- 70 speakers from 15 countries, 462 in-person attendees an dalmost 500 registered online viewers from 19 countries attended the first edition of the Climate Change Summit, held on October 4-5th at Odeon Theatre in Bucharest, which tackled solutions for a sustainable future.
- On social media, the first day of live broadcast reached more than 766,600 viewers on Twitter (day 1 & day 2).
- Given the success of its first edition, Climate Change Summit is set to become the yearly CEE meeting place for global researchers, entrepreneurs, government officials and civil society leaders to exchange, identify solutions to climate challenges through debates on policies, sustainable finance and investments or tech innovation and creates the framework for putting into practice those solutions. More details on this event are available on climatechange-summit.org and daily updates can be followed on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Over the two-day event, the stages of Climate Change Summit welcomed 70 leaders in climate innovation and environmental policy, researchers, entrepreneurs and government officials in a joint effort towards finding sustainable solutions adapted to our region. Climate Change Summit benefited from a message from the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis,and an active participation in the panels by the Minister of Economy, Florin Spataru, the Minister of Environment, Water and Forests Tánczos Barna, and the Minister of Research, Innovation and Digitalization, Sebastian Burduja.
Climate Change Summit at Odeon Theater, together with its connected events at Victoria Palace, is becoming a benchmark event for national and global leaders in the field to discuss and work together to identify locally applicable solutions in the fields of climate policy and sustainability. With this focus, Climate Change Summit was initiated and supported by BRD Groupe Société Générale, as founding partner, and organized together with Social Innovation Solutions, an organization active in sustainability, social impact and innovation.
Part of Lumea9, BRD’s sustainability platform that focuses on caring for our people and planet, the Climate Change Summit brought the pinnacle of scientific, technological and banking communities of experts to the forefront of local discussions on the impact of climate change. Consisting of numerous panels with esteemed experts in sustainability and green finance from all over the world, the summit aims to become the most important climate solutions event in Central and Eastern Europe.
“We built the foundations of Climate Change Summit as soon as we collectively understood that we not only have an issue of climate change, but its worrisome acceleration. It is highly important for all of us to realize that in order to be part of the solution, everyone needs to do their part. The aim of this Summit is to give everyone the momentum and impulse to be part of the change. It is a truly complex process and we still do not have all the pieces for this grand puzzle. However, what is happening around us is living proof that this is worth fighting for. Therefore, we are thrilled to announce that this year is only the beginning of many such summits that will continue to inspire and drive change”, declared François Bloch, CEO of BRD Groupe Société Générale.
The Climate Change Summit agenda for the first day tackled financing climate transformations, green business models and sustainable investments, digitalization solutions and shifting consumer behavior, as well as energy security and alternative resources. Identifying, promoting and financing green energy sources was, in fact, central focus on the entire event’s agenda, with the purpose of finding viable solutions towards a sustainable transition: CCS had four energy-focused panels, but also tackled the topic regularly throughout the other talks. During the first day, Hans van der Loo, Chairman of the Institute for Integrated Economic Research, stated that „climate change is a symptom of a fast paced energy metabolism, and nowadays we are energy blind. There are things we can do out of our own will and things we will be forced to do”.
Mark Campanale, Founder of Carbon Tracker, also pointed out the importance of being aware of when we’re engaged in short-term, as opposed to long-term thinking, when he mentioned that: ”The crisis we have in energy is related to energy security and managing price volatility. Is it about transition or managing the challenges of today?”, he enquired.
Later in the Summit, Linda Zeilina, founder of The International Sustainable Finance Center, emphasized the importance of locally developed solutions that best suit Central and Eastern Europe and of regional actors being offered a voice in this game-changing transition. The sustainability expert also expressed her concern for the possibility of the Eastern region lagging in development, thus creating a Green Iron Curtain across Europe. A way to mitigate that risk may be supporting small-scale actors in accessing alternative energy sources, she states, as renewable energy needs to be prioritized.
Group Chief Sustainability Officer at Société Générale, Hacina Py, also emphasized the fact that systemic change will stem also from shifting customer behavior. ”There will be no transition if the process is not fair and if there are communities left without adequate access to basic resources and services. For example, everybody requires access to sustainable mobility solutions. City infrastructures need to be reinvented to achieve this objective; it cannot work if we simply restrict mobility. Banks have a relevant role to play: we can design new financing schemes, such as leasing and other solutions to offer access to mobility services. But this also requires a change in consumer behavior,she stressed.
Giedrimas Jeglinskas, Assistant Secretary General, NATO, on the other hand, had suggested earlier in the Summit that we are living in historic times. ”We have seen through natural events that climate change is real, it is here, it cannot be denied. Now it is the time to come together and find solutions. Complex problems require complex solutions – we probably don’t yet have a solution for climate change, but what that means is we need to come together and find one. You cannot win any battles if you’re not optimistic, whether it’s about war or climate change. The more technology we produce, the less it will cost. So we need to produce as many technological solutions as we can for the fight against climate change, and deploy them as soon as possible”.
