Library picture: Donald Venkatapen is seen speaking at a conference in 2016. Photo credit: Ricardo Vaz Palma

Library picture: Donald Venkatapen is seen speaking at a conference in 2016. Photo credit: Ricardo Vaz Palma

To end a long drought without any networking events, the People and Leadership Group of the British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg reunited members and guests for the closing of the Leadership Forum 2021.

Climate change and sustainability are trending themes at the moment. The closing event of the forum focused its discussions on combining the three pillars of sustainability: planet, profit and people to learn and understand how leaders can walk the talk and lead their communities towards a more sustainable future.

Participants benefited from the views of an eclectic panel of experts who looked at the issue at hand through their professional lenses as finance, leadership and climate change experts, as well as startup owners.

What are the policies for a durable change? Nancy Saich, chief climate change expert at the European Investment Bank, recalled the objectives of Cop26, which will be held in Glasgow in two weeks, and reminded us that people are at the heart of the problem and its solutions.

Could we lead people and organisations to a more sustainable future? Filip Westerlund, CEO of Ourchoice, promoted education in sustainability as a new marketing tool and give tangible answer by selling fashion products made of sustainable and circular raw materials.

How may finance dragons shape a better world? , head of ESG investments at Société Générale captured the attention of the audience with an initiative called Gender Lens Investing, promoting gender equality and diversity.

During three live polls, the audience participated in shaping the discussion. A large part of the audience believed that current environmental problems could only be solved through radical changes.

Tomás Sercovitch, CEO of Business in the Community Ireland, an expert in CSR and sustainability development, emphasised the contradiction of people adhering to the concepts as long as it does not affect their daily lives wallets.

Julie Castiaux of KPMG gave practical examples on how to implement small changes in our organisations and our lives to reduce footprints on both emissions and water.

All speakers agreed that time is of the essence. As Saich stated, “it doesn’t have to be all or nothing: if a project or product is not entirely ‘green’, it is not necessarily bad, it can be ‘green-ing’, i.e., going in the right direction”.

All these topics led to intense discussions moderated by Lene Pedersen and Jill Saville on day-to-day challenges of sustainability, which were followed by a lively networking cocktail.

In conclusion, people, planet and profit are all part of the equation for a more sustainable future, which leads to one of most famous quotes of Winston Churchill: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Contributed by Donald Venkatapen, partner at the law firm of Wagener & Associés and member of the British Chamber of Commerce for Luxembourg’s People and Leadership Group.

Replays from previous forum events are available on .