In less than a week, world leaders, community organisations and NGOs will come together in Dubai to plan for accelerated climate action – and the role of business must be part of the discussion. Today’s dynamic landscape of global sustainability marks out COP28 as a critical moment of potential progress, but the burden of meaningful impact cannot be left to governments alone and it is time for corporations to act decisively. Business must step up too.
Uniting visionaries, change-makers, and leaders in the shared pursuit of a just and equitable climate transition, COP28 offers the opportunity for business leaders to be a significant part of the conversation. But The Conference of Parties process is a unique and intensive one that requires genuine effort and engagement from those attending to ensure that outcomes are real, effective, and planet positive.
As we start to fully immerse ourselves in COP, it is paramount that business leaders show up and attend with a mindset and a preparedness that fosters radical collaboration, seeds and advances purpose-driven strategy, and engages their systemic leadership skills. At Xynteo we have spent many COPs advising our partners on strategic impact during the conference. This is our blueprint for meaningful engagement.
1. Define your role and clarify purpose.
As a first step, you need to define your organisation's role in the climate narrative by asking and challenging yourself on profound questions about your identity and aspirations. Articulate your commitment to climate action and identify challenges hindering progress. Ensure that this clarity forms a firm foundation for effective collaboration and purpose-driven discussions and initiatives at COP28. Understanding the significance of your role in contributing to the broader goals of the event will help you engage with other perspectives more effectively.
2. Understand context and craft conscious engagement
Embrace a conscious mindset as you embark on the COP28 journey, transcending historical or default commercial boundaries to open yourself up to a range of avenues to achieving environmental sustainability and a just transition. This global event brings together activists, indigenous voices, diplomats, and business leaders, making COP a power opportunity for finding, appreciating, and engaging with a diversity of perspectives. This conference truly gives business leaders the ability to step out of their day to day, and welcome the collective responsibility for driving positive change. Prepare to engage with a broad range of stakeholders and understand the context rooted in justice and equity.
3. Assess radical collaboration opportunities
The world’s nations have been brought together at COP with a common purpose, but what is your role and that of your business in collaborating at the conference? There is no point turning up for the sake of attendance or PR, you must have a clear idea of where and how your energy should be directed. Define your goals clearly, explore collaboration potential, and identify individuals and organisations aligned with your mission – and seek them out actively before, during and after the conference. The power of collective action cannot be overstated in the pursuit of sustainable solutions.
4. Maximise listening and build new connections
Active participation is key to maximising the impact of your presence at COP28. Ensure your involvement in essential programmes, such as the World Climate Summit, Global Energy Forum, and the Green Zone, as these platforms amplify a constellation of voices. Give yourself the time and exposure to groundbreaking ideas or innovations and enable you to contribute to the collective wisdom driving the global sustainability agenda. Seek out opportunities to broaden your horizons and embrace radical collaboration by listening to contrary voices and considering new perspectives.
5. Broaden horizons through participation
COP is a conference of international partners, competitors, foes, and friends--all coming together around a powerful, common purpose. So, why not use this as the opportunity to push beyond your typical commercial and competitive boundaries using this common foundation? Great minds and progressive actors don’t just exist in your supply chain partners, peer organisations and joint venture actors – your competitors and new, unengaged businesses, community organisations and NGOs are all under one roof. Now is the time to expand beyond and develop new connections into collaborative opportunities for action. Xynteo's collaborative mindset and experience finds resonance here, urging leaders to seek out innovative partnerships that can drive sustainable solutions beyond the conference walls.
6. Put aside time for reflection
Acknowledge the potential to be overwhelmed by COP28, and schedule downtime for personal reflection as the conference draws to a close . The scale of the event and the weight of its discussions can be impactful, and deserve the commitment of time for a revisit. Use these moments to reflect on how the insights gained might shape your leadership and your organisation's strategy and transformation. Nurture resilience by taking time for introspection amid the intensity of COP28.
Elevate your ambitions, inspired by the insights gained, and start planning ways to contribute actively to the broader goals of addressing climate change. Follow up with the contacts made and the ideas generated during COP28. Schedule meetings and calls to solidify partnerships and keep the momentum alive. Use the experience to shape a purpose-driven agenda that fosters good growth for your organisation and the planet.
7. Set a direction and harness momentum
As COP28 concludes, leverage the momentum generated to drive increased positive impact by communicating actively within your organisation. No doubt you’ve come back from COP with new connections, new ideas, and new ambitions for your organisation, and by sharing your learnings with colleagues, teams, and policy/strategy makers, you can accelerate the process to action. Engage cross-functional teams to look at your existing ways of thinking, planning, and acting to critically analyse your organisation potential to hasten your sustainability progress. Your insights have the potential to shape conversations and decisions. Establish an internal feedback loop to ensure that the impact of COP28 extends beyond individual experiences. Actively contribute to the dissemination of knowledge gained during the conference.
Turning aspirations into action for Good Growth
As leaders continue this transformative journey, the call to embrace a conscious mindset becomes paramount. Navigating COP28 in Dubai with the approach outlined above can ensure business leaders make a meaningful impact on both their organisations and the world.
COP28, with its diverse programmes and forums, is a powerful place for leaders to actively participate, broaden their horizons, and contribute to the collective action driving the global sustainability agenda. Clarity of purpose creates a bedrock for collaboration and purpose-driven initiatives, aligning business aspirations with the imperative to address climate challenges.
The journey doesn't end with the conclusion of COP28. Businesses must transform aspirations into action by following up on connections and ideas - ensuring that the positive energy generated during the conference sustains momentum. Ultimately, the call is to raise ambitions which directly link to meaningful, practical, and accelerated action. In doing so, leaders carry forward the torch of purpose-driven leadership and leave an indelible mark on their organisations and the planet.
Or contact us to find out how we can help your leaders and organisation create planet-positive and inclusive growth.