Embedding Climate and Social Innovation into Business

Scroll down to join us for this live written panel discussion on Embedding Climate and Social Innovation into Business. This event is part of the Business Fights Poverty Global Summit.

Live Panel
Monday 21 June 2021, 9.30-10.30AM EDT / 2.30-3.30PM BST

“A business leader has to think about how to solve the societal challenges of today, because if we don’t solve them, we will not have a business.” Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of the Board, Nestlé

The case for why social innovation by business has been well made. The World Economic Forum, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Young Foundation, The League of Intrapreneurs and others all agree on why social innovation is an important new business generation avenue, employee engagement mechanism and key to community impact. Activating and unlocking this potential within a business, driving these processes deep into core of an organisation and maintaining the momentum to create lasting sustainable impact for the business and society is the hard bit.

The online written discussion will explore how to embed societal impact into business. And as the intersections between social and environment issues become more potent - we will jointly examine how we can work on these frontiers to create a lasting positive impact.



David Attenborough, Naturalist


Anna Warrington, Director, India, Forum for the Future

Maxime Braun, Catalyst Manager, FUNDES

Justin Perrettson, Head of Sustainability Partnerships, Scouting & Ventures, Novozymes

Justin Dekoszmovszky, UK Founder & Managing Director, Archipel&Co.

Åsa Skogström Feldt, Manager, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship BV

Dina Rokic, NaTakallam

Mario Elias Gonzalez Lupercio, Social Impact & Shared Value Advisor, CEMEX

Ignatius Odongo, Strategist, Youth Cafe, Kenya

Amalia Johnsson, Director of Programmes, Hand in Hand International

Mark Hillen, Founder and Chairman, Social Enterprise NL

Nic Ramsden, Team Leader, BP4GG

Karen Smith, Agriculture Projects Lead, BP4GG

Mark Kebo Akparibo, Executive Secretary , Tele-Bere VSL Association

Veronica Winja, Sustainability Advisory Consultant, KCL


  1. How do we embed societal innovation into business? What case studies and examples demonstrate best practice?

  2. What are the challenges of embedding societal innovation into core business and how can we overcome these hurdles?

  3. What are the strategies and tactics that can enable us to bring social and climate innovation together - to deliver wins for society, for the climate and for business?


This is a text-based discussion. Panelists will be sharing their insights live below in writing. There is LIVE video meeting taking place in parallel for you to meet and interact with other participants. After the live session, this discussion will remain open, so please do continue to share your insights.

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Hello everyone, I am your moderator for this written discussion and very much looking forward to it. Please introduce yourself by hitting reply.


Hello! I’m Justin DeKoszmovszky (Trustee of the League of Intrapreneurs, Senior Associate at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and UK Managing Director at Archipel&Co) and am very much looking forward to exploring this critical topic together. Happy to connect via LinkedIn as well: https://www.linkedin.com/in/justin-dekoszmovszky-5b38a91/


Hi everyone! My name is Amalia Johnsson and I’m Director of Programmes at Hand in Hand International. Really looking forward to this discussion and hearing the practical experiences of such a diverse set of organisations around societal innovation. For more info on our work, you can click here: https://www.handinhandinternational.org/

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Hi everyone - I’m Karen Smith, the Agriculture Lead for the COVID-19 Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility. I’m looking forward to the insights and discussion on how best to achieve inclusive business and facilitate business-led climate mitigation.

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Hello everyone, speaking as Manager of FUNDES Catalyst, the Venture Builder of FUNDES.
Eager to learn from your experience, and honoured to share with you some of the insights we gathered along our 40 years of action at the intersection of economic value and sustainability in Latin America.
:arrow_right: Our approach: creating opportunities with micro, small & medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in overlooked markets, then designing and operating solutions supported by efficient technology, to scale our impact and reach underserved populations.

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Hi everyone, I’m Anna Warrington and I’m responsible for Forum for the Future’s impact and operations in India. My linkedIn profile is here: www.linkedin.com/in/anna-warrington-5087342a For more information on Forum’s approach and our initiatives, our website is here: https://www.forumforthefuture.org/ It’s a real pleasure to ‘meet’ you all

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Hello everyone! I am Åsa Skogström Feldt and I am leading IKEA Social Entrepreneurship BV. You can check out what we do here https://www.ikeasocialentrepreneurship.org/. Looking forward to our discussion!

Hej Justin! Hope all is well!

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Hello everyone! I am happy to be here. I am Veronica Winja from Kenya , I am currently working as a sustainability advisory consultant at Kenya Climate Innovation Centre, Consulting Limited.
I am passionate about embedding sustainability in business and I look forward to learning and interacting with all panelists and participants.

Hi everyone! I am Mario Gonzalez, Social Impact and Shared Value Advisor at CEMEX, in addition to other hat: I am also embarking on an entrepreneurship journey, I am creating RiShift to support individuals, teams and organizations to do business creatively, responsibly and sustainably. Happy to be here!

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Hi Asa! Good to “read” you!

Hi everyone - my name’s Nic Ramsden and I’m the Team Leader for the FCDO-funded Business Partnerships for Global Goals (BP4GG) programme.

