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What Happened At Skoll? And What’s Next?

Upon arriving in Oxford two weeks ago for my 2nd Skoll World Forum, I immediately remembered why I was there: I was joining 1,000 carefully selected leaders from around the world for three days of intense brainstorming, talks, and stimulating conversations – often over great food and English beer. Every time I struck up a conversation it was with somebody who had started a business, created an amazing NGO or social enterprise, or had published something I had read.

For example, over a pint, I learned from Susan Burns, who founded the Global Footprint Network, how her organization measures ecological footprints –from those of an individual person up to entire countries– and whose data is now starting to be used in evaluating stock values. I also met and heard from leaders of major global companies such as The Body Shop and Starbucks, on how they are increasingly implementing “Sustainable Global Supply Chains” driven by “ESG” (Environmental, Social, and Governance) indicators used to evaluate corporate behavior. Leaving all the jargon aside, what most struck me about this year’s Skoll World Forum was the growing consensus among private-, social-, and government-sector leaders that the global challenges we face must be tackled together, and that fundamental change in how we conduct or lives and do business is inevitable. In some cases, this change is already under way.

In this context, my chats with many potential partners about the Melton Foundation and our global citizenship mission led to many longer conversations: our network of talented fellows who collaborate across boundaries to address our shared global challenges was genuinely interesting and relevant to many people I met. I write this as I look at the big pile of business cards I’m going through as I follow up with the people I met. Some have already contacted me and others will be hearing from me soon on how we can tackle global challenges together.  

Stay tuned! And in the meantime, check out this video that Skoll recorded of delegates: 50 People 1 Question.