Gabriel Scott Design
Scott

Portrait of Scott Richler, founder and creative director of Gabriel Scott

The furniture and lighting studio Gabriel Scott was founded in Montreal, by Scott Richler. It was established in an effort to blend his jewellery design experience developed over many years to designing lighting and furniture. He speaks to LUX about the process behind it and how he focusses on craftmanship and exquisite materials

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from your furniture and lighting?  Which brands, or elements of brands, inspired you when you began your design line?

Scott Richtler: Mostly the language of our Gabriel Scott pieces is based on some prior experience in my life.  Mostly from the time I spent in jewellery design and fashion with a separate brand called Jennifer Scott between 2000 and 2005. I created statement jewellery from semi-precious stone.

This led to a career in design, mostly in women’s accessories like handbags seen in Bergdorf’s and Neiman Marcus. Working in high end fashion design meant I developed a high range of design skills learning from the best artisans in Italy.

Before this though I had an architecture background, so I have macro scale and smaller scale design experience; I like the immediacy of this, I speak many different design languages.  I’m into details and you can see the story of my background come through into our lighting fixtures.

Gabriel Scott Design

The Welles Glass Chandelier, curated in essence of timeless jewellery

Q: In the 18th century, furniture was elevated from functional pieces to works of art, acting as a status symbol in the Victorian home. What would you say is furniture’s symbolic purpose today?

SR: The function of an architect is to look at a space and interact with it. Furniture and lighting are all objects you interact with in one way or another. Everything in your life surrounding you has a form of dialogue around it.

Furniture can be seen as sculpture or more precisely functional sculpture. It’s also about how the user of that space interacts with the environment. Decorative lighting can be viewed as a pretentious status symbol and pretentious pursuit.

Decorative lighting is functional but not totally necessary in a home. Decorative lighting is a focal talking point, creating interest and texture in a home, it is an elevated art form in this sense.

interior

Greg Natale’s East Brisbane house in Australia: This riverfront residence combines interior architecture with the layering of sumptuous finishes to create a “modern palazzo” that celebrates its owners’ deep connection to Italy.

Q: The lighting industry now faces issues with regard to electricity usage and sustainability. How do you combat or navigate these issues, and how do they challenge your principle that designs should be ‘Timeless’?

SR: Gabriel Scott designs use low LED’s and these drop very little electricity, you could keep them on forever and they’re very environmentally friendly. I’ve always approached design through timelessness because it should be like this.

Gabriel Scott furnishings and lighting are classic with longevity just like Chanel. You can wear a Chanel piece from 60-years ago and it’s still as contemporary in present day today. I’m in the camp sitting with vintage Porsche’s being more sustainable than Tesla’s.

The amount of investment required to build a Tesla that will be used for no-more than 10-years is less sustainable than driving a Porsche that’s been on the planet for 50 years. Investing in a Gabriel Scott light is much the same, it’s an investment which will stand the test of time and last.

Q: How else does Gabriel Scott engage with sustainability?

SR: Like a fine designer quality brand, Gabriel Scott’s pieces are investments, well made, amazing materials with longevity.  The materials come from the earth, they’re minerals and glass is recyclable. We use materials that are long-lasting, if you invest in our furnishings they will last forever and you can move with them from home to home.

I do feel strongly that the word sustainability needs to be used carefully by companies. There are so many brands out there greenwashing their companies in a way that is detrimental to the wider sustainability agenda.

Q: Is it important for contemporary art to be functional as well as aesthetic?

SR: It’s not important for any art to be functional.  The dialogue of art is to not be functional whatsoever. As a matter of fact, if it’s not functional, sometimes it creates more questions in the user, which therefore creates a dialogue that may be intentional or not.

The Welles Long Chandelier 17, Smoked Purple and Gray Glass. The Welles collection was coined by notable architect and designer, called David Rockwell.

Q: Would you say furniture and lighting are of increasing importance in the art world now?

SR: Lighting and art in juxtaposition are increasingly important and the majority if not all high-end clients have both in their homes.  We’re recognizing this and from May our London showroom will be welcoming in the Virginia Damsta gallery.

We’re creating a art and lighting gallery with an inaugural exhibition, titled “The New Artists: When Machines Dream” departing from the conventional white cube concept, we’re going to be presenting a synthesis, a symbiosis of art and design. This fusion illuminate’s artwork and creates a harmonious interplay between art and design.

Q: What key changes have you noticed in lighting/furniture design since you founded Gabriel Scott in 2012?

SR: I’ve seen a shift culturally, pre-2012 most high-quality furniture and lighting was manufactured mostly Italian.  Italy is known for being refined and creating the best.  But most of its industrialized and this was the key to the Italian success, being able to industrialize production of beautiful lamps and furniture.

For the last 10-years, there’s been a pivot towards a more artisanal approach. A much more hands-on, handmade approach to furniture and lighting which is more appreciated. The shift has been from the benchmark of quality Italian pieces which have been industrialised. Not the benchmark is more artisan like a carpenter trained in skills from hundreds of years ago which is just exquisite so there has been an elevation.

Q: Do you feel like people are getting more adventurous with their lighting?

SR: Yes I 100% agree with this, but if you look back into time you’ll find plenty of people who were adventurous with design. For example, if you look into interior designer’s in North Carolina, it would not have been surprising to find a sculptural element to a wall sconce in a Gio Ponti house like 50-60 years ago.

You would find sculptural lighting, it just was something that was very European it never really traded into the sort of mass market.  The general public are more conscious about lighting due to big interiors companies being more adventurous with media campaigns.  Decorative lighting has kind of become the norm – with more people on board!

The Myriad Chandelier, 12 Long. The chandelier projects a warm light through its double-blown glass and is hand-made to order.

Q: With your background in architecture and fashion, you interpret decorative lighting as larger scale jewellery. How else has your experience in the fields impacted your perspective on interior design?

SR: I’ve taken inspiration from many great interior designers such as Joseph Dirand. My perspective on interior design is that you can easily interpret a space through the objects that populate that space. My perspective is being an interior designer doesn’t necessarily have to be a maximalist pursuit.

You don’t have to put a great deal into a space to make it special. You can put in an amazing table, piece of art and light fixture – the look can be pretty minimalist. But there’s something unique and special about it is because of the objects in space.

Q: Are there any elements of different brands that have inspired your line?

SR: I love to look at jewelry lines like Pomellato, Cartier and De Beers for inspiration for our lighting. A discontinued Cartier ring inspired the Harlow light.  The ring was like a series of balls that are cold and explode.

In terms of furnishing’s I find Gio Ponti inspirational. Buckminster Fuller is an incredible inspirational architect. I’m enthused by Olafur Eliasson the artist. So its varied, it doesn’t come from furniture traditions. It’s just like images that are blended.

www.gabriel-scott.com

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entrance gates to a hotel

entrance gates to a hotel

In the heart of the countryside of Provence lies Terre Blanche, a luxury resort with two renowned golf courses and an oasis for growth biodiversity. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, Darius Sanai speaks with the Vice-President of Supervisory Board, François Vaugoude, on how on how the resort has been a sustainability pioneer since the early 1990’s, educating its guests and making instrumental environment change in the region.

 

LUX: How did Terre Blanche come about?

François Vangoude: Between 1978 and 1980, there was a desire to develop the site on which Terre Blanche now sits. At the time, Golf was more of a pretext for town planning and therefore there weren’t all the provisions. There was no internet, there were no regulations on water, there were no impact studies and raising awareness about ecology was not a priority like it has become today. The site therefore benefited from considerable building rights, and with the construction of the golf course there was more than 90,000 square meters of surface area to be built.

When the authorities later realised that the surveys and impact studies had not been carried out, the project came to a complete halt. Dietmar Hopp, a German business and golf enthusiast, had built a golf course in Germany and proposed creating something that brings sports, nature and development together, rather than creating a city within a city. The authorities gave the go-ahead, and we opened the grounds in June 2000.

Le Chateau Golf course

LUX: Was there a sustainability strategy at the time?

FV: Yes, Immediately, I’ve been passionate about sustainability for years, being someone from the countryside and from the sea. I’m also an architect so urban development has always been a passion of mine as well. From the outset, our philosophy was to think about how we could do something sustainable because our objective was to operate long-term. Since 2000, I’ve been involved in the design of our various projects, as I’ve overseen the whole program since its conception and now its management.

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Our guiding principle on the development of Terre Blanche is that all infrastructures that are useless above ground are buried underground. All the infrastructure needed to manage and distribute water is underground. It maintains the permeability of the soil and it’s better for the quality of the resort as a whole because having a view of a forest or green spaces is much better than having a view of a car park, for example. The car park did cost a little more but at the end of the day, the cars are sheltered, there’s more security, and we don’t have to resurface every ten years using petroleum-based asphalt.

The design of our driving range follows the same principle. The Albatros Golf Performance Center is a semi-underground driving range. As a result, you play out of the summer sun, and you’re sheltered from the rain in winter.

LUX: Is what you do, in terms of your sustainability strategy, important to your clients?

FV: Admittedly, in the years 2000-2010, what we were doing was very good but there wasn’t the heightened sensitivity we have today around climate change and the environment. People are now beginning to understand that biodiversity and climate are about the survival of future generations. Everyone now understands and wants to preserve but the term ‘preservation’ doesn’t work for me.

I think ‘to preserve’ is a negative idea as it just means to protect what exists. I think that today we need to take a much more proactive approach and we need to be contributors to the development of biodiversity. That’s what we do. We now have the participation of our customers.

 

The Infinity Pool at the Terre Blanche resort

I’m not going to say what country these people come from, but there are people who can’t stand to see an ant or mayflies. So, we get our customers involved and we organise events to show them what we do, especially as golf today is all the rage.

Golf is a big consumer of water, but we don’t use drinking water, we use natural water. The natural cycle is respected, which means that since 2000 we have been pumping water from the Saint-Cassien lake, just five kilometres from our property.

We have financed networks and pumping stations so as not to use drinking water. We’ve had a policy from the outset of asking ourselves what Terre Blanche will be like in ten, fifteen, twenty and even thirty years’ time.

LUX: Is it important for you to do a bit of customer education, or is it more something that exists and if customers are interested, they can ask?

FV: It’s something that needs to be understood and accepted. For example, a golfer wants to find his ball on the course. We only mow once a year, at a very specific time, with a cutting height to avoid destroying everything on the ground. The golfer’s first reaction is to say, “Well wait a minute, you’re saving on maintenance and I’m losing more of my balls.” Then we explain to them why we’re doing this. We’re preserving the nesting period of birds on the ground, invertebrates, insects, and honey plants. Then they say, “Ah yes, you’re right” and they accept that we need to implement these kinds of provisions, and they become supporters.

Another example is unfortunately, we have quite a high mortality rate of trees that are not from the region and that have been brought in and can no longer withstand the rising temperatures and lack of water.

So, when the tree dies, we leave them in place and let them rot. The first reactions I received were, “You leave them there because you don’t have time to pick them up.” We then explain that if you leave a log in a given place, six months later you’ll have a profusion of animals. To motivate them too, we’ve set up an application, that’s also managed by the naturalist organisation on site, in which people can take a photo of an unknown plant or insect and upload it onto our application.

The organism is automatically geolocated on the network and it’s passed on to our naturalist society. At the end of the year, we have a census of everything discovered on Terre Blanche and whoever has made the most observations, with the most interesting organisms, wins a prize. This motivates people to take part. It’s not just on golf courses and in the forest, but under a stone near the Terre Blanche resort.

LUX: Is there a focus on art in the hotel too and do you link art and biodiversity?

FV: There is an art collection at the hotel, but it is not something we shout about. It’s known through word of mouth. The collection is for our guests to enjoy. We have a press book about the works of art that are on display, which is available upon request. Guests can follow a route to see the artworks around the property if they want to. As the works are scattered throughout nature, we naturally create this intersection between nature, biodiversity, and art. When I tell people that we have over 300 works of art and they ask where they are, I tell them to open their eyes. That’s what biodiversity is all about as well. It’s about taking an interest.

LUX: Are there any other plans you have for biodiversity?

FV: We have a huge number of developments on the resort. We’re creating an atlas on biodiversity to monitor the species, fauna and flora that exist on Terre Blanche. We did a first census in 2018, and another in 2020 and 2023 to see what changes there have been in relation to all the measures we’ve implemented on Terre Blanche.

I went to see the Mayor of Tourrettes and asked him why we weren’t doing this at a commune level. It makes sense to do it on a much larger scale. The hope is to demonstrate to them that Terre Blanche has become a zoological wildlife park and not just a resort for the wealthy. It’s about showing we are well ahead of the game, and that they too can contribute to the preservation and expansion of biodiversity.

LUX: Do you organise biodiversity events?

FV: Absolutely. We organize events and golf tournaments focusing on biodiversity, with workshops for people to ask questions and help them understand. We’ve put up information panels all over the resort to educate people.

These aren’t the kind of information panels you buy in the shops, but ones we’ve put together explaining how the watering system works, how the lakes work, what’s in front of them etc. It helps to open people’s minds.

We explain why we’ve installed bat shelters and nesting boxes. Instead of watching TV and looking at a tablet, we buy nesting boxes in kit forms for the kids to build their own nesting boxes, like Lego, and they install them themselves afterwards. Once you’ve captured the children’s’ attention, the parents are right behind and they follow.

Find out more: terre-blanche.com

Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort is celebrating its 20th Anniversary, marked with a series of activities and experiences that highlight the resorts commitment to eco-responsibility. The resort is now open for the season. 

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A blue and red zig zag on white shoes

Fashion designer Manolo Blahnik is something of a legend within the shoe industry. His career truly kicked off in 1969 after meeting US Vogue Editor in Chief, Diana Vreeland; after that, he devoted himself to designing shoes, opening the first Manolo Blahnik store in Chelsea, London, the next year. He speaks to Trudy Ross about his design philosophy, dressing for yourself and looking to the future

LUX: You’ve said before that shoes are in your DNA. Can you share the story of how you first decided to spend your career designing them?
Manolo Blahnik: It was all thanks to Mrs Vreeland. When I met her I was in a state of catatonic nerves; I grew up with Mrs Vreeland, with Harper’s Bazaar. I had presented some sketches to her of set and theatrical designs and she told me to design shoes. She said “Young man, stick to the extremities and make shoes!”. She gave me the advice I so needed to hear and paved the path for me to follow.

I took a hands-on approach and learned from the best shoemakers in Italian factories. To this day, working in the factories is still my favourite part of the job.White and red leather shoe point with blue and red dots

LUX: Tell us about how you opened your first store in the 1970s.
MB: The 1970s was such a fun time in London. It’s funny, the ’70s are absolutely much clearer than the ’80s. We opened the store on Old Church Street in London and that was the very beginning. I didn’t have anything to put in the shop! A friend of mine called Peter Young found the place. He said, ‘There is a wonderful place, far away from everything with no other shops on the street except a pastry shop.”

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I loved it and I took it, not thinking about how I didn’t have any people, customers, nothing. I used to live in Notting Hill and cross the park on a bike. I would come to the shop every day. We used to open at 10 o’ clock. I ate some cookies at the pastry shop and then we would call Italy and get the shoes done.Two colourful heels displayed against a 1960's style sign

LUX: What is your favourite part of the design process?
MB: Without a doubt, working with the artisans in the factories. I have been working with the same artisans for over 35 years. Craftmanship is in their blood, passed down over generations. The team there know exactly what I am thinking and strive to bring all my creations to life, even the most intricate and embellished designs, always pushing boundaries to ensure the complete perfection and the attention to detail required in each of my collections.

Developing seasonal styles with the artisans and spending time in the factory is truly my favourite part of the job. It always has been and always will be.

LUX: Can shoes be a work of art? Can they be more than a work of art?
MB: Shoes can be inspired by art. I am always inspired by art. Francisco Goya did the best shoes in his paintings! I think I would collect all his art if I could. It has hugely inspired me throughout many of my collections and I can’t count how many hours I have spent staring at his works in the Prado museum.

I want my shoes to embody personal style and creativity, pieces of art for your feet.Leg in suede black boot against a background of white and red stripes and lights

LUX: How can one stay ahead of the fashion curve?
MB: By not following trends. Staying true to who you are and dressing the way you want is, in my opinion, true style. It is a physical attitude that cannot be bought.

I’ve never been one to follow trends. If I see too much of something, I change it. What’s the point of people wearing the same dresses and the same shoes? Everybody ends up looking like clones and I hate that. Individuality is what makes us all unique. I like independence and I love eccentricity. If you like something, buy it. Find your style and stick to it.

LUX: Style or comfort?
MB: I believe you can have both. I spend a lot of time with the artisans testing the comfort of our shoes. Elegance and comfort go hand in hand, you must be comfortable to appear elegant, one cannot exist without the other. There is nothing charming about a woman who cannot walk in her shoes.Red white and black kitten heel on a light up sign

LUX: Women’s or men’s fashion?
MB: Both! What’s wonderful is that people are starting to dress up again. In London, men and women alike are now dressed up and going to Savile Row to have suits made.

So long as we are human, we will want to be decorated—for ourselves; not for other people so much. When I wake up in the morning I say, “I’m going to wear happy colours today,” and that is for myself!

LUX: What does it take to create a truly iconic brand identity?
MB: Be true to who you are and believe in what you do! I think the most important thing is the product. That should always remain at the centre.

But for me, it’s not about being a big brand or ‘iconic’! I just want to be healthy and keep doing things. I don’t want anything else. I have everything I want, and I have wonderful memories.

LUX: In the age of e-commerce and social media, how has the digital landscape affected the Manolo Blahnik brand?
MB: You must move with the times or else you will get left behind. Our e-commerce website and social media are a crucial part of the business. When we started to work on The Craft Room, I wanted it to be online so that anyone, anywhere in the world can access this virtual world. It’s exciting! It’s wonderful to be able to connect with the world in this way.

LUX: What does sustainability mean to you?
MB: We don’t use the term ‘sustainability’ because I feel that sustainability is misunderstood. It’s binary: you either are or you are not. We use the term ‘responsibility’ because it is a journey.

My personal philosophy, which was passed down to me from my parents, is that you buy the best quality you can afford and look after it. Mend garments and shoes, have things altered as necessary and upcycled when the time comes. I detest waste and think that overconsumption is unnecessary and lazy.

LUX: In 3 words, how would you describe the world of Manolo Blahnik?
MB: Timeless, colourful and elegant!

Read more: Blazé Milano’s Corrada Rodriguez d’Acrci on creating iconic style 

LUX: Where do you predict your brand will be in ten years’ time?
MB: I am so lucky to have my niece, Kristina, as CEO. She has been working on building foundations to protect the brand. We are a family business with a family mindset and it is wonderful we are able to keep it this way. I hope that people continue to enjoy our shoes. We aim to create beautiful handmade pieces that last and make people smile.

Find out more: www.manoloblahnik.com

All images are from the Winter ’23 Collection

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A dark green walkway to a bar overlooking the Freedom Tower in New York
A dark green walkway to a bar overlooking the Freedom Tower in New York

Nubeluz at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Nomad by Martin Brudnizki bring guests to the skies of New York

Martin Brudnizki and Bruno Moinard are two of the most celebrated names in interior architecture and design today. Here, Brudnizki takes LUX on a grand tour of Martin Brudnizki Design Studio’s most recent projects, while Moinard shares his design inspiration and creative process

Martin Brudnizki

Nubeluz at the Ritz-Carlton new York, Nomad
With Nubeluz located on the 50th floor of the Ritz-Carlton, our concept for its interior was to create a star in the New York sky. The project’s core is a central backlit onyx bar, and the surfaces are designed to reflect its lighting. A high-gloss lacquer ceiling, a marble floor, mirrored and onyx tables, plus six statement brass saucer chandeliers ensure that light bounces around the room in a magical way.

A man sitting with this hands to his chin at a bar

Martin Brudnizki

The colour scheme takes the project from lightbox to jewel box with a teal envelope to the walls, floor and ceiling, highlighting the coral seating in its luxurious mohair and flame stitch-patterned fabrics. We didn’t want to disrupt the views, so sheer teal-trimmed roman blinds hang across the windows. Our interior is a celebration of light and the city, referencing the classic hotel bar and saluting the views over an iconic skyline. It is modern and quintessentially New York.

nubeluzbyjose.com

Hôtel Barrière Fouquet’s New York
This is the illustrious French five-star hotel brand’s first foray into the US. In Paris it is located on the Champs-Élysées, so you might think its natural New York home would be the Upper East Side, but its team chose Tribeca – a decision I love. Our design challenge was to combine a distinctly Parisian ambience with a downtown location.

A brown and red bar with velvets and wood

Hôtel Barrièrre Fouquet’s New York by Martin Brudnizki brings the iconic Parisian hotel to Paris

We have brought together high glamour and elegance in a modern, timeless design, while leaning on the building’s loft-style architecture that blends seamlessly into the Tribeca landscape. Parisian design accents can be found in the rich materiality and colour palettes, while a carefully curated art collection, featuring many local artists, has a gritty urban appeal.

hotelsbarriere.com/en/collection-fouquets/new-york

Vesper Bar at The Dorchester, London
With this project, it was important to respect the past while bringing it to a new era. We were inspired by celebrated Roaring Twenties creatives, such as Cecil Beaton and Oliver Messel, who each had a history with The Dorchester.

Two green chairs next to a wooden table and wooden wall

Vesper Bar at the Dorchester by Martin Brudnizki

Their inspiration was integral to the spirit of this landmark bar. We also nodded to designer Syrie Maugham in our use of the mirrored columns. The hope is that the Vesper Bar inspires another Roaring Twenties.

dorchestercollection.com

Mother Wolf, LA
Situated off Sunset Boulevard, Mother Wolf is a playful Italian restaurant that has become a magnet for LA celebrities since its opening in 2022. Working with chef Evan Funke and Ten Five Hospitality, we created a homage to the glamour and elegance of Italian design.

A room with green plants and red leather furniture and mirrored walls

Mother Wolf, LA by Martin Brudnizki

References to architects Gio Ponti and Carlo Scarpa can be found in the dining chairs and central bar, while a trompe-l’oeil scene depicts lemons and pomegranates – an ode to Italy’s chic riviera. With its Murano-glass lighting, antique mirrors and Siena-marble table tops, every aspect of the restaurant’s interiors connects to the design heritage of Italy.

motherwolfla.com

Bruno Moinard

I am guided by lines, materials, light, energy and movement: whether in my work as an architect – in our projects around the world with Claire Bétaille for famous brands and high-profile clients – or in my more intimate work as a designer and painter.

A man standing amongst blue paintings in a studio

Bruno Moinard in his studio amongst his paintings

When I began to appreciate beautiful old cars – and I have three mythical English models – I saw their design is a distillation of everything that makes me vibrate in my creative process. I see these qualities in the bodywork, the leather, wood and chrome, the colours, the interplay between interior and exterior, the vision of the future in front of me and of the road travelled behind.

A red and white lobby with flowers hanging on pillars a large chandelier hanging over a rug

Interiors of Hôtel Plaza Athénee lobby, Paris by Bruno Moinard

So the challenge I set myself is to work with authenticity to evoke an emotion, to give a simple pleasure and generate unique sensations. This is luxury. It has nothing to do with glitz or so-called rarity.

A hallway with a marble floor and staircase

Hôtel du Marc lobby, Reims by Bruno Moinard

So in the cellars of Clos de Tart, a 1,000-year-old Burgundy vineyard with a Cistercian history, we built on the exceptional quality of the historic building, bringing light into the space, giving it life, to place it in harmony with the pure elegance of the wines.

A dark dining room with a chandelier hanging over the table

Hôtel du Marc dining room by Bruno Moinard

In “Résonance”, my recent exhibition in Paris, we made each painting an experiential space that I invited people to enter. My recent furniture collections also seek this sense, which has a direct impact on quality of life and on the welcoming nature of a space.

A living room with cream and grey furniture and a blue painting on the wall

One Monte-Carlo living room, Monaco by Bruno Moinard

My lights, furniture, carpets and objects bring freshness and softness with natural forms and materials. I am privileged to work in complementary fields and my inspiration in both is based on the same triptych of emotion, continuity and sustainability, while promoting the finest workmanship and expertise.

brunomoinardeditions.com

moinardbetaille.com

brunomoinardpeinture.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 5 min
A coastline
green weeds at the bottom of the sea

Seaview Seagrass, Solent, Isle of Wight, UK, image by photographer and marine biologist Theo Vickers. © Theo Vickers

As sea levels rise due to global warming, there are tremendous challenges for the environment, coastal communities and global supply chains. Mark Rowe reports and discovers ideas, initiatives and infrastructure measures to help stem the tide

The sea is on the rise. All around the world, over the past 100 years, sea levels have risen by up to 25cm. And they are expected to rise by a further one metre in the next 80 years. The main driver of this increase is climate change, caused by humans pumping carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

This is driving sea-level rise through one reason everyone is aware of: melting ice bodies like glaciers and polar ice caps. What is less evident is that, even if all the permanent ice in the world were to melt, oceans would continue to rise as long as temperatures did, due to the physics of thermal expansion: warm water occupies more volume.

A woman wearing glasses and a shirt

Dr Joanne Williams

“We can’t reverse what has already happened,” says Dr Joanne Williams of the UK’s National Oceanography Centre. Science, in the form of thermal lags, means sea-level rises are inexorable. Water warms slowly, so, due to deep ocean heat uptake, sea levels will rise for centuries, whatever we do. “The heat is already in the ocean, the rises are locked in,” Williams continues. “But if we act now, it costs less in the long term and we can plan without having to rush. It’s easier to adapt.”

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In a 2021 report, “Coastlines in Crisis”, by Deutsche Bank Private Bank’s Markus Müller, ESG Chief Investment Officer, and Daniel Sacco, Investment Officer, the authors cautioned that “rising sea levels will put coastal populations and critical economic assets under increasing stress… substantial population displacement is not an unlikely scenario”. These are not abstract observations, and they highlight the challenges, including the human cost.

A man wearing a black top and blazer

Dr Philipp Rode

Most of the world’s populations live by water. Around one in 10 of us live less than 10 metres above sea level and 70 per cent of the world’s largest cities are in low-lying coastal areas. Roughly 40 per cent of the US population lives in coastal cities. So communities, as well as their infrastructure, trade and buildings, both residential and commercial, are all at risk, making the adoption of adaptation planning even more of a priority. As Dr Philipp Rode, Executive Director of LSE Cities, puts it, “How sub-Saharan African cities will cope is very unclear. But the story of people being forced to move because it is too risky and too expensive to live there any more is one we will hear more and more.”

“The ways in which people are vulnerable varies,” says Williams. She cites Bangladesh, where a one-metre rise would shrink the country by one-third. “Bangladeshi people are used to flooding, but in the future it will happen more often, go further upriver and affect more farmland.” Much of the farming hinterland near Williams’s own city, Liverpool, in the UK, is at coastal level. “Not a lot of people live there,” she says, “but that’s a lot of food production at risk.”

It is apparent, then, that threats from sea-level rise affect more even than coastal ecosystems and coastal communities. They affect everyone through global economics in terms of agriculture, infrastructure, real estate, tourism and global trade. And all this affects the Global North as well as the Global South, the Netherlands as well as the Maldives.

This is because critical national infrastructure, most obviously ports, but also electricity and nuclear power stations, electricity cables, and gas and sewage pipes, are often located on the coasts. Twelve of the biggest US airports are built on coastal areas, and nearly one-third of US GDP relied on the coastal economy, employing almost 55 million people in 2016. It is estimated that 20 per cent of global GDP could be threatened by coastal flooding by the end of the century. Our seas handle 90 per cent of global trade and that means if ports get battered, then cargo – from plastic toys to grain consignments – will get tangled up with knock-on effects.

Yellow and green weeds at the bottom of the sea

An Island’s Wild Seas, the Needles, Isle of Wight, UK, image by photographer and marine biologist Theo Vickers. © Theo Vickers

In the Global South, particularly, effects on sectors such as agriculture and tourism will be especially disruptive, as developing countries are most reliant on them. Saltwater inundation from flooding contaminates freshwater aquifers, making agriculture difficult, threatening food supply and making water no longer potable. That spells trouble for the people of Suriname, where almost three-quarters of the population lives five metres below sea level and most of its fertile agricultural land lies on the coastal plain. The Maldives’ highest point is just two metres above sea level, and, while it performs well compared to its small island peers, tourism accounts for almost one-third of its economy, making its people extremely vulnerable to rising sea-level shocks.

“Rising seas will not see cities sink slowly, millimetre by millimetre beneath the waves. Instead, changes are complex and abrupt,” says Rode. “Sea-level rises make other things worse. If you get a combination of flash floods, storm surges, high winds and high tides, the peak height of impacts will hit places harder. The higher sea levels are, the harder it is to get floodwater from heavy rain out of a city.”

Society does not have a great track record of awareness, let alone action, when small communities, or those from the Global South, are involved. Barranquilla is the fourth largest city in Colombia, with a population of 2.4 million. Located next to the Magdalena River, near the Caribbean Sea, it is a major port. But because of mismanagement and lack of investment in water infrastructure – it has no rainwater drainage systems, for example – it is highly vulnerable to floods and landslides. When the city floods, and it does, the roads turn into dangerous, fast- flowing rivers, sweeping away cars – and people. Sea-level rise is set to compound the situation, and while there is a push for legislation and some agreement to avoid disaster, there is no clear plan, resulting in stressed infrastructure, increased food shortages and poor, often Afro-Colombian communities, displaced to informal slums.

While the residents of Barranquilla still wait for change, the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System was created in New Orleans right after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It is the most costly flood-control system on earth and one of the biggest public-works projects in US history. Governments around the world are becoming increasingly conscious of the risks of sea-level rise and are progressively implementing adaptation measures. Shanghai’s authorities place a high value on these because, by 2050, the city is predicted to endure floods and rainfall 20 per cent higher than the global average. To lessen its vulnerability to rising sea levels, the city has built 520 kilometres of defensive seawalls. The OECD warns against complacency, however. Solutions are out there, but they will need to come hand in hand with the regulation and business climate that allows them to become viable commercially.

A man with dark curly short hair wearing glasses

Guy Michaels

Grey or technological solutions are often the direct go-to approach. London, which is estimated to have a water level increase of up to two metres in a low-emissions scenario, has its retractable barrier system, begun in 1974 and in operation since 1982. “And London can always get the Thames Barrier to do a bit more lifting,” says Guy Michaels, Associate Professor of Economics at the LSE’s Department of Economics. “In New York, which is 10 metres above sea level, you can think of ways to potentially close off the harbour.”

Tokyo created a spectacular solution in 2006. The G-Cans flood project is a huge cathedral-like underground cavern supported by 59 towering pillars. Permeable surfaces and a network of pipes divert floodwaters to a reservoir, before being slowly released to the Edo river. The price tag was more than US$2 billion and costs for defending infrastructure along other coastal cities are similarly eye-watering. “You can build defences higher, but there comes a point where you have to ask whether costs justify the outcomes,” says Williams. “When you get a one in 100-year flood, people build back. But what if that event happens again the next year, and then the year after that?”

This is where nature-based solutions come in. While many cities in advanced economies – those, remember, primarily responsible for climate change – have the means to protect themselves through technological solutions, the picture is different in the Global South, says Rode, where emphasis is more on adaptation. Barrier islands, vegetated dunes, coastal wetlands, mangrove forests and reefs are examples of natural barriers to protect shorelines.

They provide several advantages in addition to flood protection, including carbon sequestration, biodiversity restoration, fish nurseries, cultural heritage, recreational activities, tourism and spiritual benefits. Crucially for the Global South, they can be quickly adapted to the real pace of sea-level rise. Planting mangroves can lower wave heights by 71 per cent or more.

