Climate Compass Fireside Chat: Simon Mundy & Julien Denormandie on the global response to climate change

Climate Compass 2024
Climate Compass
Last updated
July 10, 2024

At Climate Compass 2024 in London, Sweep’s flagship event, Simon Mundy, Moral Money Editor at the Financial Times, and Julien Denormandie, Chief Innovation Officer at Sweep discussed the global response to climate change. Mundy, an expert on sustainability and the author of “Race for Tomorrow,” shared his insights on the global scramble to address climate change. The discussion explored the multifaceted nature of the climate crisis, the innovative solutions emerging worldwide, and the critical role of policy and corporate responsibility in driving meaningful change.

Unveiling the global response

“Race for Tomorrow” takes readers on an extraordinary journey through 26 countries, illustrating how different regions are grappling with the climate crisis. Simon meets a diverse array of individuals, from those facing the brunt of environmental changes to entrepreneurs and scientists developing innovative solutions. These stories reflect both the catastrophic impacts of climate change and the groundbreaking efforts to combat it.

In discussing his findings, Simon highlighted the dual nature of his experiences: “Am I positive about the future? Yes and no. I’m more keenly aware of the terrible impact of climate change. And there is some death in the book, as you know. But I’ve also had my eyes opened to how much is happening every day in terms of both solutions and actions and that gives me hope.”

“Am I positive about the future? Yes and no. I’m more keenly aware of the terrible impact of climate change. But I’ve also had my eyes opened to how much is happening every day in terms of both solutions and actions – and that gives me hope.”

He emphasized the importance of moving beyond binary thinking when it comes to climate change. “In reality, it’s a spectrum and we’re some of the way down it. But how much worse it gets is up to us and there’s already so much agency,” Simon explained. He underscored the remarkable achievements in clean technology and the potential for these advancements to drive significant progress.

The role of policy and regulation

Julien Denormandie, Chief Impact Officer at Sweep asked about the main drivers for companies and financial institutions in the context of sustainability, Simon pointed to the evolving nature of capitalism and the critical role of policy. He referenced historical shifts, such as the elimination of child labor, to illustrate how legal and regulatory changes can drive significant societal transformations. “Capitalism has always been evolving. It used to involve children working in factories. Some thought this would kill industry. In reality, it didn’t, but it required a change in the law to stop child labor,” he said.

Simon identified carbon pricing as a key policy mechanism for addressing climate change. Carbon pricing involves using market mechanisms to pass the cost of emitting greenhouse gases onto emitters, thereby creating financial incentives to reduce emissions. 

“A key aspect of carbon pricing is the ‘polluter pays’ principle. By putting a price on carbon, society can hold emitters responsible for the serious costs of adding GHG emissions to the atmosphere,” Simon elaborated.

He stressed the need to update our economic systems to account for environmental impacts. “We need to update our capitalism to appropriately assess the emissions of various actors in the economy,” he asserted.

The power of individual and collective action

Simon concluded by highlighting the roles that individuals and companies can play in driving climate action. He emphasized the concept of the “three Cs”: Consumer, Citizen, and Career. Often, there is too much focus on individual consumer choices, whereas systemic change through policy and corporate actions is crucial. 

“What’s really important is that system-level change. We need to recognize the fundamental need for policy, and for corporate action.”

Companies, in particular, have a powerful voice and can significantly influence policy and societal norms. By adopting sustainable practices and advocating for robust environmental regulations, businesses can drive substantial progress. 

“We know that companies have a powerful voice in all major economies. It’s important that they use it in a positive way.” Simon concluded.

In summary

Simon’s insights underscore the urgent need for both innovative solutions and systemic changes in policy and corporate behavior. By embracing sustainability, businesses and individuals can contribute to a more resilient and prosperous future. As Simon’s journey in “Race for Tomorrow” reveals, the path to addressing climate change is fraught with challenges but also brimming with opportunities for transformative action.

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