RELX SDG Inspiration Day 2023: Fostering Global Cooperation to Advance Biodiversity
The event saw spirited discussions on how leaders, businesses, organisations, and people can help protect nature and biodiversity.
Over 1500 people gathered virtually on 13 June 2023 for the ninth RELX SDG Inspiration Day: "Not Too Late for Nature: Biodiversity and the UN Sustainable Development Goals."
Eminent conservationist, Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE and former United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, were keynote speakers. The annual online event brings together thought leaders, corporate representatives, students, investors, governments, and NGOs to explore issues, gain practical insight, and inspire action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In 2015, the United Nations (UN) New York Summit adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to make the world fairer, healthier, safer, and better by 2030. Biodiversity is at the heart of UN SDG 14 (conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development) and 15 (protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss). It is also closely connected to the other 15 Goals, especially SDGs 2 (agriculture and food systems for zero hunger), 3 (health and wellness), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 13 (need for urgent climate action).
RELX SDG Inspiration Day 2023, a free, annual virtual event hosted by RELX, a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers, examined our progress as a global community in achieving the SDGs connected to biodiversity and nature. The event gave thought leaders, corporate representatives, investors, government, and NGOs a shared platform to explore issues with practical engagement and ideas. The ninth edition of this event took place on 13th June 2023, with over 1500 people in attendance.
The event was hosted in partnership with the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, The UN Global Compact Network UK, Responsible Media Forum, Global Citizen, Pineapple Sustainable Partnerships, World Humanitarian Forum, The Elsevier Foundation, Business or Social Responsibility (BSR), Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, Oxford SDG Impact Lab and the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability. Lawyer and activist Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu moderated the event. Eminent environmentalist and UN Messenger of Peace, Dr. Jane Goodall, and Former United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, were keynote speakers.
The first keynote address from Mr Ban Ki-moon encouraged businesses to identify their full environmental impact. “I believe it is vital that businesses firstly identify their full environmental impact, starting with a clear understanding of the organization's impact on the whole of the environment, not exclusively their carbon emissions and pollution”, he said.
At multiple points throughout the day, the role of businesses and how they could contribute to sustainability were discussed. Dr. Jane Goodall, in her keynote address, highlighted the need for people and businesses worldwide to become more sustainable and the importance of community-led conservation. "How do I have hope for the future,” she asked. “Well, for one thing, there is a growing awareness about this (the need for biodiversity conservation). And then there are four main reasons—the human intellect, the resilience of nature, the indomitable human spirit, and the energy, and passion, and action of young people".
In the speeches that followed, Juliette Pugliesi, Nature Manager at Business for Social Responsibility and Eva Zabey, CEO of Business for Nature, discussed the link between biodiversity and economic stability. They also explained why businesses need to rethink their commitment to biodiversity conservation.
Through spirited panel discussions, the event also shed light on pressing issues in biodiversity conservation and gave attendees a platform to examine potential solutions. The panel discussion, ''Right to Nature'', explored how law can protect biodiversity through legal rights accorded to natural habitats. Justin Webb, a former foreign correspondent for the BBC, moderated the panel discussion.
Another insightful panel discussion hosted by Josefine Gibson, Deputy Editor of The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, discussed the connection between biodiversity and human health. The ensuing panel discussion, hosted by the founder and CEO of Pineapple Sustainable Partnerships, Andy Dewis, discussed the wisdom of indigenous people. After that, attendees were invited to join discussions in six virtual biodiversity problem solving spaces. The broad topics of these discussions ranged from technology to business.
RELX also awarded four customers with an SDG Customer Award. These four companies— Solvay, a global leader in materials, chemicals, and solutions; Panasonic; Silverback Films and Studios; and Neste, a producer of renewable fuel—share our commitment to drive action in support of the UN SDGs.
The final panel discussion, hosted by Senior VP of Elsevier, Michiel Kolman, addressed barriers for policymakers in meeting biodiversity commitments. And with closing comments, the fulfilling 2023 SDG Inspiration Day came to an end.
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