Mangroves originally lined tens of thousands of kilometres of coastlines around the world; previously mistakenly seen by humans as a type of coastal weed that could be destroyed for development, they are a good example of the upside potential of mitigation. Properly managed, mangroves store immense amounts of carbon and support a rich ecosystem of biodiversity, as well as protecting the developments on the coasts they have previously been cut from. They survive in a variety of climates and in brackish water, and planting mangroves can provide carbon credits.

Meanwhile, studies in the UK have shown how fringes of saltmarsh 40 metres wide can reduce wave height by nearly 20 per cent; at 80 metres, waves reduce to near zero. Nature-based solutions also give quick returns: estimates for annual flood-damage reduction from coral reefs exceed US$400 million for Cuba, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and the Philippines alone.

Fresh, innovative approaches to protect urban areas include creating holistic “sponge cities”, which absorb heavier rainfall. After a cloudburst in 2011 inundated Copenhagen’s main trauma hospital and caused US$1.04 billion of damage, the Danish government redesigned infrastructure to make roads and pavements more permeable, while using nature-based solutions to plant grass and lay soil to better absorb rain.

Information-gathering to facilitate decision-making is key. Many countries use Lidar, a remote sensing method that pulsates laser light across coastal areas to measure elevation on the Earth’s surface. Australia’s web portal CoastAdapt provides mapping software, coastline morphological information, guidance for decision-making in coastal climate adaptation, and local and international case studies. France, meanwhile, is one country using a combination of a tech-based approach to monitor and evaluate its progress to date, and using that to recommend the elaboration of nature-based solutions and proposals to spatially reshape coastal areas.

A coastline

The artificial peninsula whose sand, as it erodes, protects the natural beaches near The Hague © Craig Corbett

The Netherlands, with 25 per cent of land below sea level and scarred by the North Sea flood of 1953, is widely considered the gold standard, with a creative approach combining monitoring, preparation, and grey- and nature- based engineering. “It did a lot of learning, a lot of thinking,” says Michaels. Anticipating sea-level rises of one metre by 2100, its measures have included the 2003 US$70 million reconstruction project to protect The Hague by raising a dyke 10 metres above the mean water level in Amsterdam and depositing 2.4 million cubic meters of dredged sand along Scheveningen Beach, which pushed the ocean back 50 metres from the shoreline.

Meanwhile, the necessary shift to a more sustainable economy offers the opportunity to restructure many firms and their manufacturing processes. Physical damage to facilities as a direct consequence of flood events or other weather extremes interrupt production and make it hard for employees to show up at work. It makes sense that forward-thinking companies across the globe are preparing for climate change by investing in resilient structures that can resist storms, severe winds and flooding.

Coastal cities may have to be radically redesigned or risk becoming “misshapen”, as Michaels puts it. “Inland cities have development that radiates from a central business district in all directions,” he says. “For coastal cities this is not an option. Rising sea levels will further distort the shape of coastal cities, leading to them becoming misshapen and significantly lengthening the costs of commuting to work.”

Michaels is struck by how stubborn communities can be. “Between 1990 and 2010 we saw development increase by 26 per cent in city blocks prone to sea-level rises on the US east and Gulf coasts,” he says. “That was alarming. We assumed people would avoid building there – the exact opposite happened.”

Read more: YKK America’s CEO Jim Reed on creating sustainable products for less 

Thumbing a nose at climate science only partly explains this, suggests Michaels. “If you assume people have good foresight but still do it, then they’re building in riskier locations because that’s where the jobs are. It’s a trade-off.” Is there a link to the politicisation of climate change? “People who are least aware of climate change can be the most willing to take on risk,” he says, citing politically sceptical Florida. “Miami is at ground zero. The coast is long, low-lying and very vulnerable. Yet there doesn’t seem to be a wide acceptance of what is happening and many locals regard most events as ‘nuisance’ flooding.”

What will trigger meaningful long- term, joined-up action? “Disasters recede into the background quite quickly,” says Michaels. “Maybe that changes if we get a Hurricane Sandy or a Katrina every year.” Williams is more optimistic. “I see people putting the effort in. It’s important not to say things are impossible, otherwise people ask why they or their government should bother taking any steps.” Rode reckons a more fundamental societal shift is required. “Free-riding, the good life as we know it, goes far beyond levels of consumerism that are healthy for the planet. Maybe we need to rediscover the mundane, then decide whether what’s really meaningful in life is that your local river is clean enough to swim in.”

Find out more:

deutschewealth.com/dam/deutschewealth/cio-

perspectives/cio-special-assets/coastlines-in-crisis

This article first appeared in the Deutsche Bank Supplement of the Autumn/Winter 2023/2024 issue of LUX magazine

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Reading time: 12 min
People walking in and out of a building that has signs to COP28
People walking in and out of a building that has signs to COP28

COP28 closed last week with an agreement that signals the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era

Following the close of COP28 last week, Markus Müller, Chief Investment Officer of ESG & Global Head of Chief Investment Office at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank, speaks to LUX about his key takeaways from the conference

LUX: Did COP28 move the dial on climate change?
Markus Müller: Yes, from my point of view it did. Look at the commitments to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030 and double energy efficiency. But it is what is implied by such commitments that is most interesting. This isn’t just a matter of developing pure supply. We’re also going to have to develop markets – by changing permissions and enhancing grid connection, to mention just two factors out of many.

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We also have to recognise who can do what by when. Rapid adoption of renewables may pose the biggest challenge for the Global South. After nearly 30 years of these climate change conferences, it’s also highly important that fossil fuels have finally formally been mentioned in the commitment for a “transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy”. In statements for previous COPs, there has just been talk about reduction of harmful subsidies. This is a clear step further. The problem for countries is now to make this happen without sacrificing living standards.

Dubai and the sea from an aerial view

Global solidarity was shown at COP28 when negotiators from nearly 200 Parties came together and signed on the world’s first ‘global stocktake’ to ratchet up climate action before the end of the decade

LUX: What was your best professional moment at COP28 and why?
MM: My best professional moment was a talanoa-style dialogue with the Island Youth from Hawaii, Philippines, Palau and Samoa. It was impressive to listen to the Island Youth discuss their views and hear their take on challenges ahead. The dialogue helped me understand how disconnected the world still is on many topics – but it also revealed a lot of hope for the future. We know what to do on climate change but we have to act now.

LUX: What was the biggest disappointment and why?
MM: The biggest disappointment was that the sheer scale of event hindered effective dialogue between businesses, policymakers and NGOs. Compared to recent COPs it was simply too big – in terms of numbers of attendees and, for example, physical distance between their stalls. We could have done a better job in bringing together the “needs” with the “what” and the “how”.

People standing behind a table on a stage with DUBAI 2023 written on a screen behind them

Over 85,000 participants attended COP28 including civil society, business, Indigenous Peoples, youth, philanthropy, and international organisations as well as world leaders

LUX: Do you sense genuine momentum towards changing economic thought to take account of natural capital, or is this still an outlier?
MM: I think that nature is coming more and more towards centre-stage but it still isn’t there yet. Next year’s biodiversity COP (COP16 in Australia) should however help make it clear that if we want to tackle the climate crisis we also need to solve the biodiversity and ocean crisis. We need nature for mitigation and adaptation and we need to think more in terms of natural capital to work out how best to do this.

LUX: “Overall, COP28 did more harm than good. The environmentally damaging deals that emerged from informal meetings will do more harm than any resolutions will do good”. True or false, and why?
MM: False. What about all the positives what we all bring home from our informal conversations too? Also remember how news reporting from this and previous COPs have raised awareness of environmental issues in public discussion worldwide? COPs have normalised open discussion of topics previously seen (wrongly) as not relevant to the global citizen. We probably don’t give enough prominence to the publication of the “Global Stocktake” either. This text lays not only the pathway that nations must take to limit global warming to the previously-agreed-upon goal of no more than 2°C higher than pre-industrial levels—but also individual countries’ progress along this path.

people shaking hands at a conference

COP28 saw Parties agree to Azerbaijan as host of COP29

LUX: Hypothetical question: you are hosting one of the next COPs, and you have absolute power over the final resolution. What would it state – in a way that is both effective and implementable?
MM: I’d make three commitments. First, for Nature and Ocean to join Climate at centre-stage of policymakers’ attentions. Second, to prioritise fixing problems with the allocation of climate finance. Third, and this is very much linked with the second commitment, to put an explicit focus on fairness. Most such finance to middle-income countries for projects that reduce emissions, such as wind or solar energy.

Read more: COP28 Diary by Darius Maleki

Far less goes to the poorer countries, and even smaller amounts to help countries adapt to the effects of the climate crisis. Many participants believe that the focus of future COP meetings needs to be on a fair way to reach targets. As part of this, developed economies need to band together to financially support developing economies in the search for a new, less fossil-fuel intense development path. I think we’ve seen a change in attitudes here in recent COPs and I look forward to them delivering much more here in coming years.

Markus Müller is Chief Investment Officer of ESG & Global Head of Chief Investment Office at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank

Find out more:  deutschewealth.com/esg

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Reading time: 4 min
Group of people in a red room watching talk sitting on chairs

people sitting on chairs on a stage giving a panel discussion

Durjoy Rahman of Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation addresses the audience at the AVPN South Asia Summit

A pioneering conference in India is seeking to kick start venture philanthropy in South Asia

‘We had a strong sense that our projects had a lack of effectiveness. Add to that the lack of transparency as well as poor methods of measuring impact, and it became clear that something needed to be done.’

On a charity fundraising trip in 2002, Doug Miller realised the futility of his friends’ and his impact ventures in private equity. Unlike traditional investments, metrics were undeveloped, and methods and final impact opaque. In short, a lot of capital and time was being spent with the best of intentions but with limited results.

In response to this, Miller developed the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) in 2004 and the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) in 2011, bringing a collaborative approach to venture philanthropy through exchanges with impact investment.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

His successor is the overwhelmingly accoladed Naina Subberwal Batra, CEO of AVPN and Chair of the International Venture Philanthropy Center, proclaimed one of Asia’s Most Influential by Tatler Asia in 2021 and awarded awarded one of Asia’s Top Sustainability Superwomen by CSRWorks. Batra presided over the latest AVPN South Asia Summit in Mumbai earlier this month; it was the first of these conferences to take place in person, last year’s inaugural edition having taken place virtually. This year’s theme was ‘Bringing Fringes to the Fore”, and it brought together individual philanthropists from culture, education and social impact, and major global companies and organisations.

Durjoy Rahman, a philanthropist from Bangladesh engaged in South Asian art and culture, focused around the creative realm and cultural soft power. Speaking of the cultural world, he said that one of the missions of this Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation was to show that the cultural world “does not need to be seen or judged by the West’s historical perspective”. Durjoy said he is finding this message is finding resonance both in the rest of the Global South, and also in the traditional cultural capitals of the West.

people sitting on chairs in a red room listening to a talk

AVPN South Asia Summit brings together philanthropists, venuture capitalists and other leasers to promote the field of venture philanthropy

“It is important to lead the conversation, and to do so needs to involve a multilateral, global conversation. It’s not about doing something and broadcasting information about what we do: multiple dialogues are the way to ensure we engage with like-minded individuals and institutions around the world.”

Durjoy also spoke about how the creative realm can contribute to future-ready education; and specifically, how the creative and cultural field can play a “soft power” role in influencing international views of Bangladesh, a country only founded in 1971 which previously had a negative economic reputation but is now one of the fastest-growing economies in the region.

The same panel, moderated by Vivek Agarwal of the Tony Blair Institute, also focused on educational reform, and featured Dr. Akhil Shahani, Managing Director of The Shahani Group, Dr. Nivedita Narain, CEO of OneStage and Rakshit Kejriwal, President of Phillips Education, speaking about empowerment in employability.

With a history of philanthropic infrastructure lacking in Asia, AVPN CEO Batra is building a network, catering to models that suit the collective regional story and its challenges, moving from a purist venture philanthropy, focused on empowering voices and expanding the network at all costs.

Venture philanthropy itself is a relatively new field, pioneered in the US and now making inroads around the world. It combines elements of traditional philanthropy, where a return is measured purely on the impact of the philanthropic aims, and traditional venture capital seeking a return. There is a prevailing view now that this maximises returns on both levels.

The AVPN conference is aimed to be an interregional weaving of thought leaders and industry experts, where a collective regional story is conducive to progress as opposed to challenging it. Its brief spans culture and education, as well as sustainable development goals.

Left to right: Vivek Agarwal, Dr Akhil Shahani, Rakshit Kejriwal, Durjoy Rahman at the AVPN Summit after their talk on future-ready education

A conference on social impact and sustainable development runs the risk of empty pledges. But not at AVPN – Lavanya Jayaram, South Asia Regional Director, ensured animated conversations, with stakeholders ‘debating unique regional challenges and solutions towards charting a roadmap for philanthropy and impact investing in the South Asian region.’. Founder Doug Miller’s aversion to inaction charged the summit, which hosted over 70 speakers over 27 sessions, a variety of panel discussions, keynote speeches, workshops and ‘fireside chats’. The agenda is also interspersed with networking opportunities, encouraging an ongoing dialogue between speeches, to expand the AVPN ecosystem, with over 600 members across 33 markets and its own academy dedicated to teaching skills in impact investment.

In the wake of environmental disasters that struck the region over the past year, the 2023 summit featured panel discussions on climate resilience and energy transitions in South Asia. Speakers such as Prerana Langa of Aga Khan Agency for Habitat India, developing network based models for disaster risk reduction and biodiversity conservation, spoke particularly to this year’s floods and industrial accidents in Bangladesh, bringing investors into contact with means of making effective impact.

Read more: Cyrill Gutsch on saving the oceans through art and collaboration

A panel discussion dedicated to ‘Bridging the Borders’ and ‘Global Perspectives’ brings as one of the speakers Sanjay Gujral of Everstone Capital, a private equity firm investing across the South Asian landscape, further engaging investment in a cross cultural design. Indian cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar also spoke about finding purpose in philanthropy.

The conference equally addressed gender gaps and supporting women within the economy through talks on gender lens investing, furthered by AVPN’s Asia Gender Network, backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which seeks to advance equality through representation in leadership positions, economic empowerment and education, just to name a few.

Through a multiplicity of sectors and regions, the South Asian Summit is driving a collective effort in sustainable development and in centralising fringe communities in the discussion. The phrase ‘catalytic platforms’ is often thrown around, and yet could not be more apt in such dynamic conversations taking place. The Summit, through the focused involvement of leaders in their fields, is set to catalyse significant change in important and evolving areas. – Olivia Cavigioli

Find out more: avpn.asia

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Reading time: 5 min
Colourful boats on a beach

In August 2022, Parley for the Oceans and the Government of Andhra Pradesh celebrated the official launch of Parley India with one of the largest coastline cleanups in the world, spanning 28km of shoreline, 14 beaches and eight fishing villages

Cyrill Gutsch is the founder and driving force behind Parley for the Oceans, an organisation dedicated to protecting the oceans through underutilised avenues such as art, design, fashion and collaboration. He speaks to Trudy Ross about the material revolution, the pivotal role of artists in inspiring change, and the unique approach of partnering with big corporations for a sustainable future

LUX: What is the Parley for the Oceans movement?
Cyrill Gutsch: The core of what we are striving to do is to bring about a ‘material revolution’. We want exploitative and harmful materials and business practices to become a thing of the past. When you look at all of the environmental issues we face today, it always comes back to the way that we run businesses, which is based on an old belief that we can only survive if we are strong and even cruel. It is a very masculine, and outdated, idea of how to run society.

We must switch our model towards true collaboration, between humans and also with nature, instead of taking and taking, and then discarding what we no longer like.

LUX: Why are artists and art so central to your vision of sustainability?
CG: I believe that the artist, in every revolution, has a big role to play. Artists are in a unique position; people come to them, without any predefined expectation, ready to be provoked and to learn. They are also special people, in that they don’t have a hidden agenda, and they are extremely good communicators. Artwork can play an important role in supporting a movement like Parley’s for fundraising, communication, and to build doors to subject matters which can otherwise be difficult for people to understand.

Huge underwater scultpure

Sculplture from Underwater Pavilions, an installation by artist Doug Aitken, produced by Parley for the Oceans and presented in partnership with The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA)

A good artist can have the impact on people that schools, conferences, and news articles can’t have. They have a superpower – they get close to people’s hearts. They open people up to new values.

At Parley, artists have a convening role. When Julian Schnabel collaborated with Parley for the Oceans in 2019, a diverse audience of politicians, wealthy individuals, collectors, other artists, people from the entertainment industry and entrepreneurs showed up in New York to discuss a topic which was new and challenging for most of the people in the room. The art community is the home for the Parley movement.

LUX: Repositioning artists in the centre of the climate change cause is quite radical. What would you say to people who would argue that, to make real change, you have to look to science, facts and hard policy?
CG: Artists have the perfect vantage point: they cannot be bound by conventional limitations, and therefore they can redefine reality. Unlike other groups, they can do this in a way which does not put themselves in danger. It is so easy for an artist to call for a revolution. First, you create a space for the protection of revolutionary ideas. Science and policy come second. If you don’t begin by gaining support of the right people, then you cannot succeed – even with the right tools in hand.

At Parley, we cannot tell governments to implement new, sustainable economic models. Rather, we collaborate with them. Once we see true intention from them to do better, we can work with them on policy and incentive programmes for industries. Ultimately, however, it comes down to the people who own businesses. If company shareholders make the choice to ditch the use of fossil fuels, plastics, and exploitative and harmful business matter, then it will happen.

Young people waving flags on the beach

The Ocean Uprise Internship Program gives young people from around the world opportunity to learn from ocean experts, take part in skill-based workshops, and implement a local community project

Our audience is a mix of people. First, there are wealthy people who often do not know how unsustainable the companies they invest in are, or how they could invest better. Second, there are the corporations themselves, who are under pressure to deliver the numbers. They cannot take risks. Now they are finally being challenged by legislators to change their business model, but this is still not quick enough, and there is still not enough pressure from the government. The government could change climate change overnight. It is a complex riddle.

The way that we believe that you can create radical change is through a combination of new ideas, access to knowledge, and eco-innovation. This technological innovation is made up of two things – the first being natural, or bio-fabricated materials, the second being green chemistry. We can easily revolutionise our industries with a bit of willingness, understanding, strategy and investment into new technology. All of that is driven by imagination. The moment that we want to do something – and radically believe in it – then we have the skill to make it happen. That is the beauty and the danger of our species.

LUX: How do you approach forming relationships with bigger, for-profit organisations while standing by your values as an NGO committed to protecting the planet?
CG: The environmental issues we are facing today are caused by corporations. That is it. You can protest and not buy their products, but this is difficult. We depend on the products that they make – but we know that they are destroying our planet. But at Parley, we have a more innovative approach: if we come to one company, then we can make a much larger change.

Inside a dark tented structure

Parley for the Oceans is working with Christo and Jeanne-Claude to rework the fabric from their public artwork L’Arc de Triomphe

LUX: You have partnered with many iconic brands. Which collaboration are you most proud of?
CG: I want to speak about Dior. As part of the LVMH group, they are a representation of an old economy. Sustainable change is a big challenge for them. It is difficult for such established companies to innovate, to find alternatives to leather and fur, to plastic, to dyes and prints.

But Dior allowed us to help them. Making the yarn and fabric, and recycled materials, was a long but rewarding process. Eventually they saw that it was great. Now they’re saying “What can we do with leather? How can we replace plastic? How can we use 100% natural materials?” We must be willing to invest. It might take two years for material made from banana leaves in the Philippines to get to the level where it can become part of a collection.
We need commitment – like Dior had – from big brands.

LUX: Do you think that this time and economic investment is the future of the luxury industry?
CG: Yes. And Parley is giving the luxury industry the laboratory for that, changing material use and educating on innovative methods. And we must revamp the whole supply chain and lifecycle of a product. We must look at unsustainable agriculture. Fertilisers and pesticides destroy the nutrition value of the soil; pesticides run through waterways to the sea. There are huge dead zones in the ocean because fertilisers and pesticides have destroyed everything. Yet there are beautiful alternatives in farming. Every detail counts.

Children running into the sea

Parley Ocean School youth programs are made in collaboration with with local schools, NGOs and governments around the world

LUX: How do you imagine that our oceans will look in 10 years’ time?
CG: Ten years is long and short. On one hand, it is long: if we stalled human activity, I have no doubt that the oceans would be fully recovered in ten years. Extinct species would not return, but other species would evolve. Unfortunately, we are not doing that, and the speed of changing the market and the way we are working is much slower.

On the other hand, in transforming the economy, ten years is a blink of an eye. The only way to drive change in a ten year window is to aggressively address the issues we face. That means the intersection of carbon dioxide, methane gas, stopping plastic pollution, or at least cutting it down at scale. And then, 25 years down the road, we will have eradicated most of the toxic materials we are using.

Humans are very good under pressure. When humans understand that they are threatened, they will aggressively transform. And I believe that humans are ready for peace. There is a desire in us now to drive this revolution.

Find out more: parley.tv

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Reading time: 7 min
grass and seaweed on a sea bed
grass and seaweed on a sea bed

The Cyclades Preservation Fund runs a campaign to protect the vulnerable Posidonia oceanica meadows from anchoring. Courtesy of the Cyclades Preservation Fund

Philanthropy has a key role to play in initiatives to support ocean conservation, and in empowering communities with the ability to make a difference. Here, Darius Sanai outlines the importance of philanthropy, while Chris Stokel-Walker showcases seven philanthropic projects that are making waves

The German philosopher Immanuel Kant liked to talk about the categorical imperative: moral actions that have to be taken and do not broach any argument. Saving the oceans from further harm by humans is a prominent current example of a categorical imperative, one that would also likely receive the approval of moral philosophers from another prominent school of thought, utilitarianism, which espouses acting for the common good.

And significant positive change can be made – or, if you are a follower of Immanuel Kant, must be made – by people acting to their abilities in support of categorical imperatives. Philanthropists, such as those outlined over these pages, use their considerable means to try to make a difference in support of environmental initiatives, particularly in areas where other forms of capital are not able to work.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

The opportunities to create positive change, and leave a positive legacy, are immense. Philanthropy plays a key role, but works most effectively when it is at its most informed. The links between the chains of planetary and ocean degradation are complex. A zero-emissions container ship can transport invasive species around the world on its hull; sailing yachts destroy carbon-capturing seagrass with their anchors; recycling plastics can produce significant carbon emissions. So it is philanthropists who are as educated on the issues as they are generous, working with carefully-chosen experts, who tend to be the most successful.

A man wearing a white shirt and black jumper standing by a brick wall

Ben Goldsmith

“All across the world, small groups of committed, passionate, effective people are making extraordinary things happen, often on a shoestring budget, and they are nearly always funded by philanthropists,” says Ben Goldsmith, the British environmental campaigner and founder and Chair of environmental charity Conservation Collective. “Philanthropy is the most potent kind of funding, as it comes without any requirement to produce a financial return and has the flexibility to pay for almost any kind of work, from grassroots action to societal movement building. In the right hands, philanthropy can move mountains. This is why it is so important that those with the means to do so give away some of their money – in the most thoughtful and strategic way possible – to those at the cutting edge of changing our world.”

Philanthropic capital is critical to ocean conservation and regenerative initiat

A woman with curly hair smiling wearing a black top

Jacqueline Valouch

ives, says Jacqueline Valouch, Head of Wealth Planning & Philanthropy at Deutsche Bank Wealth Management. “Money provided by philanthropic entities for ocean conservation and regenerative projects allows for early funding, innovation and alignment with the scientific community,” she explains. “By providing much-needed seed capital, philanthropic capital can help to de-risk projects and attract more funding. In these ways, it can help companies and others to restore, renew, conserve and make bigger change.

“Philanthropists are one group of the many stakeholders needed to move the dial on crucial areas of exploration, research (including through scholarship programmes) and innovation,” she continues. “These are initiatives that would not be possible without the dedication and patience of philanthropists.”

Seven Philanthropic Projects In Ocean And Coastal Conservation

1) Deutsche Bank Ocean Resilience Philanthropy Fund
Founder: Deutsche Bank Wealth Management
This Deutsche Bank fund was announced at COP26 in 2021 and launched in 2022. The fund enables philanthropists to engage with scientists on projects to counteract damage to ocean and coastal ecosystems by supporting projects that use nature-based, rather than man-made, solutions. An advisory council of expert scientists and Deutsche Bank personnel review and select grant recommendations for projects. The first such project, the Future Climate Coral Bank, managed by the non- profit Maldives Coral Institute, aims to identify corals that are resilient to bleaching caused by warming, and create a gene bank to support global reef restoration.

deutschewealth.com/oceanfund

2) Walton Family Foundation Oceans Initiative
Founder: Walton Family Foundation
Walmart founders Sam and Helen Walton knew all too well how much the earth’s waters contribute to their supermarket’s success, and the company’s foundation has sought to help ensure the health of the planet’s water for the future. Its Oceans Initiative is supporting 14 fisheries to adopt more sustainable practices, and has lobbied in Japan, the European Union and the United States to encourage buyers to purchase more sustainably sourced seafood. “We believe that the people closest to the problem are also critical to finding solutions,” says Teresa Ish, Head of the Walton Family Foundation Oceans Initiative.

waltonfamilyfoundation.org

Read more: Richard Spinrad on moving towards a blue planet

3) Salesforce ocean Sustainability Programme
Founder: Marc Benioff
Global cloud software company Salesforce has run its Ocean Sustainability programme since CEO Marc Benioff began it in 2021. At COP26, Salesforce committed to buying one million tons of blue carbon credits and is investing $100 million in grants to The Ocean Foundation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Wetlands International over 10 years – as well as investing in 1t.org, including a Guatemalan project to support sustainable livelihoods for 400 families. “Ocean health translates to the safety of our family, loved ones and communities around the globe, and the ability for them to thrive,” says Dr Whitney Johnston, Director of Ocean Sustainability at Salesforce.

salesforce.com

4) Common Seas
Founders: Filippos and Andonis Lemos
The Lemos brothers are Greek shipping magnates – so they are aware of the biodiversity beneath the ocean surface. And they are conscious of the impact that plastics entering our waters have on the wildlife within. To help combat this, the Lemos siblings co-founded and are major donors to Common Seas, whose vision is to eradicate plastic from the oceans. Common Seas’ collaborative initiatives include partnering with governments to reduce plastic pollution; helping the tourism industry reduce its plastic use; and supporting education providers both to make their schools plastic free and to raise awareness among young people of the importance of keeping our oceans clean of pollution.

commonseas.com

children running into the sea

Common Seas incorporates education as part of their strategy to remove plastics from the oceans

5) Galapagos Life Fund
Founder: Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project
The Galápagos Life Fund (GLF) is one of the crowning achievements of the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project, a joint initiative from the independent non-profit The Pew Charitable Trusts and investor and philanthropist Dona Bertarelli. It was set up with the shared goal of establishing the first generation of large, ecologically significant and effective marine- protected areas (MPAs) around the world. The GLF converts $1.6 billion in commercial debt into a loan, capitalised by a $656 million marine conservation-linked bond, generating more than $450 million to support marine conservation in the Galápagos Islands over the next 20 years.

pewtrusts.org/en

6) Cyclades Preservation Fund
Founder: Conservation Collective
Nearly 220 islets and islands make up the Cyclades in the Aegean, which are home to a range of natural habitats being harmed by modern life. The largely female-led team behind the Cyclades Preservation Fund is part of Conservation Collective, a global network of philanthropic funds helping to preserve the natural environment. CPF programmes focus on biodiversity, education, local identity and marine conservation – all with the participation of local stakeholders. Among its biggest wins is supporting the establishment of a grassroots fishing protected area around the island of Amorgos, sustaining a local industry while keeping the marine population healthy.

cycladespreservationfund.org

bin bags piled up with plastic on a beach facing the sea

Cyclades Preservation Fund Supports the fishers of Amorgos towards their vision for seas with more fish and less plastic

7) Plastic Free Ibiza and Formentera
Founder: Ibiza Preservation
Ibiza is a major hub for tourism, which buoys up the economy but has significant environmental impacts. In the west coast, there are 4.5 million pieces of microplastics in every square kilometre of sea – 30 times more than elsewhere in the Mediterranean. Nearly three-quarters of the waste collected on Spanish Mediterranean beaches is plastic. Set up in 2018, Plastic Free Ibiza and Formentera, promoted by Ibiza Preservation, is made up of 14 main members including local non-profits, and aims to eliminate single-use plastic in the islands by supporting citizens, administrations and businesses to promote sustainable practices. Initiatives include the certification of local companies as plastic-free.

plasticfree.es/en

This article first appeared in the Deutsche Bank Supplement of the Autumn/Winter 2023/2024 issue of LUX magazine

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grass and a large pond with mountains in the distance
grass and a large pond with mountains in the distance

Cooper Lake, Alaska. The creek draining the lake is coloured red by tannins from the surrounding vegetation. The 30 x 30 initiative to protect such sites is supported by The Nature Conservancy via the US government’s America the Beautiful initiative © Stuart Chape/TNC Photo Contest 2021

The oceans have an increasing potential to provide food for a global population. The challenge is how to do so without harming the planet or its people. Chris Stokel-Walker discovers ideas, organisations and investors helping aquaculture towards a sustainable future

The ocean is an essential pillar of planetary life, sustaining and feeding billions worldwide. Quite aside from its ability to capture and sequester harmful emissions, our planet’s waters are a major driver of keeping us alive – for drink and for food. Three billion of us depend on wild-caught and farmed seafood as a primary source of protein – which makes it vital that the ocean is kept as a bountiful natural resource.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Aquaculture is the breeding and harvesting in water of fish, shellfish and other marine life. It is underwater farming, in short, and it is crucial to humankind. “Aquaculture is an essential food source, especially in our changing climate,” says Danielle Blacklock, Director of the Office of Aquaculture at the United States’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “Globally, aquaculture supplies more than 50 per cent of all seafood produced for people to eat – a percentage that will keep rising. And expanding domestic aquaculture presents important opportunities to bolster climate– smart and resilient food systems.”

Making sure those food systems are resilient and impervious to climate issues is important – because the population keeps growing. “We must come together and problem- solve how to feed people within the sustainable limitations of our planet,” continues Blacklock. “Within that frame, aquaculture becomes a leading method for ensuring nutritious protein is available for families today and in the future.”

Seafood is incredibly nutritious. It is full of vitamins and minerals that can help promote healthy growth, with large volumes of protein, vitamins D and B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. Promoting the cultivation of seafood is certainly vital, but that cultivation needs to be done in the right way. Globally, humans’ appetite for seafood and fish has had negative impacts on the marine environment. So aquaculture needs to be practised sustainably from top to bottom. This includes looking at the types of feed used, tackling waste and making production methods more sustainable.

a woman with short hair wearing a necklace and smiling

Karen Sack

This is a particularly urgent challenge when you consider that aquaculture is as big as the global beef industry. “We’ve been fishing out our oceans on an industrial scale since the end of the Second World War,” says Karen Sack, Executive Director of the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), which brings together different stakeholders worldwide to promote a sustainable and equitable blue economy. In the course of the past decade or so, says Sack, the proportion of our seafood farmed from aquaculture has outstripped that of wild-caught fish. “Part of that is because of industrial overfishing, which includes the wasteful and damaging discards that result from this,” she explains. “Part of it is because of the development and operation of agricultural techniques that have been pushed into the ocean and coastal space.”

 

A man wearing a suit and tie

Robert Jones

The latter can be a good thing – if done well. In terms of emissions and water use, the resource intensity of farming the oceans is more efficient than producing animal protein on land for human consumption. “When we look at the global challenge to 2050, we need to produce more food with fewer resources, and aquaculture offers that opportunity,” says Robert Jones, Global Lead for The Nature Conservancy’s Aquaculture Program. The problem is that, historically, the demand for more food more quickly has meant that industry has built many aquaculture projects to produce as much seafood as possible in as small a space and quick a time as possible – and damn the consequences. It’s a problem that’s out of sight, out of mind for many: 90 per cent of aquaculture farming occurs within Asia, meaning that many consumers do not see the harmful impact that intensive, industrial farming has on the environment.

