Speech: Roland Clift Lecture Opening Address, 15 November 2018

Distinguished guests and ladies and gentlemen, good evening to you all, and a very warm welcome to the 5th annual Roland Clift Lecture, a flagship event of the Centre for Environment and Sustainability (CES).

We are honoured to have Dr Steve Waygood as our guest speaker this evening. Dr Waygood is Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors. His TedTalk on ‘Responsible Investment’ has provided an excellent, accessible and inspiring framework for how we can ALL influence the restructuring of finance for investment in a sustainable future. Given what is going on in Brexit politics at the moment, perhaps we also urgently need another lecture on “responsible government”!

I emphasise the word ‘accessible’ because I believe that to ensure a sustainable future we all have a role to play and we can make a difference – in small and grand ways, as individuals, and as institutions.

And yet – issues of the environment and sustainability are, more than ever, not for the fainthearted. These challenges require a capacity for, and commitment to, finding solutions that may well re-define industries, economies and sectors. Old habits die hard, and new habits demand tenacity, imagination and intelligence. More than that — this mission requires faith in humanity’s willingness to change and expand beyond our individual self-interest.

Unquestionably, the stakes are high. Sustainability will become more and more important going forward; it will have to be built into everything we do. It will demand a great deal from leaders and citizens alike. We are immensely fortunate to have people such as Dr Waygood to help us find the way to a better future.

Dr Waygood joins the august company of past Roland Clift lecturers, who have illuminated such topics as energy security and cyber terrorism, the concept and practice of the Circular Economy, and the theory of world development within planetary boundaries. We are privileged to have insight into current thinking on such multi-disciplinary approaches to ‘industrial ecology’ and sustainable systems. Environment and Sustainability as a discipline now comprehends topics of enormous importance, and solutions and ideas that must stretch to the task.

We are very proud of the work of the CES, which is closely aligned with the University’s broader research themes of Sustainability and Urban Living. Work in these areas is critical to finding solutions to our global challenges, as well as to measuring the environmental impact of development and how we manage it.

Therefore, the topics of this Roland Clift Lecture are highly relevant and important to the mission of this great university – that is, to make a positive difference in shaping the world through education and research.

Ladies and gentlemen, would you please join me in welcoming Dr Steve Waygood to deliver the 5th Roland Clift lecture.

Thank you.