Building a sustainable future for a world with nine billion inhabitants will require unprecedented cooperation
between business, academia and policy makers with inclusion at the core, concluded delegates at a one-day conference led by Imperial College Business School and the Advanced Institute of Management Research.
A keynote speech by the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, John Beddington, outlined the challenges all of mankind will face over the next 20 years. He told the audience of academics, business leaders and NGO representatives that four drivers are combining to create a “perfect storm.”
With global population set to reach close to the nine billion mark by 2030, demand for energy will increase by forty per cent and for clean water by thirty per cent – against a background of man-made climate change.
“This combination of drivers is indeed the perfect storm,” said the professor. “And it will be the challenge for every person, every country, every region and every continent on earth.”
But while the scale of the task is almost incomprehensibly enormous, that perfect storm of challenges creates perfect opportunities, argues Professor Gerard George of Imperial College Business School who hosted the conference.
Said Prof George: “Clearly a twin-track approach is going to be needed. On one hand we will need large partnerships across big business, academia and policy-makers. But we will also need entrepreneurship at the micro and community level.
“We will also see new business models emerging that create social wealth as well as economic wealth. Some of these new models will be implemented this summer in a five-year project in Kenya where they will be tested and the lessons learned disseminated in future events.”
Innovation for Inclusive Growth was sponsored by Ecocit, BP, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.
John Beddington FRS CMG, Government Chief Scientific Adviser
Professor John Beddington was appointed as Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) on 1 January 2008. John’s main research interests are the application of biological and economic analysis to problems of Natural Resource Management. He joined Imperial College in 1984 and was Professor of Applied Population Biology there until his appointment as GCSA. He has been adviser to a number of government departments, including FCO, DEFRA, DFID, MOD and the Cabinet Office. He has acted as a senior adviser to several government and international bodies, including the Australian, New Zealand and US Governments, the European Commission, and the United Nations Environment Programme.
Nigel Brandon FREng, Imperial College London
Nigel Brandon FREng, Professor of Sustainable Development in Energy, heads the Energy Futures Lab at Imperial College London, a multi-disciplinary research institute which brings together over 600 researchers to address global energy challenges. He is also the UK’s Focal point with China in climate change, energy and environment, Senior Fellow to the UK Research Councils Energy programme, and leads the EPSRC ‘Supergen’ Fuel Cell consortia. He is Chief Scientific Advisor to Ceres Power, an AIM listed fuel cell development company spun out from his research in 2001.
David Fisk, Imperial College London
David Fisk is BP/RAEng Professor of Engineering for Sustainable Development at Imperial College London. Until 2005 he held the post of Chief Scientific Adviser to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. His responsibilities included climate change, air pollution, and the disposal of radioactive and other wastes. He has been a member of the Gas & Electricity Markets Authority since 2009, is Co-Director of the BP Urban Energy systems project at Imperial, and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Chartered Institution for Building Services, the Royal Institution of British Architects, and the Institute of Physics.
Gerry George, Imperial College Business School
Gerry George is Professor and Deputy Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Director of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre at Imperial College Business School. The Centre acts as the point of reference between Indian and British collaborators in innovation and entrepreneurship. He serves on the boards of high technology companies and is actively engaged in guiding startups and large companies on technology venturing and entrepreneurship. Gerry serves on the Strategy Board of the Energy Futures Lab. His current research focuses on ‘innovation in infrastructure’ in the areas of healthcare, energy, and urban development.
Peter Head OBE FREng FRSA, Arup
Peter Head, Director of Arup, is a champion for developing global practice that demonstrates that the way we invest public and private money in the built environment could be made much more effective if sustainable development principles were adopted. He is a civil and structural engineer who is a world leader in major bridges, advanced composite technology and sustainable development in cities. He has won many awards for his work including the Award of Merit of IABSE. Peter was an independent Commissioner on the London Sustainable Development Commission, and is currently Chair of the IfS, and strategic adviser to the Chair of the C40 Cities and Climate Leadership Group and the Clinton Carbon Positive Programme.
Brian Hoskins, Imperial College London and University of Reading
Sir Brian Hoskins is Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College and Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Reading. He is a weather and climate scientist who is perhaps best known for his work on understanding fronts and cyclones and has produced research across many areas of meteorology. He was knighted in 2007 for his services to the environment. He is currently a member of the UK Committee on Climate Change and the scientific academies of the UK, USA and China. He has played significant roles in international weather and climate research and in the Nobel Prize winning international climate change assessments.
Nick Leon, Imperial College London and Royal College of Art
Dr Nick Leon was appointed Director of Design London in October 2007. Des ign Lo ndon combines expertise in design from the Royal College of Art, engineering from Imperial College London’s Faculty of Engineering and the business of innovation from its Business School. Nick has not only been a student of all three institutions but his career has spanned all of these disciplines. Nick Leon joined Imperial College Business School in 2005. Prior to this he worked for over 30 years at IBM where he was European Director of Business Development for IBM Global Services, and led IBM’s business in the telecommunications industry.
Keith O’Nions FRS, Imperial College London
Sir Keith O’Nions joined Imperial College in July 2008 to set up and direct a new Institute for Security Science and Technology, and took up the post of Acting Rector on 1 January 2010. Sir Keith has previously held the positions of Professor of Geology at Columbia University, Royal Society Research Professor at Cambridge and Head of Earth Sciences at Oxford. Sir Keith was Chief Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence between January 2000 and July 2004. He then moved to the Department of Trade and Industry, later known as the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, to become Director General, Science and Innovation, and Chief Scientific Advisor.