Take, for instance, the early development in the 1950s and beyond of what the industry calls “carnivorous fin fish” – or what most of us would call salmon, tuna and other big fish that feed on other fish. That and shrimp farming was industrialised at scale, without considering the impact on broader marine life. Shrimp farming can be hugely destructive to coastal ecosystems, while any farmed-fish development can result in pollution and the overuse of antibiotics to try to prevent disease within stocks, causing wider harm.

green grass and weeds coming out of a pond with a hill in the distance with blue skies and small white cloud

Wetlands at Valles Caldera National Preserve. New Mexico’s Rio Grande and its tributaries supply water to more than half of New Mexico’s population. To maintain the clean water supply, The Nature Conservancy’s Rio Grande Water Fund is restoring forests upstream that have been lost to fires © Alan W Eckert/TNC

It doesn’t need to be that way. Aquaculture is necessary not only because it can be a sustainable food source, but because it can help prevent wild fishing from negatively affecting sea populations. “We need to protect those marine resources and ensure sustainability going forward,” says Jones. “There is a maximum amount that our oceans can provide, in spite of being so vast, covering 70 per cent of our planet and providing food for billions of people.”

While doing things right isn’t always easy, it is certainly possible. “We have seen an amazing growth in potentially sustainable aquaculture,” says Sack. “If we’re looking at mitigating risks, the key is the type of farming undertaken and where it’s undertaken. We need to ensure aquaculture isn’t at an industrial scale that requires antibiotics or nutrients that could harm both the species and the ecosystems where the farms are situated.”

Current developments in sustainable aquaculture include looking at healthy seaweeds and bivalves, such as nutrient-dense oysters and mussels. These can feed people and clean ocean waters without requiring any animal feed or antibiotics. It is also important to engage with the local community around which those more intensive farming activities are based, and make sure that any benefits brought about from sustainable alternatives are ploughed back into the area, protecting mangroves and stone buffers and seagrasses that make our oceans what they are.

Coastal and marine flora aren’t only important for maintaining marine biodiversity. They are also a food source in themselves. Seaweed production more than tripled between 2000 and 2018, with more than 35 million tonnes now being produced annually worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United States, “increased cultivation and utilisation of seaweed are expected to be important pillars of sustainable food security and a robust aquatic economy in the coming years.”

Read more: Richard Spinrad on moving towards a blue planet

But making it a sustainable pillar of the blue economy is a challenge. Almost all seaweed production – which accounts for half of marine aquaculture production worldwide – occurs in just nine countries in Asia, where expertise to prevent disease among the crop is not always advanced. Making sure that seaweed farming takes place sustainably, harnessing the potential to diversify the submarine environment rather than bringing disease and industrial production to the seas, is critical.

The responsibility for ensuring that global aquaculture is viable lies not just with the companies doing the farming, but with those bankrolling them. Sack believes the opportunity for investing in sustainable aquaculture is just starting. “There are opportunities to make some money and do good, but you need to exercise some caution, do due diligence and look for impact funds with a firm track record, so that you don’t perpetuate a status quo that isn’t sustainable,” she says. We only have one planet, after all. And we need to make sure it stays around for all life to live on.

Find out more:
noaa.gov
oceanriskalliance.org
nature.org

This article first appeared in the Deutsche Bank Supplement of the Autumn/Winter 2023/2024 issue of LUX magazine

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YKK’s NATULON® Mechanically Recycled Zip is made with recycled yarn and post-consumer plastic bottles

The amount of zips produced by YKK each year far outstrips the number of people currently on Earth. So how can a company mass producing and growing at such scale stay true to values of circularity and sustainability? LUX speaks to Jim Reed, CEO of YKK America, about why he believes cost and speed need not be barriers to a sustainable business

LUX: Can you explain the cycle of goodness and how it relates to the YKK philosophy?
Jim Reed: The cycle of goodness – meaning that no one prospers without rendering benefit to others – was developed by our founder, Tadao Yoshida. One of his inspirations was Andrew Carnegie, a late 19th century early 20th century steel tycoon, who had a philosophy about a business’ obligation to society. As a young man, Tadao Yoshida got hold of a translated copy of Andrew Carnegie’s biography. He was inspired by Andrew Carnegie’s words and he decided that was the philosophy that should drive us. He was always entrepreneurial, but it wasn’t about how wealthy he could get, it was about how he could help. He wanted to contribute to society.

YKK is used by hundreds of major clothing companies including The North Face, Patagonia, Levi’s and Nike

LUX: Your president, Hiroaki Ōtani, said the company’s immediate vision is for ‘better products at a lower cost and greater speed, more sustainably’. How do you plan to chase growth while also racing towards carbon neutrality?
JR: President Ōtani is talking about getting the right materials for the right products to the right customer at the right time. If you think about those concepts, you’re not overproducing. We’re producing over 10 billion zippers in a year, but our objective is that, at the end of the day, every zipper has a perfect spot and nothing gets wasted. On top of that, he talks about better products, lower cost, greater speed, and more sustainability. If we can be more efficient, and some of the obstacles to sustainability – cost – can be reduced, then a sustainable product can match the price of the less sustainable cheaper product and you can match that substitution more easily.

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President Ōtani reorganised our company in a number of different ways five years ago. He created what we call the Technology Innovation Centre. He took all the smartest people in our company and put them in the Technology Innovation Centre, where they were working on pure research, not product development. Innovation and technology have always been an important part of YKK, and particularly now with climate change issues and sustainability, we all need to be making significant changes.

Beyond zips, YKK produces a variety of other products such as snaps, buttons, buckles, and textiles for apparel and industrial use

LUX: How far is the company’s adoption of renewables impacting carbon emissions?
JR: We’re doing very well in that area. We reported at the end of the last fiscal year that we had reduced scope 1 and scope 2 CO2 emissions by almost 47% against our base year. What’s even more significant is that we’re not talking about CO2 emissions per zipper – we’re actually growing our production. Even though our production is increasing, we know our CO2 emissions have to be reduced, and we were able to reduce them significantly. Our 2018 level of CO2 emissions is our base level, by 2030 we’ll cut that in half, and by 2050 we’ll be carbon neutral. Around the world we’re looking at about 32 facilities which are currently using 100% renewable electricity, and very actively working to change the others. That can be a challenge because every facility has a different footprint and has a different source of electricity. But we are continuing to try to find a variety of different mechanisms to employ this.

LUX: What are the pillars for sustainable strategies for textiles packaging and waste management?
JR: For textiles, the main thing is to switch over to recycled thread. We call that NATULON. YKK had been offering to use recycled thread for over 20 years, and we’ve probably had the product for 25 years. Now, the market desires it, and so now we are able to switch over to 100% recycled textile. 26% of our products last year were using it, and that’s going to grow rapidly. We hope that will get up to 41% by next year. We’re working on a complete switchover.

YKK produces more than 3 million kilometers of zips every year

When we talk about waste management, you think about inputs coming into the factory and products coming out, and waste as a by-product of that. You put that waste back into your process. The objective is to get inputs coming into your factory and the only thing that comes out is the product. ECO-DYE technology uses CO2 instead of water to colour the zipper tape. That removes water from the process, which removes the need to take dye out of the water. We also have something called AcroPlating. If you get rid of the need to apply the bad chemicals, then you don’t have to worry about managing the waste on the back end.

Read more: Salomon CEO Franco Fogliato on environmental responsibility in business

LUX: Can you tell us about the partnership between YKK and the Monitor for Circular Fashion? Do you think it could lead to systemic change within the fashion industry?
JR: These partnerships are really important because, just like the UN statement on climate change or the Sustainable Development Goals or the Fashion Charter, all of these statements and actions can really scope the objective to solve the problem. It gives us all targets, and then when we join the Charter, we make promises that we have to stand by. Those are extremely important, because we all need to be speaking the same language and talking about the same objectives. With those statements, the fashion industry can declare to the people of the world that we’re moving in an environmentally-friendly direction and can get the support of their customers, which gives us the inspiration to innovate into that change. Once those goals are clear, then industry can innovate towards it and solve the problem just like we’ve been able to solve any problem when we’re focused on it.

All images courtesy of YKK

Find out more: www.ykkfastening.com/sustainability

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Jacquesson Managing Director Jean Garandeau approaches the house on the Jacquesson estate

François Pinault, the French luxury titan, recently purchased champagne Jacquesson, one of the country’s hidden gems and a favourite of Napoleon Bonaparte. Darius Sanai pays a visit and speaks to the team

Champagne is an interesting phenomenon in the world of luxury drinks. For some, it is still an aperitif to be sipped before the real wine begins. For many others, a great champagne is a drink to be savoured and deliberated over. The production of champagne is more complex than that of still wine, giving ample opportunity for connoisseurs to debate and be fascinated. And a changing climate and more sophisticated farming and winemaking techniques mean that the best champagnes now are, arguably, the best champagnes that have ever been.

Into this mix, add the recent arrival of fevered discussions among collectors about size. Not size of bottle, which is still important (the common agreement is that a magnum has the perfect ratio of liquid to gas within the bottle for perfect ageing), but of producer. Unlike other fine wines, great champagnes can be produced by large corporate brands, but also by tiny farmers with small plots of land – the latter recently coming to the fore in public consciousness.

A view across the vineyards of what is one of France’s oldest champagne houses

Sitting amid this magnificent landscape (both figuratively and literally) is Jacquesson, an intriguing champagne house that has, for the past few decades, been a cornerstone of the cellars of many connoisseurs and collectors. Not big enough to be known as a Grande Marque, but not small enough to be a small grower, it made its modern-day fame by pioneering the creation of numbered, non vintage champagne (see The 700s below) and some incredibly complex single-vineyard cuvées made in tiny quantities (see The Tasting).

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One of the oldest of all the champagne houses, with one of the richest of what the French call patrimoines (roughly translated as “heritage”, but, in fact, meaning much more), Jacquesson is often cited as having been a favourite of the Emperor Napoleon. After its founding by the eponymous family in 1798, and what was probably the most significant celebrity endorsement in the world to date by the Europe-conquering emperor, who awarded the maison a gold medal in 1810, it lost its way a bit after the family sold it in the late 19th century, and through much of the 20th, before it was bought by Jean Chiquet in 1974 and handed down in 1990 to his sons, Jean-Hervé and Laurent, who began its revival. The brothers rationalised the range, focused on quality, reduced the quantity produced, introduced single-vineyard cuvées (ahead of the current trend for such wines)and, finally, led the way in the creation of the numbered cuvées, first released in 2004.

The cellars hold the 700s and the late disgorgements, which are kept for longer

And now, Jacquesson is just entering a new and extremely significant chapter in its patrimoine. The house was acquired in 2022 by François Pinault’s Artémis Domaines, a division of Groupe Artémis. The Groupe also owns Christie’s auction house, and Kering, which includes Gucci and Balenciaga. Artémis Domaines also takes care of Château Latour and a small selection of jewel-in-the-crown wine estates in France and California. Upholding the promise of its imperial birth, Jacquesson is now firmly a member of a new French empire – that of high luxury.

Frédéric Engerer is the straight-talking Managing Director of Artémis Domaines; having first managed Château Latour on its acquisition by Artémis Domaines, and subsequently other estates including the celebrated Clos du Tartin Burgundy, acquired in 2018. Engerer is also something of an unspoken sustainability pioneer: Latour was the first of the First Growth Bordeaux estates – the most exclusive club, comprising Châteaux Latour, Lafite Rothschild, Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild and Haut-Brion – to be certified 100 per cent organic, in 2019. Engerer is, understandably, proud of the acquisition.

Jean Garandeau

“We have been following Jacquesson for many years,” he says. “The way the Chiquet brothers, Jean-Hervé and Laurent, modernised the brand and increased the quality level of each cuvée in such a short time is tour de force.

“Creating the Cuvée 700 was based on a very simple and understandable concept with a very recognisable label; and at the same time, focusing on quality rather than quantity of crops, keeping very traditional vinification methods, increasing the ageing of each cuvée and reducing– if not eliminating totally – the level of dosage [added sugar]. This led to cuvées 700 that are very balanced, elegant, refined and with very distinctive styles for each of the fourlieux-dits [single vineyards].

The antique estate doors

“Moreover, Jacquesson’s small size as a maison producing 250,000 bottles per year, its strong vigneron culture and its image as “champagne for the wine connoisseur” are all elements very much aligned with our philosophy at Artémis Domaines and are very compatible with our other domaines.”

“So these are Pinot Noir grapes,” I say, knowledgeably, looking at some hopeful young bunches on a vine on a slope with a spectacular view of what seems like the whole of the Champagne region. Above us is a thick forest, packed with dozens of different types of trees, bushes and other vegetation. Below us, in a bread bowl, are swathes of vineyards, dropping down into a series of villages, leading to the town of Épernay, centre of the Champagne region. Beyond, the vineyards rise, once again to forests, beyond which land stretches to the endless undulations of la France Profonde

A progress check on a batch of 2018 Dizy Terres Rouge

I am with Jean Garandeau, appointed Managing Director of Jacquesson in 2022, and Vineyard Manager Mathilde Prier. “No, they are Chardonnay grapes,” Prier replies with a smile. I raise an eyebrow. This hillside, above the village of Dizy, is famous among wine lovers for producing some of the best Pinot Noir wines to go into the greatest champagnes. “It’s true that most of this area is Pinot Noir,” says Garandeau, sensing my confusion. “But it just shows that very special grapes can grow where you don’t expect them to.”

The Chardonnay from this vineyard makes Corne Bautray, a tiny production wine that has become one of the estate’s most celebrated, and which we will taste later. We continue on our tour of the panoramic vineyard area, ducking down one bumpy unmade track after another until we get to another vineyard. “This is all Pinot Noir,” says Garandeau, pointing around an area around the size of a couple of tennis courts.

The vineyards stretching to the forested hillsides

Jacquesson is a rare producer in several ways. It produces very small quantities of these single-vineyard wines – to the extent that they are not so much cult wines as secret wines, each market just getting a few cases to be fought over by collectors. The maison also does not make a rosé wine, nor a standard vintage champagne, which typically is a blended champagne made out of grapes of a single year. Apart from the single vineyards, the accent is very much on the numbered releases, or 700s, and their distinguished cousins, the late disgorgements, which are simply the same wines but held in the cellar, maturing in their live creative process for years longer.

The Jacquesson estate itself is in Dizy, one of the villages we saw from the hillside up above. There is a handsome house with a lawn and a small vineyard next door, and a tasting room with a vaulted ceiling. The cellars, like that of any champagne house, are extensive. Sitting in the tasting room, Garandeau tells me there is no plan to make dramatic changes at Jacquesson. “We are starting at a very high level, but we can fine-tune. We are very focused on understanding the terroir of each vineyard and, if possible, sourcing some additional great grapes to complement what we have. We can invest in facilities, improve parts of the process and, after one or two vintages, be confident to take decisions because we know the process a little better. We can also work to increase awareness among international wine lovers.

The spectacularly situated vineyards contain Chardonnay as well as Pinot Noir grapes

”There are no plans to turn the boutique grower into a giant, along the lines of more famous houses. “We have a boutique approach at Artémis Domaines, which is part of our culture, and which helps build on the future for Jacquesson,” says Garandeau. “Boutique is the future as well as the past.” There are, he adds, no plans to bring in additional ranges, or a rosé (the latter was discontinued by the previous owners) – a shame, as I am sure Jacquesson would make a rosé to rival Dom Pérignon’s powerful offering and the curiously (in the context of its other wines) delicate offering by Krug, both from houses owned by LVMH (majority-owned, in the case of Krug).

Read more: A tasting of Schrader’s legendary Napa wines

Garandeau also points out that tastes for champagne are changing. “In the past, people would go into a restaurant and want to start with a bit of champagne, and take whatever was served by the glass and not really question it,” he says. “Now, people are focusing increasingly on taste. People will get the full wine list and choose a bottle of champagne to share before the meal. And even when you see the selection of champagnes by the glass in many places, where 20 years ago you would just have the big brands, now it’s changing and there is much more variety. Champagne is being treated much more like wine.”

Vineyard Manager Mathilde Prier

With that, the first cork is slowly released from its bottle by Cellarmaster Yann Le Gall, and our tasting begins – although not before I reflect that one of France’s most sophisticated luxury brands is beginning a new phase in its patrimoine that could be just as interesting as those of its first decades.

The 700s

Jacquesson gained instant credibility among wine geeks, many of whom had previously considered champagne a second-class drink, when it replaced its entry-level non-vintage champagne with its numbered Cuvées 700 in 2004. Almost all champagne houses had, until then, produced a “non-vintage” champagne as their primary offering, blending wines of different years together without indicating which – most still do. The 700s were different, declaring by their numbering exactly which year the wine in the bottles was based on. This arcane detail immediately transformed perceptions: a champagne house that was not trying to make a generic non-vintage blend, like a whisky, each year, but instead proud that different years produced different types of wine, and saying so on the label. The fact that the wines, starting with Cuvee 728 in 2004 and proceeding up by one number each year, were of such high quality, also helped.

Jean Garandeau and Cellarmaster Yann Le Gall at the tasting

The Tasting: Notes by Darius Sanai

Cuvee 746

The latest of the 700 series. A sultry, thought-provoking and sophisticated wine: Catherine Deneuve in a 1958 Lancia Flaminia Sport Zagato.

the Jacquesson estate house, which dates back to 1798, when the maison was founded

 

 

Cuvee 741 Dégorgement Tardif

Released after extended ageing on its yeast in the cellars. A serious champagne to be enjoyed over an extended meal at your riverside château in central France, with Jacques Brel playing on your turntable.

The process of making champagne is more complex than that of still wine

Champ Caïn 2013

Recently released after 10 years maturing in the cellars. All Chardonnay: pretty yet powerful at the same time, like Béatrice Dalle in vintage Balenciaga.

Corne Bautray 2013

Another Chardonnay-based single-vineyard wine, this is intense, deep, thought-provoking and quite serious, like sitting with Simone de Beauvoir in Les Deux Magots.

A bottle of Cuvée 746, the latest of the estate’s treasured 700 series

Terres Rouges 2013

Exclusively Pinot Noir, and with something complex and not yet fully detectable emerging under its perfectly polite manner, like the first part of a meal with Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Vauzelle Terme 2013

If any of the Jacquesson champagnes resembles the maison’s most famous advocate, it is this, tiny production label. You take a sip and think you have mastered it, then it comes back at you from different directions. Like Napoleon, this will get ever better with age.

Photography by Brice Brastaad

Find out more: www.champagnejacquesson.com

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2023/24 issue of LUX

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Karen Sack aims to drive investment into coastal and ocean natural capital to combat climate change

Karen Sack

It is under three weeks until the start of one of the most important climate summits in history. At the end of November, world leaders gather in the UAE for COP 28, an ever-more urgent climate crisis looming amid growing geopolitical instability. Here, Karen Sack, head of a major organisation devoted to driving major finance to ocean-related sustainability initiatives, outlines what needs to happen – and what she fears may transpire instead

LUX: Speaking as Executive Director for the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) as well bringing in your own views, what do you think should happen at COP 28?
Karen Sack: This year we have seen the number of climate disasters ratcheting up. We are so close to that 1.5 degree increase of the world’s temperature. September has smashed all the records in terms of the amount of warming, with a 0.5 degree Celsius rate of change. From our perspective, there are five key focus areas for us at COP 28.

The first and most important is that we have to keep that 1.5 degree target alive. That is the Paris Agreement target, adopted at COP 21. It is absolutely critical on all kinds of scientific levels, in terms of tipping points as well the existential reality, particularly for small island developing states, and for the potential impacts on coastal communities in developing countries as well as everywhere around the world. That should be the absolute focus of this meeting and the intent should be on how to do that, in terms of outcome for the COP.

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Secondly, and very importantly, is that as we look at the real need to scale down emissions to phase out fossil fuels, we also need to recognise that a liveable planet, particularly a liveable planet for humans, requires the regeneration of ocean environment. Nature needs to be at the heart of the story, in terms of addressing the biodiversity and the climate crises, because together we need to address those two issues.

The third key element is recognising that if we are going to address mitigation, adaptation and resilience – three of the core elements of the COP – as well as bring in nature, we have to focus on regeneration. We have to move beyond sustainability, which we predominantly focused on in the past. If what we do now is just sustainable, that is insufficient. We have to address mitigation, adaptation, resilience and regeneration. We need to significantly upscale sustainable finance and investment. From our perspective, that needs to be scaled into blue nature – into the ocean, as a critical carbon sink and biodiversity reservoir, as well as a key source of livelihood.

Open ocean carbon- capture is an emerging technology involving extracting and storing carbon dioxide by using nature or artificial solutions

The fourth thing we need to look for regarding our focus on maintaining resilient coastal communities, is to ensure that where investments are going to be made in coastal areas that there are high quality safeguards and guardrails for those investments, so that those communities can thrive and that investments made are made with the full consent and engagement of those communities.

Fifth and finally, what is really key to get out of COP28 is to establish that there are certain things which should not be investable propositions. In the ocean space, that means not investing into offshore oil and gas or emerging sectors like sea-bed mining that could be incredibly destructive, and for which the full suite of impacts are as yet unknown.

From our perspective, there should be an absolute, precautionary pause on any investment into this potential new sector until there is much more information, better controls and better safeguards in place. The question remains as to whether it should happen at all, but there should at least be a pause until 2030 for sea-bed mining. My view is that it should not happen at all.

LUX: You have said before that there is enough talk but not enough action. What needs to be done around sustainable finance to make that gap close?
KS: Fundamentally, there must be an agreement to move forward on the loss and damages fund. There have been ongoing negotiations, but this needs to be sorted out and settled so that funds can begin to flow into that loss and damages fund and then to the communities most affected.

Secondly, we have got to close the gap on adaptation finance; the UN Environment Programme released a report just this past week which showed that the finance gap, for adaptation finance, is 50% higher than it was previously thought. That means we have got to start looking at the hundreds of billions of dollars that have got a flow from the public as well as the private sector.

The biggest risk that we are all exposed to is inaction. The more we can do earlier in the process to drive financing into adaptation and resilience, as well as mitigation, the better, and the less costly that will be in the long term. That is key to closing those adaptation gaps. And in the ocean space, working with partners and the high-level climate champions, we have identified five ocean breakthroughs which need to be addressed.

LUX: Is there a danger of double-counting or under-counting?
KS: It is essential that governments start to work across treaties rather than keeping climate and ocean and finance treaties separate. We need to start to think about what is needed to address the issues across the climate and the nature space to prevent under-counting or double-counting.

LUX: What will incentivise governments to do that? What needs to happen?
KS: In part, it is putting numbers on the table: what is the need and what is needed to address it.  Finance ministries are starting to identify these numbers and address what these gaps mean. Hopefully that begins to draw the discussion out of ministerial silos and begin to bring an all of government approach to the table in addressing them. Once that begins to happen, then it also requires Ministerial level engagement and how key ministers can get together more informally to address those issues. I know that a couple of months ago in Vancouver, the Canadian Minister for Environment and Climate Change flagged the need for ministers to come together across these treaties to address some of these issues. This is just a starting point though, because the issues we are facing extend beyond what governments can do and have to involve development finance institutions and the private sector too.

Due to climate change, coastal communities are now more than ever under threat from flooding and severe storms which threaten their infrastructure and economy

LUX: Is there an issue of a big difference in policy between more progressive governments, such as Canada and the EU, and others with very large economies who are less close to enacting such change?
KS: Absolutely. There are also fossil fuel economies which are in the middle of all of this. One of the issues is that, since the UNFCCC started its work, countries have been – and remain – defined according to their different economic statuses. Yet there are countries which are large emitters now, and countries that historically have had a large carbon footprint. There are also economies that are fossil-fuel driven economies and have contributed to significant fossil fuel emissions, either by themselves or through selling their fossil fuels on the open market. The reality of the challenges that the world now faces is that rather than arguing over who has done what for how long, the focus needs to shift towards how each of these actors can play a role in building and financing resilience and adaptation, and mitigating harm. We have to think beyond the traditional brackets that different countries have been put into, because this is an existential crisis for all of us.

LUX: Do you see authentic intent among enough governments, or are some just talking the talk?
KS: This is part of the challenge. We have seen so many significant climate events this year which you would think would bring people to the table with urgency, focus and determination, but that is not happening across the board. This is where the private sector needs to come in to help move things forward. There has, of course, been push-back in some private sector quarters as well. But the reality is that if we project forward to revenue and growth impacts or profit margins, not just over the next quarter or few years, but to five and ten years down the track, the potential costs of inaction are staggering. These are no longer issues for the next generation, they must be addressed now. We have a choice as humans. The planet will be fine. It is us who are going to be harmed. We choose whether we act now or we delay but, as I said earlier, both cost and risk become exponential the more we delay. We should be focusing all of our attention on acting now.

LUX: Is there a risk that the more we innovate to offset, or capture, the more we have permission to emit?
KS: Absolutely, which is why we have really got to focus on reducing and phasing out fossil fuel emissions as quickly as possible, and we have got to think about the most cost-effective, efficient ways to invest in adaptation and resilience. Let’s shift those investments into sustainable, regenerative renewables, such as wind, solar and tidal power, and let’s focus on investing into nature and helping to build resilient, natural ecosystems which are also the most effective carbon sinks that are on Earth right now. These are incredibly effective both in the functions they fulfill, as well as the costs that they incur.

Karen Sack has previously led global efforts to create a new UN treaty for high seas biodiversity

LUX: Do you think that large-scale, open-ocean carbon-capture – which is currently unregulated, untested but has the potential for enormous scale – should be focused on, or it a diversion?
KS: I think that there will always be untested technologies and potential large-scale solutions, which will be put on the table as a panacea to resolve our issues. There is no harm in asking scientists to explore the viability of some of those mechanisms, to understand the costs, the potential collateral damage and impacts of them before we move forward with them, but thinking that we can chase rainbows or invent unicorns that will solve our problems, while letting everything else fall apart at the seams, does not seem like a sensible solution.

However, there are tried and tested approaches which we know will work. We know that not using fossil fuels is the most critical step that has to be taken to mitigate the impacts of climate change. We know that regenerating and restoring nature is very important for addressing elements of biodiversity as well as the climate crisis. We must work on these two things and build adaptation and resilience – as quickly as possible – by focusing on investing into renewables and investing into nature, and ensuring that government policies and investments from governments and the private sector enable this.

Read more: Jean-Baptiste Jouffray on the future of the world’s oceans 

LUX: What do you fear will happen at COP 28?
KS: There are a lot of initiatives which are being taken forward, and discussions happening, at COP 28. All of them are taking place in the face of significant geopolitical change and challenge. My biggest fear is that the international community does not move far and fast enough and as quickly as possible at this COP, and that the interests of the fossil fuel sector take hold. We cannot go there again. We do not have the time and we certainly do not have the space. We need – as we say in the ocean world – all hands on deck! We must move swiftly. We need action, and we need it now. That is what we need out of this COP: concerted action at speed and at scale.

The 28th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP) is set to take place between the 30th November and 12th December 2023

Karen Sack is Executive Director of the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance

Deutsche Bank was the first bank to join the Ocean Risk and Resilience Alliance

Lower three images by Isabella Fergusson

Read more: oceanriskalliance.org

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Reading time: 10 min
A woman wearing a black top standing next to a white and black wall
children in yellow tops playing with a big silver ball

ArtOutreach public sculpture tour for students

Mae Anderson, serves as the chairman of Art Outreach, a non-profit organisation committed to promoting art appreciation and nurturing the connections within Singapore’s art community. Mae’s contributions extend to her role as the Head of Philanthropy Services Asia at BNP Paribas Wealth Management, where she collaborates with clients to bring their philanthropic visions to life

LUX: How has your personal philanthropy informed your corporate role?
Mae Anderson: My experiences in the philanthropic sector have reinforced for me the importance of aligning business values with social responsibility. This is essential to benefit the communities we serve and to enhance the reputation and sustainable values of the organisation. Corporate philanthropy is not just a matter of financial contributions; it is about creating meaningful, sustainable change by strategically leveraging resources and expertise. I prioritise building strong relationships with nonprofits, community leaders, and clients who share our commitment to making a positive difference. This collaborative approach has proven instrumental in developing effective philanthropic strategies that maximise our impact.

A woman wearing a black top standing next to a white and black wall

Mae Anderson, , posed against a mural by Singaporean artist, Chris Chai

LUX: Why was Art Outreach founded and what were the early successes?
MA: Art Outreach was founded to introduce art appreciation into Singapore’s education system, particularly in elementary schools where the focus was primarily on art making, and where there was a lack of emphasis on art appreciation, compounded by a shortage of trained art teachers and limited exposure to the humanities. 20 years on, there have been significant changes in the education landscape In the early stages, our volunteers were trained to deliver free art lessons to local classrooms and played a crucial role in enriching students’ visual literacy and cultural awareness. These early efforts successfully addressed the need for art appreciation, fostering a greater understanding of cultural diversity and societal dynamics among young learners, addressing a crucial need in the education system while adapting to the changing educational landscape.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: What is behind the wave of interest in cultural philanthropy in Singapore and the South Asia region?
MA: There are several interconnected factors. First, there is the desire to preserve and celebrate cultural heritage. In an increasingly globalised world, people recognise the importance of safeguarding and promoting their unique traditions, arts, and history, fostering a deeper connection to one’s roots and a sense of cultural pride. The region’s economic growth has played a pivotal role.

A man holding a film camera standing around people

Level Up by curator, John Tung, one of a series of professional development workshops run by Art Outreach. In this workshop, participants learned the finer points of art installation

The rise of the middle class with disposable income opens doors, and as people become more financially secure, they seek meaningful ways to give back to their communities and support cultural initiatives that resonate with their values and aspirations, further fuelling the interest in cultural philanthropy. Governments in the region have introduced policies and incentives to drive private investment into cultural projects and institutions. Further, cultural attractions draw tourists , enhancing exchequers and soft power, Finally, the emergence of the mega-wealthy 1%, catalyses support for cultural initiatives and leads collaborations.

blue flower lights hanging in the dark

Benedict Yu, from 生 Rebirth as part of 醉生夢死 erosion, his solo exhibition at Art Outreach in August 2021

LUX: How has Art Outreach evolved an ecosystem for all stakeholders?
MA: As explained, we began by seeding art education within local elementary schools set about creating an art landscape. We extended our reach to communities through public programmes, discussions, and tours. This made contemporary art more accessible and relatable to local audiences. We support emerging artists through initiatives like the IMPART Art Prize to offer holistic support and foster the development of artists championing Singaporean art.

Two women standing by a wooden table with objects in glass frames on the table

Artist, Berny Tan (left), and curator, Kirti Upadhyaya, against Berny’s artworks from Along The Lines Of – her solo exhibition at Art Outreach in August 2023

From 2024, our Art Outreach Summit will offer artists mentorship, networking opportunities, and a platform to showcase their work, as well as practical programmes such as installation and lighting. More strategically, we enter into public and private partnerships around events and activations. So we serve the range of stakeholders.

children in green and white uniform sitting on the floor with their hands in the air

ArtOutreach primary school classroom programme

LUX: What is the role for private collectors of contemporary art in Singapore?
MA: Private collectors are custodians of cultural heritage, preserving and showcasing contemporary artworks that provide insights into the evolution of artistic expression and cultural trends. Through their acquisitions, they are patrons of emerging talents and established names, pushing the boundaries of artistic expression, opening their homes or private exhibition spaces to the public, elevating the profile of Singaporean art on the global stage and fostering educational and cultural exchange. Finally, the donation of artworks or funds to cultural institutions and nonprofit organisations, has a lasting impact on the sustainability of the arts ecosystem.

people standing by an escalator on a mezzanin

ArtOutreach Art In Transit Tour, Promenade Station. This is a walking tour of the artworks installed in Singapore subway stations

LUX: How should art philanthropists plan so they give effectively?
MA: Effective art philanthropy begins with a clear mission and values aligned with the art landscape and national priorities. Philanthropists should thoroughly research organisations, projects, or artists that match the mission, and then identify gaps and areas where their contributions can make a difference. Establishing clear, measurable goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) can guide their philanthropic efforts and evaluate impact. Philanthropists can diversify their giving portfolio and consider strategic partnerships with like-minded organisations to amplify their impact and bring diverse perspectives.