Business Partnerships for Global Goals
(BP4GG) is a UK Foreign, Commonwealth
and Development Office (FCDO) programme
which invests in partnerships with businesses
and not-for-profit organisations to test and
scale shared value business initiatives
that contribute to the Global Goals.

The BP4GG programme was initiated shortly
before the global coronavirus (COVID-19)
pandemic was declared in March 2020.
Given the profound global disruption to
trade and economy, in April 2020 BP4GG
was pivoted toward responding to the
pandemic, resulting in the establishment
of a rapid response facility, the ‘COVID-19
Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility’ (VSCF).

The Facility partners with 20 UK and
international retailers and brands, and nine
not-for-profit organisations, supporting over
130 suppliers across Bangladesh, Ethiopia,
Ghana, Kenya, Myanmar, Tanzania, and
Zimbabwe. It is providing economic, social,
and health benefits to around one million
women and men directly and indirectly.

BP4GG is managed by Mott MacDonald.
Accenture Development Partnerships and
the International Institute for Environment and
Development (IIED) are consortium partners.

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Hi Katie - and thanks as always for organizing the session - looking forward! I’m Justin Perrettson, Head of Sustainability Partnerships, Scouting & Ventures at Novozymes, a Global Biosolutions Leader. Among a number of activities I lead efforts around HelloScience, a platform created by Novozymes that links Applied Research, Commercial Innovation and Social Innovation through strategic partnerships and an broader Stakeholder

Hello and welcome

If you haven’t introduced yourself already - please do so. And then our first question:

For businesses to benefit society as a matter of course, their standard operating procedures and ways of hiring/supporting their workforces need to be designed so as to have inherent positive social impact.

For example, under BP4GG’s partnerships with garments factories in Bangladesh, the UK FCDO provided funding to pilot digital occupational health and safety training for garment workers, tailored to how workers should be kept safe from COVID-19 on the factory floor. The software is in Bangla and was developed by a tech partner, Quizrr, for a project led by the Ethical trading Initiative – and has already been used to train c.30,000 workers in the last 12 months. Feedback from factories is positive – the digital trainings are interactive and received well by workers, they take less time out of the working day to conduct, and they can be rolled out in multiple factories quickly, covering a large number of workers. We have also found that workers share their learnings at home, meaning wider society is benefitting from learning about COVOID-19 and how to stay safe from it. Factories are likely to build these types of trainings into their standard OHS practices because of the ease with which they can be rolled out, and the positive update from workers – for which there is evidence from outside our project that this improves worker happiness and productivity.

As a result of being developed by an industry ethical practices member organisation, the software will now be made available to all of ETI’s member businesses sourcing garments from Bangladesh. As a result, many more factories will be able to integrate this type of training into their SOPs, in order to have a much wider societal benefit in Bangladesh.

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There is an argument to be made that any business with a marketing function is already engaged, to some degree, in social innovation–just maybe not as consciously or as focused on positive societal impact as is necessary. So “embedding” may be more a question of “focusing” and helping the business to see that its engagement with society, everything it does that impacts humans, is an opportunity to have a positive impact and to action on its purpose beyond profit.


From my perspective, working with Forum Partners, one of the keys to this is seeing driving (positive) societal change as part of a business’s purpose. The culture of an organisation hangs off its purpose, and deeply affects the decisions made and actions taken day to day. For some, this comes naturally. Purpose driven organisations like Natura or Patagonia are more attuned to understanding their role in just societal transitions and therefore inspiring and delivering innovation along those lines. For others it requires a distinct realignment and ramp up of ambitions.


Embedding social innovation in business first and foremost requires a shift in perspective of what’s the role and the goal of business is in Society. A business with a profit maximization and shareholder mindsets will fail to incorporate social and climate aspects when developing strategies. However, a business with a social and climate mindsets will continuously work to develop solutions and strategies that better their Society by solving existing problems. A classic example is Safaricom,M-pesa mobile money service innovated in Kenya. Its initial goal was to provide unbanked farmers with a safe and quick way to receive money from development partners. However this was embraced by all aspects of society including the people living in urban areas who needed to send money to their relatives in rural areas which are highly underserved and excluded from access to quality services.


A1: Innovation today cannot be other than sustainable. We need to create solutions that are not only desirable, feasible and viable, but socially responsibly and environmentally sustainable. To do so, we need to demonstrate value by bringing together the social innovation business case.

A compelling social innovation business case should be the outcome of an exploratory work. Cross-functional teams could work together to test ideas and anticipate the value for society and the value for business from a social innovation.

At CEMEX, one top example is around our alternative fuels strategy. We have co-invested with local actors to upgrade waste management systems, so we can reduce the use of fossil fuels to produce cement, while helping local communities improve competitiveness, create green jobs and avoid waste to landfill.

Another example is the clean cookstoves initiative, where CEMEX partner with social entrepreneurs to produce and sell clean cookstoves made out of concrete, so families who cook with open fires will reduce their exposure to black carbon and other issues related to wood gathering and open fires cooking.