Leading industry figures from across the globe have used Envision Virgin Racing’s Innovation Summit in Paris to issue a rally cry as to how technology, innovation, cooperation and foresight from the business sector can help tackle climate change.

Held at Châteauform, just a stone’s throw from the all-electric Formula E race in Paris, the thought leadership event brought together a wide range of prominent business leaders and sustainability experts from Envision Virgin Racing’s network to discuss why urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to restrict global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C.

Citing a recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which states the world has just 12 years left to act, the event’s key panellists highlighted the pressing need for organisations – across every sector – to take it upon themselves to safeguard a sustainable future.

Amongst the speakers calling for such action were Vice President of Smart Mobility for Envision Group Franz Jung, CEO of the Virgin Group Josh Bayliss, Founder and CEO of cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab Eugene Kaspersky, Founding Partner of Global Optimism and Former Executive Secretary for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres, and ‘Tiger’ Tyagarajan, President and CEO of the digital transformation firm Genpact.

Hosted by broadcast journalist Andrew Wilson, the Innovation Summit is one of a series held by Envision Virgin Racing in conjunction with its Race Against Climate Change initiative, a programme launched by the team in 2017 which aims to accelerate the energy transition and help the world achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. Indeed, the team – together with its partners – has earned a reputation as the leading Formula E team for sustainability, using its independent status to address the wider energy transition topic beyond just the e-mobility element.

Managing Director for the team Sylvain Filippi, who gave the opening address at the event, said: “Without doubt, it has never been more pressing for business leaders to examine the role they play in building a sustainable future for all. I believe the time to act is now. The latest technologies available to us from wind turbines to electric cars, will, if adopted on mass, accelerate our progress towards our goal of a net zero-emission world.

He added: “Our panellists today have shown that it is businesses – and their development of new technologies in particular – which can help find a pragmatic solution to the threat we face. There has never been a greater requirement for organisations to transform the way they operate and to inspire others across all business sectors.”

As well as being a sustainability leader, Envision Virgin Racing is one of the founding and most successful teams in Formula E and currently lies in second place in the championship standings heading into today’s Paris E-Prix. Meanwhile, the team’s next Innovation Summit takes place at Brooklyn’s New Lab Facility ahead of the New York City E-Prix on Friday, 12 July 2019.

Envision Virgin Racing Paris Innovation Summit: Speaker comments…

Franz Jung, Vice President of Smart Mobility at Envision Group & Chairman of the Board of Envision Virgin Racing:
“Envision as the leading renewable technology company recently entered the EV battery sector with Envision AESC’s the Gen5-811 battery. It is not just a cutting-edge battery, but one that will be integrated into the Envision EnOSTM system, to empower the battery with AIoT & V2X abilities. At Envision Virgin Racing we always push the system to the limit. We utilise Formula E to demonstrate Envision’s technology to better support the team. In return, we will apply the knowledge gathered from Formula E to optimise Envision’s new products.”

Josh Bayliss, Virgin Group CEO:
“Across the Virgin Group, we’re identifying ways to tackle climate change and reduce our footprint. I believe there is huge potential for low-carbon transformation in every sector which Virgin operates in – whether it’s renewable jet fuels at Virgin Atlantic, providing mass transit solutions through Virgin Trains or looking to the future with Virgin Hyperloop. The Envision Virgin Racing team along with the rest of Formula E play a key role in driving low-carbon mobility through ground-breaking innovation.”

Eugene Kaspersky, Founder & CEO Kaspersky Lab:
“We are living in fast-changing, innovative times; an interconnected world with ‘smart’ everything – factories, cars, homes, and the ever-present IoT gadgets. This is already the new normal, the new reality. While enjoying the benefits and convenience of this new infrastructure, we have to remember how vulnerable this new digitalized world is and make it our mission and responsibility to look out for its safety and security. I call for a responsible digital-wellbeing approach on all levels: from ordinary users and small businesses to large corporations and governments.” 

Christiana Figueres, Founding Partner, Global Optimism and Former Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change:
“The Envision Virgin Racing team and the broader Formula E race show that the future is not in the future, it is in the present. We have already developed electric mobility technologies that we would only have dreamed of a few years ago. These can now be applied appropriately to other areas of transport. It is time to thank the internal combustion engine and put it in the museum.”

‘Tiger’ Tyagarajan, President and CEO, Genpact:
“In this era of unprecedented technological change, innovation has the power to connect industries, communities, and society as a whole. It is imperative that business leaders consider not only their companies’ growth, but also their greater purpose and impact on the world. Technology creates new opportunities to make sustainability a central part of any organization’s strategy. Genpact’s work with Envision Virgin Racing underscores the crucial role that AI and analytics play to drive innovation for the future of sustainable electric cars with Formula E, and more broadly for the future of mobility. These lessons can help other industries as they use technology to address their own sustainability concerns and build stronger connections between their organizations and communities.”

Sandra Roling, Head of EV100, The Climate Group:
“Accelerating the shift to clean transport is a new hallmark of ambitious business leadership – as well as tackling climate change it helps to reduce the major public health challenge of air pollution in cities. With two out of three new cars in Europe sold to the corporate sector, businesses have an unparalleled opportunity to grow demand for electric vehicles and hasten their roll out at scale. Through our global EV100 initiative, influential companies are leading the charge by electrifying their fleets by 2030 – major businesses everywhere should join them.”