Purposeful leadership in times of climate crisis

Individuals, businesses, and communities all want to realise a purpose, be the change we want to see in the world, and simply do and be more. But we’re so busy in our daily routines, that we rarely get around to doing something that we need to do to grow. Philippa White explores a possible solution

Today we are facing tremendous global, environmental, economic, and organisational challenges, and as individuals and organisations we want to do our bit, but many don’t know where to start. The wave of topics at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) 2021, is pushing many world leaders to take actions to fight the worst impacts of Climate Change, but how can the expertise and resources of individuals, organisations, businesses, and investors drive this change is a big question to answer.

Imagine being told that you can make a positive difference to 3 billion people around the world. Then imagine being told you had six weeks to help Malawi present at the High-Level Dialogue for Energy meeting hosted by the UN in New York and bring a voice to the same 3 billion people, helping save their lives and work towards decreasing climate change – be a part of the solution.

Luca Zerbini who is passionate about purpose-driven leadership and sustainability wants to leave a safer planet for future generations. He joined The International Exchange (TIE Accelerator) programme in June 2021 to help crack this challenge – be part of the solution. Luca holds a leadership position as the General Partner for Peak Point Partners, where he is managing Venture Capital Investments for start-ups in the crossroads of technology and sustainability. Luca, as part of the TIE Accelerator programme spent six weeks in August 2021, helping the Cleaner Cooking Coalition to promote and provide cleaner biomass stoves to achieve a cleaner, affordable energy in many parts of the world.

About 3 billion people around the world have no access to clean cooking solutions and continue to rely on open-fire cooking, using wood and charcoal. The smoke emitted from traditional cooking methods produces such high levels of dangerous cooking smoke, that World Health Organization (WHO) estimates it leads to around four million deaths every year – a figure that exceeds the death toll attributed to malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS put together, mainly affecting women and children.

Luca says: ‘The use of wood, charcoal, and waste for cooking contributes to deforestation and release harmful carbon emissions in the air. Open fire cooking accounts for up to 58% of global black carbon emissions – approximately 2% of global emissions and is the second largest contributor to climate change and this remains a largely unknown climate challenge. Despite continued efforts, access to clean cooking methods remains a global challenge that needs to be addressed and backed with investments and corporate-government partnerships.’

As part of the TIE Accelerator programme Luca worked with like-minded individuals from different backgrounds to help the Republic of Malawi present at the UN’s High-level Dialogue on Energy Conference in New York City on 24th of September and COP26 Glasgow to bring a voice to those 3 billion people – helping save their lives and work towards decreasing climate change. Luca says, ‘It was an historic opportunity to be a part of a transformational programme and bring voice to 3 billion people with no access to clean cooking tools. The preparatory processes were an eye-opener to a lot of unknown struggles countries like Malawi are facing in their fight against climate change. It is not just for world leaders to prioritise and invest in energy efficient cooking solutions but also for individuals and businesses to help accelerate the progress on achieving net zero emissions.’

Some of the key highlights of Luca’s engagement with the Cleaner Cooking Coalition was to assemble an impressive panel of political, financial, non-profit, and business experts for a discussion hosted for International Clean Air Day. He and the TIE Accelerator team also helped to draft a speech for the President of Malawi to present at the UN conference. Also, to develop two key objectives to be proposed and achieved at the UN meet, which were to provide access to cleaner locally produced, higher-performing, relevant fuels and stoves to all families by 2030; and help achieve net zero emissions by upgrading these fuels and stoves to electric, biogas and other forms of clean cooking by 2050.

The Cleaner Cooking Pledge, created by Luca and the TIE team, resulted in new commitments when it was jointly read out and signed by Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and Honourable Nancy Tembo, Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources of the Republic of Malawi, at the UN Climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Many purposeful individuals like Luca can trigger the change they want to see, and their actions can have a tremendous positive impact on their lives, the organisations they work for and the communities within which they operate. It only makes sense given our desire to lead purposeful lives and commit to a cause that has become a critically important issue today, that leaders who shape the future of their businesses step up, broaden their horizons, and contribute to serve a larger purpose.

Philippa White is Founder and CEO of The International Exchange (TIE), a world-leading international leadership programme for commercial professionals looking for personal and professional growth through experiential purpose-driven learning. Following a career in advertising, Philippa launched CPD-accredited TIE in 2006. Philippa is passionate about bringing out the best in people she believes it will lead to a better world.

Philippa White is Founder and CEO of The International Exchange (TIE), a world-leading international leadership programme for commercial professionals looking for personal and professional growth through experiential purpose-driven learning. Following a career in advertising, Philippa launched CPD-accredited TIE in 2006. Philippa is passionate about bringing out the best in people she believes it will lead to a better world.

https://apply.tieaccelerator.com

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