Max Studennikoff is the Founder of CC Forum, a global conference series. Right for Education spoke with him about his work and moving towards a more sustainable world.
R:Ed: Could you tell us about yourself and your work?
My team and I organize CC Forum Investment in Sustainable Development, where CC stands for climate change. The conference covers a range of issues related to the climate, such as renewable energies, government strategies, health care, education, social inclusion, waste management and more. We organized the Monaco edition of CC Forum under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco. Speakers at the conference included former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and Jane Goodall. Normally, we organize three editions of the conference a year, but this year has been exceptional. We had to postpone our planned conference in Dubai in March, and were fortunate to organize the conference in Monaco a few weeks ago.
R:Ed: What are the next steps the world needs to take towards sustainability in Africa and in the world in general?
We aim to convene the top decision makers, business leaders and policymakers so they can brainstorm together and tackle the key issues of our time. The pandemic has highlighted how interconnected and interdependent the world is. However, the disease has affected the world, it shows that as a species, we have not treated nature well. Recently we have seen an increased number of natural disasters, like earthquakes, floods and droughts. This is where CC Forum’s mission comes in: we are a club of impact investors who want to make a difference. If we bring great minds together, we can contribute to bringing about sustainability.
R:Ed: What are some of the proposed steps towards sustainability, either from this edition of CC Forum or in general, that have stood out to you?
At CC Forum Monaco, we had a panel dedicated to saving the Amazon rainforest. The panel explored various investment and business models to bring about change. We ended up going well over time, because people had so much to say! Rescuing the lungs of the Earth is crucial in the fight against climate change. Unless we act together, not much will come of our efforts. Of course, there have been sporadic efforts to tackle climate change, such as the Paris protocol, but there hasn’t been a single cross-governmental policy about how to, for instance, rescue the rainforests. No one person can solve this issue, though, which is why I believe in connecting people so we can find answers together.
R:Ed: CC Forum tackles many different issues, from deforestation to green technologies. Do you have any issue areas you yourself are particularly passionate about, and why?
I’m passionate about everything that can contribute to sustainability! In particular, I think it’s time for a new model of entrepreneurship, one where the entrepreneur tackles a range of issues and does not seek solely to make a profit. Entrepreneurs need to think about the impact that they’re capable of and how they can create value. I’m always amazed at how many fresh ideas regularly pop up at CC Forums. Many of these entrepreneurs are capable of scaling up at the global level, they just require funding. CC Forum’s mission is connecting the funders and the start-ups, and I feel very pleased when I see deals being struck at the conference.
R:Ed: COVID-19 must have defined many of the discussions at this year’s Forum. What is the connection between it and sustainability?
In Europe, Sweden was the only country that didn’t go into a complete lockdown. In my opinion, they achieved different outcomes because they listened to the scientists instead of the politicians. Sweden has also spearheaded sustainability long before the crisis. So yes, sustainability and tackling the pandemic can go together.
R:Ed: This year, how have you found good news amidst so much bad news?
That was that has been tricky! Still, all that has happened this year has been proof that what we’ve been doing since 2017 matters. Lockdown, and the standstill it brought about, allowed us to rethink many global paradigms. It has made us reflect and be humble in a way that nothing else had before. It has highlighted how vulnerable we are as a species and how much we can still achieve. So, I’m very pleased to announce that in 2021, we will have four editions of CC Forum. We are currently choosing the right country in Africa for one of the editions, and are looking forward to hosting it there.