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The Climate Change Leadership Porto Summit 2018 positioned the city of Porto as a world centre for climate change response

The Climate Change Leadership Porto Summit 2018 was attended by Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, Professor Mohan Munasinghe, winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, Irina Bokova, former Director-General of UNESCO and Juan Verde, President of the Advanced Leadership Foundation. The event was held at the Porto Ageas Coliseum, this Friday, and marked the launch of the Porto Protocol.

With a panel of four renowned international speakers - including the former President of the United States, Barack Obama - the Climate Change Leadership Porto Summit 2018 positioned the city of Porto as a world centre for the proposal of solutions to counter climate change. Friday was marked by the opening of a debate forum to discuss positive measures impacting companies and the environment, and by the introduction of the Porto Protocol, a volunteer corporate and institutional movement aimed at developing a more sustainable environmental policy. Approximately two thousand and two hundred people were in attendance. 

“This conference and the Porto Protocol exemplify the kind of business leadership we so badly need to put us on the balanced inclusive green growth (BIGG) path to global sustainability. My sincere hope and expectation is that the Protocol will be joined by other industries and stakeholders to become a more universal initiative for action to combat climate change”, exhorted Mohan Munasinghe, the joint winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and former Vice-Chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate.

Juan Verde, the President of the Advanced Leadership Foundation also highlighted the need for stakeholders to participate towards economic and environmental commitments: “Sustainable economy makes sense not only from an ethical and moral point of view, but also, and foremost, from a competitive and business opportunity point of view. When you understand this you also understand that there are currently two types of business ventures: those that also partake from this point of view and will survive, and those which do not. The latter will disappear.”

Irina Bokova, the former Diretor-General of UNESCO, also cautioned against the loss of momentum around this theme: “Climate change is the biggest and fastest growing threat to World Heritage. We all need to raise the alarm about climate change and call for stronger efforts to implement the Paris Agreement.   If we lose our the common heritage of humanity, we will lose not only old building, archaeological sites and landscapes, shaped by millennial traditions, but we will lose our histories identities and sense of belonging forever”.

The event was also marked by the introduction of the Porto Protocol, a volunteer corporate and institutional movement aimed at creating a more sustainable environmental policy. Following this pre-launch initiative the aim is now for the document to be signed by companies from the wine industry at the Climate Change Leadership Porto – Solutions for the Wine Industry, between the 6th and 7th of March 2019.

“It is extremely important for the city of Porto to take part in the world debate on environmental issues and climate change. The visit of such personalities to Porto highlights the city’s relevance on the international stage. The set-up of a good practice platform such as the Porto Protocol, carrying with it the name of the city itself, is also one of the extraordinary results of this conference”, emphasised Rui Moreira, Mayor of city of Porto, which co-organised the conference.

The ultimate goal is to transform the Porto Protocol into a formal, written, pledge, signed by the stakeholders, detailing their individual goals towards climate change. Depending on their prior levels of engagement, each company will define its own commitments. Companies are encouraged to tackle this issue from a strategic point of view, in order to gain a potential competitive edge. The signing of the Porto Protocol entails no cost to the companies involved.

“The time has come for companies to adopt a leadership role on climate change issues. The time has come for companies to get ahead of the game and act towards environmental protection, by establishing sustainable practices with clear gains for both companies and consumers”, mentioned Nuno Botelho, President of the Porto Trade Association.

The Porto Protocol will also have an on-line presence, which companies can contribute to, and which will include a database with case study data and examples of practical measures and actions. 

 “The wine industry suffers directly from climate change, and is therefore well placed to lead the movement aimed at finding solutions towards a better environment. Taylor Fladgate is already at the forefront of this movement but is also keen to go a step further and learn from its partners since all industries have valid solutions which can be shared. We are all responsible and we cannot afford to waste any more time. We need to act now,” highlighted Adrian Bridge, CEO of Taylor Fladgate, organiser of the event, and mentor of the project.

The Climate Change Leadership Porto initiative is the collective effort of the following entities: Taylor Fladgate, the City Council of Porto, The Portuguese Institute of Vine and Wine, The Porto Trade Association, The American College in Spain and the Advanced Leadership Foundation, which facilitated the visit by former president Barack Obama. They all share a high level of commitment towards climate change and have been working together, as a group, for approximately nine months with projects for the next three years already underway.


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