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The Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society


Three Days of Collaborative Action at the ChangeNOW Summit 2021


The Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society

Three Days of Collaborative Action at the ChangeNOW Summit 2021

Three Days of Collaborative Action at the ChangeNOW Summit 2021

For the third year in a row, INSEAD was the major academic partner for the ChangeNOW Summit – the world’s largest event for the planet. Attended by 55,000 visitors from 167 countries, here is a snapshot of the event in its first-ever online setting.

As the ChangeNOW Summit started with a bang on Thursday, 27th May, Founder Santiago Lefebvre welcomed everyone to "see this online gathering as a university or a marketplace for a better future." With 500 speakers lined up for the summit, day one witnessed various sessions taking place simultaneously on topics like impact in fashion, ecology, and the importance of changing the rules with Sir Ronald Cohen.

INSEAD Professor Zoe Kinias shared why women are powerful agents of change, alongside Wingee Sampaio from the Cartier Women's Initiative, highlighting that "social support for people in general and for women in particular leads to more support for women and women’s empowerment." Our Hoffmann Institute Asia Director, Vinika Rao, moderated the Climate Budget Session, which was followed by a robust roundtable discussion. The day closed off with a keynote address by UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, Mark Carney. Sharing more in a conversation with Hoffmann Institute’s Deputy Academic Director, Professor Mark Stabile, they stressed the importance of financial alliances to accelerate the transition of the global economy to net zero emissions.

Adding his support to the summit on day two was French President Emmanuel Macron with his presidential address. “What you put forth today is a strong innovation strategy, not with words, not with great principles, but with action." He voiced his valuable support for concrete initiatives for climate change, biodiversity and practices across industries that push for responsible business. The day also featured discussions on cities, oceans and coalitions, harnessing sports, artists and culture for change. Professor Spencer Harrison spoke about organising change at the industry level and the need to build a coalition of people with common "identity hooks" in order to drive change.


Presidential address : French President Emmanuel Macron

Delivering the highly anticipated keynote address for the day was Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, Inger Andersen, with the Hoffmann Institute Executive Director, Katell Le Goulven, joining her and moderating the session. Andersen spoke about humanity’s incredible advances, but how in “our haste to adopt new technologies that made our lives better, we did not think about the long-term consequences.” Read her full address here. Also moderating another session was Executive Director of the INSEAD Centre for Governance, Sonia Tatar, as she facilitated the conversation for accelerating towards climate governance.


Keynote address : Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, Inger Andersen

The final day of ChangeNOW 2021 included a buzzing job fair of recruiters, trainers and curious job seekers looking to explore careers with a purpose. Conversations continued on the circular economy, changing habits, and our long-time partners of the Cartier Women's Initiative were part of a pitching session to guide entrepreneurs focusing on creating positive impact.

Highly awaited was Sir David Attenborough’s message and the exclusive premiere of his latest documentary Breaking Boundaries: The Road to a Cleaner, Healthier and More Peaceful World, inspiring us all to protect the Earth's life support systems. Closing the ceremony, Santiago Lefebvre said, "ChangeNOW is never ending, ChangeNOW is where it begins."


 Closing the ceremony with the ChangeNOW team


To nudge the conversations into action, INSEAD supported ChangeNOW’s study to accelerate biodiversity integration strategies into large organisations, alongside the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The study provides clear, targeted actions and feasible recommendations for businesses to incorporate biodiversity into their strategies. Explore all the findings here.

Missed the summit? Watch the recordings of all the sessions here.

Discover our related stories:

  1. Health Solutions at ChangeNOW Summit 2020
  2. Partnering with ChangeNOW Summit 2018

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