Fact: the sustainability challenges we face today are too big for any individual to solve. We’ve touched on the power of collective action as a solution to the seemingly overwhelming task ahead of us. By pooling resources, knowledge, people power and strategies, businesses can lead the way in moving the needle towards a cleaner, safer and more responsible world.
It would have been easy to get swept away by the excitement of travelling overseas, for the first time in two years, with the Prime Minister of New Zealand, no less. And to be honest, I was pretty starstruck. However, I was even more excited by the opportunity to connect face-to-face with so many inspirational and trailblazing entrepreneurs and business leaders during this trip. There was a tangible eagerness to network, and share ideas, insights and hope for this next chapter.
The past two years might have felt slow and stagnant, but make no mistake, innovators have been innovating, and passionate people have been working tirelessly to take advantage of the opportunities technology presents in the fields of food, transport and sustainability.
On our first day in Singapore, the PM spoke about digitally enabled recovery, highlighting that some of the innovations that came out of the first year of the pandemic was equal to five years' worth of technology-based innovation before it.
She echoed the familiar saying that adversity inspires innovation and that creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit will drive us to solve the challenges created by climate change, ensuring a safer, more sustainable future.
In Asia, we’re walking the talk when it comes to collaboration to advocate for climate conscious business. Earlier this year, we announced our partnership with digital banking technology innovator Moneythor to make it easier for banks to provide their customers with climate conscious banking solutions. In addition to this exciting partnership, we’ve been selected amongst a group of just six successful applicants from a pool of 17 countries by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) to receive a Green Finance Subsidy that supports overseas companies in this space to successfully enter their market.
Our technology has the opportunity to impact Asia’s entire carbon footprint by enabling repeatable, purposeful exchanges between the two biggest global contributors to over-consumption: businesses and customers. It’s becoming clear that collaboration enables exponential impact.
However, the opposite is also true: countless efforts by companies to work together to solve the most complex environmental challenges have failed because of lack of collaboration, pursuit of individual interests and lack of trust.
Together towards net zero
Amidst increasing demand from customers and businesses for transparency around carbon footprinting, as well as eye-opening facts recently published by the World Meteorological Organization, banks and businesses in Asia have focused their digitisation efforts definitively on technologies that will help them transition to a lower carbon economy. I was excited to meet many of these leaders during the trip and we are excited to be collaborating with several of Asia's biggest banks around carbon footprint integration, amidst this kind of data.
While this is one example, the trade mission showed that our governments (New Zealand, Singapore and Japan) are fully committed to focusing economic recovery in the direction of sustainability, and how innovative technologies can help turn ambitious climate goals into real, tangible results.
In a joint statement from PM Jacinda Ardern and Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong added a fifth pillar to the New Zealand-Singapore Enhanced Partnership, specifically outlining our collaborative approach to climate change and sustainability, including everything from low carbon technology to sustainable aviation. They also agreed to pool efforts to future-proof supply chains.
Co-opetition, you ask? It’s been around, theoretically, for decades. The term refers to competitors who collaborate, despite the seemingly high risk. In 2014, Bunger et al., in a study on child welfare organisations in the USA, found that, if pooling resources, competing agencies can create efficiencies and economies of scale. The study found that collaboration is the most effective way of solving systematic problems (in our case, climate change) that are too big for one company to solve on its own.
If the approach seems risky, consider this: what could be more risky than not adapting to how the market is evolving? Our businesses’ and societies’ most valuable assets are our people and natural environment. By ignoring the urgent issue of climate change, we would be actively destroying that value. I’m excited to seethat global leaders are recognising this by actively seeking ways to address the systemic challenges we face and finding ways to unleash the value of a cleaner, healthier environment.
Ultimately, as with many things, the best way to foster collaboration is through policy and incentives. It’s been an exciting journey to connect with Asian business leaders and government representatives who are as passionate about sustainability, business and innovation as we are, and I’m optimistic and excited about this next chapter. After all, team work makes the dream work.