November 21, 2013 - 16:19

Yesterday I attended an amazing event in Toronto, Ontario. The event was hosted by the non-profit group Rethink Sustainability and was centred around acting on climate change and carbon emissions. A fantastic keynote speech was delivered by Peter Boyd from Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room (definitely worth following on Twitter if you’re not already: @cwarroom).

Peter kicked things off by touching on the amount of opportunity there is to reduce emissions with, of course, a financial and environmental lens. Some of the work they’re doing to combat emissions includes a rating system for vessels in the shipping industry, renewable jet fuels, mobilizing change in island economies and catalyzing private-public partnerships. It was certainly informative and engaging.

Fast-forward to the afternoon. As a panel of experts was discussing relevant opportunities, collaborative efforts and other important carbon-related items, “questions” poured in from the audience during an open Q&A session. These “questions” were presented in the form of shameless pitches for investment and recognition and often had little to do with the topic at hand: action. Entrepreneurs, owners, managers, executives, etc. who felt once the mic was in their hands they could shamelessly promote their products and services. I should qualify my statements – this is by no means a reflection on how the day-long event was organized and delivered; it was a great event.

Then, Andres Fernandez, one of our Carbonzero team members stood up and delivered what I believe was the speech of the day. He talked about how, since arriving from Colombia a year and a half ago, he has seen too much apprehension to act. This is not at all surprising; as Canadians we’re incredibly risk-averse. Andres said there is too much talking, not enough doing. Too many egos, not enough willingness to work together. He continued to say that there is too much phone calling, emailing, following-up, and following up again…there just needs to be action. Andres mentioned that carbon offsets are a way to act, but this was far from his main focus. In a powerful statement, Andres noted “If you don’t want our offsets, fine. But, stop talking and get offsets from somebody.” Of course, the same could be said of any product or service that reduces carbon emissions, but Andres’ point was clear: Act. Now.

As Andres finished, the panel moderator (no other than the legend, Doug Miller of GlobeScan), had an ear-to-ear grin. The audience erupted in applause. Andres, it seemed, had been able to capture the attention and emotions of everyone in the room. And certainly, he captured the sentiment here at Carbonzero. There is a need AND an opportunity for businesses and individuals to act. How an organization or single person acts can easily be figured out, but you need to start by starting.

Let us know by joining the discussion on our LinkedIn Group, our Twitter feed or just send us an message if you’re not the social media type.

Evan DiValentino, VP Sales & Marketing