Children wearing costumes

Art Outreach children’s art workshop

They should assume longterm commitment to foster lasting change and address evolving needs within the arts community. It is critical to implement systems for measuring impact, remain adaptable, and be responsive to changing circumstances or emerging needs in the arts landscape.

Read more: Aliya and Farouk Khan on the Malaysian contemporary art scene

Actively engaging with artists, cultural institutions, and the broader arts community allows philanthropists to stay connected, and they must adhere to ethical principles, be transparent, and respect artists’ rights. You should consider legacy and tax planning and remember that public engagement can inspire others to support the arts.

A woman playing with string on a tapestry hung on a wall

Textile Artist,Tiffany Loy, against her artworks from Lines In Space, her solo exhibition at Art Outreach in January 2023

LUX: How can connectivity and data help in scaling the impact regionally?
MA: Data analysis empowers philanthropists to understand specific regional needs and priorities, to identify areas where their contributions can maximise impacts, and to connect with local organisations and initiatives. By collecting and analysing data in real-time, they decide where best to allocate resources. By collaborating, donors leverage their resources more efficiently, engage directly with regional communities, scale effectively, advocate, share experience, measure impact, and together drive long term change.

LUX: What is your personal advice to a client embarking on their philanthropy journey?
MA: Trust in your passion and purpose. Philanthropy is about making a positive impact on the causes that matter most to you. Sustainable change takes time so persevere. Finally, stay humble and open to learning and let that inspire your growth as a philanthropist.

Find out more: artoutreachsingapore.org

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Diver in coral reef

Pristine Seas team member, Alan Friedlander, sampling in the remote reefs in the northernmost region of the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve

After a number of years writing about ocean conservation as an academic, Enric Sala decided he wanted to take a more active role in protecting our seas. Here he tells Trudy Ross about his Pristine Seas project, which combines exploration and research to conserve the world’s oceans

LUX: What inspired you to dedicate your career to researching and protecting marine ecosystems?
Enric Sala: As a little boy, I grew up dreaming to be an ocean explorer and swimming in the Mediterranean, which was pretty much devoid of life. But one day I dived in a marine reserve where fishing was banned, and there I saw all the abundance of life that was missing from the sea of my childhood. That day I understood that if we give nature space, it can heal itself – and decided to work on protecting the ocean.

LUX: You made the jump from working in academia to being a full-time conservationist 15 years ago, because you wanted to stop ‘writing the obituary of the ocean’ and instead start looking at solutions. What were the biggest challenges you faced when making this career change?
ES: The biggest challenges are several. First, there is a large lack of awareness that we are overexploiting the ocean to a dangerous point beyond which it may never recover. Second, entrenched interests with strong political connections, like oil companies and the industrial fishing lobby, oppose more ocean protection. But despite these challenges we’ve been able to show that marine protection benefits not only marine life, but also people and the economy.

Pristine Seas team assembling deep sea camera onboard the ROU 23 Maldonado, South Atlantic Ocean Uruguay

LUX: Can you tell us more about your Pristine seas project and share some of its primary goals?
ES: Pristine Seas works with local communities, Indigenous Peoples and governments to protect vital places in the ocean, for the benefit of humanity. To date we have helped to protect 26 areas across the ocean, from the poles to the tropics, covering a total area over twice the size of India. Our goal is to contribute to the global target of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: What criteria do you use to identify and select areas for the Pristine Seas project, and how do you assess their ecological importance and conservation potential?
ES: We always support local conservation efforts, which can be divided in two categories: areas that are still near pristine and need to be protected before it’s too late, and areas that are somehow degraded but, if highly protected, they would deliver big gains for marine life, food and climate. Our approach is science-based, using global databases on marine life, fishing and carbon, and our own data collected during our expeditions to these vital ocean places.

The Pristine Seas team was invited by the government of Niue and Tofia Niue to help the island community survey its underwater environment in an effort to ensure the long-term sustainable use of resources

LUX: Can you discuss any recent discoveries or achievements from your expeditions that have improved our understanding of the marine ecosystem?
ES: Coral reefs suffer from ocean heat waves, which kill enormous amounts of corals. But we found that coral reefs can bounce back from these warming events if they are fully protected and harbor large abundances of fishes. It is the fishes that keep the reefs clean and allow the corals to return. Without the big and abundant fishes, dead corals are smothered by seaweed forever.

LUX: How do you engage with local communities and stakeholders when establishing marine protected areas through the Pristine Seas project?
ES: We always support local efforts to create marine protected areas through our research, storytelling and economic analysis. We work with local scientists to assess the health of their marine environment, provide local communities with cost-benefit analysis of protection, and advise them on how to implement their desire to protect more of their waters.

Kiribati’s Southern Line Islands where Pristine Seas launched a three-week expedition in 2020
LUX: What role do you see technology playing in marine conservation, and are there any specific technological advancements that have greatly enhanced your research or conservation efforts?
ES: Technology is key to allow us to explore the deep sea and remote areas, including satellite monitoring of illegal fishing – these have been instrumental developments to enhance our work. But technology and data alone are not sufficient. We actually need people to care. This is why we use our films and storytelling first, to inspire people to fall in love with their ocean – and then we provide the scientific and economic data to support action.

Dr. Enric Sala, photographed at NG Headquarters in Washinton, DC

LUX: How can governments and policymakers be encouraged to prioritise the protection of marine environments, especially in areas beyond national jurisdictions?
ES: For governments and policymakers, the easiest encouragement comes from the fact that ocean protection is good business! If we protect an area from fishing and other damaging activities, marine life comes back spectacularly. Fish abundance increases on average by 500% within a decade. Fish grow larger and produce many more babies, which helps to replenish nearby areas and helps local fishers. And when the fish come back, divers come in, supporting jobs and bringing in more economic benefits. Therefore, highly protected areas are a triple win. That’s what happens in countries’ waters. Beyond national jurisdiction, it is not as easy because many countries have to agree to protect an area.

Read more: An interview with Blue Latitudes: can oil rigs help save the ocean?

LUX: Pristine Seas has helped to create 26 of the largest marine reserves on the planet. Can you tell us about three of these areas which you find most fascinating, and which you would encourage our readers to look into?
ES: This is like asking parents which of their children they love the most! There are many wonderful places we have explored and helped to protect. A few examples are the kelp forests off the southern tip of South America, the pristine coral reefs of the southern Line Islands, and the offshore islands of Cocos (Costa Rica), Malpelo (Colombia) and Darwin and Wolf (Ecuador).

In March 2012, Pristine Seas, in cooperation with the PEW Charitable Trusts, undertook a month-long expedition in the four Pitcairn Islands

LUX: In your opinion, what are the most significant threats facing our oceans today, and how can we effectively address these challenges on a global scale?
ES: Overfishing, global warming and pollution are the major threats to ocean life. Overfishing is the easiest to solve, through responsible management of fisheries and protected areas. Solving pollution will require society to develop a circular economy without waste. And global warming is the most difficult of all, but it all comes down to halving our carbon emissions every decade to 2050, and to protect and restore more of nature so it can absorb much of our excess carbon pollution in the atmosphere.

LUX: Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future of marine conservation, and what would you like to see accomplished in terms of global efforts in the next decade?
ES: All the nations in the world agreed in December 2022 to protect 30% of the global ocean by 2030. We have a target. Let’s make it happen.

All images by Manu San Félix, courtesy of National Geographic Pristine Seas

Find out more: www.nationalgeographic.org/pristine-seas

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Huge green field with a cluster of small houses in the middle
Huge green field with a cluster of small houses in the middle

Photo courtesy of Fresh Del Monte

Hans Sauter is the Chief Sustainability Officer at Fresh Del Monte. He speaks to Trudy Ross about the company’s sustainability journey and the importance of creating a culture of respect for the environment

LUX: Could you provide an overview of the company’s sustainability journey and a few key milestones you’ve achieved in recent years?
Hans Sauter: Let me mention that I’m not just Chief Sustainability Officer but also senior vice president for Research and Development. That’s not just out of coincidence. We approach sustainability from a scientific and data-based point of view, not a marketing or sales perspective. I have been with the company for 35 years; I started at the farms doing agricultural research and worked my way up to corporate. I know our global footprint in great detail and have accompanied this process of incorporating sustainability into our operations all along.

About 30 years ago, we started designing our farms to make the best use of the soil, carving out the areas which would be best adapted to our own crops and then leaving those other areas to re-forest and create opportunities for conservation. Starting all the way from water conservation to erosion control, pollination, etc, our operations have transformed themselves over time into combined systems where we see nature and large-scale agriculture co-existing. That’s very exciting.

A green Del Monte farm in costa rica beneath a sunny sk

Photo courtesy of Fresh Del Monte

A few milestones: in 1998, we got our first ISO 14001 certification around sustainability systems. In 2010, we set our first global sustainability goal to reduce our consumption of key resources, like water and fuel, by 10%. In 2015, we got our first carbon neutral certification at one of our operations, specifically the banana farms in Costa Rica. We escalated that last year, to estimate our carbon footprint going all the way from the farm to the consumer. We established programs where we promote those efforts, such as the Del Monte Zero pineapple, where we have sequestered enough carbon through our own on-site forests to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions all through the supply chain up until the consumer’s table.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: Do you think it is important to engage with the consumer and make them aware of sustainability initiatives, or are you more focused on the problem itself?
HS: We started this journey so long ago that we initially attacked the problems where they were occurring. On our farms, being in tropical and rural areas which are normally the most vulnerable areas and communities, we saw a great need for action. We engaged ourselves in projects to collaborate with our neighbours and see how we could improve conditions there.

We now understand that the consumer needs to hear about those efforts. In the last five years we have been more vocal about those efforts, because we have truly strong programs to talk about. It’s not making a lot of noise about little things; we’re talking about legitimate programs. We have carved close to 30% of our land just for conservation, and that’s what nations are trying to accomplish now – we’ve done it already.

Jumble of pineapples

Photo by Justine Alipate

LUX: Do you have faith that the rest of the food industry is going to continue to engage with sustainability and make this a key focus, or do you worry that there is an element of greenwashing and shouting about sustainability efforts when there aren’t concrete initiatives to back them up?
HS: There’s a little bit of both. There has definitely been some greenwashing and more talking than acting; but on the other hand, I don’t think anything can stop this train. The current events are making us brutally aware that we need to act. I’m convinced that the only thing that is needed is to get to the tipping point. If you have strong leaders that move the needle, the rest of the industry will follow. Just look at the electric motor industry – who would have said we would be moving at the pace we are moving at today? I’m definitely optimistic about the food industry.

LUX: How would you describe Fresh Del Monte’s approach to responsible sourcing, and does this impact your supplier chain further down the line?
HS: That’s probably the most difficult point at this stage. All of us are struggling with scope 3, which is essentially our suppliers. Rapid engagement of that part of our supply chain is crucial and not as easy to move. One of the advantages we have as a company is that we grow close to 45% of what we sell, so we are heavily invested in farming and understand what farmers are going through. That gives us an opportunity to talk to them on a one-to-one basis with a hands-on approach. We collaborate with them and we share experiences.

I think our example will help us leverage some moral authority when it comes to protecting the environment because we have done it, and we continue to do it and invest in it. Definitely scope 3 will continue to be a more difficult area, particularly because margins in the food industry are small. Here the retailers could be very effective in moving that needle because they are the intermediaries between the grower and the final consumer, making sure that they also are a part of this shared responsibility.

LUX: What is the biggest challenge facing the food industry and the agriculture industry?
HS: I would say the biggest challenge is time. The climate is changing so fast and most of us don’t realise that the clock is ticking. We could run out of time to implement large-scale solutions that make a difference.

Vineyard in the setting sun

Photo by Sven Wilhem

I see no shortage of solutions available, but there needs to be a lot of resources invested in research, specifically for many crops in tropical regions where regenerative agriculture practices have not been developed. We are very optimistic about regenerative agriculture in temperate regions, but the rest of the world has not had that privilege and we need to invest in those areas.

LUX: How much of this responsibility for climate change lies with big corporations like Del Monte, and how much do you think lies with the consumer?
HS: We are all in it together. Consumers make the difference with their purchasing decisions. That’s one of the reasons we decided to launch the Del Monte Zero. It’s a small, boutique program. We wanted to make a statement by allowing the consumer to choose a climate-responsible product, so that we are all made aware of what we are going through.

Each of us, in large companies and small companies as well, each of us has a huge responsibility at this point. We are working with our communities and we are looking at our impact on a watershed level, rather than just ‘my farm’. Because it doesn’t matter how much I protect the forest that runs through the river that runs through my own farm, if I don’t bring all the neighbours to protect that watershed, that river will eventually dry. We need to act as communities.

LUX: Waste reduction is a very important issue taking place in the food industry. Has Fresh Del Monte implemented any strategies to minimise waste reduction, and have you seen any outcomes?
HS: This is a very exciting area of opportunity. It can bring more business to the food industry. We initially started investing in waste reduction a long time ago, in our pineapple operations, using food which could not go to market to produce concentrate and juice. With that kind of systematic investment we have reduced waste at the farm level, and almost 95% of our product is used and not wasted. We are working on solutions to compost and to work with cattle-growers.

Food is too valuable to throw away. There should never be a reason to send food to landfill. What we are doing now is taking that one step further and looking at our crop residues, because that’s also a huge area of opportunity and we’re working aggressively to develop composting solutions and also other opportunities. It’s just investing in research and time.

Orange tree branches against a blue sky

Photo by Dan Gold

Read more: Unilever’s Rebecca Marmot on the Sustainable Everyday

LUX: What sustainability developments are you most excited about at Fresh Del Monte?
HS: I would say the most exciting thing which I have seen over the course of 35 years is the development of a culture of respect for the environment. No systems, no programs beat culture. If your team members have a culture of respect and admiration for the planet and your community, everything comes out of there and you have success with your systems and your programs.

We have seen engagement all the way from the farm workers, who have been sharing pictures of the biodiversity that they see while they are doing their field work. The excitement and the passion that we see is huge. When your own farm workers are excited and are taking pictures of biodiversity while they’re working, you have made an impact not only in your farm but also in the community. That multiplies by four every effort in education you have brought in.

LUX: How do you envision sustainable practices in the food industry in ten years?
HS: I envision it having huge contributions from new bio-science discoveries. There are companies which are working on deploying microbes that can fix nitrogen so that you don’t have to apply so much synthetic fertiliser. Synthetic nitrogen is one of the biggest challenges we have in agriculture as an emitter of greenhouse gas emissions. That will definitely make a big difference in the future.

Find out more: freshdelmonte.com

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Reading time: 8 min
Person running down a road towards snowy mountains
Person running down a road towards snowy mountains

Photo by Andrea Leopardi

Can creating new products be sustainable? Franco Fogliato speaks to LUX about Salomon’s sustainability efforts and how he believes consuming differently can be more important than consuming less

LUX: When did Salomon start focusing on environmental responsibility?
Franco Fogliato: Nature is our backyard. We live in the mountains, we are mountain people. Every time we do something we are trying to be less impactful on nature. Fifteen years ago, we began looking for new technologies, new developments and ways to create positive impact in the way we do things. It has gone from creating shoes that are 100% recyclable, to being the first company in France to make its shoes in our home country, minimising the carbon footprint associated with shipping from factories overseas. These are all initiatives that started ten or fifteen years ago, which have been accelerating ever since.

LUX: How is sustainability at Salomon influenced by its athletes and employees?
FF: We are a company that is led by our athletes. Our athletes are at the forefront of our industry. They push the boundaries of what we do every day to ensure not only that we are the highest performers, but also the most sustainable.

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We also have a generation of employees that are younger, who are in their late twenties and early thirties, and have grown up with sustainability as a daily topic. Sustainability is part of what our teammates want and what they love. Every time they think about a new product, they first think about how they are going to create it without impacting the world and the planet.

Mountain scene with run rising against the rocks

Photo by Kaidi Guo

LUX: How do you approach innovation and sustainability together, ensuring that product development aligns with the brand’s commitment to minimising environmental impact?
FF: It’s a tough conversation. Do you choose the most performant product, which is not sustainable, or do you choose the product which is sustainable but less performant? There are examples every day: we had great shoes which had a great insole, but the insole was unsustainable. We changed the insole with a sustainable insole but which was less resistant, and consumers were not happy. The constant push that comes from athletes and the consumer comes back to our factories and our teams to come out with new technology, that pushes us to the next level.

LUX: Because of your company’s heritage and long-standing reputation in the outdoor industry, do you feel like you have more responsibility than others to be initiating this fight against climate change?
FF: We have to be leaders, it’s not a choice. It’s also what we like to do. It’s pushing the boundaries, in sport and building new products which are more sustainable. Sometimes people use the challenges we face just to make noise, rather than focusing on the actions that are needed. Sometimes my teammates ask me, how we’re going to build the company; people will need to consume less, they say. I say, if you think people will consume less, you are mistaken. There will be new technologies which are a lot less impactful than the way they are today.

LUX: Does creating new products contradict your aim to be environmentally friendly?
FF: I think there is a challenge still on the consumer side where there is a little bit of confusion around what is and is not sustainable. I think people see consuming less as the major driver behind minimising climate change, but in fact the driver is not consuming less but consuming differently.

Sunny mountain scene

Photo by Kalen Emsley

The carbon footprint impact of producing a pair of shoes is equal to driving a car for thirty miles. I have a theory that people should stop using cars and just run. I tell my people that they should stop using their cars to come to work and just run here. Why do you need a car? The human being was built on running. I think really activating a different consumption and pushing people outside is really what we want to do. We have a challenge with sustainability, but we also have a challenge in the evolution of the population globally with the digital. We have to take care of how people will evolve.

Read more: Rapha CEO Francois Convercey on diversity and sustainability in cycling

LUX: What are some of the initiatives at Salomon which have made the biggest difference towards sustainability?
FF: The biggest impact on producing a product is transportation, so there is an opportunity going forward in the evolution of the sourcing base, to source closer to the consumer. Many brands have tried that in the past and failed. Lately we had the French President, who had recognised our efforts, visiting our shoe factory in France. That factory would never have been born without us sharing our talents and skills with the local entrepreneurs. No one knows how to build shoes in France any more, as the entire production of shoes has shifted to Asia or Eastern Europe. These are the efforts which have made us recognised by the press and by the media.

LUX: What set Salomon apart from other outdoor gear brands which are also focusing on the sustainability mission?
FF: We like to think this is not a battle for who does the most. The battle is not between companies, it’s much bigger. We have to be ourselves. We have the first fully recyclable shoes; we were the first to do that in the marketplace a couple of years ago. But if someone comes in and is better than us, great! We’ve got to learn to do better, to improve. This is a battle we all fight together. I don’t have a problem with sharing technologies or doing anything which will help make the world into a better place. For once, it’s a competitive environment where there is a team. We are competing all together to make the planet into a better place.

Find out more: salomon.com

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Birdseye view on blue ocean beside green land with a cyclist riding through the greenery
Birdseye view on blue ocean beside green land with a cyclist riding through the greenery

Butterfield & Robinson’s Dalmation Coast Active trip in Croatia

Mike Scarola is the CEO of Butterfield & Robinson, a luxury travel company with the goal of making a positive impact. He speaks to LUX about connecting with local communities and travelling on two wheels instead of four

LUX: What was the inspiration behind your Slow Find initiative?
Mike Scarola: The Slow Fund is driven by our passion for sustainability, focusing on education, culture, conservation, and preservation. We needed a formal vehicle to give back, which is essentially the genesis of the Slow Fund. Sustainable travel has been in our DNA since the beginning, just by the nature of what we do.

Seeing the world or seeing a region on bikes or on foot, we believe is a better, more sustainable way to travel. Currently we support nine initiatives globally, which range from conserving species and iconic landscapes across Africa, to supporting gender equality in the safari industry, to our art residency in France. The ideas behind the initiatives we choose to support typically come from our guides or our planners, because they know the region and its needs the best. We always aim to support sustainability efforts or cultural initiatives in the regions where we take travellers, and often try to bring our travellers into some of those initiatives while they’re on trip. This allows them to give back to the communities they visit and understand the essence of Slow Travel.

Two chefs cooking pizzas in brightly lit restaurant

Pizza making lessons from a local chef in Italy on the Amalfi Coast Walking tour

LUX: When you first brought in this idea of sustainable travel and travelling on bicycle rather than taking cars, was there a high client demand for it, or was it something that you had to intensively market?
MS: The long story is that our founder, George Butterfield, is an unbelievable trailblazer. He had a huge passion for travel and bringing people to new experiences. He was always trying new trips,  and in the early 70s he decided to try biking and as a part of a travel experience. But first time round, it just didn’t catch on.

Then he had someone in his office who, in the early 80s, started to make a case that we should try this again. He thought that people that are looking for luxury will also want to bike through Europe. George was actually pretty hesitant at the time, but they tried it and it absolutely took off in the early 80s.

LUX: How do you go about tracking your carbon footprint and why do you think it’s important that companies, especially travel companies, need to be doing this?
MS: We’re in our second year of very detailed tracking of our carbon footprint, and the reason we do this is because we want create a positive impact in the world. There’s a real crisis and we’re part of it, but we’re now trying to be part of the solution. The first step that we thought was important was to try to measure our impact. It’s tough, but once you measure that, you can communicate the biggest impacts of what your company has day-to-day on the environment, and then you can start to take solid steps to reduce it. We’ve always thought about the environment and taken steps to improve our trips and reduce our carbon footprint, but this formalisation allows us to track it on an annual basis.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: What’s the philosophy behind your travel experiences?
MS: We think there is a large number of travellers who want to be active when they go on vacation, and who will get a better experience seeing a region on two wheels than they will on four. There’s so many regions now that are wonderful to hike through, to bike through, to canoe through, that also have luxury accommodations, which is often really important for us. We always try to bring our travellers to luxury accommodations, to high end food.

Man standing next to his bike by a sunny slanted road

Mike Scarola on the Tuscany Wine Country Biking tour in Italy

LUX: You do a lot of community-based work trying to enhance their lives whilst travellers come and visit. How do you ensure a community focused approach while also balancing client demand?
MS: What we find is that travellers are looking for very authentic experiences. They’re not only looking to stay in the nicest hotel and eat the best meals. They’re looking to feel like they’ve come away with a connection and a deeper understanding of the region, which lines up really well with what we try to do. We try to source from locally-owned businesses and local people to help deliver experiences on the trip. So whether it’s a specialised tour, or  stopping in the middle of your cycle for lunch in a restaurant owner’s backyard, where they’re going to teach you how to make pasta, these are the types of authentic experiences that our travellers are looking for. We work really hard on a day-to-day basis to try to find them and it’s only possible because of the network we have built up . We have about 125 guides that are located around the world, who know their regions intimately and are often the source of new experiences with locals.

LUX: Can you tell us more about your art residency initiative in France?
MS: Certainly. This a partnership with a former guide, who has an art residency program in France. They came to us to say that they often identify fantastic artists who are very much in need of financial aid, who could use our help. That’s all we really needed to know. A passion of ours is being about to support our guides, and to support art and culture. We’ve sponsored a number of artists. The latest one is a Belarussian artist, who had to leave their home country because of what’s happening over in Ukraine. This was a phenomenal artist who really didn’t have anything, and was going to have to give up their passion and give up their talent in order just to survive. So we helped to support.

LUX: What sets Butterfield and Robinson apart from other travel companies in the industry?
MS: The heart and soul of this business are our guides and our experienced designers. I would argue at the end of the day that we have the best guides and the best experienced designers on the planet.

Read more: Travelling Botswana on Eco-Safari, Review

Guides showing a map of Tuscany to people on a cycling tour

Mike Scarola guiding on the Tuscany Wine Country Biking tour in Italy

We always have a get together, a guide kick off at the beginning of the European season in April, and a guide gathering at the end of the European season. They are the most creative, well-travelled individuals who speak multiple languages with stories from the whole year on how they took travellers to amazing spots. We ask our travellers at the end of the trip to rate us on a whole bunch of different metrics, and the guide score is always the highest and most consistent, because they’re so knowledgeable about the region.

LUX: How do you aspire to continue redefining luxury travel in the years to come?
MS: The biggest thing for me is listening to our travellers. Our travellers have been the best source of direction over the last 57 years, and I think they’re going to continue to be. I think the demand for authentic experiences will continue to grow. The other thing is that travellers are looking to have a bit of an impact on their trips as well. I can see us doing it a lot more where they’re not just visiting and learning, but they’re participating, potentially in a project that they do on a trip that you know makes them feel a little more connected, a little more empathy for the region and the culture.

Find out more: www.butterfield.com

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Baby whales gathered together in the sea
Baby whales gathered together in the sea

Pilot whales in the Pelagos Sanctuary, which was co-created by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

As awareness grows of the need for a sustainable blue economy and for ocean restoration around the world, LUX invites thought leaders and experts to nominate their choice of individuals, non-profits and financial and investment wizards, whose efforts are helping save the planet’s troubled waters
A woman holding a jacket over her shoulder

Nathalie Hilmi

Dr Nathalie Hilmi, Senior Researcher at the Scientific Centre of Monaco, nominates:

Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation
This international non-profit organisation is the only foundation in the world headed by a serving head of state. It was founded by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II in 2006 with the mission of protecting and advancing the health of our planet for future generations, with a focus on biodiversity, climate, renewable energy, oceans and water resources. In addition to funding hundreds of projects, the foundation has set up initiatives to be a driving force in these fields, operating in the Mediterranean Basin, the Polar regions and the least developed countries. It works with scientists, other NGOs and world leaders, and has branches in 11 countries.

fpa2.org

Meri Foundation
I like the work this non-profit foundation is doing for the planet and our environment, promoting scientific research and environmental education on ecosystems in Chile and around the word. It has a vision of inspiring communities to consider a sense of belonging in their ecosystem environment, promoting a society in harmony with the planet. Its philanthropic engagements are stunning.

fondacionmeri.cl

A man wearing glasses and a black suit with a white shirt

Marküs Muller

Markus Müller , Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Chief Investment Officer at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank, nominates:

Anna Katharina Meyer
Anna Katharina identifies global challenges and launches tangible initiatives, with a focus on sustainable finance and accounting, renewable energies and entrepreneurship. Describing herself as a founder, activist and scientist with heart and soul, she combines professional competences with scientific ones and is shaping discourse on a sustainable and inclusive future with expertise.

unitedsustainability.com

trees in a swamp

Heritiera fomes mangroves in Sundarbans, West Bengal, India. Sundarbans is a national park and biosphere reserve; carbon-storing, coast-protecting mangroves are an essential component of nature-based solutions

Rayne Sullivan
Co-Chair of the Youth Advisory Council at Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Rayne represented the US at the inaugural UN Youth4Climate summit in Milan in 2021, advocating for Hawai’i and Oceans. Rayne is also pursuing a JD programme at Stanford, with a focus on the nexus between climate science, responsible AI and traditional knowledge systems, to empower frontline island communities in developing nature-based climate solutions.

soalliance.org

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A woman wearing a necklace and black top

Marie Claire Daveu

Marie-Claire Daveu, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs at Kering, nominates:

Conservation International
This NGO is a leader not only in its science-led work around the world, working on the ground to protect and restore nature, but also for its influence on global policies and within the business community. Its expertise when we set up the Regenerative Fund for Nature together was indispensable and its dedication to achieving a wide-scale impact on nature is to be applauded.

conservation.org

A man wearing a blue shirt holding fruit in his hand standing by a crate of fruit

Hugo Clément, from his docu-series, On the Front

Hugo Clément
The media has a significant role to rally awareness and support for the climate and biodiversity crises. French journalist Hugo Clément has brought these crises to the public through documentaries and investigative journalism, where his pursuit of the truth has uncovered corporate greenwashing. His long-time activism around animal rights has also brought this often overlooked topic into the spotlight. His dedication is far-reaching and he stands by his principles, which we need in our society today.

@hugoclementk

A man wearing a black top and blazer, with his arms folded

Chris Gorrell Barnes

Chris Gorrell Barnes, founding Partner of Ocean 14 capital and co-founder of Blue Marine Foundation, nominates:

Por el Mar
Martina Sasso, founder of this dynamic new Argentinian NGO, has used creativity and communications to advance a ban on open-net salmon farming in Argentina and delivered extraordinary wins by creating pivotal marine-protected areas in the region. I can see that Por el Mar will deliver outstanding conservation gains for the ocean in the next few years.

