Foresight CEO Jeanette Jackson is taking part in 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). She is sharing her observations in real time, starting with a combination of big picture and everyday best practices in Europe.
It has been over 500 days since I left Canada. Like most of you, I had reservations about travelling during a pandemic. But I also know that one of the fundamental elements of successful collaboration requires us to convene, debate, discuss, prioritize and so much more, together, face to face.
I have been to Europe many times. Each time I come with a new, dare I say, refined lens. As an individual and as CEO of Foresight, I spend most of my time reflecting on how Canada can lead an accelerated net zero transition with ideas from home and by looking for best practices elsewhere. In other words, when it comes to innovation, consumer habits, infrastructure, partnerships and investments in everything related to climate action and mitigation, what is happening elsewhere that is not happening in Canada?
Here are some reflections from my first 18 hours in Holland.
- Relentless Commitment – Policy development in Europe is clear, bold and concrete. When a decision is made, it is implemented and monitored. Grey areas are not the norm.
- Global Collaboration – Funding programs boldly welcome international collaboration. The priority is the path to net zero. If that means building on something further along in another region, that is a smarter choice than trying to start 10 steps back on our own.
- Basic Infrastructure – Consumer habits evolve through practical infrastructure. Why is it so hard to recycle a cup while walking down the street in so many Canadian communities? Basic waste management and clear signage to guide consumer behavior in Europe is leaps and bounds ahead of Canada, and just the first of many basic things we can look at.
It is not to say that Holland is perfect! But I would argue these basic premises set the bar higher than what we have done in Canada, so far.