2023 RELX SDG Inspiration Day: Fostering Global Cooperation to Protect Advance Biodiversity

August 13, 2023

Over 1500 people gathered virtually on 13 June 2023 for the ninth RELX SDG Inspiration Day: ‘Not Too Late for Nature: Biodiversity and the UN Sustainable Development Goals’. Eminent conservationist, Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE and former United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, were keynote speakers. The annual online event brings together thought leaders, corporate representatives, students, investors, governments, and NGOs to explore pressing issues, gain practical insight, and inspire action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year’s event examined our progress as a global community in achieving the SDGs closely linked to biodiversity, namely SDGs 14, 15, 2, 3, 11, and 13. It was moderated by lawyer and activist Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu and hosted in partnership with the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, UN Global Compact Network UK, Responsible Media Forum, Global Citizen, Pineapple Sustainable Partnerships, World Humanitarian Forum, Elsevier Foundation, Business or Social Responsibility (BSR), Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, Oxford SDG Impact Lab, and Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability.

In his keynote speech, which was one of the first events of the day, Ban Ki-moon said, “I believe it is vital that businesses firstly identify their full environmental impact, starting with a clear understanding of the organization’s impact on the whole of the environment, not exclusively their carbon emissions and pollution.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Jane Goodall highlighted the need for people and businesses worldwide to become more sustainable and the importance of community-led conservation. “How do I have hope for the future?” she asked. “Well, for one thing, there is a growing awareness about this (the need for biodiversity conservation). And then there are four main reasons — the human intellect, the resilience of nature, the indomitable human spirit, and the energy, and passion, and action of young people.”

Later, Juliette Pugliesi, Nature Manager at Business for Social Responsibility and Eva Zabey, CEO of Business for Nature discussed the link between biodiversity and economic stability. Their illuminating speeches also touched upon why businesses need to rethink their commitment to biodiversity conservation.

Through spirited panel discussions, the event next shed light on pressing issues in biodiversity conservation and gave attendees a platform to examine potential solutions. The panel discussion on Right to Nature, moderated by Justin Webb, a former foreign correspondent for the BBC, explored how law can protect biodiversity through legal rights accorded to natural habitats. Hosted by Josefine Gibson, Deputy Editor of The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, another insightful panel discussion examined the connection between biodiversity and human health. The ensuing panel discussion, hosted by the founder and CEO of Pineapple Sustainable Partnerships, Andy Dewis, discussed the wisdom of indigenous people. Attendees could then join discussions in six virtual biodiversity problem-solving spaces, the topics of which ranged from technology to business. Later, RELX awarded four customers that share their commitment to actioning the SDGs with an SDG Customer Award. The final panel discussion, hosted by Senior VP of Elsevier, Michiel Kolman, addressed barriers for policymakers in meeting biodiversity commitments. With closing comments, the event concluded on a fulfilling note.

Read all about the event, and watch highlights from the RELX SDG Inspiration Day here.

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