Issue 03 of our print magazine is available to buy now

Issue 03 is available to buy now

COP-26 Check-In: Adam Penny

COP-26 Check-In: Adam Penny

There’s a never-ending stream of news coverage about COP26, but what’s it really like to be there?
Adam Penny

Throughout COP26, we are checking in with our friends and colleagues who are in Glasgow to get a first-person feel for how it’s going. Today we spoke to Adam Penny, the co-founder and CEO of The Beautiful Truth Group.

Have you been to COP before?

No, it’s my first time.

What brings you to COP?

We wanted to see different sides of the debate. We also attended one of the marches. But the key thing was a film we made for Unilever which looked at how different stakeholders are tackling deforestation in supply chains.

Why are you excited to be at COP?

It was wonderful to be part of something so global. We saw people from all over the world–civil society, public and private sector–all in one place, aiming for the same thing. As far as I know, there has literally been nothing like this anywhere at any time on the planet. This was for everyone. 

What’s one of the most hopeful things you’ve seen or heard while you’ve been there?

The scrutiny of the promises and targets. Things are being taken seriously and everyone is trying to work out how to play their part, at every level.

How would you describe the atmosphere?

It was mixed, if I’m honest. Everything was in pockets, so there wasn’t a lot of cohesion, or a build up of atmosphere. This was different in the marches where there were a lot of different groups and united voices.

“I’m always hopeful about us as a species and what’s possible. Again and again in our history what has seemed impossible, what has seemed immovable has transformed.”

Inside the business zone (the green zone), I think there was a lot of excitement and pride that people were part of it, and could share some of the good things they were doing.

What’s your hope for the conference?

Renewed action and renewed hope. From all who took part.

What’s one thing that has surprised you at COP?

The diversity of the audience and participants. It really felt like everyone was there from all over the world. It wasn’t elitist. And the kindness and open ESD of the people in Glasgow.

Across countries, sectors, and industries, are people listening to each other?

It’s tough to say. There are a lot of strong options and a lot of frustration. Is change happening fast enough? Do people understand the severity of the situation? And are we all prepared to make the changes that are needed?

Do you think drastic change is possible? Are we on track to net zero by the middle of the century?

I’m always hopeful about us as a species and what’s possible. Again and again in our history what has seemed impossible, what has seemed immovable has transformed. Think of how civil rights have changed over the past 100 years. Or the fall of seemingly insurmountable problems, regimes and ideologies. 

I think it will be tough, but it’s possible. Only time will tell. 

Watch the trailer to Unilever’s COP26 film here.