Accelerating the green transition: Time for action leadership, beyond thought leadership

The urgent need to address climate change and accelerate a green transition, is imperative for our shared future, as indicated by the World Economic Forum’s New Nature Economy report that approximately $44 trillion of economic value generation – more than half of the world’s total GDP – is moderately or highly dependent on nature. 1 As a holistic system, we bear direct responsibility for the degradation of the natural world, and the recent GAEA Agora discussion at the Forum emphasized the importance of a nature-based solution.

In my opinion, considering the systemic nature of our world and the intricate interplay of ecological systems, it seems plausible that by addressing a major environmental challenge like climate change, nature may autonomously devise solutions for other interconnected issues.

It is important for global leaders, especially CEOs and corporate leaders, to appreciate the urgency of this green transition. However, we must also attend to our motivation and courage to act and contribute to the cause. Love for life is the impetus to act and have an impact on a sustainable green transition.

Motivation of the Driver Behind the Wheels of Green Transition

Global temperatures are likely to reach 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels between 2030 and 2052 if they continues to increase at the current rate, causing extreme and irreversible climate effects. 2 This is not a phenomenon for future generations to worry about, but an urgent situation calling for immediate action – a collective commitment for coordinated, systemic action. There are many conversations and movements at many levels and in multiple locations. However, a notable absence are conversations that discusses the motivation behind the green transition. In their absence, we risk green washing and depriving the transition the attention it truly deserves.

I would offer the analogy of the car and its driver. Policies, processes, technology are crucial, but they are tools similar to a car’s components. No matter how good the car, its’ performance is ultimately in the hands of the driver, who chooses how to act – when to engage the accelerator and how to navigate the journey. What propels the driver to speed into the uncharted future and what fuels their courage? In this analogy, finance is the fuel that propels the vehicle, while the motivation of the driver is analogous to love. The resultant outcome, akin to the vehicle’s trajectory, is contingent upon the quality of leadership exhibited in navigating towards sustainable change.

Love as the Catalyst for Change

Recent developments in quantum science brought about a paradigm shift that bridge the materialism of the external system with the spirituality of our internal world, and mark a significant departure from conventional perspectives. A journey into our internal world will shift how we see the world and what meaning we give it – opening up new possibilities and choices available to us. When we make different choices, we have new experiences. This sparks a shift of consciousness. As we find coherence between the two systems, the “I” becomes inseparable from the “we”, activating love from inside and allowing us to naturally care for the outer world.

It is in our nature to love, and when we see that the essence of everything is connected, we naturally seek connection and alignment. Essentially, we are relational creatures, and when we discover our true nature, all of our actions will be informed by love and care, helping us to contribute to solving the shared challenges of humanity. This is the green transition. Without love, there can be no care, and without care, there will be no connection and insufficient motivation to act to add value to the world.

Love is the core of well-being and the fuel for courage and leadership. It is important to instil awareness within our institutions, where the drive falls on the shoulders of their leadership, to step up to be CEOs of Love.

Philanthropy, is another expression of love. The word “philanthropy” comes from the Greek “philanthropia,” which simply means “love of humankind.” Philanthropy is not an institution or a cause for momentary gratification, but rather it is a culture, a way of living, a lifestyle. It is a commitment to living with compassion, a form of love in action. The time for transformative change is now, and each one of us can contribute by embracing love as the driving force for a greener, more sustainable world.

Start from Plant-Based Eating: A Tangible Change for All

Jane Goodall’s closing session at WEF 2024, was profoundly impactful, setting the stage for the discourse that followed. There is a tangible action we can individually undertake to add-value to a collective commitment – a transformative step toward a healthier future for both us and for the planet: the promotion of plant-based eating and a re-evaluation of our food system.

One noteworthy initiative is the adoption of a predominantly plant-based diet. Research indicates that shifting to a plant-based diet can have significant environmental benefits, including a 49% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions associated with meat and dairy production in agriculture. Additionally, this transition can mitigate biodiversity loss, with animal agriculture being a major driver of deforestation and species extinction, promising a more sustainable future for global food security. 3

It is practical and accessible to everyone – one small step for the individual and ONE BIG STEP for humanity and nature, marking a pivotal contribution to both personal well-being and the broader health of our Earth.

The call to action is clear – a demonstration of a holistic and systemic approach, rooted in love for life, is essential for accelerating the green transition. We need to disseminate this awareness to both institutions and households alike. Recognizing the interconnected elements, embracing the quantum reality, and acknowledging the role of internal motivation are pivotal.

It is time to start acting to truly make impact. It is time for actionable leadership, and the time is NOW!

Contributed by Chavalit Frederick Tsao
March 2024

1 World Economic Forum, Nature Risk Rising: Why the Crisis Engulfing Nature Matters for Business and the Economy. New Nature Economy series. 2020 Jan.

2 IPCC, 2018: Summary for Policymakers. In: Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J.B.R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M.I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor, and T. Waterfield (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA, pp. 3-24.

3 Gibbs J, Cappuccio FP. Plant-Based Dietary Patterns for Human and Planetary Health. Nutrients. 2022 Apr 13;14(8):1614. doi: 10.3390/nu14081614.

This article was originally produced for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2024 at Davos, Switzerland.