Read more about the three-day event and highlights from a climate change session led by Gucci’s Antonella Centra
MILAN – Post-pandemic, the world has changed, and priorities have shifted. On a foggy day here, a ray of light shone through as the buzzy Italian city played host to the G20 Women’s Forum, a global platform aimed at amplifying women’s voices to build a more inclusive and prosperous economy.
Within the walls of Milan’s Politecnico university, there was an overriding feeling true change was being made, and not only debated. In a landmark moment at the start of the event, Gucci – as a lead partner of the forum – signed “The Women’s Forum CEO Champions Commitments” consisting of 5 key strategic actions to accelerate the transition “Towards the Zero Gender Gap”:
- Continue to mitigate the impacts of unconscious bias from our hiring and promotion processes
- Establish aspirational female recruiting and promotion targets
- Support female talent retention and advancement
- Ensure that equal pay for equal work is in place and effective
- Regularly measure, monitor, and evaluate progress in all of the above actions
“A She-covery for All” was the theme of the three-day event and the name of the call to action: 10 concrete and achievable recommendations constructed in collaboration with all the partners of the Women’s Forum, including with Advisory Board Italy and addressed to G20 leaders in Rome on the occasion of the first-ever Italian Presidency of the G20 in 2021. Key champions of gender equality, companies, government representatives and institutions from G20 countries who are successfully making a difference with their best initiatives convened in the northern Italian hub, to promote their main purposeful solutions for gender equality based on business, climate change, health, and tech in G20 countries.
“Are you alive?” said Chiara Corazza, special representative to the G7 and G20 addressing the packed auditorium as a rafter of diverse and international CEOs, world leaders, and thinkers kick-started thought-provoking roundtables.
“Let’s get a dialogue going. We want you to set the agenda,” said moderator Nik Gowing.
And indeed, addressing the most important topics of our time, a series of inspiring speakers underlined the importance of equal access to STEM education, the fight against climate change, responsible technology, the nexus between climate and gender and the steps necessary to enable progress by facilitating full participation by women.
Sinéad Burke, a disability advocate, creator of the interview series, ‘Extraordinary Women,’ and CEO of Tilting the Lens, an accessibility consultancy, received a rousing reception for her remarks questioning how under-represented women can access decision-making, and the use of technology to accelerate this process. Ms. Burke, who is a member of Gucci’s Global Equity Board, urged decision makers to consider social sustainability and community-led solutions. “We need to inter-connect in a meaningful way,” said Ms. Burke.
It was a thought uppermost on the stage for a sweeping vision of how to tackle climate change, and the champions preserving the planet. The spotlight featured influential players like session leader Antonella Centra, Executive Vice President at Gucci, and board member, who heads up Corporate Affairs and Sustainability.
The on-stage panel considered how climate change has a differentiated and disproportionate negative effect on woman as a reflection of pre-existing inequalities within societies worldwide. Women represent the great majority of climate refugees and face a higher risk of climate change mortality.
Oulimata Sarr, the Regional Director of the UN Women office in Dakar covering West and Central Africa, offered examples. Around eighty percent of Africa is involved in agriculture, an industry heavily impacted by climate change. When women are married in the Senegal region, rather than gift money or jewelry, a donkey is offered to enable women to collect drinking water easier. It made for a stark listening. “Incremental change will take too long, we must put women at the center, we have no time to waste,” urged Ms. Sarr.
A baton passed to Ms. Centra who revealed Gucci is well ahead of targets to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 and to date has reduced emissions by 47 percent. She defined best practices coining the phrase, “a virtuous circle” to explain how Gucci is leading by example, reducing its footprint, and simultaneously creating a positive impact through employment and green initiatives such as regenerative farming.
The Italian executive who spearheads the label’s sustainable and equitable vision highlighted how women are winning the upper hand in the sustainability arena, heading up many of these prestigious roles, saying, “It was a role that men didn’t initially consider. We spotted its potential, and now we’re running with it. We’re not handing these roles back!”
For all the many solutions muted during this session, one thread ran through them all, summed up by Gucci’s Ms. Centra – to have more women at the decision-making table.
“The green transition poses a great opportunity for women. Different from the past, in many sectors, women are already leaders. This can aid the transition, and within this shift, there will be many more new career possibilities. Our goal is to ensure even more women are involved in this transition.”