”As one of our speakers, Ingmar Rentzhog put it, we need to increase the momentum of solutions now. Much like in creating a start-up, the first edition of Climate Change Summit focused on better understating the problems we aim to fix, learning from solutions implemented around the world, imagining and co-creating plausible futures and solutions and seeing how these can be sustainably financed. We were honoured to host this event in Romania, already considered global, and to put Bucharest on the map of ambitious conversations about our shared future. CCS is a collective effort of almost 70 organizations and companies from CEE and will continue to grow in the next years at the landmark conversation platform in this part of the world,” said Ciprian Stănescu, President and CEO of Social Innovation Solutions.
From its early days, the event benefited from the support of Mastercard, as Sustainability Partner, joining forces with founding partner BRD and with the event organizers of Social Innovation Solutions.
”Mastercard’s mission is to create a sustainable and inclusive economy, which can offer secure, simple, intelligent and accessible transactions for all. Guided by the principle of Doing well by doing good, we use our expertise, technology and partnerships both globally and locally to support people, economies and the planet to thrive, but also to address social, economic and environmental challenges. Climate change is affecting us all and it is important that we act together now to ensure a better future and a safer planet for future generations”, said Cosmin Vladimirescu, Country Manager Romania & Croatia, Mastercard.
This September, Social Innovation Solutions launched a study, titled Romanian perspectives on the impact of climate change, aimed at igniting the conversations around the Climate Change Summit. According to the study conducted with a pool of 1081 subjects, 75% of respondents believe renewable energy sources should be prevalent. Moreover, in contrast to a similar study from 2021, Romanians now value environmentally friendly practices more (79%, as opposed to 64% in 2021) and are in favor of imposing an extra tax on polluting products. The youths of Generation Z are the most aware of the impending negative impact brought by climate change: 60%, by far the largest acknowledgement among the generations inquired.
In parallel with the study, Climate Change Summit had already kicked off with Climate Scenarios for Romania 2030, the most extensive foresight exercise about the future of Romania, which took place on September 20-21st at the Victoria Palace in Bucharest. The collaborative working sessions focused on the impact of climate change in Romania in 2030 brought together 168 key representatives of the local public, private, civic and academic system. The conclusions of the sessions will be included in Climate Scenarios for Romania 2030, a report that will be launched on December 8, 2022 and will serve as a means of raising awareness of the most likely scenarios and their solutions for decision-makers, the business and social environments, as well as to promote scalable examples of good practice. CCS also had 75 attendees of 14 countries present at Youth Ambassadors 4 Climate Action, a side event engaging youths from CEE in conversations about climate solutions for and from youths.
Aside from BRD, as Founding Partner, and Mastercard, as Sustainability Partner, the Climate Change Summit had over 60 other partners, including: Microsoft, Auchan, Société Générale Global Solution Center, Enel and Mercedes-Benz as official car; the Secretariat General of the Romanian Government as strategic partner; and organizational partners such as: Concordia Employers’ Confederation, Romanian Business Leaders, Foreign Investors Council, WWF Romania, EFdeN, Văcărești Natural Park Associatio, CONAF, Circular Economy Coalition, The Romanian Youth Council, CCIFER, Envisia, The European Institute in Romania, BRCC, Sustainability Embassy in Romania, Angajament pentru Mediu, Carbon Expert, Kane, FruFru, Urban Monkey, Tudor Tailor; content partners InfoClima.ro, Solutions, ArtLink, Cantus Mundi, BuchARTest and Frame Advertising & media partners Hotnews, The Diplomat, News Energy, Green Report, WeDontHaveTime.org, Sustainability Today and CEE Energy News.
Almost one million people came together in attendance of the event and social and cultural activations surrounding it, both from the Odeon Theater and online. As a result, CCS will become a forum uniting climate leaders and experts each year, with the second edition of the Climate Change Summit set take place on October 19-20th, 2023 in Bucharest.
About Social Innovation Solutions
The mission of Social Innovation Solutions (SIS) is to support individuals and organizations in understanding the transformations of the future and developing sustainable technologies, public and entrepreneurial policy solutions. SIS organizes several incubators and accelerators in Romania and Central and Eastern Europe, working with over 100 start-ups every year. SIS is also developing several platforms for conversations about sustainability, future trends and circular economy such as Future Summit, Sustainable Futures or Climate Change Summit and offers consultancy and executive education programs for learning foresight, innovation and sustainability.
About BRD Groupe Société Générale
BRD Groupe Société Générale is one of the leaders of the Romanian banking market. The bank operates a network of 481 branches, with total assets amounting at RON 69Bn as of June 30st, 2022. BRD holds a leading position in the retail banking market, is a top player in the corporate banking market and the leader of the Romanian factoring market.
BRD is part of Société Générale Group, one of the leading European financial services groups. The Group has over 131,000 members of staff in 66 countries and supports on a daily basis 26 million individual clients, businesses and institutional investors around the world by offering a wide range of advisory services and tailored financial solutions.
As a social actor, BRD invests in culture, education, technology and sports, supporting projects that build, develop and grow a new generation, bringing forth long term value. This is the vision that created Fundatia9, which coordinates the cultural journalism platform Scena9, as well as the cultural center Rezidenta9 in Bucharest. For education, BRD created Școala9, a specialized journalism platform, and lends aid to programs that support the efforts of teachers in the formal education system, as well as plans, ideas and projects in the fields of tech and innovation. The newest journalism platform launched by BRD is Mindcraft Stories, which aims at starting a conversation about discoveries in Romania and throughout the world regarding how technology affects our lives, touching upon artificial intelligence, robotics, medicine and much more.