DISCUSSION The leaders of the green industrial revolution

by Yolanda Villafuerte _______27th June 2008
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by Tony Manwaring

I am working this out as I go along, but so, truth to tell are we all – aren’t we?

I’ve been trying to work through what’s needed to tackle climate change; starting by recognising what I am now thinking of the Hansen gap – the yawning gulf between scientists and the public and policy makers;
And I reflected on what Arie De Geus got me thinking about – ‘if we don’t have a word for it, we don’t know it’, from which I take the need to build new mental maps and a new language, which brings together a recognition not only of how serious a situation we are facing, but also a sense of the solution, and we will only get to that by bringing different people together, with different areas of expertise, culture and values, working in different sectors, on a basis of respect, humility and with egos parked at the door.
As if by magic, but really down to the leadership and good judgement of Malini Mehra of the Centre for Social Markets, I found myself in the ultimate carbon trading zone: one in which ideas are exchanged, practice is shared, the problem is recognised and the support built to deliver solutions.
Corus, Tata, Mahindra, Hindustan Unilever – joined by BT and HSBC.
Coming out with example after example – water purification, step changes in steel production technology, advances in green propulsion, together with advances in practices, such as the earth sciences forum working with government, civil society and business to find new solutions, build capacity and education children in India.
But the real magic, was watching the audience transformed and enraptured – believing it when Malini and I talked about what the science is telling us, but also sensing that there are leaders of business for whom busness really is a force for good.  It’s worth checking out our Indian launch of Tomorrow’s Global Company on CNBC.
A lived example of what I had been trying to articulate in my last blog, a powerful confirmation of what we have got to do to achieve real progress, and what we want the UK/India Business Leadership on Climate Change Programme to achieve: sometimes events come together and you wish you could bottle the magic, this was one of those rare events.
So this is one of those rare times, when you, as John Grant puts it, get precious glimpses of the future in the present.
And to borrow another wonderful and evocative phrase of John’s – the world needs a new generation of business leaders, ‘New Victorians’, who like the icons of the industrial revolution, build a new future through their companies and their vision, though in new ways fit for our new purpose.
So arise Anita Kumar, Malini Thadani, Rajeev Dubey and Malini Mehra – the New Victorians, Indian leaders of the green industrial revolution!
As Rajeev Dubey of Mahindra put it so brilliantly:  “A lack of concern for sustainability will destroy business.”
Today I saw the future, and for once, I believe it can work!

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