From vertical farming to social sustainability, climate change solutions stole the show at our LO Generations Summit

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From vertical farming to social sustainability, climate change solutions stole the show at our LO Generations Summit

Venice is a city that has, thus far, stood the test of time. It is home to some of humanity's greatest historic treasures and it holds a unique cultural history. But there are insidious, growing dangers that threaten the future of this iconic city – climate change, mass tourism and water pollution. Over the last 1000 years, Venice's sea levels have grown by at least 33cm but reports say it will rise by another 140cm by the end of the century.1

Slowly sinking, this World Heritage site is facing catastrophic risks from coastal erosion linked to rising sea levels.2 Our oceans and seas continue to expand as a result of increased concentrations of greenhouse gasses raising the temperature of the earth's atmosphere.3 Action needs to be taken. But whose responsibility is it?

Action needs to be taken. But whose responsibility is it?

Previous generations have failed, and are still failing, the next generation. The children of tomorrow have not been granted a sustainable future. What's more, they have been tasked with tackling this immense issue. This is why we chose Venice as the backdrop for our Lombard Odier Generations Summit.4 With our sights firmly set on the future, our summit offered fresh perspectives for how we can ensure a better, more sustainable world for the next generation and secure future prosperity for all.

Our summit offered fresh perspectives for how we can ensure a better, more sustainable world for the next generation and secure future prosperity for all.

Prominent thought leaders and young entrepreneurs took to the stage to discuss concrete solutions to preserve our planet. The summit opened with Fabio Mancone, Lombard Odier Group's Chief Branding Officer, and Arnaud Leclercq, Lombard Odier Limited Partner, who described the current state of the world, in the context of sustainability. Mancone spoke of the great change of pace and how today, we have moved from “skepticism to consciousness” and he was optimistic about the fact that “consciousness will bring action.”
 

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Leclercq talked of shifting “tectonic plates” that could lead to “catastrophe if not addressed soon” but he also remained positive and stated that we would not be “defeated but would find the resources, adapt and gain a better understanding” of how we can move forward.

Recycling CO2 into running shoes?

Leading the way was Opus 12. Co-founder, Nicholas Flanders, is a climate change visionary. He and his team have found a way to turn CO2 (carbon dioxide) into a valuable product to tackle our carbon footprint. How? By using a process he terms “industrial photosynthesis”. Bringing a new meaning to the concept of recycling, Opus 12 takes CO2 and turns it into critical chemical products that can be used as the basis for many, everyday products. One of main transformations, for instance, is that they capture and convert CO2 into a produce called ethylene.

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Bringing a new meaning to the concept of recycling, Opus 12 takes CO2 and turns it into critical chemical products that can be used as the basis for many, everyday products.

 

Ethylene can be converted into building blocks for new materials such as packaging, wires, jet fuel and even trainers. What's astonishing about this process is that their production is “carbon negative”, which is to say that they consume CO2, thus drastically supporting our endeavours in reducing our carbon emissions. But how can this be embedded into existing processes? The beauty in the production is that they integrate into existing chemical production and the end-products are identical to existing fossil fuel derivatives, massively speeding up the time to market. This could very well be the future.

Our company does not focus on carbon capture but on capture conversion, Nicholas Flanders, Co-founder, Opus 12.

Modern day farming in New York

By using CO2 as supplemental nourishments for plants to feed our growing population, Aerofarms CEO and founder, David Rosenberg discussed his unique method of finding a way to feed the planet…vertical farming. The company, simply put, disrupts “traditional supply chains by building farm on major distribution routes and near densely populated areas”5, largely in the New York environs. They have totally rethought agriculture.

According to studies, the earth has lost 1/3 of its arable land in the last 40 years prompting Rosenberg to speak about his concerns around commercial agriculture.

Although “efficient”, he said, “there is a lot of clumsiness and it's hugely water intensive”. Most consumers are acutely aware of the challenges the industry face. From inconsistent quality, lack of freshness, water usage and pesticide residue just to name a few, it's difficult to find a viable solution.

Yet Aerofarms have gone on to establish a new kind of farm. By combining farming, technology and data science, they have used up to 95% less water to grow over 700 plant varieties and crops, with zero pesticides.

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By combining farming, technology and data science, they have used up to 95% less water to grow over 700 plant varieties and crops,with zero pesticides. 

His business is 390x more productive that other farms and a world leader in the sector. Driven by data and science, Rosenburg is honest when he says,“Biology is tough […] we have our own R&D team that look at the impacts of changing the different nutrients and other inputs”. For him part of the solution is “vertical integration combining mechanical, environmental, biological and genetic solutions”. Yet his sustainable agenda goes further than food. Rosenberg talks about his pride when it comes to those who work for him. He hires the brightest talent and also helps rebuild communities by hiring locally and ex-offenders, offering better future for all.

I really think that part of the solution is the vertical integration, combining mechanical, environmental biological and genetic solutions, David Rosenberg, Aerofarms CEO and founder 

“What's more important, aesthetics or ethics?” - the architectural revolution that's redefining cities

One of the major structural changes that are affecting the planet is the increasing world population. The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030. And how can we build new cities to cater to this pressure and create a better future for all? Alfredo Brillembourg, award winning urban designer and architect offered a fresh perspective to combatting this growing problem. According to Brillembourg, “we need to build a bridge between the global south and global north.” He stated that, “cities built in the medieval times are still functional so what happened in the 20th century” The answer is simple. In the past, “cities were built organically”, and people were at the centre of how cities were constructed. Today that is no longer the case.
 

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We need to build our cities with the people at the heart. Brillembourg deems this “social sustainability.” The beauty of Brillembourg's philosophy is that he integrates the communities into the infrastructure of his designs. From giving locals in South Africa the physical tools to build their own homes, in keeping with the landscape, to rethinking open spaced schools for autistic children in the middle of a woodland, Brillembourg uses the environment and community around him to guide his designs. He poses the question, “What's more important, aesthetics or ethics?” Both was his reply. His beautifully crafted vertical gyms, for instance, in Caracas, went further than bringing together a local population. Crime went down by 30% as young people began to use the gym instead of prowling the streets and there was 25% increase in children going to the local school as crime rates had lowered.

“We need to build a bridge between the global south and global north” Alfred Brillembourg, Architect, Urban Think Tank

Brillembourg is correct in his thinking that “through city building and citizen building, we can change democracy” and have a deep, social positive impact on underprivileged communities. We all have a right to a home, and we have to “rethink our tolerance of street life” by building them sustainably and using “public building as a public space”.

“Through city building and citizen building, we can change democracy”, Alfred Brillembourg, Architect, Urban Think Tank

Wichtige Hinweise.

Die vorliegende Marketingmitteilung wurde von der Bank Lombard Odier & Co AG oder einer Geschäftseinheit der Gruppe (nachstehend “Lombard Odier”) herausgegeben. Sie ist weder für die Abgabe, Veröffentlichung oder Verwendung in Rechtsordnungen bestimmt, in denen eine solche Abgabe, Veröffentlichung oder Verwendung rechtswidrig wäre, noch richtet sie sich an Personen oder Rechtsstrukturen, an die eine entsprechende Abgabe rechtswidrig wäre.

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