A penguin by the sea

Megallanic penguin at the Monte León National Park in Santa Cruz, part of a project supported by Por el Mar

porelmar.org

SyAqua
This, our first investment at Ocean 14, is a platform for our mission to transform shrimp farming. US and Asia-based SyAqua is a leading provider of genetics and tech in shrimp breeding. It provides farmers with virus-resilient broodstock, so reducing environmental externalities and make shrimp farming more sustainable.

syaqua.com

A man standing next to trees and grass wearing a suit

Christian Lim

Christian Lim, Managing Director of Blue Ocean, SWEN Capital Partners and Co-Chair of 1000 Ocean Startups, nominates:

Anne-Sophie Roux
Roux is a young but powerful voice in the global movement against reckless deep-sea mining. She and the Sustainable Ocean Alliance have been instrumental in changing the position of several governments, including in France and Switzerland. As founder and CEO of Paris-based Tenaka, she and her team have worked with partners to develop corporate responsibility programmes and nature-based solutions for ocean conservation.

people standing together weather pink t-shirts

Members of the Tanzanian Fisheries Research Institute being trained in environmental DNA collection for eBioAtlas, as devised by NatureMetrics

tenaka.org

Kat Bruce
In 2014, scientist Kat Bruce co-founded NatureMetrics, the world’s leading eDNA company. Its mission is to democratise measurement of biodiversity for different species through technology, to better align nature and markets. Disclosure: we have invested in NatureMetrics.

naturemetrics.com

A woman holding a microphone doing a presentation

Karen Sack

Karen Sack, Executive Director of Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, nominates:

Whitney Johnston
As the company’s first Director of Ocean Sustainability, Whitney leads Salesforce’s work on sourcing high quality blue-carbon offsets. Based in New Mexico and a climate scientist and oceanographer by training, she is a leader in developing high-quality blue-carbon principles and a key shaper of the Blue Carbon Buyers Alliance, companies committed to purchasing high-quality blue-carbon credits.

salesforce.com

small boats on the sand lined up next to eachother

Traditional line-fishing boats from the southernmost tip of Africa. The non-profit Abalobi supports small-scale sustainable fishing

Serge Raemaekers
Serge is co-founder of Abalobi, a South African non-profit aiming to elevate small-scale fisheries through technology, and empower them for social, economic and ecological sustainability. The name Abalobi means “fisher” in the isiXhosa language, reflecting its fisher-led nature. Abalobi has developed a digital platform connecting fishers directly with consumers, creating a more transparent and equitable value chain. Serge’s vision is to create thriving small-scale fisheries worldwide to feed the world sustainably, provide meaningful livelihoods and contribute to healthy ecosystems.

abalobi.org

A woman wearing a black top

Jessica Hodges

Jessica Hodges, Lead in Investment Management and Wealth ESG at Deloitte UK, nominates:

Net Purpose
Samantha Duncan’s London-based organisation is brilliant and was highly commended in the Finance for the Future Awards in 2021. It is a platform to facilitate impact measurement for investors and make it easy for people looking to invest, by collecting, cleaning and structuring data from thousands of global sources. This ensures a more transparent and rigorous approach to assessing the impact of portfolio companies.

netpurpose.com

A warehouse with good and machinery on the ground

LED lighting for a German warehouse, installed by UrbanVolt and financed by the Solas Sustainable Energy Fund

Solas Capital
Zurich-based Solas Capital is a specialist investment advisory firm founded and managed by Sebastian Carneiro and Paul Kearney, both professionals from the energy-efficiency financing sector. The company’s mission is to support the move to a carbon-neutral society through innovative financing. By understanding both the funding needs of energy-efficiency and self-consumption PV infrastructure projects, and the requirements of institutional investors, Solas Capital bridges the gap between investors and projects.

solas.capital

A woman giving a speech at a podium

Cathy Li

Cathy Li, UN Youth Advisor, nominates:

Klima Action Malaysia
This climate justice NGO was founded by youth activist friends of mine who work on the linkage between human rights and climate change. It promotes a rights-based approach to a just and equitable world and the climate emergency. KAMY works to empower vulnerable communities, including indigenous groups, women and youth, to participate in climate governance and decision-making.

klimaactionmalaysia.org

A woman with a fringe wearing glasses and a black shirt

Jennifer Morris

Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, nominates:

Vizzuality
Data is critical, but unless business leaders, policymakers and society understand it, its ability to drive change is limited. With offices in Cambridge, Madrid and Porto, Vizzuality is working on creating data visualisation and mapping tools. We need innovators like Vizzuality to help tackle the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and we’re excited to see how its work on projects like Trase, which maps global supply chains leading to deforestation, and Marxan, the open-source spatial-planning software, can lead us to a nature-positive, net-zero future.

vizzuality.com

A man wearing a suit and tie

Ted Janulis

Ted Janulis, founder and Principal of Investable Oceans, nominates:

Lea d’Auriol
Lea is founder and Executive Director of London-based Oceanic Global, and she and her team made World Ocean Day a
global phenomenon. Lea has pioneered new programmes and methods of engagement, including Oceanic Global’s Blue Standard, a set of tools to help businesses eliminate plastics. Lea also always reflects light on others to acknowledge their contributions.

oceanic.global

A man underwater wearing scuba diving equipment and a wetsuit, taking notes

Titouan Bernicot, founder of Coral Gardeners, monitoring the health of corals growing in the nurseries. Once mature, the corals will be planted back onto damaged reef to bring back life and biodiversity

Titouan Bernicot
Titouan, founder and CEO of Coral Gardeners in French Polynesia, was drawn to action by seeing coral bleaching as a teen surfer in Mo’orea. He has built a community-based organisation that has grown and planted over 30,000 corals in French Polynesia. Their new goal: engage the public to help plant a million corals, and develop tech to accelerate coral restoration around the globe.

coralgardeners.org

A bald man smiling wearing a suit and tie

Professor Connel Fullenkamp

Connel Fullenkamp, Professor of the Practice of Economics at Duke University, and co-founder of Blue Green Future, nominates:

Partanna
Cement production is a major emitter of carbon dioxide. While some firms are working on carbon-neutral cement products, California-based Partanna has developed a carbon-negative cement from brine – a desalination waste product – that captures carbon while it cures. This makes it possible to build homes in the developing world that generate carbon credits for their owners.

partanna.com

A house with a flat roof and sunshine around it

Rendering of a prototype home in the Bahamas made with Partanna’s carbon-negative cement

Belinda Bramley
Pivoting to environmental consulting from accounting, Belinda brings business sense and the ability to speak the language of companies and markets to a field that needs it. She can analyse the needs of a project, organise it and build the case for funding it. She currently supports Hinemoana Halo Ocean. I predict she will become the chief architect of many sustainability projects.

conservation.org/aotearoa/ hinemoana-halo

Read more: Rapha CEO Francois Convercey on diversity and sustainability in cycling

A man smiling wearing a white shirt and grey jacket

Dimitri Zhengelis

Dimitri Zenghelis, Special Advisor to the Wealth Economy project at the University of Cambridge, nominates:

Kingsmill Bond
I recommend energy strategist Kingsmill Bond for his work on low-carbon transition at the US-based Rocky Mountain Institute. He has always been ahead of the game in predicting the speed with which we will adopt renewables and other clean technologies.

rmi.org

A mosaic style painting in different shades of blue and red

Winds of Change, by Sarah Bond for Rocky Mountain Institute

A man wearing a white shirt, pocket handkerchief and a grey suit

Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, founder and CEO of Alta Capital, an award-winning sustainable real-estate developer based in Hong Kong, nominates:

Eric Ricaurte
Founder CEO of Greenview, Eric is a pioneer in sustainable hospitality, starting in South America more than 25 years ago and building Greenview into a leading consultancy. Through his leadership, he has engaged some of the largest hotel groups in the world.

greenview.sg

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A pink jellyfish in blue water
A pink jellyfish in blue water

Summer Compass Jellyfish. Photo by Theo Vickers

The protection of biodiversity is becoming a key topic in the sustainability sector. Now we need to measure our economies’ effects on biodiversity fairly and effectively, says Markus Müller in an interview with Darius Sanai
A man wearing glasses and a black suit with a white shirt

Marküs Muller

LUX: How do we measure our effect on biodiversity, or compare worms with whales?
Markus Müller: We need to find metrics that account for local specifics but are globally comparable. There is a parallel with economic activity, because humans live, produce and consume locally, yet we have found global metrics to measure the economics of human interactions.

LUX: What is the most important measuring tool in the context of nature?
MM: One important metric is the Mean Species Abundance indicator, or MSA, which identifies the impacts of an economic activity on the mean species in a designated local area. It indicates the abundance of native species in a disturbed ecosystem relative to undisturbed ecosystems. Another measure is the Biodiversity Intactness Index, or BII. Both can help us obtain information around an ecosystem’s ability to deliver the ecosystem services we depend on, and understand the influence of economic activity on nature.

LUX: But won’t the MSA in a desert have a different metric to one in a rainforest?
MM: The ingredients are different, but it is about the amount of species. We have business activity in a location and from that we get data on its pressure and impact. That shows how the MSA is clustered according to the activity in terms of climate change, land use, nitrogen deposition, hunting, road disturbance and fragmentation.

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LUX: Is the metric accepted universally?
MM: It is getting more recognition by various institutions and participants. However, our goal should not be to have a universally accepted metric for its own sake; it should be on accounting for local specificities with a methodology that, in principle, can be applied globally. It is not 100 per cent perfect, but, given the need for urgent action, as made clear by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, I advocate not waiting till scientists have the perfect metric.

LUX: How will the metrics affect business?
MM: When we know the effect of a business activity on the MSA, we will then know the biodiversity cost of the activity, and we can bring that into the decision-making process around it.

LUX: Is the aim to have a tax or other regulation on businesses that affect the MSA?
MM: Yes. The disclosure of a company’s MSA would allow the market to better price its exposure to nature– and climate-related risks, and take these factors into account for a valuation.

LUX: Would it work like carbon credits?
MM: Biodiversity credits are not comparable to carbon credits in a key sense because, other than for the actual removal of greenhouse gas emissions, carbon credits are used to compensate for current carbon use. Biodiversity credits must be purely an incentive not to destroy biodiversity, not to offset its loss. We can use economic incentives, such as reduced taxation, or a market system in which participants exchange credits.

LUX: How will the nature market develop?
MM: It will likely develop as we’ve seen equity or fixed-income markets develop. I would add the caveat that we should never monetise nature, but understand its value and what it gives us, so we can protect the value that ecosystem services provide, while enabling their uninterrupted flow. We need to prioritise the intactness of nature.

three pink seahorses in the sea

Photo by David Clode

LUX: How will governments regulate this?
MM: It is a question of the governance of nature. If we do not know how to govern nature, we also do not know what kind of mechanism to use to manage and assess its governance. For example, effective governance also means you need to include local communities into the responsibility of governing these resources.

LUX: Is there the desire among governments and voters to make this happen?
MM: On the one hand I think, yes; on the other, it requires uncomfortable decisions. So we need to remind ourselves again about economics and diminishing marginal utility. Humans will act in a familiar pattern for as long as the marginal utility is positive. We only change when it is no longer possible to proceed as we were.

LUX: Will listed companies make decisions based around biodiversity incentives?
MM: Yes, regulation is going in this direction. We see it with 30 by 30 – the initiative to create protected areas across 30 per cent of Earth’s land and sea by 2030. More than 100 countries are signed up. This development must not be limited to a specific region like Europe, we need a joint framework; even better, a joint narrative.

LUX: Is there a risk that companies make decisions based on one factor – biodiversity at the expense of carbon emissions, say?
MM: Yes, this is a risk of sustainability. We see it as a goal but, like economics, it is not a goal but a tool. Ideally, my role will be redundant in 20 years, as sustainability will be incorporated into everything. I think, in time, MSA or BII will be comparable indicators to CO2 emissions.

Read more: Leaders on Leaders: the people saving our planet

LUX: What would you say to an investor who says, “I just invest to make money”?
MM: I would say this way of thinking belongs in the past. We have to acknowledge that a high negative impact on nature is a financial risk as well as an environmental one. Nature-based risks – and opportunities – will materialise and have an impact on a portfolio. Companies not taking these into account, through an adaptive strategy, will have to pay a higher price in the future.

LUX: In five years, will a private-equity fund take MSA into account in decision-making?
MM: Yes, I believe so. I think it will play an increasing role in impact investing, but it will also play a role in the consumer-goods space.

LUX: If you were in charge of the world, what would you ask people to do?
MM: Go back to our roots. Think local, act global. Take account of nature, because we are a part of it. It is naive to disregard the system we are dependent on. We can’t do that any more.

Markus Müller is Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Chief Investment Officer at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank

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People playing golf in front of the Colosseum

Team Captains Luke Donald of England and Zach Johnson of The United States with the Ryder Cup Trophy at the Colosseum in Rome

Guy Kinnings is the Deputy CEO, Ryder Cup Director & Chief Commercial Officer at European Tour Group & Ryder Cup. Ahead of the Ryder Cup in Rome this weekend, he speaks to Samantha Welsh about the growing enthusiasm for the sport from the next generation and the organisation’s focus on making golf more sustainable

LUX: You are a renowned leader in the golf world; where would you say your focus and relatability have come from?
GK: I originally trained as a lawyer in London and that gave me a good grounding in the commercial world. But as a lifelong sports fan, I always knew I wanted to gravitate towards that world. It’s been three decades for me in the world of golf, and I’ve worked on virtually every aspect of the professional game and enjoyed working with pretty much everyone involved in the game. I worked in every aspect of golf (event staging, sales, media etc) but I also spent many years as a player manager/agent. That job requires you to be a salesman, lawyer, confidante, all-round sounding board and sometimes a shoulder to cry on. I learned the ropes from the legendary Mark McCormack at IMG, who managed the likes of Arnold Palmer and Gary Player and basically invented the role of a modern sports agent. I could not have asked for a better mentor. The Tour is ultimately a Members’ run organisation, so the players are the shareholders that I answer to. Athletes are a unique breed who I have a huge amount of admiration for and I’d like to think I’ve learned what makes them tick.

It’s also crucial to be passionate about what you do if you want to succeed – and I love my job. I get to travel to amazing places (visiting Ryder Cup venues and the legendary Augusta National is an annual highlight) and to spend time with incredibly talented people. I also have an amazing wife and family. She has always been very understanding about the travel and late-night phone calls! Sport is ultimately a relationship-based business and golf tends to attract great people, which helps. It may be a niche sport, but it punches well above its weight because its core values – things like integrity, inclusivity and sportsmanship – are so appealing.

Two men holding a goldtrophy

European Ryder Cup Director, Guy Kinnings and European Ryder Cup Captain, Luke Donald

LUX: How do you think the pandemic affected the global golf industry?
GK: The pandemic was a big shock to the entire sports and entertainment industry, but our Tour faced more challenges than most because of our global nature. We are a travelling circus in many respects, visiting 26 countries this season. When air travel was severely restricted and fans had to stay away, it became a battle for survival. But one of my proudest career moments was seeing how my colleagues managed to overcome so many hurdles. We completely revamped our schedule and quickly set up a sector leading testing and bubble system for players and our staff, which meant we could get back playing earlier than almost any other sport. This allowed us to fulfil broadcaster and sponsor obligations and keep our players competing for prize funds. We learnt a lot and have come out of the pandemic even stronger than before it. It brought the best out of our people at a tough moment.

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The pandemic has also been a key factor in driving a big boost in the popularity of golf. We saw big spikes in participation across 2020 and 2021, particularly amongst younger players, and it’s great to see that this trend has continued. I feel like golf is undergoing a cultural moment right now and the launch of the new ‘Full Swing‘ series on Netflix will only help drive this by showing off the sport and its personalities to a new audience. Of course, we also have the Ryder Cup in September, which is always a moment in time when the sport enters mainstream consciousness.

A man playing golf wearing a pink top and white trousers

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland at the DS Automobiles Italian Open 2022 at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome 2022

LUX: What was behind the ET rebrand as DP World Tour and how has this brought about the vision for driving golf further?
GK: We sat down with DP World, a long-standing Tour partner, at the 2019 DP World Tour Championship – our season ending event – and discussed what a bigger relationship might look like. Becoming the Tour’s Title Partner was discussed and it quickly became apparent that there were a lot of synergies there. Changing our brand, with all its history, was not something we took lightly but from a very basic branding perspective the “European Tour” name was increasingly a misnomer anyway. Pre-pandemic, 27 of our 47 events were outside the continent and the idea of rebranding to a “world” Tour had already been floated, so what better way to cement this global footprint than by partnering with a company whose very name encapsulates that?

The extra investment they are making has also helped us to elevate the Tour in every way. We’ve had record prize funds for the past two seasons – no mean feat given the pandemic and global economic uncertainty – and unlocked new funds to further invest in our Golf for Good programme. A good example is the launch of the G4D (Golf for the Disabled) Tour last year. We could create an entirely new Tour for the best disability golfers in the world, who play the same course, the same week, as DP World Tour events across a nine-event schedule. Making golf more inclusive is a big passion point for the Tour and this was a major statement in this area.

Two men holding a trophy

Guy Kinnings presents the trophy to Juan Postigo Arce of Spain after winning the G4D event at Abu Dhabi Golf Club

LUX: What is your vision for raising the profile of the women’s game?
GK: Whilst we are a men’s professional Tour first and foremost, we have worked with our friends at the Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour to create a series of mixed gender events. In 2022 there was the Volvo Scandinavian Mixed and the ISPS Handa World Invitational. These are great opportunities to show that women’s golf is just as entertaining as the men’s game. In fact, we had the first ever female winner on the DP World Tour in 2021 as Sweden’s Linn Grant won the Scandinavian Mixed. She played unbelievable golf that week and I’m proud that we could give her a platform to compete against her male counterparts. I truly believe that golf can be the most inclusive game in the world. The handicap system in the amateur game means that people can compete against each other on an equal footing, regardless of their skill level, and our mixed gender events are just one way to showcase that ethos. I am also a big fan of the Solheim Cup – which is played the week before the Ryder Cup later this year.

LUX: Have your team had success in reducing environmental impacts?
GK: 2022 saw us measuring our carbon footprint across eight key tournaments to identify a baseline to work from, so full data on our emission reductions have started coming through this year. We have seen some really positive developments. For example, we require a lot of temporary power generators at our tournaments, because a golf tournament is basically held in a large field, and we have switched from traditional diesel generators to bio fuelled powered ones which is reducing emissions by up to 94%. We have also reworked our schedule to try and group tournaments together geographically to reduce air travel and we will be making more headway on that in 2024. We have also started trialling remote TV production techniques with our partner Tata to reduce the amount of people we fly out to events. The recent Singapore Classic was a major trial for us in this respect. We had 29% fewer TV staff in Singapore – they were working remotely in the UK from Stockley Park – which saved 140 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of 850,000km in a diesel powered family car.

A golf tournament

Rory McIlroy of Northen Irleand at the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

LUX: While you can create KPIs for courses, real estate, logistics, materiel, processes, how do you guide behaviours and set standards for spectators, fans?
GK: We have to bring fans on this journey with us. We have tens of thousands of spectators watching our events each tournament day and they travel to and from the event. Fan travel is included in our net zero commitment, so we need to encourage behaviour change. We can do many things ourselves to help guide them to be more sustainable, such as offering refillable water stations to reduce single use plastic use, offer vegan food stalls, or provide incentives to travel by public transport. But at the end of the day there is only so much we can do and personal responsibility takes over. But sport can be a powerful tool to educate people, so in 2023 we have been really trying to get the message out there to spectators that sustainability is important. We’re launching a fan-focused campaign at the Betfred British Masters where the Tour will be planting 100 trees for every player that manages to drive the iconic par 4 10th hole at the Belfry. Fans can also have a go themselves in a simulator experience. It’s one way to authentically incorporate sustainability into the on-course action, which is not always an easy thing to do. We will also be providing a mechanism at the Ryder Cup where fans on site will be able to calculate their travel footprint and make a payment to offset it.

LUX: LUX approaches the subject of carbon offsetting with care. The World Economic Forum warns it ‘can cause people to disassociate themselves from the issue and deflect attention from the immediate dangers posed by climate change’: is ETG set directly on a path to net zero?
GK: We are indeed. In fact, we recently became the first pro golf Tour to set a net zero target when we signed up to the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework. We have now committed to halving our emissions by 50% by 2030 and being fully net zero carbon by 2040. As you say, carbon offsetting alone is simply not enough, not least because some off-setting projects can take many decades to have any effect, so it should only ever be seen as complementary to a more robust climate mitigation effort.

Read more: Kelly Russell Catella on sustainable urban planning

LUX: Where is there a role for carbon offsetting and when will you get to carbon neutral?
GK: There will always be certain emissions we incur when staging a golf tournament that are unavoidable, and this is where carbon offsetting can be utilised alongside a robust climate mitigation programme. Off-setting by itself as a standalone approach is not enough of course, and the sports industry seems to be getting that message. We understand that and have embarked on an ambitious climate mitigation programme to reduce our carbon emissions. Some of our events are already carbon neutral – our five Rolex Series events, that represent our biggest tournaments, is carbon neutral this year. The next step, which will take several years, is to get to net zero carbon, which has required a root and branch review of how we stage a tournament and where we can do things differently. Thankfully, our operations teams fully embrace this mission and are passionate about making their events as sustainable as possible – harnessing a little internal competition is not a bad thing in that respect!

Two men holding a trophy on a golf course

Luke Donald of England and Zach Johnson of United States during at Marco Simone Golf Club

LUX: Is driving sustainability having any impact on sponsorship and prize-money? We would love to hear about the approach with partners on working toward sustainability goals.
GK: Without a doubt, and as Chief Commercial Officer I’m at the heart of these conversations. Virtually every sponsorship conversation I have will turn to sustainability at some point. If you do not have a credible sustainability strategy, then sponsors will look elsewhere. We hired our first Head of Sustainability in 2021 to drive this work internally and launched a revamped Green Drive sustainability strategy. This has detailed plans for how we will reduce our carbon footprint. Sponsors are drawn to our leadership in this area and what is really compelling is the ability to work together to use a sponsor’s technology and expertise to help us get to net zero. For example, using BMW’s electric vehicle fleet to transport players and staff at tournaments, or working with our partner OceanTee (who make sustainable golf products) to roll out tees made from bamboo and reusable water bottles at events. These relationships have practical advantages for us and create great brand storytelling opportunities for a sponsor, so it’s a win-win situation. So whilst there’s a moral obligation to do the right thing, let’s not forget that being sustainable makes business sense as well. It’s a virtuous circle.

LUX: We are excited for the Ryder Cup. What is the winning formula for this legendary sporting event?
GK: The Ryder Cup is the moment when golf really enters mainstream culture – it’s up there with the Super Bowl, the World Cup and the Olympics in that respect. When working on it you’re very aware that it is something special, so you have a responsibility to protect and nurture it. In terms of a winning formula, first things first it’s very tribal and this helps bring the casual fan along for the ride. Even if you are not an avid golfer, you can feel an allegiance to Team Europe or Team USA. It also means more to the players. Golf can be quite an insular sport at the pro level, so these guys love coming together every two years and playing a team sport. We also create an unbelievable atmosphere on the first tee. It’s a real amphitheatre and the players all say it’s the most nervous they ever feel. Rome 2023 promises to be particularly special as the location is so iconic. You can actually see St Peter’s Basilica from various spots on the course, so spectators can enjoy one of the world’s great cities when not watching golf.

The Ryder Cup is being held in Rome on Friday 29 Sept – Sunday 1 Oct 2023

Find out more: europeantour.com/dpworld-tour

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Reading time: 12 min

Rapha aims to use recycled materials and organic natural fibres across their products

Francois Convercey is the newly appointed CEO of luxury cycling brand Rapha. Here he speaks to LUX about the company’s sustainability initiatives and the need for greater age and gender diversity in cycling

LUX: How has the structure of Rapha changed with the renewed focus on cycling and its benefits since the pandemic?
Francois Convercey: I wouldn’t say that the pandemic and its involvement in cycling actually changed our strategies or the organisation of our business. Rapha already had the focus of making cycling the most popular sport in the world. From day one, we had the ambition of making cycling aspirational and beautiful, and to get as many people as we could to fall in love with the sport.

As much as the pandemic got people to turn their heads towards the outdoors and cycling, it actually acted as a catalyst towards our original purpose and strategies more than anything else. There was a much broader receptive audience for us to engage with – but all the different building blocks and strategies that we had put in place a decade before the pandemic were still very much relevant in the way we have developed our pricing structure and the way we have made the brand more approachable and more relevant to more people. This made it easier for us to capitalise on the renewed interest in cycling – the way we set up as a business, being a direct-to-consumer business in the first place. The pandemic didn’t change much, but it allowed us to accelerate and grow more quickly. It hasn’t made us shift or change the direction of travel for the business. It just reinforced our belief that we are on the right track.

Rapha CEO Francois Convercey

LUX: What do you believe are the imbalances which need to be addressed by sporting brands in conversations about gender equality and diversity?
FC: Cycling as a sport has imbalances which we are trying to address, although it is a long journey. Gender diversity is definitely one of those, which starts at the pinnacle end of the sport, at racing. Equity and equality when it comes to world tour racing and bike racing as a whole is still very imbalanced and focused on male races. Female races have only begun to be broadcasted in the last couple of years. The Tour de France, which is the cycling world’s biggest sporting event and one of the top ten sporting events in the world, didn’t have a women’s tour until 1955, which was then stopped for thirty years, and only reinstated last year. There are still lots of things to be done to provide balance when it comes to media exposure, broadcasting, prize money and salaries for professional cyclists.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

We try to help drive this balance through the storytelling we do, through our initiatives. During last year’s Tour de France we had a collaboration with a streetwear brand PALACE, using our men’s racing team as a billboard to promote the women’s tour. We are making investments on the women’s tour, sponsoring the women’s world tour team, spending 50% of our marketing money on content and athletes on minorities – women and individuals from under-represented backgrounds, which is part of our impact commitment as a brand. I think the gender balance is one of the key imbalances.

Members of the Rapha Cycling Club coming together

There is definitely an element of age; we want more of the youth to look at cycling as an amazing thing to do. Cycling isn’t the most approachable or accessible sport there is – a bike is more expensive than a pair of running shoes, it requires more time and sometimes infrastructures. Five years ago at Rapha, we began supporting cycling at its grassroots and breaking down barriers to make the sport more accessible to young people and under-represented individuals, and people from under-privileged backgrounds. Over the past five years, the Rapha Foundation donated over $5 million in grants to 38 different grantees who all have concrete initiatives to help break down accessibility to the sport and to support under-privileged kids to have access to cycling – whether it’s supporting programs in schools, or young talent programs. We’ve recently partnered with USA Cycling as part of a program called Search for Speed, which is a track cycling talent identification program, looking for the next US track talent for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Gender balance is key, age balance is key. The third to look at is accessibility and the role that cycling can play in helping mitigate access to education and healthcare. There have been fantastic initiatives such as World Bicycle Relief, which we have supported over the years and continue to support with the Rapha Foundation, which gives bikes to communities who need bikes for basic life needs – whether it’s education for children to travel to school and not have to walk, or to provide a level of healthcare and health benefits which individuals deserve. The bike can be an amazing tool to break down accessibility barriers for under-privileged communities.

Items from Rapha’s exclusive Rapha + Paul Smith RCC Collection, launched in 2023

LUX: How do you balance promoting professional cycling and equipment whilst also trying to encourage a new generation of amateur cyclists?
FC: I do not necessarily think they are mutually exclusive. The pinnacle-end of the sport, high-performance racing, is aspirational to many individuals and will continue to be in the future. I think being able to provide the opportunity to make a career in cycling and being in a position to inspire communities and future generations about the sport is an amazing prospect. But we won’t succeed in achieving our purpose as a brand if we only focus on racing.

We also have to work on more accessible and more approachable activities which help people discover the values and joys of being on a bike, and how being on a bike is a remedy to the world’s biggest societal challenges and threats – whether it’s environmental benefits with more people commuting on a bike, whether it’s mental health and personal wellbeing which comes when you spend time with yourself and challenge yourself as an individual, or the social friendship and comradery which comes with being on a bike. I think professional and amateur cycling should co-exist and they have their distinctive role to play.

An image from the Rapha Spring/Summer ’23 Collection campaign

LUX: Can you tell us about the main ways you incorporate sustainability into your company?
FC: Sustainability is central. We’ve always looked at it as a duty we have to do the right thing. We launched a repair program which provides the opportunity for any garment which may be damaged to be repaired. We used to do that in-house. We have started to involve partners to help us do it. Over time, we started to pay more attention to how we make our products and the impact that we have. For the last couple of years we’ve been offsetting all the carbon emissions that are generated from the shipments to customers. We’ve offset 100% of our carbon emissions coming from our logistics impact that we have on the planet.

We have been driving a lot of work to convert 100% of our product range into sustainable materials, whether it’s recycled fabrics, recycled fibres, or recyclable or compostable fibres. We’ve covered about 70% of the range now. We are removing all PFC materials from our weather protection products. We’re taking a much more abrasive stance on excess materials we produce. We are now repurposing excess material through excess collections in the Spring of this year. This is now becoming part of our ongoing initiatives. Although it only accounts for 2% of our total volume, it is still a meaningful initiative.

The Los Angeles Rapha Clubhouse

We are about to publish our second impact report in September, which will show our impact over the last twelve months and how much we’ve progressed. We are ahead of track on some key commitments, and some others we have found more challenging than we hoped, or we realise we needed to communicate in a very different way, or we realised that people, planet and communities take framework for broader impact. It takes time, and we’ve embedded that as a culture and as a priority. We have a small sustainability team, but that team is there to inspire a vision. If it’s not embedded in business, we will never make the progress we want to make.

Read more: Pierre Barreau on the future of AI in the music industry 

LUX: Do you think cities are adapting to cyclists, or is there more to be done?
FC: We’ve seen cities adapting more and more to cyclists. I think the pandemic has been an amazing catalyst for more infrastructure to be provided, but we are far from being in the right place.

We can look at places like Denmark and Holland, where urban commuting is ingrained in the local culture, and see cities which are built around cycling. There is lots of fantastic work being done by cities and local organisations. I’ve seen places like Paris, for instance, make amazing progress over the last three years and transforming the way people can ride through the city in a much safer way.

The RCC is now a global community with over 10,000 members

It’s a constant push and pull. Safety on a bike is still one of the top three barriers from people riding their bikes. More and more people have decided to take their bikes off the road and ride off the beaten track or in front of the TV, because you’re in a safer environment. This shows we are still far from where we need to be to make riding safe, whether it’s inside or outside the city.

LUX: How do cyclist communities created by the Rapha clubhouses influence the outlook of the company?
FC: We’ve always been committed to real-life experiences from the earliest days of Rapha. We call our physical Rapha stores clubhouses, because they are not just stores, they are a home away from home for our customers. In 2014, we launched Rapha Cycling Club which is part of a membership program which gives people access to unique benefits and unique experiences. That community is now made up of 20,000 individuals across the world spread across 25 different chapters. Actively investing in building communities on the ground is a direct consequence of us trying to inspire the world to take up the bike. The RCC and our clubhouses are there to inspire people to go on a ride every day of the week, you will have a collection of rides you can join as a member.

The cycling communities influence the company on a few levels. It pushes the customer-centrality of the brand because of the unique customer-directed nature of the brand we have got to have the customer-mentality and direct relationship. It depends on feedback from customers and RCC members to have that customer-first mentality. As CEO of the company, I can go on a ride tomorrow morning in a London clubhouse and get real-time feedback from our customers on how they feel and what they think.

Find out more: www.rapha.cc

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Reading time: 9 min
A pool surrounded by grass from a bird's eye view
A pool with deckchairs by the sea

The Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino is the first of the hotel group’s properties in Greece

Looking to extend your summer in the sun? Getting weary of your guests on your yacht? Drop by the brand new Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino in Greece, opened this month

A sunset and a hotel overlooking the sea

Mandarin Oriental collaborated with TEMES, a leading developer known for their commitment to sustainability, to develop the resort

A pool surrounded by grass from a bird's eye view

The hotel has an 18-hole golf course on the property designed by premier golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones II

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

A deck chair and parasol with mountains and see in the distance with a sunset

Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino is located next to the recently opened Navarino Agora, a marketplace with curated retail, dining venues, artisanal street food and an open-air cinema

A beige bedroom with a floor to ceiling window sliding door to a terrace overlooking the sea

The hotel has 99 suites designed by Tombazis & Associates Architects and K-Studio, the team behind the renowned Scorpios beach club in Mykonos

A terrace with beige and wooden chairs and a pool overlooking the sea

The hotel used locally sourced materials to create its bioclimatic design, drawing inspiration from local agricultural traditions and the region’s heritage

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Reading time: 4 min
A woman wearing a white and blue dress sitting on a blue and white sofa
A woman wearing a white and blue dress sitting on a blue and white sofa

Hilary Weston, at home in Windsor

As co-founder of Windsor, a private residential community along Florida’s Treasure Coast, Hilary Weston is also Creative Director of The Gallery at Windsor. The serial philanthropist and scion of the retail family talks to LUX’s Candice Tucker about contemporary art, community, creatives – and why she pays no attention to the art market

LUX: What do you hope to achieve in art?
Hilary Weston: Art has been part of the fabric of Windsor since the community’s early days [Weston founded Windsor with her husband Galen, who died in 2021]. Over the years, The Gallery at Windsor has developed a reputation for staging exhibitions that present the very best of contemporary art. This latest exhibition by Sir Tony Cragg continues our desire to present the talents of some of the most important contemporary artists of our time.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: How is the art-collecting community growing in Windsor?
HW: The Gallery at Windsor is at the heart of Windsor’s Cultural Art Programme, which encourages all Windsor members to participate in the arts, whether it be contemporary art in the gallery, performing arts, film or literature. I hope the success of the gallery has contributed to the culture of collecting at Windsor. Many pieces from the gallery’s exhibition series have remained at Windsor in our members’ homes. We are just over a two-hour drive north of Miami – a global capital for contemporary art, and the energy of Miami can be felt in Windsor, especially around Art Basel Miami Beach.

A wooden sculpture and a red sculpture on podiums next to eachother

The Gallery at Windsor was founded in 2002, as an independent art space

LUX: How did you create your art initiative?
HW: We staged our first exhibition in March 2002. It was a photography show called “The Beach”, curated by Bettina von Hase. It explored the relationship between beach and society through the eyes of a range of artists including Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Robert Capa, David Hockney and John Baldessari. Over the years we have shown Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Ed Ruscha, Bruce Weber, Peter Doig, Alex Katz, Per Kirkeby and Christopher Le Brun. In 2011, the gallery began a three-year collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery to realise exhibitions by Beatriz Milhazes, Gert and Uwe Tobias and Jasper Johns. I was particularly proud of our three-year collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts, from 2018 to 2020. We showed Grayson Perry, Sir Michael Craig-Martin and the wonderful Rose Wylie. The sight of Grayson in his fabulous outfits electrified the community. He brought his family and they stayed a week. Everyone had such fun getting to know them.

