As our inaugural Arduus ad Solem* webinar series comes to an end with our final session on #SustainableFashion this month, we look back at the climate change series as a whole. What important questions have been posed? What ideas have been generated? How can Dragons make positive, conscious decisions to achieve a more sustainable society?
Our first session posed the question, ‘Climate Change: How can Dragons help solve it?’ and we were delighted to welcome Uday Khemka (OD 1978), Vice Chairman of the SUN group of companies as Chair of our panel of experts. He brilliantly led the discussion and encouraged debate around the realities of climate change and the complexities of solving it.
Our panel of experts on renewable energy, finance and engineering included Kingsmill Bond (OD 1980), Dr Alice Bunn (Friend of the Dragon), and Nick Jelley (Former Parent), with an audience made up of Old Dragons and parents, both current and former, as well as our Upper School children as part of their prep. We were delighted to have such an engaged audience in attendance, who posed thoughtful questions to our panel about ways we can realistically be sustainable and whether climate change will, or can, ever be solved.
“If we are losing a football field every few minutes, what kind of investment can reverse this?”
Our second event in the series followed in February of this year with Sustainable Finance: Investing in Solutions to Climate Change which welcomed experts from within the Dragon community to discuss who and what is involved in sustainable finance, and what issues it raises for broader investment practitioners. Chaired by Dragon governor Jack Edmondson (Current Parent) Deputy CIO at Oxford University Endowment Management, our panelist of experts included Antonia Coad (Friend of the Dragon) Head of Sustainability and Corporate Affairs at Oxford University, Niki Mardas (Current Parent) Executive Director of Global Canopy, Peter Michaelis (OD 1982, Current Parent) Head of Sustainable Investment at Liontrust, and Charlie Sichel (OD 1994) Founder of Forestry Linked Securities.
The discussion began with an overview of their various roles and responsibilities within the industry which immediately highlighted some of the key challenges organisations face when balancing profit and sustainability. It was clear that, even with the demand from companies looking for support and consultation on how to build better sustainable practices, there are challenges and complexities in achieving this. We were so pleased to welcome another extremely engaged audience, posing questions to the panel about whether returns are actually achievable when prioritising sustainable practices, questioning the responsibility of the consumer and ultimately whether it is possible to completely transition the mindset of everyone and not just those invested in sustainable finance.
The conversation continued with the Dragon community as we shared a recording of the session with those unable to join us for the live event, including our young Dragons who watched the recording as part of their Friday Spectrum session that week.
“By far the most illuminating and informed discussion I’ve heard on Climate Change. Any UK broadcaster would have given their eye-teeth to have transmitted it.” Attendee (OD 1953)
We have welcomed over 150 current parents and children, ODs, and Dragon colleagues to the series so far, and have been delighted to offer a platform for important discussion. We look forward to the questions posed and conversations to be had as we host the third and final webinar in our climate change series, Arduus ad Solem | Sustainable Fashion on Thursday, 19th May at 6.30 pm. We welcome the following panel of experts to discuss who and what is driving the demand for sustainable fashion and retail, the various roles and responsibilities of those working in these industries, and how they are responding to consumers: Henry Birch (OD 1982, Current Parent) CEO of The Very Group, Meta Cunder (Friend of the Dragon) Sustainability Manager at Nicholas Kirkwood, Charlotte Lawson Johnston (Former Parent) Founder of Cloth Collective, and Laura Tenison MBE (Friend of the Dragon) Founder of JoJo Maman Bébé. The session will be chaired by Adam Jay (OD 1989) CEO Marketplace at Vinted.
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*Arduus ad Solem, Reach for the Sun, is an opportunity for our whole community to join in discussions and debates around various themes from Sustainability and Artificial Intelligence through to Leadership and Education. These sessions encourage balanced conversations around social, economic, and political issues, with the aim of providing insight and understanding of what we can do to make a positive impact on the world around us.
Dragon School is bold in our outlook, developing curious minds, a sense of purpose, quiet confidence, and determination. The lifelong love of learning that we instil in our children is still evident in the ODs we see today, and we’re proud to lead thought-provoking discussions on important topics of the day within our wider community. Each year the Dragon invites eminent members of our community to lead discussions and ask important questions about key topics affecting today’s society.
Find out more and watch recordings of past sessions: Arduus ad Solem – Dragon School, Oxford