Live from COP21: The Power of People and Supply Chain

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JLL’s Dan Probst and Sarah Nicholls are joining world leaders and experts from the private and public sectors at the United Nations climate conference – known as COP21 – in Paris. Check back daily for Dan and Sarah’s live updates throughout the conference.

IMG_3540I woke up today even more excited for Day 2. If you haven’t read Dan’s Day 1 recap yet, I encourage you to catch up with us. COP21 is filled with lots of energy and fun, too – it’s great to see us business folk, all suited up, pedal a bike to make our own smoothies or charge our iPhones.

Dan and I started our day at the Sustainable Innovation Forum (SIF). By lunchtime we’d taken in so much great information to share. We had an interesting morning session with the businessmen and aviators of Solar Impulse. With pilot jackets in tow, they explained how they were repeatedly told that a solar-powered flight around the world was impossible. Solar Impulse prevailed by going about the solution in a different way. Sounds familiar, right? Most want change, but don’t want to change.

Similar to JLL, Avery Dennison’s CEO shared how they have used their purchasing power to influence the entire supply chain. Avery Dennison is a Fortune 500 U.S.-headquartered company in the packaging industry. Their CEO explained how they recently began sourcing Forest Stewardship Council certified paper at cost parity. When asked about whether there was market demand for this, the CEO said they were doing it because it was the right thing to do. They’ve been in business for nearly 80 years and want to continue being in business for the next 80 years. JLL shares a lot of this same intent and mission, which we look forward to crystallising in a new sustainability program that will be launched firm-wide in 2016.

My main takeaway from Day 2 is that sustainability is a story about humanity: those who are affected by climate change (or inequality or pollution or whatever it may be) and those who will use human ingenuity to prevail. These people are often one and the same. Inspired by SIF attendee Adrian Grenier (of Entourage fame), a session moderator commented on how people engage in sustainability because “the truth is that we love life so much that we want to sustain it.” Even if you aren’t green, you can relate to that: to the love for your family and friends; or perhaps to your love for nature or your neighbourhood. Whatever it may be that you enjoy in life, it is worth sustaining.

Dan and I will continue to carry these conversations about the power of the supply chain and the power of people into more sessions today. We’ll also join another dinner on carbon financing with leading companies such as Microsoft, Marks & Spencer and Capgemini and others.

Tomorrow, we will participate in what I think is one of the most important aspects of the long-term sustainability of JLL by presenting to and engaging in an internal dialogue with the JLL Paris office. Our own people will drive home the change that JLL and the world require.


Nicholls, SarahSarah Nicholls leads JLL’s Global Corporate Sustainability (GCS) team. Sarah holds responsibility for JLL’s sustainability and integrated reporting, greenhouse gas emissions measurement, corporate sustainability governance, strategy and stakeholder engagement. As the inaugural GCS team member, she serves on the firm’s Global Operating Board alongside other corporate function leaders. She is currently pursuing a degree with the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

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