LUX: How involved is your family in Windsor?
HW: While I am the Creative Director of The Gallery at Windsor, it was my daughter Alannah who founded it in 2002. I admire her creativity hugely. When a growing family and business commitments began to take up more of her time, I took over the reins of the gallery. As Principal of Windsor, Alannah is leading the final phase of its development – a 47-acre swath of land adjacent to the country’s first protected wildlife preserve and the banks of the Indian River Lagoon. The North Village will include 40 residences, wellness amenities, a heightened attention to sustainability and an outdoor art programme.

A group of people standing together, one in a bright pink dress and another in bright green

Christopher Le Brun, Grayson Perry, Hilary Weston, Tim Marlow, Philippa Perry and Galen Weston, in front of Grayson Perry’s Comfort Blanket, at The Gallery at Windsor, 2018

LUX: Name five people you think are having the greatest impact on the art world right now.
HW: There are so many wonderful people creating art and leading the art world. Working with two world-renowned art institutions, the RA and Whitechapel Gallery, and art-world leaders such as Sir Christopher Le Brun and Iwona Blazwick has enabled us to welcome incredible artists, some in the earlier stages of their career, such as Ed Ruscha and Beatriz Milhazes, who went on to enjoy amazing success.

LUX: What effect do you think bringing major artists to Windsor has on the community?
HW: We believe culture is a crucial part of the spirit of a community, so it is natural that art and artists have been part of the ethos of Windsor. The gallery extends past our gates to the local Vero Beach community. We open for public docent-led tours two days a week. The tours are complementary and we accept donations for our charitable foundation that supports local arts education. We have strong ties with the area’s arts organisations and hold an ongoing roster of collaborative cultural events with them. We are proud and privileged to be able to introduce an artist of Sir Tony’s calibre to our membership and the community at large.

A sculpture beside red paintings

Part of Windsor’s fine arts programming has included collaborations with organisations such as the Whitechapel Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts in London

LUX: Which new artists do you admire now?
HW: There will always be brilliant artists at any age who are under-recognised and then something just happens. The gallery here is known for showing some of the art world’s greats, but we aim to celebrate artists at whatever point of their careers. In the past few years, I have become acquainted with a young Irish abstract painter named Jack Coulter. His layered works are inspired by music. I visited his exhibition at Sotheby’s this past fall and a piece inspired by an album by the Anglo-Irish punk band The Pogues caught my eye. I think Jack is someone to watch.

LUX: The art-market peak has been called many times over the past ten years. Will it peak?
HW: I don’t follow the art market too closely. Markets go up and go down. I believe art is important to our lives and the market will do what it does.

LUX: What differences have you noticed in the new generation of collectors?
HW: My feeling is they are open to a more diverse range of practices. There are some interesting things being done in digital and performance art. It’s an area we’d like to explore more.

A beige statue on grass with palm trees around it

Views from The Gallery at Windsor’s major 2023 exhibition, “Tony Cragg: Sculptures and Works on Paper”

LUX: What’s next for art at Windsor?
HW: As a new generation joins the community, my hope is that art continues to be an important part of life at Windsor. We have many members who found Windsor through its art programme. With our planned outdoor art island, it is exciting to wonder what is in store for the future here.

Read more: Sophie Neuendorf: The best art shows this season

LUX: Where will the next US art hot spot be?
HW: Toronto is not in the US, but it is one base of the Weston family, and I’m proud and impressed by its metropolitan and welcoming outlook. With the success of the Toronto International Film Festival and new art fairs, it is an art hot spot that should not be overlooked.

LUX: What would you change in the art world?
HW: Wouldn’t it be wonderful for the focus of discussions to return to art and artists, rather than market and prices?

Find out more: windsorflorida.com

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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Reading time: 6 min
A wave crashing into the sea
A wave crashing into the sea

Photo by Ben Thouard

To achieve the Paris Agreement target of net zero by 2050, the world needs to shift to green infrastructure – now. In part 1 of our two-part series on making that change, Claire Asher shows how the public and private sectors can speed the move from fossil fuels to green energy

Giving up our addiction to fossil fuels will be the biggest energy transition the modern world has seen. It will require rapid changes to our energy systems and huge investments from both the public and private sectors, and it will be essential to ensure a liveable climate for generations to come.

A man with grey hair wearing a black t-shirt

Roberto Schaeffer

The first steps in this transition are already underway. By redesigning systems, such as heating and transportation, to use electricity rather than liquid or gas fuel, we gain the flexibility to generate that energy from a variety of sources. “Everything that can be electrified will have to be electrified,” says Roberto Schaeffer, Professor of Energy Economics at the Energy Planning Program of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Our future energy portfolio will likely include a mixture of wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, biofuels and nuclear energy, tailored regionally to match local availability, as well as social and political priorities.

“Our total energy use will decline significantly as we electrify transportation and heating,” says Anthony Patt, Full Professor of Climate Policy at the Institute of Environmental Decisions (ETH) in Zurich. Nevertheless, global electricity demand will likely rise as we transition, to replace existing coal- and gas-fired power plants and to replace fossil fuels used in transportation and heating. “We’re going to need a lot of new power, a lot of investment into wind and solar,” he says.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

In the short term, growing energy demands will be eased by improving efficiency. “There’s capital needed in the near term to help reduce energy wastage,” says Alice Miles, Head of Infrastructure Specialists at DWS Group asset managers. “It sounds a lot less glamorous, but there needs to be investment to upgrade to more efficient air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration systems, better insulation and better boilers.”

Balancing Supply and Demand

Compared with fossil fuels, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydroelectric provide a less consistent output that varies daily and seasonally, so matching energy supply with demand will be challenging. The most obvious solution is to store energy for later use, but installing batteries to store electricity is not cost-effective. “If you’re thinking about storing power from one season to the next, it becomes almost prohibitively expensive,” says Patt.

A man wearing a grey blazer and white shirt

Anthony Patt

Scaling up battery storage will also place pressure on global supply chains. Current battery technology relies on specific minerals, such as lithium and cobalt, which are produced in only a few countries, including China, Bolivia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although renewables promise increased energy independence, Schaeffer warns that, “with the energy transition, we may become even more dependent on a few countries because of the need for these materials.”

An alternative to large-scale energy storage is large-scale energy grids. “We need a grid that is bigger than our weather systems to balance out the regional differences in production,” says Patt. Weather systems alter wind speeds for days at a time, at the scale of hundreds of kilometres, so this will mean “moving from a national model of electricity planning to a more European model, and with a lot of grid interconnections,” he explains. With the right continental-scale planning and grid infrastructure in place, “you could install enough wind and solar in the right places, so that we wouldn’t have to store electricity,” adds Patt. However, this may be politically challenging.

Building a Diverse Energy Portfolio

“The number of sectors where it is cost-effective to electrify has only been increasing,” says Patt. But there are exceptions, such as the steel and chemicals industries, aviation and shipping. Alternative fuels will be needed to reach net zero in these sectors.

Biofuels, such as bioethanol or biodiesel, are one such alternative. “Biofuels can be engineered to produce exactly the kind of molecule we need for a plane or a ship, meaning that you don’t need to adapt,” Schaeffer suggests. “Similarly, some oil refineries can be adapted to also co-process biomass.” This has the further advantage of mitigating the inevitable obsolescence of existing infrastructure. However, the role of biofuels will likely be limited by competition with food crops for available fertile land and fresh water.

Synthetic fuels, produced directly from water and carbon dioxide using solar energy, could be used as an alternative to fossil fuels for sectors such as long-haul air travel and shipping. But these technologies are not yet fully mature.

A third option is hydrogen, although currently most hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels. “Really, the only sustainable option is so-called green hydrogen, which uses renewable power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen,” says Patt. This method could be used in chemicals industries that require extremely high temperatures, or as a replacement for coal in the steel industry. Elsewhere, Patt believes hydrogen’s role will be limited. “It’s going to be much more efficient to just use electricity,” he explains.

Climate Change Threat to Energy Infrastructure

Energy infrastructure was designed to withstand climate and weather conditions experienced over past centuries, but the coming decades will bring more extremes, meaning that current infrastructure will be operating outside its tolerance levels more frequently. For example, sea-level rise poses risks to coastal fossil-fuel extraction and processing infrastructure, such as oil and natural-gas platforms and refineries; increasingly frequent and severe storms can damage energy transmission lines, such as overhead electricity pylons; extreme heatwaves and drought could impact the water-based cooling systems used by coal and nuclear power plants.

Existing infrastructure may need to be adapted to cope with these extremes, and new infrastructure will need to be designed to withstand the new normal. “We have to build infrastructure that’s going to be capable of dealing with a new world,” Schaeffer explains.

There is, however, an irony in some cases. “Renewables seem to be much more vulnerable to climate change,” Schaeffer says. This is because they rely on natural processes that may be disrupted as the climate changes, such as rainfall and air currents that drive hydroelectric and wind turbines. “It is paradoxical that fossil fuels are more reliable in the face of climate change,” he adds. Changing weather patterns may reduce hydropower output, by making dry spells drier and overloading the system during the wet season. However, computer simulations by Patt and colleagues suggest that the impact of climate change on total energy output from wind and solar will be small.

bubbles under the sea

Photo by Ben Thouard

Creating the Right Regulatory Environment

“From a technical point of view, the energy problem is solvable,” says Schaeffer. Renewable electricity is now the cheapest source of power in most regions, and estimates suggest that it could satisfy 65 per cent of the world’s energy needs by 2030. However, new infrastructure means large and long-term investments.

“The critical thing is to create a regulatory environment in which anybody investing in renewable-energy production knows they’ll make money,” says Patt. An example would be government incentive schemes, such as feed-in tariffs, which guarantee a fixed price per unit of renewable energy. “These remove the issue of market volatility, which has been a major impediment to new investment in the power system,” says Patt. “Solar and wind are cheap enough now that these policies don’t have to be expensive, but they are important to remove market volatility and guarantee a positive return on investment.”

Read more: Markus Müller on the links between the ocean and the economy

Recent global crises have underscored the need for a global energy transition. “There has really been a shift in mindset,” says Miles. “There were a couple of things that drove that change and crystallised the focus. The war in Ukraine was one, both in terms of the huge increase in the cost of energy, but also energy security, particularly in Europe; COVID-19 was the other.”

With increases in oil and gas prices, disruptions to global supply chains, concerns about energy security and the impacts of climate change becoming increasingly visible, more businesses and investors understand that the energy transition is not only needed, but presents a valuable opportunity. “In the EU alone, it’s estimated that the green transition will cost €350bn, of which €250bn will need to come from non-government sources,” explains Miles. “Investors increasingly recognise the opportunity to support the energy transition while generating an attractive return.”

How to scale up to net zero

To achieve the Paris Agreement target of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, green-energy solutions not only need to happen, but need to scale up fast. This urgency presents opportunities for investors hoping to support the energy transition and see a positive return on their investment. “I think private capital will play a huge role in taking businesses with proven business models and proven technology, but which need scale, to the next level of growth,” says Alice Miles, Head of Infrastructure Specialists at DWS Group. “Without scale, a lot of these initiatives are just a drop in the ocean.”

A woman with brown hair wearing a black top with sheer shoulders

Alice Miles

The infrastructure for generating renewable energy, such as wind and solar, tends to have high initial investment costs, but relatively low operating and maintenance costs. Once operational, renewables projects can sometimes provide investors with stable revenue that is relatively sheltered from price volatilities. For example, power purchase agreements (PPAs) between electricity generators and consumers such as utility companies, set a fixed price per unit of electricity over a multi-year time frame, offering stability and de-risking revenues for the generators. However, in other scenarios, investors may be exposed to energy price volatility without recourse to protect themselves.

“There’s a virtuous relationship here, because there are investors with capital to deploy who want to see a good return, and then there are companies with proven technologies that need to scale,” says Miles. “Both of those parties can win – and we can all win – by finding the right way to route capital to the companies that can make an enormous contribution to the energy transition story.”

This article was first published in the Deustche Bank Supplement in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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A leopard
A river with marshes around it

The Syväysjoki peatlands within the Koitajoki Basin, Finland. Peatlands like this have been damaged through drainage, peat-mining, and planting for commercial forestry © Mika Honkalinna/Snowchange.

Financier, philanthropist and environmentalist Ben Goldsmith explains how environmental conservation became such an important aspect of his life and why it should be at the forefront of all philanthropists’ agendas

I am lucky enough to be raising a family on a former dairy farm in an area of low agricultural productivity, in South Somerset’s Selwood Forest. Until the Victorian era, a great mosaic woodland stretched across this landscape, from Bath to Wells and down to Frome. This was a landscape of extraordinary natural abundance and vibrancy, in large part on account of the grazing, browsing, rootling and dung of the free-roaming hardy pigs and horned cattle that were turned out by villagers into the forest. These were of course proxies for the wild boar and aurochs of an even earlier age, keystones of the forest ecosystem.

People walking on marshes collecting parts

Solent Seagrass Champions restoring seagrass meadows on the Isle of Wight © Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trusts/Blue Marine Foundation

Recently, alongside two neighbours, we decided to set about reviving the lost woodland. We tore out fencing, switched to native cattle in far lower numbers, rewiggled streams and revived ghost ponds. As the field shapes have begun to dissolve into the landscape, and little patches of crab apple, hawthorn and willow have begun to emerge everywhere, the results have been both startling and magical.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Life has poured back in; the birdsong in spring is at times overwhelming in its intensity, a string of dammed pools created by beavers along the bottom of the valley now abounds with amphibians and dragonflies, the open areas are a riot of wildflowers and tiny chirruping crickets. By comparison, the surrounding landscape seems silent, drained of colour.

hands holding a baby turtle

A baby Hawksbill sea turtle in White Sands, Canash Beach, St.Vincent. Photo by Stephan Hornsey

Immersing myself in this transformation has brought me a greater sense of joy and meaning than anything I’ve done in my life. The natural fabric of the world, in other words that vast life support system on which we depend utterly for everything we have and everything we do, is quite simply blinking out all around us. And yet, here in Selwood, I have seen first-hand that nature rebounds with astonishing intensity and speed. All we need to do is give it the chance. In the grand scheme of things, this is not expensive to do. So why are philanthropists, large and small, not grabbing the opportunity to participate in a movement that is at the same time so vital and so rewarding? Owning land is a niche privilege which appeals to some; but participating in the restoration of nature need not be.

A seal in the sea smiling

The critically endangered monk seal. In Turkey the project is establishing marine protected areas along 500 km of coastline. Artificial nesting platforms have been constructed, which are increasing the monk seal’s breeding success © Fauna & Flora

Just 3% or so of all the money given away philanthropically is directed towards the protection and restoration of the natural environment. Almost ten times as much is given to the arts. Happily though, modest amounts of environmental philanthropy, well directed, is capable of catalysing great change. Lisbet Rausing’s marvellous Arcadia Fund has created an Endangered Landscapes Programme, which dishes out grants of up to €5 million towards the long-term restoration and protection of Europe’s largest remaining intact landscapes. The money is geared towards piecing ecosystems back together, reintroducing missing species, and perhaps most importantly, establishing long-term local prosperity arising from richly abundant nature. It works. Great swathes of Europe are coming back to life as a result of this one programme.

fishing nets hanging on a tree on a beach

Questelles beach, St.Vincent successfully hatched hawksbill nests in 2022. Photo by Stephan Hornsey

Sir Christopher Hohn’s Children’s Investment Fund Foundation has made huge contributions to the Foundation for International Litigation on the Environment, as well as underwriting the spectacular growth of Client Earth. These two organisations are using the law all across the world to win key environmental battles on everything from air pollution in cities to the protection of old growth forests. Each successful case sets a precedent which makes the cost of trashing nature that much higher for companies or governments which might be tempted. This is game-changing work.

horses running in the woods

Reintroduction of large herbivores in the Danube Delta, including König horses, is restoring dynamic ecological processes in the floodplain © Andrey Nekrasov/Rewilding Ukraine

Meanwhile, the big idea of Conservation Collective, which I chair, is that people are far more likely to give their time and money towards restoring nature in the place that they love. There are now twenty locally-focused Conservation Collective foundations across the world, from Barbados to the Balearic Islands, Devon to the Dalmatian Coast. Each one of these is comprised of a dozen or more supporters who give in the thousands rather than the millions, their money strategically distributed to the most effective grassroots restoration and activist initiatives in the place that is closest to their own heart.

Read more: Kering’s Marie-Claire Daveu on the future of sustainability

Vultures are recovering from near extinction in Cyprus, new forest corridors in Sri Lanka are enabling leopards to move between protected areas and the ban on killing sea turtles in St Vincent and the Grenadines is being enforced by local monitors. The network is growing beyond our wildest imaginings, because playing a part in the dramatic recovery of nature is hugely appealing, and ultimately addictive.

a leopard walking

One of Wilpattu National Park’s dominant male leopards, the Kumbuk Villa Male, doing his morning rounds. Photo by Yanik Tissera

Every important victory that has been secured, from the saving of the whales in the 1970s to the turning of the tide on the destruction of the ozone layer in the 1990s, has happened because of small groups of passionate, brilliant people – supported by the generosity of philanthropists large and small. Giving a small amount each month to one of these organisations is a meaningful, radical and powerfully rewarding act, one which far too few people in our society have discovered.

A family sitting on the ground by a river

Ben Goldsmith and his family

The three most effective things any one of us can do towards fixing this, the mother of all issues, and moving our civilisation into a new age of harmony with nature are: to vote with nature in mind; to buy stuff mindfully; and to choose a nature organisation to support with whatever regular amount you can afford. Once you start, you won’t stop. And when your children or grandchildren one day ask you what role you played in all of this, you’ll have an answer for them.

Find out more: conservation-collective.org

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chalk and soil in the shape of a leaf with the Louis Roederer logo in the middle
chalk and soil in the shape of a leaf with the Louis Roederer logo in the middle

LUX attends an exclusive masterclass with Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, Cellar Master at Louis Roederer, to try the never tasted before cuvées of Collection 244

Louis Roederer was very quick to notice the challenges that climate change was going to bring to the champagne market. Thus, ten years ago they founded the concept of Collection, to evolve their wines with the ever changing natural landscape. Lécaillon explains that instead of surrendering to the effects of climate change, we need to work alongside them.

A horse in a field
A bottle of champagne surrounded by soil and chalk
A bunch of black grapes

Dramatic changes to our climate leads to powerful changes in the wines we consume. 2019 was a year of record-breaking high temperatures from intense heat waves. However, the 2019 harvest was highly successful, delivering wines that were dense and fresh and forming the basis of Collection 244.

A horse in a vineyard

The blend consists of all the the champagne house’s origins: 1/3 from “La Rivière” Estate, 1/3 from “La Montagne” Estate and 1/3 from “La Côte” Estate. The Collection is made up of 54% of the 2019 harvest and 36% from the wines of the Perpetual Reserve.

On the future of the wine industry and its priorities, Lécaillon said, “after the fight for freshness, we are more in pursuit of finesse, because the wine of tomorrow is the wine of finesse.” 

Two men wearing brown jackets and shirts
branches stood up around a bottle of champagne
A man wearing a suit holding a bottle of champagne

Whilst tasting through the vintage for the very first time, Lécaillon said “it is ripe with high sugar but elegant and precise…expressive & fruity. [The vintage is] still young with a reductive bouquet. Some fine citrus. Hazelnut from Reserve Perpetuelle. Concentrated and fleshly texture. Creamy but fresh and alive. Almost a Blanc de Blancs definition. Elegant, precise and transparent. Round, textured but fresh and light, chalky. Seamless, dense, precise and perfectly integrated. The finish is even more salivating.”

Find out more: www.louis-roederer.com/collection244

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People looking at fabrics on a table
materials hung up mannequins

Sustainable samples at Kering’s Material Innovation Lab, Milan

When Kering, the French luxury conglomerate that owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta, introduced a radical sustainability programme just over ten years ago, the rest of the industry was bemused. Now the group is seen as visionary. Marie-Claire Daveu, the group’s Chief Sustainability and Institutional Affairs Officer, who oversaw the programme and introduced the first EP&L in the luxury industry, speaks to Darius Sanai about what happens next
A blonde woman wearing a black turtle neck and a white coat

Marie-Claire Daveu

Darius Sanai: How has fashion progressed in sustainability in the past ten years?
Marie-Claire Daveu: I see a big difference. I joined Kering in September 2012 and I think [Kering CEO] François-Henri Pinault was really pioneering. We were a little bit alone when we spoke about this topic and about how we can measure what we do. For us, from the start, it was really key to have the same approach to sustainability that we have for financial commitments – to have KPI metrics and competitive targets. Now, if we look around, we can see more and more that there is better awareness from many companies. The data and the challenges linked with climate change and biodiversity are now well known and recognised by the majority of companies.

The outside window of a Gucci store

Gucci, one of Kering’s iconic brands

DS: Are words being backed up by action?
MCD: Yes, and we need to act operationally. Here are two examples. First, the Fashion Pact [a fashion-industry initiative created by French President Emmanuel Macron and François- Henri Pinault, presented at the G7 in 2019]. We now have more than 250 companies involved, and we have been able to put in place a Collective Virtual Power Purchase Agreement, to buy renewable energy together. Another example is the Regenerative Fund for Nature that we created with Conservation International, linked to regenerative agriculture.

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DS: Will regenerative agriculture become mainstream in fashion?
MCD: It is difficult to say what the future looks like, but I hope so. I think it’s reasonable because you have positive impact on the environmental side and you take the community into account. It’s different to conventional agriculture, and also to organic agriculture, which sometimes can be challenging for communities. You have to accept it takes time because the transformation takes at least three years. For companies like ours, that use cotton, silk and wool, you have to also create a sustainable supply chain.

People looking at fabrics on a table

The Kering Material Innovation Lab team at work in Milan

DS: How can companies with fewer resources match your idealism?
MCD: I don’t think I am idealistic. I’d say I am optimistic, not idealistic. I try to be pragmatic. I am conscious about the challenges, about the issues. My strong conviction is, if you are a company and you do not include this topic in your strategy, I think it is questionable whether the company will survive. Take energy, for example. Energy is crucial to a business model. If you don’t think about efficiency you will have a problem. So we link back – if more and more investors and analysts pay attention to this topic, it will be a challenge to have access to credit if you do not. You will be able to compare companies against each other with metrics.

DS: President Biden just overturned the recent Congress ban on using ESG metrics in investment. Is there still a danger that support will just be in the EU?
MCD: One of the key criteria is that all over the world, consumers are speaking about these things. We won’t have the choice. It is better to anticipate and be well prepared. It is very interesting to see that even in some countries where the regulation and the policies are different, private companies themselves are investing in what we call ESG criteria. Even in countries where the regulation is different, it is still in their interests.

A forest with a stream running through it

View of a Kering reforestation programme in Guyana

DS: So what is the biggest challenge?
MCD: The big challenge is the question of speed. How fast will we be able to transform the business model to make the ecological transition and to really integrate and scale the topic? I don’t have the answer today, because I think it will take us a few years to do this.

DS: Is there a governance issue in less developed economies?
MCD: We have to maximise our operational involvement on the ground for our projects. Each time, we identify an NGO that is global but also local to follow the project and to be really involved, so we can ensure that what we have planned is really implemented on the ground. That’s not a perfect answer, but we want to be sure that what we decide to do becomes a reality. It’s really key to identify the right partner to do this. If I am in Mongolia, I need to know I have the right partner on the ground and, if not, I will come in from Paris and check.

The outside of a Balenciaga store

Balenciaga, another of Kering’s most renowned brands

DS: Do luxury consumers make decisions based around sustainability?
MCD: I am convinced that, for the luxury customer, sustainability is part of the quality, part of the reason they buy a luxury product. For them, it is important that the raw materials are being produced in a way that pays attention to people and the planet.

Read more: Fausto Puglisi Interview: Refashioning Roberto Cavalli

DS: Do consumers understand, say, the link between biodiversity and climate change?
MCD: Do people always make those connections? No, but they are very aware of climate change – they see and live it. It is now something that has already happened. True, sometimes there can seem a distant connection between buying a product and the impact on the environment or biodiversity, and some people will say that their impact is nothing compared to that of a factory. But really, I see a change. The new generation are afraid of what is happening, and we speak more and more about what is happening. It was not the case before, but today, everyone has something to say about the topic.

Find out more: kering.com/en/sustainability

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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Two men standing next to a blue statue of a person
Two men standing next to a blue statue of a person

Oliver Wenden, Vice President & CEO of the Prince Albert II Foundation standing with artist Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar next to his specially created human-sized enamel sculpture. Photo by David M. Benett

Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation held a joint event with Cap Ferrat based artist, Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar, to launch the opening of Behnam-Bakhtiar’s solo show ‘Ocean’ at the the foundation’s headquarters, Villa Girasole. The partnership for the show was formed to raise awareness and funds for the conservation of the planet, and specifically the oceans

Olivier Wenden, Vice President & CEO of the Prince Albert II Foundation, noted,  “Sassan’s talent is quite unique. I really love the discussion in his colourful paintings between abstraction and figurative scenes. They also open a discussion between traditional art, symbolic of the Persian mosaic, and modernity.

A half red, half blue painting

Sassan’s commitment to help raise awareness for the preservation of the planet through his talent and art is very essential. In addition to scientific messaging, we need to convey new ecological narratives that are more directly connected to our hearts.”

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Three women wearing blue, black and white dresses standing between two men

Left to right: Cesc Fàbregas, Natalie Imbruglia, Daniella Fabregas, Maria Behnam-Bakhtiar and Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar. Photo by David M. Benett

When Wenden was asked about his favourite piece he chose the ‘Towards the Ocean’ painting, saying that it “conveys a central question about the place of the ocean in our life. The ocean is our best ally in tackling the issue of climate change, and at the same time it needs all our attention because it is threatened by many human induced pressures. We can’t save our future without saving the global ocean.”

A blue painting

On his show Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar said “If the energy of the ocean had a romantic dance with my own artistic energy, the result would be these site specific works created for the historic Villa Girasole, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.”

A group of people standing outside an entrance arch into a buildng

The guests who attended the private view of ‘Ocean’. Photo by David M. Benett

Read more: The Special Relationship of Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar and Ali Jassim

Behnam-Bakhtiar chose to partner with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation because their “vision on progressing ocean and planetary health is unmatched.” As a true believer in their mission, he is “proud to be teaming up with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.”

Sassan Behnam-Bakhtiar‘s exhibition will be on display at Villa Girasole from June 30th to September 15th 2023

 

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A black and white image of huge waves about to crash into the sea
An underwater vortex of waves in the sea

Photo by Ben Thouard

Creating a sustainable blue economy – meaning we can invest in businesses directly related to the oceans while avoiding negative impact – is one of the most important tasks on humankind’s to-do list. Below, LUX speaks with Muriel Danis of Deutsche Bank about the challenges. Chris Stokel-Walker also speaks to entrepreneurs trying to make a positive impact in the ocean space

Muriel Danis on building investment opportunities in the sustainable blue economy

A woman wearing a white shirt

Muriel Danis

One of the challenges faced by investors interested in the sustainable blue economy is that it is an emerging landscape. “It’s a very nascent space,” says Muriel Danis, Global Head of Product Platforms and Sustainable Solutions at Deutsche Bank’s International Private Bank. “There are few products dedicated to the blue economy. What we see more often, especially in the private markets space, is a broader, impact approach to investing, with a sub-allocation for ocean-based investments.”

Danis is overhauling the products at Deutsche Bank by making sustainability a central part of the tenet. She is incorporating ESG qualitative and quantitative factors into the product development process to meet regulatory requirements and help identify “best in class” managers and solutions. That is easier said than done. Most liquid products available today focus primarily on what Danis calls a “do no harm approach”: they tend to exclude from investment portfolios any sectors or activities that have a materially negative impact on the oceans. However, in private markets there may be more product opportunities able to deliver material and measurable positive outcomes. “We are seeing a number of VC funds that are directly investing in technologies and capabilities that protect marine biodiversity,” says Danis. “By targeting overfishing, ocean pollution and climate change, they are supporting a sustainable blue economy.”

A black and white image of huge waves about to crash into the sea

Photo by Ben Thouard

“We think this will be an expanding universe,” adds Danis. That’s partly driven by investor demand, and partly by increased policy action. A good example is the recent UN High Seas Treaty, which aims to place 30 per cent of the seas into protected areas by 2030. This will support increased finance flows into sectors of the sustainable blue economy impacted by the 30 x 30 agreement. “As the market becomes more mature,” says Danis, “we will see more need for financing to support the transition of business models to what I would call a blue or green model.”

Danis is spearheading that transition by making connections to blue economy pioneers. One such opportunity was the DB x ORRAA Ocean Conference hosted in 2022 in Mallorca. In the first conference of its kind, Deutsche Bank invited a range of companies and their founders, including some of those featured below, to demystify the sustainable blue economy and show how private capital can help achieve positive ocean impact at scale.

Entrepreneurs on creating businesses for the good of the oceans

A new generation of individuals are setting up companies worldwide to radically overhaul how we interact with our oceans, and help save our planet while building a sustainable economy

A woman wearing a black top and glasses

Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz

Replacing ship engines with sails
Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz
Co-founder, bound4blue, Barcelona

Cristina Aleixendri Muñoz always wanted to be a doctor. “I thought the only way to do good in theworld was to save lives,” she says. But a chance conversation with a teacher who suggested engineering changed her path.

Muñoz became an aeronautical engineer, working on planes and space shuttles before pivoting to the maritime industry. That aerodynamic expertise helped when she launched bound4blue with her co-founders. The challenge was to overcome the shipping industry’s fuel-consumption problem – shipping alone accounts for 2.5 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions.

“I think engineering can help solve today’s hardest problems, make sustainability profitable and be something that can be developed and implemented,” says Muñoz. The company has developed a wind-propelled eSAIL that can reduce emissions by up to 40 per cent, and which it has tested on three ships. “The intention is for around 80 per cent of the global fleet to benefit from this type of solution,” she says.

bound4blue.com

Marine-friendly robotics
Liane Thompson
Co-founder, Aquaai, California and Norway

A woman with long wavy hair

Liane Thompson

As a journalist for The New York Times, Liane Thompson used to travel the world. Once, while she was in South Africa, she reported on an entrepreneur called Simeon Pieterkosky. Little did she know then that she would reconnect with Pieterkosky around a decade later in 2014 to develop Aquaai.

The husband-and-wife’s marine-robotics company builds affordable Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), which it calls Nammu. These are shaped like fish and are used to gather environmental data deep underwater, without intruding on the marine life living there. The AUVs are 3D printed and come installed with off-the-shelf cameras and sensors – deliberately so, says Thompson, so that people can build their own in communities that need them most.

And that need is ever increasing, says Thompson, “given superstorms, floods, the proteins and food sources coming out of underwater farming, and the need to protect marine habitats and corals.”

aquaai.com

Biodiversity-friendly coastal concrete
Ido Sella
Co-founder, ECOncrete, Tel Aviv

A bald man wearing a white shirt

Ido Sella

Marine biologist Dr Ido Sella has been fixated on the impact of coastal construction on the marine environment for more than 20 years. His bugbear? Concrete, as it doesn’t support the same biodiversity as other substrates. In an ideal world, natural reef would mark out ports and create promontories – but that won’t happen. So Sella worked to develop a material that would be better than the concrete used in 70 per cent of coastal infrastructure.

And so, in 2012, ECOncrete was born. A decade ago, the company started experimenting in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The findings were shocking: the mix itself was an issue, as was the surface and the structural strength. ECOncrete solves all three problems: its Admix can be added to regular concrete to provide a better chemical balance for marine life, its texture agents help marine life cling to the structures and their moulds help create ecological niches and strengthen the structures.

