyed networking with mostly plant-based sandwiches and hot beverages.
- McCandless, David (2009). ‘Information is Beautiful’. London: Collins.
- PIRC (Public Interest Research Centre: https://publicinterest.org.uk/)
- Climate Outreach (specifically but not only their Britain Talks Climate work: https://climateoutreach.org/reports/britain-talks-climate/
- Wellbeing Economy Messaging Guide: https://weall.org/wellbeing-economy-messaging-guide-event-recap
Examples of existing tools:
- Impact Community Carbon Calculator: https://impact-tool.org.uk/ (there’s a free event on this on Wed 26 Jan: https://communitycarbon.eventbrite.com/)
- Natural Environment Valuation Online tool (NEVO): https://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/leep/research/nevo/
- Climate Central coastal risk screening tool: https://coastal.climatecentral.org/
- Local Climate Adaptation Tool (LCAT): https://www.ecehh.org/research/local-climate-adaptation-tool/
To stay up to date with existing and new resources as they are developed, sign up to the Green Futures Network for access to updates, events and more: https://forms.gle/KwLxuBvk13Rywru26