Skip to content

Enabling the Producer: Transforming our Production Patterns

Monday 20 October 14.45-15.45, the Eigtveds Pakhus, Copenhagen

Moderator: Jonathon Porrit, Founder Director & Trustee, Forum for the Future

Mr. Jonathon Porrit, Founder, Director and Trustee, Forum for the Future

H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister, The Fedral Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Ms. Connie Hedegaard, Commissioner for Climate Action, European Commission
Mr. David Love, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Levi Strauss & Co.
Dr. John Cheh, Vice Chairman & CEO, Esquel Group
Mr. Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Unilever
Mr. Vimal Shah, CEO Bidco Group, Chairman Private Sector Alliance, Kenya


Producers today operate in a high-risk world. More and more producer companies are raising their own game, across the entire sustainability spectrum, seeking to “de-risk” their companies through progress in sustainable production practices, considered incremental change.  But the source of the risk is often systemic, and not operational.  There is still bigger opportunity for green growth when companies re-think their business models, and when governments enable and incentivise more radical innovation  — so that incrementalism does not become an additional risk in itself.

Many business leaders now recognise that their companies are increasingly ‘at risk’ on account of a business-as-usual paralysis.  There’s no denying the need to produce a supply of much more sustainable goods and services.  But they still find it hard to involve their investors, their customers or their consumers in securing a more profound transformation – both of their own businesses and of the economy as a whole.

Session goals

At the end of the session, the plenary will have:

  • Identified learnings and successes with potential of being scaled throughout the value chain ena-bling producers to leapfrog models of incremental sustainable production to address more systemic risks, and preparing for future markets.
  • Investigated examples and arguments for sustainable and inclusive business models through focusing on innovative approaches in emerging fields of material science and upcycling.
  • Explore how governments and collaborative innovation among system players can enable both incentives to transform production patterns and help business models to be scaled at the right level with the right impact.

Session description & flow

This plenary discussion aimed to address both the current challenges of scaling up sustainable production and the future opportunities to transform production systems, by de-risking operating environments for companies and governments to work in partnership and through coalitions to enable green growth.

The session started with 5 minute opening impulses from two government officials. The two opening statements shared examples of the systemic risks facing producers in their countries, and their visions for how businesses and governments can work together to overcome current bottlenecks.

The moderator will kicked off the session discussion, by posing a question to  the floor: “So what would you be saying if you were up here on the platform?  What is the most critical issue you have or scalable solution you can share related to sustainable production?” 

The panel was asked to comment on the statements highlighting systemic risks (posed by the government officials) as well as the questions from the floor.

The session concluded with the moderator posing a final question to the floor:  “So what did you think of that? What nugget will you take away to your government or company? How can policy and businesses work together to address current challenges, and prepare for future markets?”

Conclusion from the moderator.

Proposed discussion questions

  • What should the world’s producers be doing to address the systemic risks?
  • Which decisions, taken over the next couple of years, will make the biggest difference over the next decade?
  • What are some examples of new business models that address systemic risks and go beyond incremental production improvements?
  • Business coalitions are seen as a useful way of helping to de-risk necessary changes, but how can these coalitions be made more effective?
  • How can governments more effectively help make those things happen?