ECOncrete is now used in breakwaters and ports globally. “There is a real drive from the industry to look for these solutions,” says Sella.

econcretetech.com

The curve of a wave and the blue sky

Photo by Ben Thouard

Large-scale coral regrowth
Sam Teicher
Co-founder, Coral Vita, Freeport

A man with a beard wearing a white t-shirt and shirt

Sam Teicher

At the age of 13, Sam Teicher gained a scuba- diving certification. “I’ve loved the ocean and nature my whole life,” he says. “As a kid from Washington D.C., I grew up imagining I was going to become a coral farmer.” Teicher studied the environment and climate change in college, then grad school. It was through working at a friend’s NGO between courses that he was first introduced to coral restoration – and it became his life’s work.

Coral Vita, the company Teicher co-founded in 2019, grows coral 50 times faster than it would grow in nature – so it can be replenished as modern life diminishes our reserves of the natural resource. Started with a $1,000 grant from Yale, where Teicher and his co-founder met, Coral Vita is now behind the world’s first commercial land-based coral-reef farm, in Freeport, Grand Bahama, where the coral grown is being used to replenish the reef. In 2021, the company won Prince William’s inaugural Revive Our Oceans Earthshot Prize. “We hope to kick-start the whole restoration economy,” says Teicher.

coralvita.co

Biodegradable packaging and materials
Jack Sieff
Corporate Development Manager, Polymateria, London

A man sitting down with his hands on this lap wearing a suit

Jack Sieff

Plastic waste is a major problem for the world’s oceans, strangling marine life and jeopardising biodiversity systems. There is now an estimated 30 million tonnes of plastic waste in the world’s sea and oceans.

Founded in 2015 by Jack Sieff’s father Jonathan, Polymateria has developed biodegradable alternatives to plastic. In 2020, Polymateria reached a major milestone, achieving certified biodegradation of the most commonly littered forms of plastic packaging in real-world conditions, all without creating the harmful microplastics the world is seeking to avoid. “Since the launch of that standard, we’ve seen a domino effect,” Sieff says, as many countries are adopting similar standards.

Polymateria’s biodegradable materials are now utilised in items such as masks and wipes, along with other uses. The company raised £15 million in its Series-A funding before the pandemic hit, and is about to close out a Series-B round, bringing in a further £20 million.

polymateria.com

Autonomous sailing fleet that creates power
Ben Medland
Founder, DRIFT Energy, London

A man wearing a back suit and white shirt

Ben Medland

Engineer Ben Medland didn’t know how to answer when his eight-year-old son asked him, “Daddy, why is the climate broken? And how can we fix it?” Medland’s son had been reading about a recent COP conference, and had noticed that the nearby wind farm just wasn’t moving. What could be done? Medland vowed to try to change things by turning the 70 per cent of the planet that traditional renewables don’t reach – the world’s oceans – into an energy source. He admits that it is a “crazy” idea, but it is one that works.

DRIFT, founded in 2021, creates sailboats, augmented with turbines, which will go through the water, guided by AI to inform them of the most beneficial route to pick up power. The tides themselves generate energy into the turbine, which is stored onboard as green hydrogen using a process called electrolysis.

Better yet, that onboard green energy can then be used wherever the sailboats end up docking – bringing green energy to the parts of the world that need it the most.

drift.energy

This article was first published in the Deustche Bank Supplement in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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a man wearing a pink jacket standing by a pink wall with his arms folded
a man wearing a pink jacket standing by a pink wall with his arms folded

Nachson Mimran, co-founder and Creative Executive Officer of to.org, and Creative Director and Chairman of the Board of The Alpina Gstaad

Impact entrepreneur, tech investor, art collector and philanthropist: Nachson Mimran wants to change the way we invest. Here he shares with LUX what is exciting him now

To.org, a platform that Nachson Mimran co-founded in 2015 with his brother Arieh, might be the most influential collective you’ve never heard of. Using the collective descriptor Creative Activists, this motley crew of VC investors, philanthropists, activists, futurists, kids and creatives have orchestrated provocations with social and cultural purpose and to drive change.

Children dancing outside on the grass with clouds in the sky

Members of the community who will benefit from to.org’s Music and Arts Centre at the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, northern Uganda. Photo by Estevan Padilla, courtesy of to.org

These include 2022’s The Throne, a waste- plastic 3D-printed port-a-potty, installed next to a demountable Jean Prouvé house in the gardens of The Alpina Gstaad, which provokes visitors to consider waste plastic as a resource to solve global issues such as the lack of sanitation infrastructure. Then there’s 2019’s Naughty Barbie, whose creation provoked Mattel to confront its use of virgin plastics and its role in the global scourge of ocean-destined plastics. Alongside his work with to.org, Mimran is Creative Director and Chairman of the Board at The Alpina Gstaad, and Provocateur in Chief of several organisations, including Extreme E.

Every

a white dripping icing on a diamond shaped object

Courtesy of EVERY CO.

For me, a brand is changemaking if its product overlaps with the UN’s SDGs and delivers something people need. Every creates animal-free proteins, such as Every Egg White , which behaves exactly like animal-derived egg white.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

Chef Patrick Lassaque used it in macaroons at Chantal Guillon, San Francisco. Every also launched , a vegan, zero-sugar beverage with a gentle alcoholic kick.

theeverycompany.com

SPAARKD

A woman wearing a white sleeveless hoodie

Sleeveless hooded sweater by Grounded Absurdity. Proceeds from sales will support creatives in northern Uganda’s Bidi Bidi refugee settlement. Courtesy of SPAARKD

SPAARKD is a new platform from the team behind Pangaia, which aims to democratise the $3T fashion industry and eliminate the harmful materials and production practices of the fashion world. SPAARKD gives anyone the opportunity to create their own products, based on SPAARKD’s designs and Pangaia’s eco-materials library, without the typical barriers such as minimum orders and complicated logistics. Using SPAARKD, we launched Grounded Absurdity. Proceeds from sales of our first drop supports creatives in a refugee settlement.

www.spaarkd.com

Mamou-Mani

A white cup on a straw mat

Courtesy of Mamou-Mani Ltd

Arthur Mamou-Mani is an eco-parametric architect who uses materials such as fermented sugar and wood as sustainable materials in digitally designed architecture and 3D print furniture.

Read more: Jean-Baptiste Jouffray on the future of the world’s oceans

I have huge admiration for his designs, his commitment to sustainability and innovation, and his belief in making cutting-edge fabrication available to us all, as seen at FabPub, the digital fabrication lab he founded in London’s Hackney.

mamou-mani.com

Care.e.on

green and brown mini skincare bottles on an orange background

My friend Madison Headrick launched this on-the-go luxury skincare range. It’s a game changer for people who travel a lot, and for those of us who pack light for the gym. Care.e.on is cruelty free, removes the hassle of decanting products and packaging is sustainable. The En Route Essentials 5pc Kit is my go-to for long flights.

careeon.com

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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Photo by Tim Marshall

Ahead of World Ocean Day, LUX speaks to Jean-Baptiste Jouffray, researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, about his work on the Anthropocene, the blue acceleration, and why saving our oceans must be a collaborative effort
boy in a grey polo neck

Jean-Baptiste Jouffray

LUX: The use of the word Anthropocene has only become widespread in the scientific community fairly recently, but it’s now a key focus of your work. Why is this terminology important?
Jean Baptiste Jouffray: The Anthropocene is often described as this new period or epoch or era where humans have become a dominant force of planetary change, with profound impact on, not just the climate system, but also all sorts of ecosystems and the functioning of the earth’s system. It’s essential to my work as an analytical framework. It’s more than just entering a discussion about whether it’s a geological epoch, which means agreeing when it starts exactly. Does it start after WW2 when we start using radioactivity? Does it start exactly 2000 years ago? Does it start 10,000 years ago when we started to have agriculture and other things? I think it is more important to use it as an analytical framework, rather than focusing on those types of questions. It’s often characterised by unprecedented speed, scale and connectivity across sectors, across people, across regions, across socioeconomic contexts. What do these things mean? How do we make sure we move forward in a more sustainable and equitable way? I think that’s the power of the Anthropocene, in my work at least. Others focus more on the geological aspect of it and the question of whether it is the next geological era after the Holocene or not.

LUX: You say that in your work you use inter- and transdisciplinary approaches, which is a method which is becoming more prevalent across STEM fields. Would you say that this is particularly important when researching sustainability?
JJ: Absolutely. That’s because I think sustainability is a different kind of science. It has been described as a science for which the real test of success will be implementing its knowledge to solve the big societal challenges. So, in that sense, I think sustainability science is about translating knowledge into action. It’s not just about creating knowledge for the sake of it, but really creating knowledge, and ideally co-creating knowledge amongst multiple stakeholders to solve the problems we’re facing. Sustainable science is often said to be problem-driven and solution-oriented, and in that sense you need more than just one discipline. You have to synthesise knowledge across academic disciplines.

Beyond academia, you also need to engage with different societal actors, be it governments, NGOs or the private sector, for instance. It’s true that the coproduction of knowledge should also lead to co-operation in the designing of solutions and their implementation. If it’s just a top down thing, scientists in their ivory tower and the rest of the world, it’s not going to work.

Photo by Ivan Bandura

Photo by Ivan bandura

LUX: You have been involved with SeaBOS, the organisation involved in creating a dialogue between corporations and experts in sustainability. Obviously businesses are becoming more engaged with science, but how are they really doing this and do you think we have a long way to go?
JJ: Yes we do. But it’s good that we have started somewhere. I think SeaBOS is an example of what I just described, it’s scientists coming together with businesses and trying to co-produce knowledge, agreeing on what the challenges are and discussing what the possible solutions could be. It’s really that kind of science-business dialogue that has been a really fascinating experience. I think this is because, ultimately, it is a dance between those two entities; you have to compromise somewhere. For example, scientists usually like to see more results or ambitious time goals, and then the business side also have to deal with the reality of their own operations and what is feasible. You have to adapt to the other side, and this is a really exciting prospect.

We need collective and collaborative action across the whole supply chain. It’s not just miscellaneous companies and scientists: we need the financiers involved, we need governments to set up the right regulatory landscapes to incentivise better practices, and consumers need to be aware of it as well. So it is really that collective and collaborative approach that can accelerate sustainability.

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LUX: Is it realistic to expect consumers to understand the science and the environmental impacts behind their purchases? Do they need to?
JJ: They need to understand it in order to add another dimension of pressure in what I just described in terms of collaborative and collective action. I think consumers have a role to play, but whether they should have the sole responsibility, I don’t think so. In an ideal world, as a consumer you would enter a grocery store and only have sustainable products to choose from, you wouldn’t have to choose between a sustainable version and an unsustainable version, often with a price premium for the sustainable one, which brings more difficulties.

I think for this question it is a yes and no. Yes, they do have a role to play, and we’ve seen it in boycott or buycott campaigns which have had a really strong influence on industry. One of the most widespread mechanisms used by companies is certification or labelling of products, and we do see that it has an impact, but also limits. If you do a survey and show maybe half a dozen labels to a random, average consumer or customer in the grocery store, they will recognise some that do not exist. This was actually done in the context of seafood when consumers were presented with labels; they were recognising some of the legit ones as well as some that were totally made up.

Photo by Ivan Bandura

LUX: How do you see the relationship between science and governmental policy and what role do you think researchers should play in shaping policy and decisions?
JJ: Speaking from my own field of sustainability science  I think scientists have a really big role to play. This goes back to this example of staying in your ivory tower and publishing papers and then moving onto the next one, without really caring what happens next. I think that model of operating – again, for sustainability science, I want to make that distinction because I think there are a lot of applied or fundamental sciences that are different and that we need for the sake of them. But in the context of sustainability, it has to operate with the ambition to translate that knowledge into action, and that means communicating it to different stakeholders, like the private sector, but certainly to governments so that policy decisions are evidence based. That’s really what the IPCC is about in the context of climate change.

On the other hand, however, this doesn’t mean we always need to wait for science to act. I think there is a double-edged sword to big organisations like the IPCC, and that’s why several of the scientists who have been engaged for years in the IPCC and various reports, have publicly said this will be their last report. They will not contribute anymore because it gives the impression that we need to wait for the next report to have more information to act upon, when in fact we have all of the information we need to know in terms of the urgency of the situation and to know the solution to it, and therefore we need to act.

LUX: Can you explain what is meant by ‘blue acceleration’ and what this means for our oceans going forwards?
JJ: The term blue acceleration is something we coined very much in the spirit of the Great Acceleration idea and concept by Will Steffen, who recently passed away and was a giant of science. He used the term of the Great Acceleration to describe an exponential growth. The growth usually starts in the Industrial Revolution, but it really takes off in the mid-50s after WW2. You see across economic and socio environmental variables with population, GDP, deforestation, CO2 emissions across the board, you see that really rapid, exponential growth. Of course, it has its consequences, and it’s often one of the most iconic illustrations of the Anthropocene.

If we go back to the notion of the Anthropocene, how do you visualise, how do you embody the Anthropocene? It could be with those graphs of the Great Acceleration and our work focused on how that relates to the ocean specifically. If we take that lens and look at what happens in the ocean, it looks very similar. So that’s the interesting parallel, that’s why we called it the blue acceleration, because you see a rapid increase across a wide range of sectors. There are multiple increasing uses of the ocean for food, for energy, for materials, and for space as well.

If you look at marine aquaculture or agriculture for instance, it’s one of the fastest food production sectors in the world. If you look at shipping, the volume of goods transported by containers has quadrupled over the past 20 years and more than 1,000,000km of submarine cables have been laid on the sea bed. Undersea cables account for 99% of all international telecommunications that are happening in the world; it’s cheaper, more reliable, faster and safer than satellites.

Offshore wind is another example, one of the most promising marine renewable energies and the only one so far to have been scaled up commercially. It has increased 500 fold in the past 20 years. What the blue acceleration is, in essence, is a new phase of humanity’s relationship with the ocean that is characterised by this rapid increase at the onset of the 21st century, so very recently.

Photo by Danny Copeland

LUX: Can you tell us about the Ocean 100 project?
JJ: The Ocean 100 really speaks to the blue acceleration. If you acknowledge that acceleration and that growth across all sectors, you see that there is a scramble for the sea. Then the question is, who is racing? Or, if you look at it another way, who is left behind?

The Ocean 100 is looking at the big companies, particularly in the private sector, who are involved in ocean based industries. What you see is that a handful of companies often control a really large market share of the sector. For instance, the top ten oil and gas companies in terms of offshore production are responsible for more than half of total offshore production. If you look at the 10 largest companies in cruise tourism, they are 93% of the global market share, so really highly concentrated in terms of revenues. We look at those companies within sectors, and we look at it across sectors just by revenues, to see who are the largest of the largest across ocean industries. That’s the Ocean 100. The 100 largest companies by revenues.

What’s striking is that 47 out of the 100 are oil and gas companies, and 9 of the top 10. It’s a reality check because there is a mismatch between the aspiration of a blue economy, a sustainable and equitable ocean economy, and the reality of today’s extraction where oil and gas is by far the largest industry in the ocean today. The project identified who they were and in a subsequent effort, tried to engage in dialogue. So similar to what SeaBOS has managed to do within the seafood industry, they engaged in dialogue with some of those industries to see what they could do together across industries that they couldn’t do alone within their own sector.

Read more: Markus Müller on the links between the ocean and the economy

LUX: You recently completed your PhD. What is next for you?
JJ: I’ll keep doing it, I’ll keep going at it! I’m just starting a position at the Stanford Center for Ocean Solution, whose mission is to translate knowledge into impact across a series of initiatives. I’m very keen to keep looking at the ocean economy and trying to look at how we make sure it becomes a blue economy. It’s often used synonymously; people think of the blue economy as the ocean economy. I like to make a distinction. The blue economy right now is very aspirational, it would be a sustainable and equitable version of the ocean economy. But the reality that we’re dealing with today is very much a dark blue ocean economy.

I will be looking at the ocean economy, trying to make sense of it, increasing transparency, but not just for the sake of transparency. Transparency on its own is not enough. What you need is accountability as well. Trying to identify the levels of accountability in ocean economic sectors and leverage points to change. Who can set the right incentives? I believe the financial sector has really strong power to create incentives for industry, as do governments. You need a regulatory landscape. It’s not going to happen out of altruism as much as we could wish for this, it’s not how we operate. You need the regulation to be in place to incentivise better practices, and we’re going back to collective action. I think diving into that is something that I’m really keen on.

Photo by Danny Copeland

LUX: In 10 years’ time what changes do you hope to see in the world as a result of your research and the initiatives that you’ve worked on?
JJ: In 10 years’ time we’re past 2030, so we’ve either delivered or not on the Sustainable Development Agenda. So far it doesn’t look that good to be entirely honest, I don’t know if we are on track for delivering.

But I hope we will have got to a point where governments have been bold enough to set in motion the policies that will enable change. We can’t just stick to business as usual with a few incremental changes here and there, or a couple of long term targets that make everyone feel good.

More specifically, when it comes to the financial sector, I really like to think of financiers as either enablers or gatekeepers in terms of their potential influence. I would like to see them enable capital to flow towards sustainable activities. What’s striking in the ocean domain is that SDG 14 is the least financed goal of all of them. The SDG 14, life below water, the ocean SDG, is the least financed over the past ten years. Only 1% of the total value of the ocean economy has been invested into sustainable activity. In 10 years’ time I would hope they do more to fill that gap and enable more sustainable investment.

At the same time, regardless of that ocean finance gap, you have that blue acceleration that is exponentially increasing. This means that capital is going to those sectors, one way or another. That’s where I think of financiers as gatekeepers. Ideally financiers would take the sustainability criteria into consideration in their financial decision. It’s not the norm, but I hope it will be in 10 years’ time. Loans by default should be sustainability linked instead of the other way around, because suddenly that means companies have an incentive, a very tangible incentive to perform from a sustainability perspective.

Find out more: stockholmresilience.org/jouffray

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a blue wave crashing
a blue wave crashing

Image by Ben Thouard

With Ocean Week upon us, LUX speaks to Karen Sack, a leading voice in the ocean economy, about how only action and investment from the Global North can allay the effects of global warming on the world economy – and its most valued nations
A woman with short short hair wearing a necklace and t-shirt

Karen Sack

LUX: What is the fault line between the Global North and the Global South?
Karen Sack: If we look at the world from an ocean perspective, the most biodiverse areas today are in the developing world. They are around the coasts of developing country waters, and, in particular, the waters of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). These are also the countries that have created the most Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). So there is a stress between these countries and those that support other activities, such as subsidising vessels that exploit distant waters, going to faraway places and fishing in destructive ways.

LUX: What about the societal effects of climate change?
KS: This is a growing concern for developed countries, as they see the impact of climate change through the migration of people who are leaving these vulnerable coastal developing states and SIDS. These people are at risk because their livelihoods are compromised – there are no more fish to catch. They move to cities, but the cities don’t have the infrastructure to support them. This leads to international migrations, as we see with Central America up to North America, Africa into Europe, and in Asia, too. Suddenly, these issues are beginning to have international implications. It will be far more cost-effective for developed countries to invest in coastal and ocean resilience in developing countries and SIDS, than to leave it and have to deal with the consequences of the climate crisis.

Lots of white and green small fish in the sea

LUX: How can this investment be driven?
KS: The issue of broader investment is where we at Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) are focused. There is a huge challenge in driving investment towards a sustainable blue economy into these countries of the Global South. Transactions are often too small for private-sector companies, and there’s risk because of the credit status of the countries or because of climate events. So we’re not seeing the investment that’s needed to help fundamentally shift the way developing countries are able to work. For example, many SIDS in the Pacific have to sell their fishing resources to foreign fleets so they can earn foreign-exchange dollars to pay for diesel fuel, so they can power their economies.

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There’s this constant vicious cycle, and there are huge emissions, both transport emissions and direct emissions from burning fuel. If we shift all those islands to renewable energy, we break existing dependencies, and it doesn’t cost that much money. One Pacific island estimated it will cost $180 million to shift completely to renewables. They cannot find the money because they don’t have the credit rating and they don’t have the in-house resources. You have to break all those cycles to work forward quickly, and I hope that’s what we can do through ORRAA. As a multi-stakeholder alliance, with multilateral banks, private banks and insurers on board with us, as well as civil society, academics and countries themselves, we can get people around the table to solve problems. We can help develop de-risking mechanisms, such as insurance or public-sector guarantees, to incentivise private-sector banks to invest into countries, which could help reduce or eliminate their dependence on fossil fuels.

blue sea

LUX: Do we in the media have a role to play?
KS: Of course. We all work in silos, where we don’t join the dots between our functions. So we need to join the dots and think about how important it is to shift to renewables from fossil fuels, how that helps to build resilience, and how that incentivises investment and credit ratings, building biodiversity-positive outcomes and climate resilience for 250 million climate- vulnerable people. We must change our mindsets.

LUX: Is government regulation required?
KS: Government action is essential, but for the private sector to wait for that is not in its long- term self-interest. We need to see action now. For example, in the US, the development of a natural-capital accounting methodology is being worked on, so businesses can account for their impacts on natural capital and disclose those impacts, and then investors can think about what that means for investment portfolios. The same is happening in France and China.

LUX: What needs to happen next?
KS: First, we need to get some of the largest banks and asset managers to sit down with the multilateral banks and organisations like the US government’s Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and talk about what is key for them in terms of de-risking their investments. Is it a guarantee, business- interruption insurance or another mechanism? The multilateral banks need to step up and provide those mechanisms, so we can crowd more financing into these sectors. The second thing is building capacity in these countries to enable the establishment of laws and regulations that will create a stable investment environment, so that these types of financing mechanisms can emerge. The third ingredient is for the private sector to recognise that we need to finance the “missing middle” – investments from $2 million to $10 million in small island countries where entrepreneurs are doing all they can to build sustainability, but cannot move from seed funding into product development or into the next stage of evolution of their companies.

a ribbed brown coral under the sea with the sun shining through the water

LUX: Aren’t the interests of, say, the Maldives different to Brazil’s?
KS: When we speak about Least Developed Countries and SIDS, I think they speak with one voice. They are all looking for these types of opportunities. When we look at countries further up the development chain, such as Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, there are different incentives. However, entrepreneurs in those countries have the same challenges, and that is something we need to focus on.

Read more: Markus Müller on the links between the ocean and the economy

LUX: What can happen this year?
KS: There’s a major opportunity, given the change in leadership at the World Bank, to focus on the biggest challenges facing the Global South, and there is no question that the two biggest challenges are the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis, both underlined by the unsustainable debt crisis. The private sector also needs to focus on investing in sustainable blue- economy opportunities – feeding that missing middle. At ORRAA, we’re working with some of our partners to develop a fund to deploy $150 million into investable opportunities in developing countries to build that sustainable blue economy. The third piece is we have to think outside the box to finance the landmark Global Biodiversity Framework agreed at COP15 in Montreal in December 2022. How do we protect 30 per cent of the planet by 2030? What kind of finances can be mobilised to do that, so that countries are not going into debt to build back biodiversity? We have to break the log jam around the climate-finance issue in terms of loss and damage. And we have to do it now.

Karen Sack is Executive Director of Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA). She was speaking to Darius Sanai

This article was first published in the Deustche Bank Supplement in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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waves crashing in the sea and rocks on the sea floor
waves crashing in the sea and rocks on the sea floor

Fishes, 24 March 2019, Teahupoo, Tahiti, French Polynesia. © Ben Thouard

Markus Müller discusses how the ocean, biodiversity, the global economy and the world of finance are inextricably linked – and proposes what should be done now to make business fit for a nature-compliant future
A man wearing a suit

Markus Müller

Economics is deeply bound to nature. Portfolio managers in finance often think they invented the idea of diversification. I hate to disappoint them, but it was created by nature first. Nature, like economics, invented diversification for risk protection and to provide the breeding ground for development. If everything stayed the same, there would be no development – this is true for nature and true for economics.

According to some estimates, half of global GDP is directly attributable to nature. Some industries, such as construction, agriculture and manufacturing, use nature’s output to create economic output, and are therefore heavily nature-dependent. The biodiversity of nature is also essential to economics, because the wide assortment of living things provides crucial ecosystem services to the economy. These services range from providing fresh air and clean water to producing food. Nature provides everything that humans consume.

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The ocean plays a big part in biodiversity, as two-thirds of our planet is covered with water and more than 95 per cent of that is ocean. If we allow our ocean ecosystems to be depleted, we create risks for nature, for humanity, for the economy and for social stability. Human life is heavily dependent on ocean ecosystems and, if we let them deteriorate, the services we need to live and thrive will not be there. We would lose the critical services the ocean provides, such as the natural governance of carbon sequestration and temperature regulation. It is all one connected chain.

There are a myriad of links between nature and economics. The ocean is a great example of this, and an example of how we undervalue nature in our economic thinking. For instance, do we really understand the financial impact of having 40 per cent of the global population living near the coast with the threat of rising sea levels? Have we really taken into account how vital water is for our livelihoods and do we have an economic model that accounts for this?

 orange coral underwater

Although our understanding of ocean economics has developed, there is still a long way to go. However, we do know enough to start taking action. Some may ask, why is it important to finance the blue economy? The real question is, how do we use finance to transform our current non-sustainable and non-equitable blue economy into a sustainable and equitable one? First, we have to be clear about the goal: to have a sustainable and equitable blue economy and a nature-compliant economic model. Creating such a model is the equivalent of the economics behind building and operating a railway infrastructure. To build a functioning train network first requires a railway system, which is too expensive for private markets to install and is the kind of cost that only a government can afford – but the trains can be provided and financed by private companies.

We need to enable the ocean to deliver its ecosystem services. Many ocean assets need to be protected in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and they are unlikely to generate an investment return. This means assets in MPAs are not suitable for a market system; rather, it becomes a governmental and societal responsibility to protect them and ensure they are not being depleted or overused. Governance is key for this to be successful.

Finance can be a tool that then helps achieve the goal for a sustainable and equitable blue economy. Global financial markets can play a role by providing a premium to companies that operate in the blue economy. In time, these companies that account for the impact that the ocean has on their economic activity can become more profitable and have more stable profit generation than other businesses. Those businesses that do not account for the ocean may find they are at risk: a reputational risk, a physical risk, even a liability risk. Financial markets can also provide indirect support to sustainable companies that understand how their value chains are impacted by the ocean. This is also part of ocean finance.

fish swimming around coral in the sea

In this new economic model, firms link self-interest to the health of the natural machine. CEOs understand their dependency on the ocean and are therefore aligned for protection. This happens through transparency, disclosure and data flow. Regulation provides a framework, which can be supplemented by the private sector if needed, as regulators can’t do everything. The risk to watch out for is using key performance indicators (KPIs) that are not globally or locally accepted in financial markets. Here again, regulation is an enabler.

Companies that are directly involved in the blue economy should employ local people and redistribute the accrued margin to the local communities, based on the understanding that nature needs time to recover. This would be both sustainable and equitable. Self-interests will drive this and it will happen at the local level, bottom up, before eventually forming global coalitions. An economy, or society, works from an agreement of self-understanding. Thus, if humankind can reach an agreement that fossil fuels are not the way forward, then society will find a way to abandon fossil fuels. However, if there is not such an agreement, then global treaties will not be signed.

Read more: 3Sun Gigafactory’s Eliano Russo On The Clean Energy Transition

Literacy in the systemic value of natural capital is incomplete, especially in financial markets. It follows a similar path to the understanding of climate change from the past 40 years. But it is growing. We must now act on propositions such as those outlined here to build the nature-compliant economy of our future.

Markus Müller is Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Chief Investment Officer at Deutsche Bank’s Private Bank

Find out more: deutschewealth.com/esg

This article was first published in the Deustche Bank Supplement in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of LUX

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people standing together in different coloured outfits gathering for a photo with a pink champagne case
people standing together in different coloured outfits gathering for a photo with a pink champagne case

Left to right: Darius Sanai, Audrey bazin, Maria Sukkar, Frédéric Rouzaud, Rita Kamale, Nadja Swarovski and Brandei Estes

A crowd of the leading movers and shakers from the worlds of art and sustainability gathered at the Nobu Hotel in Portman Square to celebrate the Louis Roederer Photography Prize 2023, created by our sister company Quartet Consulting. High-profile guests included Guy Weston, Ina Sarikhani, Brandei Estes, Jessica Hodges, Maria Sukkar and Nadja Swarovski, among many others

A woman wearing a blue blazer and white t shirt holding a glass of champagne

Carrie Scott

A man wearing a hat with a beard on a screen next to a pink case of champagne

M’hammed Kilito giving his video message to the audience having won the award

A woman wearing a red top standing next to a woman wearing a black top

Left to right: Maria Sukkar and Ina Sarikhani

The Prize, now in its second instalment, was established by LUX Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai and Louis Roederer CEO Frédéric Rouzaud under Quartet Consulting, to recognise outstanding contemporary photographers with a focus on sustainability and environmental issues.

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Thirteen art world luminaries from across the globe were each asked to nominate three photographers to submit their works. An esteemed panel of judges including Maria Sukkar, Maryam Eisler, Brandei Estes, Alan Lo, Audrey Bazin, Nadja Swarovski, Sophie Neuendorf, Azu Nwagbogu and the Chair, Darius Sanai, then selected six entrants to make up the shortlist, which was then narrowed down to three finalists.

Three men wearing suits and the man in the middle holding a pink case of champagne

Left to right: Darius Sanai, runner up, Yasuhiro Ogawa and Frédéric Rouzaud

Three women standing together with two on either side holding champagne glasses

Left to right: Brandei Estes, Nadja Swarovski and Carrie Scott

three women standing with a man for a photograph

Left to right: Ilaria Ferragamo, Maria Sukkar, Franck Namy and Véronique Namy

This year’s finalists were the exceptional Hengki Koentjoro, M’Hammed Kilito and Yasuhiro Ogawa, each with a unique take on the awe-inspiring landscapes and tender humanity surrounding the issue of sustainability. They all received a magnum of Cristal, made by Louis Roederer from 100% biodynamically farmed grapes, and their work will be displayed at the White Box, Nobu Hotel Portman Square, London, from 11th May until 1st June.

M’Hammed Kilito was announced as the winner by Frédéric Rouzaud in the Nobu Bar to an excited throng of guests for his series ‘Before It’s Gone’, a meditation on the issue of oases degradation currently taking place in Kilito’s home country, Morocco.

an art gallery with photographs on the wall

The works of the finalists on display at the White Box Gallery at the Nobu Hotel London, Portman Square

champagne bottles in an art gallery

The Prize is run by the Fondation Louis Roederer to raise awareness around sustainability issues through photography

Upon receiving the award, Kilito commented: “I would like to say how absolutely honoured to receive the Louis Roederer Prize for Sustainability. I am so honoured to receive the Prize because I believe it is a very important one, highlighting the work of visual storytellers, and the issues of climate change and sustainability which are very close to my heart.”

 

Read more: Rock legend Graham Nash on collecting photography

Two men standing next to women wearing pink and red

Left to right: Durjoy Rahman, Darius Sanai, Audrey Bazin and Maria Sukkar

A woman wearing a red coat holding a glass of champagne standing next to two men in shirts and blazers

Left to right: Nadja Swarovski, Frédéric Rouzaud, Darius Sanai

A bald man wearing a scarf standing next to a women with her hair in a bun wearing a purple floral top

Left to right: Michel Ghatan and Helen Ho

The exhibition of the works of  M’hammed Kilito, Hengki Koentjoro and Yasuhiro Ogawa are on display at the Nobu Hotel London Portman Square until 1st June

 
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Green and white glass sheets in a room
Green and white glass sheets in a room

Lexus Design Awards 2023 was presented in the Tortona district during Milan Design Week

Against the backdrop of the vibrant and bustling Milan Design Week, Lexus presented the four winners of their coveted annual Design Award, now in its 11th iteration. Trudy Ross visited Milan’s Superstudio Più to find out more

I was an awe-struck first-timer at Salone del Mobile this year, the world’s most prestigious and well-attended design fair. The city was brimming with life, with throngs of fashionably dressed professionals walking over clean, sunbaked streets, the city’s many restaurants and cafes full of old industry friends reuniting and the chatter of business meetings over fine wine. On every corner you were met with an eye-catching new installation, ready to become the venue for yet another glamorous party by the evening.

