This content was originally published on The Resilience Shift website. The Resilience Shift, a 5-year programme supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation and hosted by Arup, transitioned at the end of 2021 to become Resilience Rising. You can read more about The Resilience Shift’s journey and the transition to Resilience Rising here.

Resilient Leadership hosts Seth Schultz and Peter Willis welcome resilience royalty, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, for the final Resilient Leadership podcast of the year.

Listen to the episode here: Soundcloud

As a final episode of the Resilient Leadership podcast series, Resilience Shift Executive Director Seth Schultz and Resilient Leadership project lead Peter Willis welcomed Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, for an inspirational conversation on the power of deep listening and leadership for resilience to address the climate crisis.

Learning from the lessons of the Paris Climate Agreement

Christiana and Tom, who led the delivery of the Paris Climate Agreement, joined Seth and Peter, a week before the five year anniversary of the monumental Paris Climate Agreement. Reflecting on the lessons learnt from that process and the takeaways from the Resilient Leadership project, Christiana identified the power of listening as a key theme for both. Specifically, “deep listening” where we are deeply engaged with another person’s perspective and letting them know they are heard. This was the most powerful soft skill utilised on the road to the Agreement.


Tom Rivett-Carnac shared a story from the negotiations, meeting with representatives from developing countries and having them know they are seen and valued as part of the process. Only from that were they able to progress negotiations on to technical discussions.

Vulnerability is leadership

Seth highlighted how 2020 has underscored the value of revealing vulnerability, a new dynamic that emerged as leaders worked through crisis which was revealed in the Resilient Leadership project.  Focussing on vulnerability as a courageous act for leadership, Tom Rivett-Carnac pointed out that it is lacking from a lot of global leaders at present and that it is on all leaders to take the step and demonstrate it through talking and working with others.

“The power to change anything has nothing to do with what is on your business card or what is on your name plate”

Christiana Figueres, Former Exec Sec UNFCCC, Partner Global Optimism

For Christiana, the power to create change comes from tapping into your own vulnerability because it humanises relationships.

Where does climate resilience go from here?

Looking forward to 2021 all all participants agreed it has the potential to be a monumental year for resilience. With COP 26 cancelled in 2020 and rescheduled for November 2020, Seth asked Christiana and Tom to give their view on what is the opportunity to build resilience, especially for the climate.

Highlighting how 2020 has ironically been a good year for the natural environment. Christiana said the real challenge was demonstrating that regenerating and building the re-resilience of nature does not go against the need to build a more equal and just human-centred economy.

“The goals of regenerating nature and creating a thriving human-centred economy are not at odds with each other”

Both Christiana and Tom agreed that for this to be achieved, the concept needs to be normalised for everyone to innovative projects and ideas which will make it happen can be sped up and scaled up.

Finally, on the topic of remaining optimistic when up against this great challenge, Tom Rivett-Carnac was clear that, “we have this last chance to get the climate crisis right. No one is exempted from the responsibility or the opportunity that comes with collaborating to tackle the climate challenge”.

Their message was optimistic as always.

Check out the full podcast series here: Resilient Shift Soundcloud