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Gabriela Procópio Burian

Global Head of Multistakeholder Partnerships at Bayer worldwide


Leaders wanted

Challenges: I graduated 33 years ago. In the year of my graduation, 1990, the concentration of Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere was 354 parts per million. Carbon dioxide, the most dominant of these gases, rose by 65 parts per million to 419 parts per million today. In the 33 years before I graduated the increase had been 40 parts per million. With a curve of exponential temperature increase, the impacts of Greenhouse Gases in the various regions of the planet are intensified.

Among the various impacts, two call the most attention: One) Sea level rise of up to one meter in this century, causing more heavy rains and flooding, increasing the risk of death for about 200 million people. Two) For every one degree Celsius increase in global temperature, one billion people will be affected by extreme heat having to migrate to areas with milder temperatures. These impacts increase social tension which, added to population growth, potentiate significant changes (and differentiated impacts ) in society, economy and companies in general.

Risks: The moment of transition with unpredictable future scenarios is challenging for everyone (and the market shows this every day with impossible predictions) but, at the same time, it creates opportunities for those who are willing to find innovative, transparent, more inclusive solutions and integrated into the environment. For risk reduction, it is no longer enough for companies to take care exclusively of their direct footprint, environmental and social impacts on their operations and communities in which they operate. The current moment demands greater responsibility and expanded collaboration with civil society, the value chain and governments so that environmental and social impacts can be positive and economic.

Opportunities: This action provides opportunities for innovation and economy based on a more inclusive, connected culture with a clear purpose. Companies with this vision improve the lives of all their customers, suppliers , employees and communities, with greater returns for investors in the long term. Consumers are more loyal to companies with positive environmental performance, increasing the advantage for sustainable solutions.

The same goes for employees. International labor organizations are seeing greater interest in more sustainable companies. Furthermore, a recent global survey in the countries participating in the G20 showed that 74% of people support reform of economic systems that also include environmental and social aspects. We have also seen financial capital move in the same direction : in November 2021 , during COP26 , more than four hundred and fifty financial institutions, with a total of 130 trillion dollars, signed the “ net zero ” objective. This means approximately 40% of the total global financial capital. This amount of capital will be progressively reallocated to more sustainable opportunities.

Opportunities for leadership: This broad shift, both in societies and in economies that respect the limits of our planet, is proving to be increasingly evident in all areas. This understanding is no longer exclusive to specific segments, as happened in 1972, when the Club of Rome published Limits to Growth, or even in 2015, when governments signed the historic Paris Agreement at the United Nations Climate Conference ( COP21 ).

Need: The speed of actions and the impact of implemented policies still point to a temperature increase of around 2.7 degrees Celsius at the end of the century. The need for new leadership is evident, from governments to companies. It represents a unique opportunity for everyone who wants to make a difference wherever they are, bringing solutions to society in a broader, more real, inclusive and meaningful way. In 33 years (2053), our society will need to have reached a temperature increase of just 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times. This means eliminating approximately 50 billion tons of current emissions from the atmosphere.

Collaboration: We have some solutions, but to make them viable it is essential that collaborations, from different perspectives and inclusion, be streamlined. You are part of this journey, and each day you can be the leader that makes a difference.