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Sustainable Innovation Lab.

35 sustainablility leaders are gathered today in Southampton, hosted by Ordnance Survey.

Notes from speakers and discussions follow:

First up: Ben Ferrari, The Climate Group

Nobody in this space seriously thinks that climate is going stay below 2 degrees. Let’s be honest with each other. The world is going to be different, and how it looks depends on how we innovate and what we do next.

 The business models are so often the missing piece of the jigsaw.

The Climate Group ran an Earth Hack in 2013; one outcome was a platform called marblar; crowd sourcing may have real limitations in terms of outputs, but the energy, excitement and groundswell of conversation that arises may be worth it by itself.

Complex stakeholder and system issues, communication and advocacy will be key.

Climate Group give leaders the information that they need to take bold action. It’s our job to make sure that they are never left exposed.

We've seen rock start CSOs emerge, but we've seen many more sustainability functions be reduced - fewer people, smaller budgets. This isn;t across the board, byt it is happening.

We've seen how sub-national, ambitious climate work in e.g. Sao Paulo, can hold the space for national government to find the evidence of what works. 

In working on LED lighting, it was important to understand real and perceived issues, and the barrier that the 'dream of the fully smart city' presents in finding a reason to delay action. The vision of fully integrated smart systems creates complications and a sense of expense that might not be the case. We're asking 'what's smart enough' - bearing in mind the systems issues of suppliers, customers, citizens that need to be managed. Some of the figures that get banded around obscure the real potential. The way that pilots are procured and designed is key in determining the transferability of learning.

Corporates are putting less effort into selling into cities, and it's too expensive for SMEs, so real innovation and reconnection is needed to make the connections work.

Looking at China, is there a point at which too much government intervention can be a bad thing - is China actually heading towards being an innovative economy, but is it happening now in a way that will truly embed sustainability or just hit targets.

Examples - BT's Net Good goal is to help customers reduce CO2 emissions by at least three times the end to end carbon impact of our business".

Crowd sourcing may be ineffective to date in it's return of real impact, but the energy, excitement and groundswell of awareness that it creates.

It is key that we do sell the climate benefits that come with e.g. better health, reading, safety that might come with using LEDs.

At our workshop in New York next week, we're going to fill our stage with Republicans who understand climate science - the farming unions, the evangelical movement, the unusual suspects - and supply them with robust, pithy information that they can use.

The next couple of years are critical - we absolutely know that we will ahve to make huge changes in the way that we relate to this world.

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