FastForward 25 Sessions
The global economy is being transformed in profound ways, creating radical new sustainability challenges and opportunities. How these play out, and how we respond to them, is uncertain. True sustainability is about being fit for the future and to do so requires not just more of the same, but being able to think differently. We need to explore various possible futures and use our imaginations to manifest the world we want to live in. As Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
Supply chains are digitizing, and the pace is accelerating. Companies are increasingly using new technologies to make their supply chains more efficient and cost effective, to cut out inventory and lead times, and to respond directly to consumer demands. But what about sustainability? In this session, we’ll explore the tech trends shaping supply chains and discuss how to ensure that sustainability doesn’t get left behind, along with what priorities and topics these technologies are best suited to impact and where there is a need for innovation. Participants will glean insights on opportunities to digitize sustainability information, how to use machine learning to gain more visibility into supply chains, and how to work with supply chain architects to incorporate sustainability into design, along with the internet of things and automation.
Senior Vice President and President, Operations
Director, Global Sustainability
Rapid developments in artificial intelligence, big data analytics, blockchain, and the internet of things have the potential—and have already started—to have significant impact, both positive and negative, on human rights. The international human rights regime was designed for a very different world, and the speed, complexity, and extensive reach of these disruptive technologies present new challenges for companies wanting to meet their responsibility to respect human rights. Participants in this lively discussion will explore how to integrate human rights into the development and design of new technologies and whether new “human rights by design” approaches should be deployed.
Senior Internet Researcher
Human Rights Watch
Global Head, Business and Human Rights
Vice President and Deputy General Counsel
The Paris Agreement set the world in motion for net-zero emissions by 2050 and its 188 climate plans all include this ground-breaking milestone. The emissions curve is already starting to bend, with global emissions holding steady over the past three years, even as economic growth increases—the challenge now is to accelerate this transition, which will require deep transformations. For the private sector, achieving net-zero emissions will challenge current modes of production, manufacturing, consumption, product design, and financing tools. Participants will leave this session with a better understanding of the risks they will face and opportunities to find innovative ways to be a leader in a low-carbon economy.
Head of Responsibility Strategy and Standards
Deutsche Post DHL Group
Director, Environmental Strategy and Analytics
Blockchain technology offers a powerful, exciting digital tool to fix sustainability problems in myriad fields such as supply chain traceability, migrant labor, and financial inclusion. At the same time, successful implementation of blockchain innovations will require companies and stakeholders to discover solutions to overcome some of the oldest barriers to advancing sustainability—collaboration, governance, standards-setting, and funding models, among others. In this interactive session, participants will learn about the potential for blockchain to transform sustainability, conduct mini-workshops to apply what they learn, and explore how technologists and sustainability leaders can collaborate to bring these solutions to life.
Redefining Sustainable Business: A Futures-Thinking Design Sprint
October 25, 2017, 10:15 am-11:15 am
Climate change impacts, disruptive new business models, the combinatorial technology explosion, and a fraying social contract are just some of the changes profoundly reshaping the landscape for business and sustainability. In the face of such rapid and complex change, futures thinking offers a powerful tool to challenge current assumptions and create more resilient strategies. This highly interactive futures session will have participants explore the implications of some of the most disruptive trends while imagining how companies might turn sustainability challenges into business opportunities.
Associate Manager, Sustainability
Ethical Trading Manager
Marks & Spencer
The nature of work is changing very rapidly. Old models of lifelong employment via business and a predictable safety net provided by government are no longer assured in a new demographic, economic, and political environment. We see these trends most clearly in the rise of the “gig economy,” in which contingent workers (freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, or other outsourced and non-permanent workers) are hired on a temporary or part-time basis. These workers make up more than 90 percent of new job creation in European countries, and by 2020, it is estimated that more than 40 percent of the U.S. workforce will be in contingent jobs. This candid discussion will explore how business is responding to these changes, looking to balance the benefits of more flexible working arrangements with certainty and protections for workers in this new world of work.
Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative
President and CEO
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to fundamentally change the way we work and live as algorithms begin to make more fundamental decisions for us. Like many new technologies, AI is the source of tremendous opportunities to support the public good, but also brings risks and new challenges. How do we build ethical, moral, and human values into the future of AI? What governance mechanisms must be in place to minimize AI’s potential harm and maximize its benefits? This intriguing discussion will explore how companies can incorporate ethics, inclusion, and transparency to protect against perpetuating biases or circumventing ethics in financial transactions, law enforcement, monopolizing behavior, and more.
Manager, Corporate Responsibility and Human Rights
Researcher in Data Ethics, University of Oxford
Turing Research Fellow, The Alan Turing Institute
Cyberlaw Clinic, Harvard Law School
Associate Director, Information and Communications Technology
For the past half-century, the approach to transportation infrastructure—rail, road, air, and sea—has remained essentially the same. However, the convergence of technological innovation and an increase in needed infrastructure investment have created a unique opportunity to think differently. Our traditional road, rail, and airline systems could be replaced with something straight out of a science fiction movie. This cutting-edge conversation will explore how alternative high speed rail, driverless cars, the commercialization of space travel, drone delivery of packages, and other innovations could fundamentally change transportation and logistics as we know it, and the resulting sustainability impacts and benefits that could come with the systemic shift.
Chief Marketing Officer
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies
The sustainability community has made tremendous progress over the past 25 years. But in many ways, it has also done itself a disservice. Business leaders lament the competing standards and frameworks, the goals of collecting data rather than creating impact, and the focus on perfection rather than performance improvement. As we look to build business leadership and drive greater change over the next 25 years and beyond, this interactive and introspective session will help participants examine the mistakes made and learn how the sustainability community can work together to support even more substantial progress moving forward.
Global Vice President, Sustainability
Senior Vice President