Ambassador recommends: Kate Gibson at Diageo

Every month we like to share a recommendation from one of our ambassadors: something that inspires them in their responsible business work. This month we asked Kate Gibson, Global Director of Society at Diageo, a leading beverage alcohol company with over 200 brands sold across 180 countries including Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guiness. Leading the team responsible for ensuring the business makes a positive contribution to society, Kate has over 20 years’ experience in sustainability and corporate strategy, and is passionate about the role of business in leading change.

“With just ten years left to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, I’ve been reflecting on what part business must play during this ‘decade of action’. I was in Davos last week, and the view from the mountaintop is that we’re not on track and there was an understandable sense of urgency in the air. Many conversations took place about the role of business, how to increase transparency of company actions and accelerate the shift towards sustainable investing, and encourage all companies to put plans in place to decarbonise their business at pace.

In the face of such weighty challenges, there are a number of books and resources which have provided me with inspiration, including The 1.5 C Business Playbook: Build a Strategy for Exponential Climate Action. Launched in Davos in January, this is a really helpful guide for organisations large and small who are embarking on the journey to be carbon neutral. It puts complex ideas into simple language and demystifies technical terms, providing inspiration on where to start and the details of the speed at which the shift to a low carbon world needs to take place.  In order to meet the commitments of the Paris Agreement, emissions need to start to decline in 2020 and reduce by half in the decade to 2030. We all need a game plan, and this guide is a great way to get started.

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates is very powerful. As Gates puts it, ‘how can we summon a moment of lift for human beings – and especially for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity’. From educating women and girls, to helping smallholder farmers and changing the nature of the workplace – the book outlines how, by understanding and removing barriers for women and girls – all communities can thrive.

Finally, I love Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, because it focuses on the most powerful solutions to address climate change, solutions that are available now. Put simply, the tools that we need to tackle the defining issue of the 21st Century already exist, all we have to do is use them.”

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