I decided to listen to science, educate myself, change what I can in my own life and dedicate my work to tackling climate change and biodiversity loss in my unique way. The environmental emergency we all face can seem far away but just let this sink in: half of the island I grew up on will disappear with sea levels rising and this is just 80 years away. My home town will be almost completely gone. It might not happen in my lifetime but that doesn’t make it matter any less. I had two options: get paralysed or do what I could. You can guess what I chose – using my area of influence, my skills and taking it one step at a time.
Even if it is small steps – moving is what matters. If we all – governments and non-greenwashing corporates, but also start-ups and us as humans – do the same, let’s see what might be possible. I want to be a climate optimist!
Q: Incredible story, Anne. Thanks for sharing. You’re leading the launch of the Environmental Strategy of the Impact Hub Network. What is this all about? Who’s involved?
A: When the Impact Hub Network decided last year that environmental action as well as diversity, equity and inclusion will be our two key focus areas in our 2030 strategy, my heart jumped! The potential for all 100+ Impact Hubs to stand behind and put their energy on these two crucial and very interconnected topics… WOW. Don’t get me wrong, Impact Hub has already had so many great successes in social innovation and many environmental programs. Still, this strategy can take us to a whole new level – so much is possible.
The Impact Hub Network stands side by side with the local, regional and global communities that are aiming to tackle our climate emergency. As a network, we aim to contribute to building a regenerative economy while focusing specifically on actions in the areas of Net Zero (energy, mobility and construction), Food & Agriculture and Circularity.
As a network, we aim to contribute to building a regenerative economy while focusing specifically on actions in the areas of Net Zero, Food & Agriculture and Circularity.”
Of course, we acknowledge our limited climate expertise – but we want to use our unique innovation and start-up support knowledge, our influence and our locally rooted globally yet connected networks, to co-create with key partners. We can’t – and won’t – do this alone but we are ready for serious and large scale action. Doing this with three core values in mind: being grounded in science, daring and positive.
The strategy was co-created with Impact Hubs across the globe and we are now moving into implementation. I hope in a year from now we can say: everyone – every Impact Hub employee, every member, every partner – thinks about and acts on our environmental action strategy and it is fully integrated within our work. Making it a priority will offer all our members a great chance to grow in this area and receive targeted support while opening the doors for many new strategic partnerships.
Q: Sounds ambitious! Can you elaborate on some concrete actions we’re taking as a network?
A: We have three key areas of action for now. And being honest, we will learn (a lot!) together as a network and with our partners and adapt as we go. Nevertheless, this is our starting point:
- First, to empower our members to have either neutral or positive environmental impact. It doesn’t matter what SDG they work on. We want to support all our members to consider their environmental impact and act on it. Let’s not forget we are talking about 24.000 people and counting!
- Second, to support green ventures to scale their impact faster, especially in our focus areas (net zero, Food & Agriculture and Circularity). We want to run more thematic local, regional and global programs; convene key stakeholders to co-create actions; and create more visibility for the existing solutions of our members.
- Lastly, to role model through our spaces. For us, looks both at becoming a CO2 Neutral Coworking community by 2025 (and eventually net zero) but goes further by looking at all our operations and aims to fully integrate the topic in a locally fitting manner.