The Institute of Directors (IoD) has today confirmed that David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, and a former UK Foreign Secretary, will give a live-streamed keynote address at the its first online global conference, which will be hosted by IoD Scotland in September.

Also speaking will be CEO of Innocent Drinks, Douglas Lamont, who has led the company on its journey to becoming the largest chilled drinks brand in Europe.

Dr Ifeyinwa Kanu, Founder and CEO of IntelliDigest will join the lineup of topical speakers. With a PhD in environmental engineering, her Edinburgh-based company addresses the sustainability challenges posed by food waste.

The conference, which is an evolution of IoD Scotland’s annual event, will bring together business leaders from across the UK and beyond to explore how their organisations can step up to their responsibilities in tackling climate change and build sustainable businesses.

It will stimulate debate and discussion on leadership, the economy and the challenges and opportunities currently facing the UK business landscape and offer practical policies for the future.

Connecting the World: tackling global challenges together is the conference theme, and climate change will be a key agenda topic over the two days of the online gathering, which is a timely precursor ahead of November’s COP26 summit in Glasgow.

Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors said: “IoD Scotland has been hosting its annual conference for over 20 years, offering a high-value experience with a wide range of speakers to our Scottish membership.

“In the last 12 months we have all adapted to living and working virtually, which has presented us with an opportunity to expand the reach of this successful event to the IoD’s entire membership.

“Climate change can only be tackled if we work together, and the practical challenges in moving to a low carbon economy are immense. Business leaders have always shown courage in embracing change and finding solutions, and what better time to discuss the issues than ahead of November’s COP26 summit in Glasgow.”

Aidan O’Carroll, Chair of IoD Scotland, said: “Our Annual Conference is a key event in the business calendar, and we are pleased to be extending our reach beyond Scotland with our first global conference.

“Our first three confirmed speakers will bring unique and varied perspectives; David Miliband’s role with the IRC resonates at a global level, and his insight will be invaluable in framing how the UK can tackle the enormous humanitarian and economic challenges that we face.

The issue of food waste is truly alarming in western societies, and Dr Ifeyinwa Kanu’s address will highlight how society might reduce this burden on the planet’s resources. And Douglas Lamont’s experience at Innocent Drinks will outline the opportunities and challenges of growing a global, truly sustainable business outside the UK.”

The Institute of Directors Global Conference will be held on 2 and 3 September 2021.