Attending the Creating Climate Wealth (CCW) conference last week in Washington, DC gave me the confidence to trust I can walk the walk as much as I can talk the talk, insofar as sustainable agriculture is concerned. Given that AgriGate Asia, my online business intelligence newsletter and publication, seeks to attract an audience of environmental and agricultural experts, scientists, academics, policy-makers, investors and non-profits, it’s critical to my success that I interact with them and test my ideas out on them.
And that’s exactly what I did.
Presented by the Carbon War Room – Richard Branson’s initiative aiming to push our society beyond its current reliance on carbon-based technologies and unsustainable resource demands – CCW seeks to utilize existing and emerging technological innovations to address business solutions in ways that are sustainable and move toward a zero-carbon future.
Investing $1.3 trillion each year in green sectors would deliver long-term stability in the global economy, a new UN report has suggested; yet full commercial utilization of this innovation and their financial rewards still elude us. CCW aims to “fast-track this amazing wealth creation opportunity” and create actionable “roadmaps to a post-Carbon future” by creating “economic growth, entrepreneurial wealth, well paid jobs, and make billion ton (gigaton) carbon reductions.”
It’s not just an economic concern: it’s a pressing environmental one, too. According to research by the World Resources Institute, agriculture is humanity’s greatest contributor to climate change. I know it cannot be ignored – and by attending CCW, I learned others were just as aware of this challenge as I.
As this was an invitation-only event, I was honored to participate; and as this was the first year offering a track devoted specifically to discussing Sustainable Agriculture, I was excited to engage on the ground floor of this emerging sector. Over the course of 2-plus days of intense meetings, discussions, panels and partying (which is when most of the networking really takes place, let’s be honest), I was able to conclude that the impetus behind AgriGate Asia really had traction and addresses a need for the people who operate in the agricultural industry.
By interacting personally with the community whose support is like oxygen for AgriGate Asia to thrive, I learned those “unspoken” skills that can’t be absorbed when one lives abroad, as I do: the language and protocols, culture and gossip which lubricate and ease decision-making on a bigger scale. Equally important, I met the gatekeepers and decision-makers critical to the investment, cleantech and agricultural industry, fomenting relationships that I foresee leading to advisory and investment opportunities.
When working on a start-up independently, one never knows how the project will be received once it sees the light of day. Will it whither away, unsupported and un-nurtured; or will it thrive like a seedling, watered and sunned? Thanks to the ROI Micro Grant, I’m increasingly confident AgriGate Asia will blossom.
Originally published May 12, 2011 on the ROI Community network blog as thanks for their generous distribution of Micro Grants.