Icebreaker One private roundtable at the House of Lords
Wednesday, 10th July 9:30-12:00

Convened and co-chaired by: Baroness Worthington and Gavin Starks
Attendees: Andy Howard, Katherine Coates, Volker Buscher, Hugh Phillips, Jonathan Gascoigne, Claire Souch, Celeste Connors, Jack Kelly, Mike Short, Dave Jones, Matt Gray, Emma Thwaites, Sunayana Sen, Emma Bergin, Rohit Das, Lucy Wills, Gea Mikic, Michael Solomon, Stefan Haselwimmer, Srini Sundaram, Lisa Allen, Alan Schwartz


Participants represented a multidisciplinary, multi-sectoral group from public, private, non-governmental organisations and government, spanning strategy and practice. The group focussed on near-term activities that could unlock financial and social value through better data sharing, that could inform demonstrably carbon net-negative, or carbon net-zero investment decisions.
Participants were requested to contribute as individual experts. The Chatham House Rule applied.

Next steps

  1. ALL: help socialise the project to help identify examples/use-cases and potential partners. 
  2. ALL: if you have examples, please share them now
  3. Icebreaker One: include all feedback into its development, circulate plans and updates.


  1. Create a roadmap for UK political leadership to 2050
    In the current UK political climate there is a need for an itemised milestones plan to 2025, and a broader set of scenarios to 2050. The problem is that 2050 is too far away without pragmatic interim milestones, and key owners with support mechanisms. We should input into the National Data Strategy, the upcoming Environment Bill and the UK’s hosting of COP26 and highlight the most important data gaps to be filled. If new regulation or laws are needed, let’s table them. Any plan needs to be UK-wide as slicing by region will delay implementation further
  2. Stories and use-cases
    A case must be built around the stories and impacts that demonstrate value. These need to be articulated in a way that firstly elicits an emotional response (“this impacts me”) backed up with facts to drive engagement & action.  
  3. Identify the data gaps
    Some data is available and in good shape, some is patchy and/or sketchy. Data to answer some questions is missing. Lots of data exists but is not open. Where useful data exists, can we make it more discoverable and usable? How can we set standards for data collection, use and sharing that support specific goals? Where it is closed, can we help make it discoverable and accessible through new licensing opportunities? 
  4. While culture-change led, Icebreaker One is not a mass-consumer behaviour change initiative
    We need to understand the user needs of sectors and organisations to reveal and address the blockers to delivering transformative change. We will engage with professionals across disciplines to help bridge the data gaps. This includes addressing the enabling conditions for investment and business model innovation, supported by interventions in legal, IP, security, policy, regulation, technology and data processes. 
  5. Join skills and expertise across organisations & industries to enable knowledge exchange
    Enable communities with common purpose (e.g. across insurance, energy infrastructure, AI) to share knowledge and skills towards meeting a common goal and catalyse progress at a faster pace. Create bridges between the public and private sectors that support joined-up interventions. 
  6. Convene around ideas that can demonstrate outcomes locally and scale-up globally
    We believe that “we (humanity) have the skills and tools, innovation and capital” we need, but they are not joined up in a way that will enable us all to achieve impact at scale. A global-first approach is too complex and diverse. We should seek to set examples and have them quickly spread. To downscale global, and upscale local we can start to focus at national or city levels across communities of practice. For example, a pilot candidate could be energy as a sector: it has the benefit of both being a source of the problem and exposed to risk from rising impacts. 
  7. The Sustainable Development Goals are a powerful framing
    The Millennium Development Goals dictated the development agenda for 15 years, now the SDGs have the buy-in of 193 countries and their businesses, as well as the Global Compact forum. We discussed the tensions between ‘purpose-washing’ and material impact. We need to make the UK SDG dashboard more visible in the UK and learn from other countries and their SDG case studies.

References:Icebreaker One published an open consultation paper in May 2019 as an open-to-comment Google document:

An open-to-comment version of this summary is available here.