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The Lexus Design Awards, presented in the Tortona district, was the perfect introduction to Salone, embodying the fair’s guiding principles of creativity, beauty, innovation, sustainability, and a focus on the potential of young designers. The competition was launched in 2013 by Lexus to give a platform to the next generation of designers. Displayed in the bright and airy Superstudio Più, the winning designs were accompanied by architect and artist Suchi Reddy’s immersive 3D collage, Shaped by Air, inspired by the Lexus Electrified Sport.

Reddy told LUX, “It all started from a drawing. I started finding these shapes that were very beautiful – I thought that if Matisse had designed a car, this would be the car…because we were inside, I had the opportunity to really play with reflection, and create this idea of a forest; you can see how the light dapples, creating shadows and unexpected things. There’s a richness to walking in a forest because you never know what shapes to expect – everything fits but it’s always different.”

A woman wearing a black dress and white top standing next to green and transparent sheets of glass

Suchi Reddy with her installation, ‘Shaped by Air’

Her installation of glass and movement was the perfect intermingling of beauty, technology, and nature to reflect the winning designs, which used technology to look to the future and to create elegance, but also prioritised purpose, practicality and the natural world. While there is usually only one winner, this year the award was expanded to comprise four winners, all of whom were given an opportunity to work with Lexus’ handpicked mentors, four leading figures from the design world: Marjan van Aubel, Joe Doucet, Yuri Suzuki, and Sumayya Vally. A public vote was then held to determine the People’s Choice winner, the design which most impressed and resonated with viewers.

Swedish designer Pavels Hedström was announced as the Your Choice winner for his innovative design, Fog-X, a high-impact hiking jacket that transforms into a tent/shelter – but its real ingenuity is not shapeshifting. The device can catch fog, even in the most arid areas of the desert, and transform it into up to 10 litres a day of drinking water. Hedström told LUX that he has always been interested in solving the big global challenges. When it came to drinking water, he was inspired by plants and animal species which can survive in the Atacama desert. He found that one of the ways they do this is by catching fog, saying his design is “basically the same principle”.

Read more: Photo London’s Fariba Farshad on Fotografìa Maroma

While the jacket itself might not currently be affordable for many of the people living in desert communities with a lack of water, he championed the Fog-X app made alongside the jacket, which anyone can use to determine and track the areas with the most potential for moisture generation. He added, “privileged people like us take for granted that we have water on the tap. We need to rethink how we get these resources, because our relationship to nature is pretty imbalanced. If we use the jacket, I hope it will also change our mindsets and our appreciation of nature.”

A man wearing cow print trousers and a black top standing next to an orange bag

Pavels Hedström, the Your Choice winner for his innovative design, Fog-X

The other designers included Temporary Office, a duo made up of Vincent Lai and Douglas Lee, who unveiled 3D topographic puzzle Touch the Valley. Designed with the visually impaired in mind, the puzzle allows people to play and learn through touch rather than sight, with each piece carefully contoured and sculpted to engage tactual sensation. When assembled, the pieces can become a model of a major mountain range or famous landmark. Beyond a tool for the visually impaired, the product can be enjoyed by all and double as an elegant coffee table piece with an interesting story to tell. Perfect for the explorer traveller who doesn’t just want to go to Yosemite, but wants to hold it in his hands.

Two men standing next to a screen showing a presentation

Vincent Lai and Douglas Lee, founders of Temporary Office

Jiaming Lui from China designed the Print Clay Humidifier, a 3D-printed humidifier made with recycled ceramic waste. This household appliance requires zero electricity or energy and is made from materials left over from industrial processes. Indeed, the product itself can be recycled at the end of its life after any damage or breakages to reform as it was initially. Lui looked to natural resources to replace the plastic, energy-using devices many of us have in our homes and created a stylish, effective and sustainable alternative.

A man standing next to a product and a screen with the words LEXUS above him

Jiaming Lui with his print clay humidifier design

Finally, and perhaps the most directly relevant to many of our own lives was Kyeongho Park and Yejin Heo’s Zero Bag, a new alternative to plastic packaging for food and clothes, made from seaweed. It looks like plastic, but rather than being an amalgamation of artificial chemicals, it actually fights them. The packaging dissolves in water and contains either a detergent for clothes, or a baking soda film which removes chemicals and pesticides from food. Kyeongho and Yejin, both currently students majoring in industrial design at Hanyang University’s ERICA campus, expressed hope for their idea to expand across regions and become adopted by major retailers.

Two men in beige jackets standing next to a screen showing a presentation

Kyeongho Park and Yejin Heo with their Zero Bag design

The theme for this year’s competition was ‘Design for a Better Tomorrow’. If these young designers are any indication of what tomorrow might look like, it seems the future will make space for both technology and for nature, cultivating the beauty of both.

Find out more: discoverlexus.com/lexus-design-award-2023

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A room filled with lights and technology
A room filled with lights and technology

3Sun Gigafactory opened in 2011

Eliano Russo is Head of Enel Green Power’s 3Sun Gigafactory in Catania. Here he speaks to Samantha Welsh about the way the factory works, its benefits on the local community and the clean energy transition
A man wearing a white shirt and black blazer

Eliano Russo

LUX: What is a photovoltaic cell and how does it work?
Eliano Russo: Solar cells are the heart of solar power generation systems. A photovoltaic cell is a device that can convert the energy of solar radiation into electricity through the photovoltaic (PV) effect. This effect is possible since photovoltaic cells are usually made of semiconductor materials (the most diffused is silicon), which have weakly bonded electrons. When the light of the sun hits the PV cell, the electrons of the semiconductor receive energy from the light’s photons and are then able to move. The movement of these electrons through the metallic contacts of the cell produces an electric current. PV cells are assembled into photovoltaic panels that find applications in several fields.

LUX: What are the peculiarities and advantages of the technology 3Sun offers?
ER: 3Sun offers cutting-edge technologies in solar cell and PV module (or panel) manufacturing. Our solar cells are based on bifacial silicon heterojunction (HJT) technology, which offers several advantages over the most widespread technologies on the market. Moreover, our PV modules are manufactured in Europe with sustainable materials derived from a regulated supply chain.

A man wearing a green jumper working in a factory

3Sun Gigafactory combines research and innovation to produce new-generation photovoltaic modules that support the Enel Group in guaranteeing clean and renewable energy

Continuous innovation in pursuit of the highest level of cell efficiency is a fundamental value as we strive to maximise the effective transformation of the sunlight that hits our panels into energy. HJT technology is characterised by high performing photovoltaic modules with low degradation and in early 2020 our HJT cell achieved a world record efficiency level of 24.63%.

The double-sided structure of the solar cell allows solar radiation to be captured via direct light on the upper surface, as well as reflected or diffused light on the lower side. “Bifaciality” also guarantees extra power output even with cloudy conditions where the amount of diffused light is quite high. The solar cell is also very resilient to thermomechanical stresses thanks to the temperature during the manufacturing process that does not exceed 200°C, which also allows for thinner solar cells to be manufactured, , thus reducing the use of silicon and cutting costs.

LUX: What are the benefits for the solar supply chain and the European energy sector in general?
ER: For Europe, the photovoltaic sector represents one of the main enabling technologies to accelerate a sustainable and competitive energy transition. To reach its decarbonisation goals, in Europe we need to achieve 600 GW of installed solar capacity by 2030, which requires building and installing an additional 440 GW. On the other hand, in order to increase the continent’s energy independence and reduce risks related to external geopolitical factors, it is important not to become overly dependent on supplies from other geographies.

A solar panel

Italy’s HJT Photovoltaic Panel

Today, a large part of the photovoltaic industry supply chain is still concentrated in the Asian market, especially in China, where there is also less emphasis on environmental, energy and labor standards compared to those in Europe. Therefore, the creation of a European photovoltaic industry that can guarantee our energy security and independence while upholding those standards represents a strategic priority. In order to achieve this, we must invest to reshore the solar PV supply chain in Europe as we did in Catania, Sicily with the construction of what will be the largest solar gigafactory on the continent.

LUX: What is the potential impact for local communities?
ER: One of the most important positive impacts for the local community as a result of the factory’s expansion is the employment opportunities for Sicily, increasing local direct and indirect employment. In 2022, 50 university graduates were employed, while the selection process for an additional 100 is currently underway, as well as the selection for hiring 550 secondary school graduates. With the new hires, who will fill technical and operational positions in areas such as production, maintenance, auxiliary services, product quality and plant operation, 3Sun’s team, which already includes more than 200 people, will reach about 900 people in total. In addition, 3Sun will also generate a total of 1,000 indirect jobs, including current ones, by 2024. . These numbers mean a lot in terms of employment for a territory like Sicily, especially for young people. In some cases this means young people who have had the opportunity to return home after years of working abroad, excited to be able to contribute to the realization of a project as important as this one.

Technology in a glass box

Bifacial solar panel production at the 3SUN Factory

LUX: How essential is political collaboration to clean energy transition?
ER: It simply cannot be done without it. Our current climate policies are the direct consequence of a political commitment that we took together as Europeans and, more widely, as countries committed under the Paris Agreement. The challenge of climate change is global, it affects everyone, and the response can only be global. A strong, collective, political commitment is needed to tackle a problem of this magnitude. But the political commitment must also be matched in the private sector along with the actions of each and every one of us as individuals.

LUX: What is the role for regional partnerships in tech innovation?
ER: We will be the largest European PV factory, basing our manufacturing on the most advanced technology processes, materials, and design. We carried out a robust research and development phase in collaboration with the most important research institutes and development companies in Italy, Europe and the US. In fact, 3Sun has triggered the most advanced research consortium in Europe with renowned partners such as CEA-INES in Chambery (France), Italian Institutes such as IIT, CNR, ENEA, as well as European and Italian universities. The strict collaboration with the research centers is also witnessed by the presence of very advanced research labs within the industrial complex of 3Sun and in the nearby Enel Innovation Hub and Lab, which hosts research institutions and start-ups. The concentration of research institutes and industries in a few kilometers also encourages important exchanges and generates a very fruitful environment for the development of innovative ideas not only in the PV field. Beyond research collaborations we also work with a wide range of subcontractors in the supply chain of strategic and innovative materials as well as of advanced industrial support and maintenance processes.

A woman working in a factory

The first HJT cells were produced in February 2019 and mass production began in August 2019

LUX: Please share the aims of Project TANGO
ER: TANGO is the acronym for iTaliAN pv Giga factOry, the name of the project through which we are creating an industrial-scale production facility for the manufacturing of innovative, sustainable and high-performance PV modules at Enel Green Power’s 3Sun solar panel factory in Catania. In April 2022, under the framework of the European Commission’s (EC) first Innovation Fund call for large-scale projects, EGP and the EU signed a grant agreement that contributed to the development of TANGO, a facility that will have a production capacity of 3 GW per year by mid-2024. Of our total investment of around 600 million euros, the EC has contributed up to 118 million euros and around 70 million euros came from the Italian National Resilience and Recovery Plan.

LUX: How is the 3Sun Gigafactory in Catania innovating to leading the transition to green energy?
ER: Our production capacity of 3 GW, which we will reach in 2024, will make us the largest production facility in the photovoltaic industry in Europe. However, our contribution to the energy transition is not only quantitative but also qualitative. The values that guide us are innovation and sustainability, two pillars that enable us to create a high quality product made in Europe.

A solar panel in front of a blue board

3Sun Gigafactory represents a model that could be used all over the globe

LUX: Can you accelerate performance to be sure of meeting targets?
ER: We won’t ever stop innovating. The architecture of the 3Sun HJT solar cell is highly compatible with the so-called Tandem structure in which a perovskite top cell is coupled with a silicon bottom cell, the top cell utilises the blue component of the solar spectrum and transmits the red component to the silicon solar cells. The 3Sun tandem structure, that we call “Tango Technology”, allows the solar cell to reach higher efficiencies, well above the theoretical limits of silicon solar cells. 3Sun is developing innovative technology with the aim of increasing solar cell efficiency, achieving more than 30%.

LUX: Longer term, how do you see 3Sun Gigafactory model developing?
ER: 3Sun Gigafactory represents a model that could be replicated elsewhere in Italy, Europe and other parts of the world. As outlined previously, in order to accelerate the energy transition and ensure energy independence and security in Europe, it is necessary to build a European ecosystem of highly efficient solar PV module manufacturing.

Find out more: enelgreenpower.com/3SUN-factory

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Reading time: 7 min
A hotel lounge with leaves hanging from the ceiling and plants on the floor
A hotel lounge with leaves hanging from the ceiling and plants on the floor

The Whiteley Members Club

A man sitting on a chair wearing a navy suit

Neil Jacobs, CEO at Six Senses

Neil Jacobs is CEO of the iconic hotel and residencies group, Six Senses. Here, he speaks to Samantha Welsh about the brand’s wellness model

LUX: How far are your wellness beliefs rooted in your personal values and lived experience?
Neil Jacobs: It started after studying Hotel Management at the University of Westminster, French Civilization at La Sorbonne University and Italian culture and art in Florence, knowing I wanted to travel and use the languages I’d learnt; I figured the hotel business was a great way of incorporating it all.

My personal passion and love for wellness, sustainability, and travel then played a part in my next steps to joining Six Senses and, naturally, my aim has been to elevate the brand in terms of responsible design, green initiatives and wellness programming. By broadening the company’s global footprint, we’ve been able to create these wonderful spaces and opportunities for people to live and create their own experiences with these things, in a plethora of environments.

Having the opportunity to apply my skills and experience to this unique brand, whilst leading a group of dedicated and likeminded professionals on a daily basis, is a personal joy.

An infinity pool with a view of the sea and a terrace with a table and chairs

Six Senses Kaplankaya, Turkey

LUX: What is the approach to embedding sustainable values from ground up through every resort? How do you measure their impact?
NJ: Sustainability is embedded into the very fabric of every resort, something we can only achieve if it is the first thing we think about when we approach a new project.

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Our eco-conscious approach to real estate starts with thinking about how we preserve, celebrate and enhance the local and global environment, as well as the local community and cultural heritage of the location. Naturally, this means taking a bespoke approach to each resort. We make smart use of our land topography and use renewable building materials, and use local materials wherever possible to reduce our environmental impact.

A wooden staircase in a minimalist designed hallway

The Forestias in Bangkok

We undertake rigorous analysis to ensure we can successfully and accurately measure the impact of each project and continue to learn for future projects. For example, in 2020, the renewable electricity that was generated across our resorts reached an amount powerful enough to power fifteen world cup football pitches.

To us, sustainability doesn’t just mean our buildings are sustainable, it’s also about encouraging residents and guests to live sustainably long term. Many of our resorts and residences now feature Earth Labs, where otherwise discarded materials are recycled and reused. Guests and residents can join workshops and sessions to learn how to reduce their own consumption and re-use materials, the aim of which is to instil long-lasting sustainable mindsets.

A jacuzzi looking over a forest

The Forestias is made up of 27 residences, set in a purpose-grown forest in Bangna, Bangkok

Over the coming years, as we learn more and more from our existing projects, sustainability will continue to show up more meaningfully through in-resort environmental impact reduction, including passive cooling of the properties, electric transport options for guests and the use of biodegradable cleaning products.

Across our resorts, we are already working hard towards being fully plastic free. Resorts have never used plastic bottles or miniature plastic amenities, and plastic straws were eliminated before 2016. For example, in 2018 alone, more than 5 million plastic items were eliminated, including over 1,200,000 coffee capsules, over 52,000 plastic bags, over 26,400 toothbrushes and over 460,000 bits of packaging.

LUX: How does your vision for the Residences’ portfolio translate into screening macro market opportunities and micro-locations, masterplanning site assembly, partnerships, local collaborations?
NJ: Because the approach to each project is so individual, we make decisions on a case-by-case basis as to whether we incorporate residences into new resorts, as buyer motivations can differ greatly to those that drive people to stay in resorts as guests.

A swimming pool overlooking Dubai city

The Penthouse pool at the Six Senses Residences, The Palm, Dubai

We aren’t afraid of delivering resorts in remote locations, but sometimes this isn’t the right fit for residences, and vice versa in other locations. Thanks to our teams and their knowledge and understanding of the local market and global appetite, we can make fully informed plans and decisions on what we build and where we build it.

It’s key that the project and location is innately right for us, and an important initial step is getting onto the land to make sure it is speaking to us, and we can feel the connection. We like to conduct meditations or rituals, and in the past have bought in a sacred geometer to analyse the energy of the land.

A lounge with blue chairs, a checked black and white floor and a large light chandelier

The Whiteley Six Senses Hotel is opening in London in 2023

Once we’ve made these decisions, we begin conversations with potential development partners. With such strong company values, we’re highly selective with who we choose to work with and always ensure our partners share our vision and values.

For example, we are working alongside Finchatton for the first UK Six Senses Residences at The Whiteley. This was a significant milestone for us; to expand into one of the world’s most iconic gateway cities, and we wanted to wait for the perfect opportunity and partner. Finchatton’s hallmark quality matches our own, and the opportunity to collaborate and transform a significant architectural landmark was too good to miss.

LUX: Where did your idea come from, to bring nature, wellness and healing to the global metropolis?
NJ: If you look at the history of people who come to our resorts, it would typically be for a short getaway – a couple of weeks maximum. They’d immerse themselves in the wellness programming, enjoying the facilities we have on offer, resetting in our beautiful and remote locations but then quickly return to their fast-paced lives back in their home cities.

We wanted to find a way to connect the dots, and create these retreat-like spaces, offering relaxation and reconnection, in a location that is much more accessible for everyone: the awareness that often the global elite, while they have the means, don’t always have the time. This is where the migration into urban locations began for us.

houses on a resort by the sea

Each residence at The Forestias comes with a private pool, rejuvenating onsen and organic gardens where seasonal fruits and vegetables can be grown

When we are considering bringing a residential component to our urban locations, it is almost a no-brainer. Alongside our exotic, rural and alpine locations, we want to be in gateway cities, located in the prime neighbourhoods of the best urban communities in the world. The market for this type of home for the ultra-high-net-worth is very strong, which meant there was also a clear and compelling business decision to grow our portfolio here.

LUX: What is the membership model? How is it differentiated from other hospitality Groups’ super prime residences?
NJ: We offer a unique experience to our residence owners; combining the luxury and sought-after amenities of resort life, but with the privacy and personal touches of owning your own space. Owners benefit from exclusive resident savings, as well as VIP status recognised across all Six Senses hotels and resorts around the world.

At Six Senses, we pride ourselves on offering a best-in-class service, and our level of care and attention to detail is what sets us apart from other luxury developments. This unparalleled level of service is in part thanks to our hospitality roots, extended so that all of our owners can fully enjoy the privileges of a hotel or resort, with every aspect taken care of.

A swimming pool and palm trees

At the core of the Six Senses Residences The Palm, Dubai is Six Senses Place, providing residential owners unique space purely for mental and physical wellness

Owners have the option of placing their home into hotel rental portfolio, which opens up an additional income opportunity via renting their homes when they are not staying there. As properties are wholly managed by Six Senses, it’s a completely hassle-free process.

Read more: Coworth Park, Ascot, Review

Owners who place their home in our rental programme automatically take advantage of our furniture packages as standard – with each home inspired by, and designed in line with, the nature of its environment and local community. Dependant on the resort and stage of construction, there are also sometimes opportunities for owners to personalise design details, such as material choices.

LUX: What is next for U/HNWs who seek multi-based sustainable superluxury living? And do you have your personal capstone?
NJ: The Six Senses brand was born from the desire to help people reconnect with themselves, others and the world around them. One of our core goals, is to continue to create a global footprint and allow people to experience our brand in different environments.

A building with pillars and a dome roof

The exterior of the Whiteley Six Senses

Looking ahead at 2023, we are expecting a continued increase in the philanthropic buyer across the branded residences sector. High-net-worth buyers are increasingly seeking a home that has been created in a socially and environmentally mindful way, rather than just investing in purely bricks and mortar.

We are already well placed to respond to this rising demand, thanks to our responsible approach towards all projects through our thorough and sustainable practices.

In terms of a personal favourite of mine, I couldn’t quite say. That being said, part of the richness of my job is the opportunity to interact with our hosts around the world and the buy-in to the brand that shows up in each location. So, my favourite tends to be the project I’m visiting at the time!

Find out more: sixsenses.com/residences

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Reading time: 8 min
A woman with brown hair wearing a pink dress
A woman with brown hair wearing a pink dress

Kelly Russell Catella

For International Women’s Day we are spotlighting Kelly Russell Catella, Head of Sustainability and Communication at COIMA, a major Italian real estate fund manager. COIMA has total investments of 5.5 billion euros with a declared focus on large scale sustainable urban planning. Here, Catella speaks with Samantha Welsh about making cities vibrant, accessible and healthy for all and the importance of an environmentally conscious city for a community

LUX: How did you start your journey on driving better approaches to sustainability in city-making?
Kelly Russell Catella: COIMA has always been very focused on quality and sustainable development since it was founded nearly 50 years ago. My own professional journey in the industry first started coordinating the first Italian Urban Land Institute chapter in Italy until our family established in the Fondazione Riccardo Catella in 2005. The Foundation is a not-for-profit institution with the mission to improve the quality of urban life and promote the culture of sustainability in cities. Since then, I’ve also been responsible for leading sustainability at COIMA, which is a value we truly believe in and is integrated deeply in the process of our value creation for all stakeholders.

One of our most important projects is Porta Nuova in Milan, one of the largest urban regeneration projects to have taken shape in Europe. Last year it became the first urban neighbourhood in the world to achieve both the LEED and WELL certifications for Community. These are the leading global certifications related to sustainability, health and wellbeing of buildings and communities. Achieving this ‘world first’ was for us a real endorsement of our approach, which is about focusing on the long-term sustainability of the entire neighbourhood, not just specific buildings. We find it key to think about the place, the whole community, and how the transformation fits into the context of the needs of the wider city.

LUX: Why was pursuing LEED and WELL certification for Porta Nuova so important?
KRC: Creating more liveable, healthy communities and places where people are in contact with nature, culture and beauty is what really drives our daily effort. Achieving the LEED and WELL for Community ratings for Porta Nuova is a validation that we worked to deliver on our promise to create a genuinely sustainable community in a measurable way. It is also about constantly challenging ourselves to do more, to push the bar higher and set new benchmarks in the industry.

a park with a view of a building covered in plants

Biblioteca degli Alberi Milano (BAM), the public park in Porta Nuova

While certifications and ratings are important to measure and prove the positive impact of a project, it is vital that we do not fall into the trap of a superficial ‘box ticking’ approach to sustainability; they are not an end in themselves, they are part of a wider methodology to create a comparable standard. It comes down to all of us to show genuine leadership in the transition to the low carbon economy – passion and commitment to deliver positive social and environmental impact and transparency in reporting.

LUX: The Bosco Verticale towers in Porta Nuova have become a global icon and the face of the new more eco-friendly Milan. Do they provide a prototype of more sustainable development for other cities?
KRC: At the time the Bosco Verticale – literally vertical forest – was the first project to integrate trees on such an ambitious scale. There are 780 trees and 16,000 shrubs and plants across the two residential towers, which is equivalent to around 20,000 m2 of forest. In many ways the development gets better with age, as the trees grow and mature and the benefits to the residents multiply – from regulating the temperature of the building to enhancing mood and wellbeing. Our partner on the project, the visionary architect Stefano Boeri, is now taking the vertical forest concept to other cities, including Dubai and Eindhoven, creating a new generation of high-rise urban buildings completely covered by the leaves of trees and plants.

purple flowers and A building covered in plants in the distance

Bosco Verticale at Residenze Porta Nuova

It is now seen as a sustainable model for the future of tall buildings. Working with Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Stefano Boeri Architetti we are taking the concept further at Porta Nuova with Pirelli 39, a mixed-used project which includes the sustainable refurbishment of an existing building and the development of Torre Botanica. The buildings base is connected to the Biblioteca degli Alberi Milano (BAM) or “library of trees” – the public park and botanical garden that serves as a natural oasis and community engagement hub of Porta Nuova.

LUX: How has the public-private partnership with the Municipality of Milan been game-changer in terms of enabling a more sustainable approach?
KRC: Sustainable city making is not possible without strong partnerships. We are very fortunate to have had sensitive administrations for consecutive mandates in the Municipality of Milan that shares the vision to create a more sustainable, green city, designed around people, rather than cars. They shared our vision to make Porta Nuova a fully pedestrianised neighbourhood centred around the natural environment presented in BAM.

Through an innovative public-private partnership between the City and COIMA, the Fondazione Riccardo Catella has been responsible for the management, security, maintenance and cultural programme of the BAM since July 2019. This is the first ever public-private partnership agreement for the management of a public park in Italy and it would not have been possible without the strong long-term commitment and understanding by both parties.

LUX: What strategies for Porta Nuova have you found particularly effective at a human level to help foster a sense of community and a sustainable ecosystem?
KRC: Fundamentally, we believe in placing nature and humans at the centre of all our developments and that this approach leads to real value creation. It is important to listen to people to understand their vision for the urban space in their communities and ensure that our designs can improve their quality of life. For example, at BAM we produce a diverse programme of more than 250 cultural moments and activities each year for residents, workers, and visitors.

This has a big focus on wellbeing and has a range of activities dedicated to senior citizens. We had actually planned to suspend the outdoor program in the coldest months of January and February and resume in March. Instead the group that meets every week asked us to continue saying it was the best morning of their week because they got together, socialized, had coffee after, so of course we kept the programme running over those months.

I know it seems small but when you are managing at a neighbourhood level in the centre of a city, listening to your end user of the public space helps create a type of community which we feel will be resilient over time. This what we mean by focusing on the long-term sustainability of the entire neighbourhood, not just specific buildings. The park and the rich cultural programme work together to create a sense of community – and furthermore, with the Fondazione we would like to create a sustainable business model for this kind of public-private partnership that could be replicated in other parks in other cities across the globe.

LUX: In your approach to the development of the Olympic Village 2026 at Porta Romana, how important is sustainability including ensuring a enduring legacy?
KRC: We are working with Fondazione Milano Cortina and the Italian Government to set a very high standard regarding sustainability for the Olympic Village and we hope the legacy will become a template for a more sustainable approach to future Olympic Games (and global sporting event) development. It will also leave a positive legacy for Milan. After the Games, the village will be transformed into affordable student accommodation, with 1,700 beds, addressing a major shortage of modern student accommodation in Milan.

aerial shot of lit up buildings

Plans for the 2026 Winter Olympic Village at Porta Romana

The student accommodation will sit within a wider urban neighbourhood including affordable housing, co-working facilities, community amenities, public spaces and parks and gardens. The Olympic Village Plaza will become a neighbourhood square, with shops, bars and restaurants at street level, and space for farmers’ markets and moments open to the community. If the Games are to be the success story that we all envision, environmental and social impact must be a driving force behind those plans.

LUX: How are you ensuring the Porta Romana project will be implemented to minimise environmental impact?
KRC: The Olympic Village itself actually only comprises only around 15% of the total investment in the regeneration of the former Porta Romana railway yard, so you can understand the scale of the project. Our vision for Porta Romana, together with the partners of the project Covivio and Prada Holding, is that the district will be grafted into the surrounding neighbourhoods, becoming a vibrant, green, sustainable and healthy place that is wholly part of the city, where work and leisure activities will be at the centre of life in the neighbourhood.

People growing green plants

Plans for community gardening within the public park at Porta Romana

Working with the architects selected for the masterplan – Outcomist, Diller Scofido + Renfro, PLP Architecture, Carlo Ratti Associates and ARUP – and with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), winner of the Olympic Village tender, Porta Romana is designed to have near zero environmental impact. It will also include a wide central park and gardens designed by Elizabeth Diller, the landscape designer of the New York Highline, with a ‘suspended forest’, which could become a new major tourist attraction in Milan. Altogether around half the site will be gardens or greenspace. Through this approach we are working to ensure the project sets the bar even higher in terms of sustainable urban development

LUX: How important is technology in creating sustainable neighbourhoods and communities?
KRC: Technology has a big role to play in delivering a sustainable scheme, whether through gathering and measuring the sustainability performance of the buildings or increasing community engagement and participation in initiatives on a neighbourhood level. At Porta Nuova we are piloting a ‘smart’ neighbourhood project, with an infrastructure of sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) devices capable of acquiring information in real time about the behaviour of users and their needs and the quality and performance of the infrastructure in the district.

This works alongside the Porta Nuova Milano neighbourhood app, which allows users to interact with buildings and access an extended range of services within the residential, office, retail and public spaces. The aim is to facilitate people’s lives and at the same time build the sense of community and encourage more environmentally conscious behaviour. We are also supporting a tech accelerator programme on site at Porta Nuova, called HabiSmart, with start-ups focused on transforming real estate through technology. The startups are hosted in the COIMA HQ and they are able to test their prototypes within the Porta Nuova district. This enables them to get real-time feedback from the field, accelerating the process of development and scale-up.

LUX: Is there one sustainable project you think is low cost and particularly impactful that could be scaled globally?
KRC: The built environment accounts for around 40% of global emissions. If the industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world, behind China and the US. We are in an emergency and time is running out. We now have the technology to deliver zero carbon in operations during the life of the buildings, but we need to look much more closely at the reuse of existing buildings to reduce the currently unavoidable embodied carbon emissions generated through the construction process.

a street with trees and two tall buildings

Pirelli 39, with La Torre Botanica and the Pirellino Tower

We need to change mindsets so that the first principle is to examine whether an existing building can be modernised and refurbished rather than demolished, as we are doing with the Pirelli 39 project that will see the existing 1960s Pirellino office tower refurbished to create a highly sustainable modern office building created out of the existing structure and standing next to La Torre Botanica.

Retrofit, reuse, repurposing, wherever possible, and integration of biodiversity in the urban projects is what we must all seek to do more. We need to stop viewing sustainability as an additional cost, but as integrated into the core of the business model that can mitigate risks and maintain returns long term while contributing to a healthier environment and a more cohesive social surrounding.

Find out more: www.coima.com

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The multi-project developer, Red Sea Global has launched two new brands to push forwards its sustainability ethos into one of the world’s most regenerative destinations, The Red Sea and Amaala

Last year, Red Sea Global declared that it was going to create subsidiary businesses with a focus on sustainability. Subsequently, the launch of WAMA and Galaxea were announced. WAMA is responsible for creating rejuvenating  water sport experiences such as stand-up paddle-boarding through mangrove forests, to sailing through the Red Sea’s soft swells. Galaxea’s focus is solely on diving, for guests to see the life below the waters and to educate people about the prevalent coral in the Red Sea.

A sail boat in the sea

Last year, after an eleven month research study of the Al Wajh lagoon, a  rich diversity of habitats, flora, and fauna were found.

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These include a significant number of endangered and critically endangered species such as the Halavi Guitarfish, Hawksbill Sea Turtle and Sooty Falcon, as well as a thriving, eight-meter-high single coral colony estimated to be around 600 years old.

A person using a row in a yellow kayak

“These brands have been created with sustainability at their core and will continue to build on our ambition to deliver a regenerative approach to tourism development and operations. It is our hope that eventually they will become standalone brands operating at destinations around the world,” says CEO of Red Sea Global, John Pagano.

A person swimming in a wetsuit under the water surrounded by coral

Along with the launches of WAMA and Galaxea, Red Sea Global also announced its partnership with The Ocean Race. This came out of their mutual passion for ocean health and their aim to drive regeneration of life in water and on land.

Read more: Art Dubai opens in support of South Asian artists

The Ocean Race has worked very closely with sailors throughout its history, and the partnership is not only intended to benefit the  natural environment, but also to help inspire the next generation of Saudi sailors.

Find out more: www.redseaglobal.com/amaala

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