A Week of Impact: UN Climate Week 2023 in New York City with OpenExO

OpenExO embarked on an enlightening journey during UNGA Climate Week 2023 in New York City, with highlights including XPRIZE ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange and Salim Ismail discussing large-scale business transformation for good at the CEO Summit.

Oliver Sabiston
Oliver Sabiston

Greetings to all! Last week, OpenExO took a trip to New York City for UNGA Climate Week 2023, and it was nothing short of enlightening. The week was packed with groundbreaking events that were captured on film (we highly recommend watching it!).

Here's a detailed look at the journey.

Day 1: XPRIZE Rings the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange

For those who are unfamiliar with XPRIZE, it's a non-profit organization that designs and manages public competitions to encourage technological advancements that benefit humanity. Their focus ranges from space exploration to environmental sustainability.

The week started with a visit to the New York Stock Exchange, where XPRIZE had the honor of ringing the closing bell. This ceremony was a strong statement of XPRIZE's commitment to climate solutions. Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE, highlighted that their active prizes, which total $136 million, are all directed towards climate action and global sustainability.

How did OpenExO get the invite? Salim is an XPRIZE board member and has helped contribute to this amazing company.

Salim Ismail had the opportunity to interview Anousheh Ansari. The conversation revolved around XPRIZE's climate initiatives, including the Elon Musk Carbon Extraction prize that currently has over 1300 teams competing to develop groundbreaking carbon capture technologies. Ansari shared insights into how these competitions drive innovation and accelerate solutions to some of the planet's most pressing climate challenges.

Day 2: CEO Summit 2023: Leaders on Purpose

Leaders on Purpose is an organization that began as a research collaboration between business leaders and experts from Harvard University, Unilever, The World Bank, and The London School of Economics. Today, it operates as an independent, for-benefit organization that supports businesses in transitioning from traditional approaches to purpose-based strategies.

The 6th Annual Leaders on Purpose CEO Summit was a gathering of top-tier leaders representing over $1 trillion in capital and more than 2 million employees. The summit was a blend of insightful discussions, interactive workshops, and collaborative initiatives aimed at building a sustainable and equitable world.

Salim Ismail Takes the Stage

Salim Ismail had the opportunity to speak at the CEO Summit alongside Moira Gilchrist from PMI, Eva Gladek, CEO of Metabolic, and John Holm from Pyxera Global. The panel discussion revolved around large-scale business transformation for good. Salim touched on some alarming facts, like how Miami could be underwater in 25 years. He also spoke about his recent book, "Exponential Organizations 2.0," and expressed optimism about how younger generations are stepping up to fight climate change.

A Smoke-Free Future by Philip Morris

A significant part of the panel discussion was about Philip Morris International's initiative for a smoke-free world. The company invested over $10.5 billion and employed over 1,500 scientists and R&D experts to develop smoke-free products. Their ambitious goal is to have more than 50% of their net revenue come from smoke-free products within the next two years.

Day 3: CorpsAfrica: A Focus on Community Empowerment

The African Renaissance event was an exclusive gathering that marked a significant milestone in CorpsAfrica's journey. Building on the Mastercard Foundation’s landmark 5-year commitment of $60 million to CorpsAfrica, the event aimed to empower young Africans to combat poverty and facilitate community-led health, education, and food security projects. This commitment is not just about funding but also about creating work and leadership development opportunities for young people across the African continent.

As the UN Secretary-General focuses on catalytic innovation for youth employment and leadership, the African Renaissance event was critical for creating a transformative Pan-African/multilateral approach. The event gathered a group of global change-makers during the UNGA week, marking a pivotal moment in the shared mission to uplift African communities.

The event was designed to celebrate progress, ignite intriguing discussions, and bring together key funders, discerning analysts, and innovative implementers into a single transformative dialogue. It featured an interactive, high-level panel discussion, providing ample opportunities to nurture existing connections and build new relationships that promote a positive narrative of Africa.

Later in the evening, Salim had the chance to chat with Katie Nivard, a leader at Russell Reynolds Associates with a strong focus on sustainability and DE&I. Known for her systems thinking, Katie is deeply committed to environmental initiatives and cross-sector partnerships that drive positive change.

The chat between Salim and Katie was both enlightening and wide-ranging. They explored topics such as ocean clean-up technologies, highlighting the urgency and innovative solutions being developed to tackle the growing problem of ocean pollution.

They also discussed the challenges that the younger generation faces in the context of climate change. Salim and Katie agreed that making climate change more understandable for everyone is crucial for collective action.

Interestingly, they touched upon how COVID-19 inadvertently gave us our first "climate change win." The global lockdowns reduced pollution levels, offering a glimpse of what could be possible with concerted efforts to combat climate change.

UN Climate Week 2023 was a week of action and insights, highlighting the urgent need for climate solutions and social equity. From XPRIZE's initiatives to the transformative dialogues at the CEO Summit and African Renaissance event, the week proved that collective efforts can make a difference. Stay tuned for an upcoming video that will capture these key moments.

Thanks for reading, and here's to a sustainable future.

Watch the video: OpenExO at UNGA Climate Week

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Oliver Sabiston

Business Analyst at OpenExO. Building ExOHeroes NFT. Tech enthusiast. Always striving to be the best version of myself!