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From Our Founder: Reflections on Climate Week 2023

Builders Vision Founder and CEO Lukas Walton offers his observations from Climate Week 2023 and the themes that stood out to him




It’s been two weeks since I came back from Climate Week NYC, and I’ve spent some time reflecting on what was truly an inspiring week of learning, connection, and collaboration.

It seems everywhere we turn, there are signs of climate change. Just this summer we saw record-setting heat waves, increased wildfires and hurricanes, and ocean water temperatures off the coast of Miami top 90 degrees Fahrenheit. I wondered if this week would bring the actions that we so desperately need, and from my assessment, it was certainly a step in the right direction.

From attending some incredible events to having conversations with leaders from around the world to learning about new climate solutions from entrepreneurs, I left New York feeling energized about the future of this work.

The week was full of learnings that I’m taking with me, but below are three that I’m especially excited about.

  1. Cross-Sector Integration: I was impressed by the breadth and depth of the week. I engaged with partners and leaders across Builders Vision’s focus areas – energy, food and agriculture, and oceans – and dug deeper into how other organizations are tackling climate issues in these sectors. What stood out to me was the opportunity for more integration. There is excellent work happening within each of the areas, and as climate leaders, we can collectively be more intentional about collaborating across these sectors, sharing key learnings, and bringing different (and maybe unexpected) voices to the table to discuss solutions. For example, as the food and agriculture sector talks about adapting our food systems, how are we partnering with oceans experts who are farming seaweed and other sustainable seafood that can be important contributors to our future food supply? Our ability to further integrate is how we will solve problems and drive greater impact.

  2. Clean Hydrogen: The demand for clean hydrogen has grown significantly over the last few years, and I was keen to hear how other leaders feel about its role in decarbonization – especially on the heels of the Biden-Harris Administration’s launch of an inter-agency hydrogen task force last month. As expected, the week was buzzing with conversations about the benefits of hydrogen in the clean energy transition, and I’m personally excited about its potential as a vector for industrial decarbonization broadly. Many discussions focused on how clean hydrogen can reduce emissions in high-polluting industries like shipping and agriculture, build energy resilience and security in communities, and create jobs. However, a notable challenge to increasing the production of clean hydrogen is the ability to scale it in a way that is both affordable to end customers and equitable to communities as we deploy these solutions nationwide. These are priorities we cannot compromise on. There is a lot more work needed to create a sustainable clean hydrogen economy, but I am encouraged by the partnership I saw across climate, government, and finance.

  3. Climate Innovation: Perhaps my favorite part of the week was meeting entrepreneurs and learning about their climate solutions. They are the true leaders of the fight against climate change, and it’s their dedication and innovative thinking that will save our planet. I learned about a nonprofit called Abalobi, a 2023 Earthshot Prize finalist that supports sustainable fishing. Abalobi has created an app for small-scale fishing communities where fishers can record information about their catches, allowing them to prove that they are fishing sustainably, which helps ensure they receive a fair price for their catch. The data collected also provides important information to scientists about the health of our oceans. In order to make an impact, we need to deploy more capital to support these types of entrepreneurs and help scale actionable solutions. Continued commitment and engagement from the financial industry is critical here, and I was pleased to see that investors and other financial leaders were active in these conversations throughout the week.

Coming out of Climate Week, and now looking ahead to COP28 in just a couple of months, the momentum is on our side. I’m eager to turn these insights into action, continue the hard work alongside our teams, and find more opportunities to learn.

Thanks to everyone who made it such a great week, especially our partners, Dynamo Energy Hub, Karen Sack and the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, Global Fund for Coral Reefs, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Gitterman Wealth Management, and The Earthshot Prize. And of course, to the entire Builders Vision and S2G Ventures teams, who shared their passion and expertise all week long.

— Lukas Walton, Founder & CEO of Builders Vision