In January 2018, I had the opportunity to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an annual event where the political, business, academic, charitable, and cultural leaders of society engage in dialogue to shape global, regional, and industry agendas, discussions essentially aimed to improve global affairs and the state of the world.(1) After a full day of panel sessions and meetings, while walking with my colleague on the main promenade, we came across a pop-up whisky bar set up by Aberdeen Standard, a global investment company. It featured a menu with fancy whiskies, complete with a Scottish bartender and bagpiper serenading guests – it was posh to say the least. During the WEF, Aberdeen Standard typically spends over USD $3.5M, catering to the global elite while they debate topics such as hunger and global warming. This event has been rightly criticized in recent years: how can the power players in business, politics, academia, and culture pontificate about improving the world when these same people have, at times, been the cause of such crises in their respective industries? It seemed ironic, out of touch. However, since its inception, this very conference has also brokered relations between countries on the brink of war and launched immunization programs to protect children from diseases.(2) Can two things be true at the same time? In hindsight, I can see the doubtful advantage, the double-edged sword – for me, reconciling the two sides is still very much a work in progress. In April 2020, Aberdeen Standard halted its commitment to the WEF in a bid to reprioritize resources. It felt hopeful, as if everyone was taking small steps in the right direction.
At the conference, the most memorable discussion I engaged in involved the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement by former Secretary of State John Kerry – it was the highlight of my trip. He shed light on the magnitude of the Agreement and how it necessitates global cooperation. The Paris Climate agreement is a landmark in and of itself, providing a multilateral binding agreement, bringing all nations together to combat climate change. It is ambitious, but yet necessary – climate change is one topic where nations can hopefully set aside differences and come together to save something that affects us all. That day became an important inspiration for the launch of our Torpedo Climate Change ’21 Initiative.
The Torpedo Climate Change ’21 Initiative is the focus of Torpedo Journal for the first quarter of 2021, where 15% of proceeds from the purchase of our limited edition Torpedo merchandise goes towards the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, one of the most impactful charities in the environmental space. They seek to create sound and long-lasting opportunities for environmental sustainability, social and economic advancement, strengthened capacity, and international market reform in a manner that enhances tropical forest stewardship, biodiversity conservation, and global climate stability by reversing the destruction of tropical rainforests.(3) The inclusion of REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries) in the Paris Climate Agreement was the culmination of a decade of dedication and work by the Coalition of Rainforest Nations (CfRN), which originated the concept and negotiated it through to a global agreement.(3) We can talk the talk, but at the end of the day, actions matter and the success achieved by the Coalition of Rainforest Nations has been nothing short of inspirational. We are proud to select them as the recipient of our first charitable initiative.
Each piece of clothing in our TCC ’21 collection features a unique badge commemorating our initiative and our commitment to giving back. By purchasing an item from our limited edition collection, you are becoming a part of the solution. If you were looking to add to your athleisure Work From Home uniform and were planning to purchase such items, we urge you to look to our collection so that a portion can go towards a charitable cause. Every donation counts.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in a remarkably short period of time. We are in the midst of an unsettling health, economic, social, and environmental crisis, and how we respond will shape the world for the foreseeable future. There is an opportunity to affect change in every decision we make, as the speed, scale, and content of today’s recovery plans will determine whether we achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and whether we meet the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement. The recovery will be a critical moment for global cooperation. It was fitting when, in November 2020, President-elect Joe Biden appointed John Kerry as his special presidential envoy for climate, denoting a marked shift in policy and a renewed commitment of the United States to solving climate change.
“And a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.” – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
The pandemic has underscored the fact that countries acting alone cannot tackle urgent challenges and beyond the pandemic, we cannot achieve half as much without collective partnership and teamwork, even on an individual, community-based level. In Davos, I was aware of the dichotomy between the 99% and the 1%. Today, I strive to implement equity for all and to use whatever resources I have to uplift the community, however small the wins may be. It all starts with where we live. In 2021, let’s come together, find common ground, and contribute to making a lasting difference in this world.
References: (1) World Economic Forum. (2020, December 11). Our Mission. https://www.weforum.org/about/world-economic-forum/ (2) Thomas, Daniel. (2020, January 17.) Davos 2020: What is the World Economic Forum and is it elitist?. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51134164 (3) The Coalition for Rainforest Nations. (2020, December 11). The Coalition for Rainforest Nations. https://www.rainforestcoalition.org