Skip to main content

Creating Sustainable Systems


For the past 75 years, the Caux Palace, has been an important catalyst for global change. This July, over 30 distinguished participants from around Europe and beyond came together to reflect, discuss, network, and create new ideas on how to create a better world while facing multiple crises from climate change and the ongoing wars. This year’s Initiatives of Land, Lives and Peace Retreat, introduced by Dr. Irina Fedorenko-Aula and Rudi Hilti, together with host, Dr. Nick Foster, focused on creating sustainable systems.

Several Panels were organized on creating sustainable systems for solving current challenges, regenerative finance, impact investing, carbon markets, and nature-based solutions as well as a strategy session on WEF and UNFCCC COP 27 participation. Space was also given for morning reflection and quiet time, a key element for Initiatives of Change, as we believe contributing to society needs personal reflection. Afterward, the participants shared moments of inspiration, which led to their own journeys and personal missions, during Dialogue Groups.

Shereen Siwpersad from Initiatives of Change Netherlands opened the formal part of the retreat, presenting projects on how to inspire young people to contribute to a healthy planet and a green future. It was clear that many young people are already making sustainable lifestyle choices, such as opting for vegetarian or vegan food, and that they would like to see larger organizations that cause environmental damage begin to act responsibly.

The other panelists, Prof. Mark Turell, ChristiAna Viva, and Dr. Lauren Fletcher, elaborated on scaling up the needed transition to sustainable economy. There is not much time left if we look into the consequences of climate change. Some solutions may not address the fundamental problems behind them, and there is a danger of ‘impact washing’, which must be considered. A good business should act locally with a global perspective. Further discussion dealt with business failures, which implied the notion of a qualitative impact. Panelists agreed that failures should be seen as a learning experience, indicating businesses’ lack of knowledge of their local community or customers. Therefore, storytelling and experience-sharing is essential to creating change. Rudi Hilti also emphasized the need for a system change in education.

The following panels were dedicated to the technical aspects of how the carbon market and the finance world can positively impact nature-based solutions in the climate crisis. Amandeep Midha, Anouk Hilti-Zingg, Stenver Jerkku, Julian Sommer, Leo Caprez, Dr. Sergey Ivliev, and Robin Bartmann provided examples, challenges, and best practice from their work experience in impact financing and shared new project ideas. Topics discussed included the notion of blockchain solutions, the quest for transparency, the interaction with brokers, insurers, and the impact of carbon credits on the market. Simple investment documentation would facilitate the financial support of carbon credits. Trust and credibility are key values in the carbon market and new investment approaches are needed, as the values of investors are also shifting. It was concluded that businesses need to stay open towards innovation and remain committed to sustainable transition. Collaboration is important, especially in building alliances.    

Another session elaborated on widening participation at Davos and the upcoming COP-27 in Egypt in November 2022. The opportunity to draw on previous experience of ILLP delegations at UNFCCC COPs allowed participants to develop a strategy for better engagement and how to positively shape the discussion during these big events.

One of the central themes of ILLP work is creating trust. This meeting has certainly stimulated learning and exchange and allowed new collaborations to emerge. Participants have emphasized that, if we want to build  trust, we need to learn from each other.

The participants are looking forward to turning discussions into action. We would love to thank all event partners: Initiatives of Change; Initiatives for Land, Lives and Peace; The System Change Foundation and The HUS Institute; and invite our global audience to stay tuned to and join us at we future events.


Photos by IofC Netherlands team