‘If we don’t fix it, we won’t need pensions’: Reset Connect 2023

Running at ExCeL London on Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th June, Reset Connect 2023 is w world class meeting point of finance, business and climate tech minds, facilitating investment in new and existing solutions. CEO Duncan Reid reveals what to expect from ‘the business COP’ and why the concept is so important.

In a world where success if often judged on growth, the UK’s biggest net zero expo has the numbers, with a five-fold increase in participation in three years. Born out of London Climate Action Week, which was established by Mayor Sadiq Khan in 2019, the conference’s inaugural edition was held online in 2021, and 1,100 delegates logged on. 

12 months later, the second instalment welcomed over 3,000 for Reset Connect’s debut ‘in real life’. Looking ahead at 2023, and event CEO and co-founder Duncan Reid proudly claims all signs point to around 5,000 environment, investment and C-suite professionals descending on ExCeL to discuss the future of climate tech solutions. And negotiate the financial agreements to make them happen. 

‘I don’t want to criticise COP, because it’s a very different event, but the focus is on government and policy. Sometimes it doesn’t feed into the business and investment community – and get them to actually do stuff,’ Reid explains over the phone. ‘Our event is all about driving change into the business community and finance space. 

‘The response, and growth in attendance, reflects a wider change really. Even a year ago, if you invited a FTSE brand to talk about sustainability, many would be worried about not being 100% sure on their 2025 or 2030 plan. Many were caught greenwashing. I think it made a lot of businesses really look at what they were doing and where they needed to be,’ he continues, soon citing a recent clampdown by the Advertising Standards Authority and Financial Conduct Authority on misleading green claims. 

A key goal of Reset Connect, in addition to starting conversations, is enabling research and development, responding to an urgent need. Environment Journal has published several reports this year about the shortfall in climate tech investment, despite the clear evidence there’s a lot of money to be made in the sector. By some estimates, we need a near-600% increase in financing each year until 2030 to stand a chance at reaching net zero by 2050. 

‘The whole space is going through a big transition, and not just in energy. It’s starting to grow and mature. Look at fintech 10 or 15 years ago, and there are a lot of parallels,’ he says, nodding to the flood of finance technology products and solutions that have transformed the global banking system in the past decade. ‘I see the same thing starting to happen in climate tech, but whereas fintech is worth tens of billions, here we are talking about trillions. 

‘You’re starting to see these big insurance companies – I mean, we’ve got most of them at the show; AXA, Phoenix, which is Standard Life, Aviva – these big brands own the sector, and have heads of sustainability saying ‘we have to do something,’ Reid tells us. ‘And every single pension fund in the world is reaching a similar conclusion. If we don’t fix some of this stuff, we won’t need pensions.’ 

Reset Connect looks to help turn such realisations into tangible action by introducing disparate players in the climate and net zero economies to each another. So, big brands like IKEA or Google present their sustainability roadmaps, and identify challenges. Tech companies explain how their innovations can overcome that hurdle. Meanwhile, the investment community stands ready to splash some cash. 

‘There’s enough capital in the room to make things happen,’ says Reid. ‘We have a lot of smaller stages, but there are three main. These cover citizen and environment, so natural and built environments, things like major cities introducing low and zero emission zones, You need investment to do this, it can’t just mean increasing council tax to cover the costs. 

‘The second stage is about the big brands, corporate net zero strategies, things like that,’ he continues. ‘Then the third main area is for finance and investments. Here, you’ll find everyone from regulators explaining legislative impact on markets, to people searching for the next gigacorn. That’s a unicorn, but one that can remove a tonne of carbon from the atmosphere.’ 

When asked for highlights, picks from a programme of more than 250 exhibitors and 350 speakers come thick and fast. But it’s the keynotes Reid is most excited about. A slew of high profile innovative thinkers and doers set to take centre stage. 

‘The author Kate Raworth who wrote the Donut Economics book came last year and spoke, just sort of walked in to see what we were doing, and was so excited she wanted to come back this time. So she’s here. And we have Jonathon Porritt [Founding Director of the Forum for the Future and ex-chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission],’  Reid tells us, plucking names from a huge list that also includes environmentally-minded Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville, Net Zero Review architect Sir Chris Skidmore, and Marion Osieyo, WWF’s Head of Inclusive Conservation. 

‘We called it Reset Connect because it’s really about resetting the way people behave, our processes, supply chains, and so on, to be less carbon intensive. We can only do that by connecting investors, journalists, businesses. It’s exciting for me to see all these amazing speakers, but also the thousands of people coming together to collaborate and cooperate on solutions.’

Reset Connect is free to attend – more information and registration can be found here

Full details of London Climate Action Week are available online.

More on net zero and investment:

Economic output needs net zero and nature

Investing in climate tech startups made easy: An insider’s guide

Climate tech investment fell in warmest quarter on record

Better days: Why levelling up means net zero

Images: Reset Connect


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top