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Builders Vision Debuts at Climate Week 2022

Under the theme of “Getting It Done,” programming ran across ten themes: Built Environment, Energy, Environmental Justice, Transport, Finance, Sustainable Living, Nature, Policy, Industry, and Food.

From September 19th-25th, New York was the center of international climate advocacy as innovators, activists, politicians, and thought leaders convened for Climate Week 2022. In its fourteenth year, Climate Week is the largest event of its kind and aligns its schedule with the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

Under the theme of “Getting It Done,” this year’s programming ran across ten themes: Built Environment, Energy, Environmental Justice, Transport, Finance, Sustainable Living, Nature, Policy, Industry, and Food. The end goal: Creating “an ambitious platform” to drive climate action.

Builders Vision was honored to be among the vanguards of our community and join these critical conversations while learning from others and expanding relationships with essential voices from around the world.

Our team kicked off Climate Week by announcing that Builders Initiative had successfully transitioned 90% of its endowment to mission-related investments.

On Tuesday, we attended a strategy session with the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) centered on how the UNGC can play an integral role in helping transition the global food system. Kathleen Strand, Head of Communications at Builders Vision, and Matthew Walker, Managing Director of Food and Agriculture at S2G, sat with representatives from Nestle, Kroger, the United Nations Climate Change Commission, and many more to offer ideas and principles to support the development of the UNGC’s Global Food Initiative.

“Our broken global food system is a key driver of climate change, but progress is more than possible. We must continue to partner and prioritize around issues like regenerative agriculture and food waste — Healthy collaboration between the market and governments propels the innovation we need,” Matthew reflected.

“I was inspired and humbled by the conversations we had with these representatives,” Kathleen said. “Positive change is inevitable when companies act on their values and live out their ideals. It was clear that those in the room are on this path.”

Day two further demonstrated how fighting for our climate requires grassroots organizing and market solutions. To speak on the market’s climate responsibilities, S2G Ventures' Sanjeev Krishnan joined a Climate Group panel focused on solutions to the food system’s carbon output that included Jim Andrew of PepsiCo; Chris Harbourt of Indigo Agriculture; Marjorie Kauffman, Secretary of Environment and Infrastructure for Rio Grande do Sul; and Maria Lettini of FAIRR Initiative. Entitled "Growing the market for low carbon food production," the panel was moderated by Zitouni Ould-Dada of FAO. We were also excited to hear from Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, who leads Food Systems for the Future, as she described how businesses and governments can use their purchasing power and influence to equalize and heal a broken food system. (This partnership extends past Climate Week — You might have also heard that S2G and Food Sytems for the Future recently announced the Food, Nutrition, and Health Investor Coalition during the White House’s Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.)

Our team further tuned into these ideas as S2G co-hosted the Crusonia Forum with iSelect, bringing together institutional investors, entrepreneurs, and corporate partners to explore how investments in improved food systems can nurture health outcomes among consumers. NYC Mayor Eric Adams offered remarks during the event, recounting his personal experiences with chronic illness and a plant-based diet. Mayor Adams says he reversed the effects of Type II diabetes with whole food, plant-based diet: “No medicine, just food.”

“Everyone in here, you know someone that's experiencing chronic disease. When you have a chronic disease, it hijacks your life. You're no longer who you are. You're worried about the next test, worried about the next outcome, the next operation,” he said. “This is so avoidable and preventable. It just means a shift in our thinking, and boldness in this time. Those of you who are investors, those of you who are looking for places to really invest money with a good return on your investment, it's about the food.”

Conversations over dinners with leaders across the field were also an important part of our Climate Week experience and helped us continue building relationships with new communities. For example, Bloomberg Strategies hosted an Earthshot Prize dinner that Kathleen attended with dignitaries, including past prize winners like BI partner Coral Vita. Their projects are a great example of what our Oceans partners are up to: The team used their Earshot Prize winnings to fund the first major restoration off the coast of Grand Bahama. To date, Coral Vita has replanted more than 6000 coral fragments while growing its team and building its technical abilities to develop consistent coral reproduction — You can imagine how incredible it was to sit at a table full of innovators of this caliber and vision. Meanwhile, our S2G team members wrapped up their week with a special dinner hosted by portfolio company Benson Hill. It was a wonderful opportunity to directly engage with other Crusonia participants in a more intimate setting.

Ultimately, Climate Week left us with plenty to chew on as we move forward and refine our strategies for 2023. While we went in with a clear understanding of the food system’s negative impact on climate change, we left with a rejuvenated optimism: There are more people than ever invested in the ideas and industries most needed to find solutions, and the voices leading the charge continue to grow more diverse and robust. Business leaders are in conversation with advocates, and market-makers are taking seriously the need for radical change. We are excited about how a one-week event can buoy and open doors to an enduring movement.