Updated Apr 12, 2023 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on solving the world's biggest problems

On Wednesday, April 12, Axios Today host Niala Boodhoo hosted conversations at the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, England laying out a global roadmap for solving some of the world’s biggest problems. Guests included Ceres CEO and president Mindy Lubber, mPharma co-founder and CEO Gregory Rockson, and Water.org and WaterEquity CEO and co-founder Gary White. A View from the Top sponsored segment featured Skoll Foundation CEO Don Gips.

Mindy Lubber shared insights on avoiding greenwashing at the corporate level and her hopes for strengthening sustainable climate fuels following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.

  • On corporate climate plans: “What we are asking every company and investor is to do a climate transition plan. Literally lay out your goals and your activities and what you’re doing over short, medium and long term. Don’t tell us how you’re going to get to net zero in 2040 and you’re going to start in 2038, that is a recipe for not getting there. Show us what you can do starting tomorrow.”
  • On jumpstarting capital markets to engage in climate transitions: “We are now in the Inflation Reduction Act seeing subsidies for the fuels that are a part of our future, that are part of transforming where we ought to go, that are part of changing the auto industry, the real estate industry. And those incentives will help jumpstart the movement of capital markets, of large companies.”

Gregory Rockson discussed how his company, mPharma, is working to improve health care delivery in Africa in an age of austerity and uncertainty surrounding health care systems and the broader economy.

  • On current difficulties delivering basic health care services: “I think that the big question that many developing nations, including in Africa…are trying to answer, is how do we effectively deliver basic health care services in an age of austerity, when so many countries in the continent are facing a debt crisis, including my own country, Ghana.”
  • On mPharma’s goals to reduce health care costs for Africans: “To really increase access to health care, you cannot expect people to spend more than a day’s salary on health care because they have other costs they have to incur. So our entire work at mPharma has been building this infrastructure…where we can create basically a health plan that allows us to deliver comprehensive primary health care to every African for $1.90 a month.”

Gary White explained the intersections between his work improving access to clean water, lending and impact investing.

  • On the economic potential of expanding clean water access: “So you can see water is this catalyst beyond just health to unleashing economic potential, and I think that’s what's so critical about trying to find new solutions to this age-old problem of 771 million people who don’t have safe water and 1.7 billion who don’t have sanitation, and rethinking how this creates value for people and how you can tap into that value to bring the capital markets to bear.”
  • On promoting investment in climate resilience: “I think when you look at climate, there is an overwhelming preponderance to look at mitigation in this context and not as much to look at adaptation and resilience, and so that’s what we’re trying, to bring the climate investing into this because the people that we’re trying to serve had the least to do with creating the climate crisis, and they are suffering the most.”

In the View from the Top segment, Don Gips highlighted what he believes are the most pressing problems facing the world.

  • “So we work on pandemics and health systems strengthening, democracy and governance, climate, inclusive economic growth, and then cutting across all those, information integrity. If you had told me four years ago and asked me what would bring together the planet, I would have said invasion from outer space or something like a pandemic. Truth is, the pandemic divided us, and I think our information ecosystem was a big part of that. And then lastly, equity.”

Thank you to the Skoll Foundation for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper