Biodiversity needs inclusion and collaboration

Emma Vass, chief executive at Ecotone, outlines why discussions and actions to improve biodiversity require diverse stakeholders and solutions that drive collaboration.

Biodiversity needs inclusion and collaboration

The magnitude of environmental issues is complex. And tackling them isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It needs innovation, vision and most of all action. At Ecotone, we are on a pathway to creating a sustainable future food – and to do this, we need pioneering thinkers from every corner of the industry.

The COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place at the end of the month, the pinnacle of finding collaboration at a global level. As a global food company with a clear vision for what we envisage the future of our food system to look like, collaboration is critical. With so many different elements to take in, we must recognize how invaluable the role of both diversity and inclusion are in the fight to protect our planet.

Diverse solutions

Biodiversity is multifaceted. One of the best ways we can make a change and implore earth-saving solutions is by building a team with broad perspectives, experiences, and talents. Outside of this benefitting a more creative approach, it allows every voice to be heard, regardless of background.

This applies from our boardroom to our entire ethical supply chain, which operates across 230 third-party manufacturers. Here, being diverse is crucial in facing varied challenges. After all, it is in some of the most vulnerable communities where the climate crisis is having the most immediate and shattering effects. And, we may have our own views on solving complex battles – but without listening to those who are on the frontlines, we can’t begin to truly understand how best to adapt and change.

Inclusive action

It is our goal to be a truly inclusive European food company by 2025. This applies to gender diversity, gender balance, and social background and is why we’ve implemented a governance structure and board to ensure we’re held to account.

What we can learn to better ourselves in this space, is to take on board insights from the changemakers who are leading in inclusion.

Earth Shot Prize finalist S4S Technologies has inspired us on our journey. It is just one of the companies providing a sustainable solution to India’s rural farmers, who are facing high food waste levels due to rising inflation. By ensuring diverse voices are heard, the team was able to provide solar-powered technology to protect crops, which protects farmers and the planets at the same time – with a focus on the vital contribution of female farmers too.

Galvanizing the future

In demonstrating our commitment to inclusion and diversity, we’re able to set a powerful message to the next generation. If we can learn one thing from 20-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, it is to not underestimate how passionate young minds and changemakers are in protecting the environment. Inclusive action is the future, and it will forge change across age, communities and countries.

Having taken part in The One Young World summit in Belfast this month, the value young people can bring to sustainability mustn’t be overlooked. Ecotone participated in activity empowering the future of leadership in food with some of the brightest leaders from 190+ countries. As part of this, we ran a workshop which challenged young leaders to build a marketing and communication plan around engaging consumers to choose organic. It was a truly inspirational event, not only to see how many people are embracing organic produce, but just how educated and passionate they are about transforming our food system and growing the future.

As a company, we continue work directly with disadvantaged youth as part of our ongoing partnership with My Big Career to provide one-to-one career advice, support, and inspiration to embark on a future in the food industry.

As a truly inspiring leader in sustainability, we must foster an environment where everyone feels empowered to speak up and harness the power of diversity so we’re in the best position to face the enormity of climate change.

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