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Addressing climate change on boards: an intergenerational perspective

Alumni Festival 2021 (Online), 28 September 10am – 11am

The Centre for Climate Engagement (CCE) at Hughes Hall plays a unique role in accelerating climate action on boards by bringing leading academic research and thought leadership to a targeted audience of chairs and non-executive directors.

Emily Farnworth, Co-Director of CCE, will lead an intergenerational panel through a series of questions relating to the climate issues that companies face. Through this discussion, the event aims to:

  • Highlight relevant climate challenges and the ways that companies might tackle them.
  • Learn from a range of perspectives and understand how individuals with different backgrounds and experiences view different climate issues.
  • Introduce the audience to CCE’s work with non-executive directors and ways that they can get involved.

The panel discussion will open with comments about the challenges and opportunities the group sees in working across generations to address the climate change. The moderator will then pose 3 questions for the panellists to respond to and facilitate a discussion about the role of boards and the priorities for enabling further intergenerational engagement to tackle climate change.

Following the discussion, panellists will be asked to provide an observation of any different or common views that they were surprised about across the group or a suggestion for how intergenerational engagement could support accelerated climate action. The moderator will then take questions for the panellist from the audience.

This online event is open to all. To book your place, please click here.


Emily Farnworth

Emily has over 25 years of experience working with businesses, government, and non-profit organisations to support the transition to a low-carbon economy. She has worked across multi-stakeholder groups and within specific industry sectors to collaborate on solutions to tackle climate change. During her time as Head of Climate Initiatives at the World Economic Forum, and now at the Centre for Climate Engagement, Emily has led research, campaigns, and communications strategies aimed at creating systemic change in the way businesses manage climate risk and decarbonize operations.


Dr Emily Webster

Dr Emily Webster is a Research Associate in Climate Law and Governance at the Hughes Hall Centre for Climate Engagement. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Transnational Law Institute, King’s College London, a member of the Centre for Climate Change Law and Governance, King’s College London, a Research Fellow for the Earth System Governance research project and a member of the IUCN WECL. Emily teaches and researches in International, EU and domestic environmental law, tort law and company law. Emily was an ESRC-funded doctoral candidate at KCL. She holds a PhD  (KCL), LL.M (KCL) and an LL.B, both with distinction.

Ismail Sami

Ismail is a PhD student in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at Hughes Hall College. The focus of his PhD is to understand the electrochemical behaviour of 2D materials for applications including energy storage. He has experience in sustainability; working with NHS Cambridgeshire hospitals to develop their sustainability policy, reviewing and analysing TCFDs of South African banks, and recently developing Guardrails for the Universal Ownership Summit for asset managers.

Helen Mahy CBE

Helen is chair of the FTSE 250 investment company, The Renewables Infrastructure Group.  She is also a non executive director of SSE plc, where she chairs the Safety and Sustainability committee, and of Gowling WLG, the international law firm. In addition she is an Equality and Human Rights Commissioner and co-chair of the Employers Social Mobility Alliance. Helen was formerly Group Company Secretary and General Counsel of National Grid Plc. She has been on the boards of various listed companies including Aga Rangemaster plc, Stagecoach Group plc and Primary Health Properties plc. Helen qualified as a barrister.

Herman Betten

Herman Betten (Netherlands, 1970) is responsible for Royal DSM’s Strategic Partnerships and, as a Platform Fellow, serves as Senior Advisor on Climate Initiatives to the World Economic Forum. From 2007 to 2020 he worked as communications director for DSM’s former CEO Feike Sijbesma and was closely involved with the transformation of DSM from a chemical company to a company active in health, nutrition and biosciences. He helped shape and deliver the company’s public engagement on climate change, malnutrition and circular economy. He studied radio journalism in the early 90s but still doesn’t have a podcast.