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Net zero emissions by 2050 "lacks sense of urgency" — Suntory CEO

Like many other big corporations, Japanese brewer and distiller Suntory want to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But that's not enough for CEO Tak Niinami. "It's far away and lacks the sense of urgency," he says. Niinami predicts that especially after COP26 people will be wary of greenwashing, so it's essential for corporations to "to be transparent, showing society what we are doing and how much progress we are making" on climate.

Suntory CEO Tak Niinami spoke during the first of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory. Watch here.

Making plastic industry sustainable is corporate self-interest

Plastics are essential for Asia, but for Ian Bremmer the way the industry works right now is incompatible with the region's targets to fight climate change. Very soon, though, he predicts there will be "immense gravitational pull" to do things differently. Once the way Asian companies use plastics now becomes outdated, he says, it's only a matter of time before they change out of their own self-interest. Bremmer spoke during the second of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory.

COP26: What to expect

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and a happy COP26 kickoff day. That's in Glasgow. We've got a bunch of Eurasia Group folks there. I am not. I'm here in New York and of course wouldn't you know, it's the first day that it's pretty cold out and so I actually got the winter gear out. It feels a little bit perverse given the climate issues that we're talking about and thought I'd talk a little bit about where we're going.

Look, it's interesting, first of all, because the COP26 summit is right after the G-20. The G-20 didn't get much attention this time around. Also, because there wasn't an awful lot of news being made. I mean, the big announcements are coordination on the economic side. It is about an alternate minimum tax, which was been driven by the United States and the Europeans. We had movement towards that the last OECD summit and full agreement this time around at the G-20. Also, there is breakthrough on aluminum and steel tariffs that would have led to tit for tat, from the Europeans against American exports, a bunch of luxury goods. Nobody needs any of that. Both sides taking a step away from the brink, improvement in terms of globalization and movement of goods and less costs being born by consumers. And at a time when we're hitting inflation. And when there are all sorts of supply chain difficulties and shutdowns, no leaders really want to focus on a bigger fight.

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Asia will lose land as the planet warms, says IPCC's Ko Barrett

Last August, a landmark IPCC report underscored the urgency of the climate crisis — with big implications for Asia, the region most at risk. Ko Barret, vice president at the IPCC, says Asia should especially watch out for a combination of sea level rise above the global average and a lot more rain than usual that'll together result in shorelines receding along the Mekong delta.

Barrett spoke during the first of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory. Watch here.

COP falling apart doesn't mean we're failing to respond to climate: Ian Bremmer

For Ian Bremmer, on the one hand accepting climate science in the age of fake news and disinformation is a huge victory. But on the other hand, in a few days COP26 — the biggest global summit on the most important global issue we all face right now — will probably just kick the can down the road because global leadership has checked out. Still, Bremmer says this is an opportunity for the COP process to be driven in the future by other people different from the current old males that run the show.

Ian Bremmer spoke during the first of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory. Watch here.

Focus on applying existing tech to recycle plastics — Suntory CEO Tak Niinami

Single-use plastics have become a big pollution problem in Asia — which technology can help solve. Suntory CEO Tak Niinami hopes that not only new but also existing tech that hasn't been applied yet can really be a game-changer on plastics recycling in Asia, where there's no one-size-fits-all solution for all countries. Niinami spoke during the second of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory.

Indonesia's tricky balance on climate and poverty

Shinta Kamdami, CEO of Indonesian conglomerate Sintesa, says her country is in a tight spot on climate. Indonesia wants to do a lot more to curb its emissions because it still burns a lot of coal to get power, but must transition to more clean energy in sustainable a way that doesn't further hurt millions of poor Indonesians — and many Asian developing countries face the same balancing act. Kamdami spoke during the first of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory.

Kamdami joined for the first of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory. Watch here.

Can anyone lead the world on climate right now? Nope, says Kevin Rudd

For Kevin Rudd, former Australian PM and now CEO of the Asia Society, the science on climate change is pretty much done, so the only unresolved issues are tech and — more importantly — lack of political leadership. He can't think of a single national political leader who can fill the role, and says the only way to get political action on climate is to mobilize public opinion.

Rudd joined for the first of a two-part Sustainability Leaders Summit livestream conversation sponsored by Suntory. Watch here and register here to watch part two Friday 10/22 at 8 am ET.

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