HOLLYWOOD stars will be invited to step on to a green rather than a red carpet at a curtain-raiser to this year’s prestigious Oscars.
The colour scheme switch is the idea of the event’s host, Max Studennikoff, a philanthropist specialising in environmentalism, which has already been championed by Hollywood A-listers including Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr.
Studennikoff is the founder and chairman of a fast-growing platform, the CC Forum – short for Climate Change Forum – which ‘hothouses’ promising green projects by bringing their innovative developers and would-be investors together while covering other considerations including social inclusion, philanthropy, finance, healthcare and education.
Founded in 2018 in the UK, CC Forums have already been staged in Monaco, London, Dubai, and Bahrain, but the ninth edition – in Beverly Hills, California this year from June 26-29 J– will be the first in the Western Hemisphere.
The Hollywood get-together, on March 11, hosted in partnership with Ecoverse and Beyond the Awards, the day before the Oscars, aims to spotlight the forum for the West Coast movie community ahead of its biggest night out of the year – the 95th Academy Awards the following day at the Dolby Theatre.
“The Oscars have already raised environmental awareness and sustainability,” said Studennikoff. “Greener cars like the Toyota Prius first gained major profile from delivering Hollywood A-listers to the awards, while a sustainable/re-wear dress code was introduced last year.
“Many stars have their own green projects too: Leonardo DiCaprio invested in Rubicon Global, a software company managing business waste and recycling in a smart way; Meryl Streep has long been an environmental health activist and geothermal energy pioneer, while Robert Downey Jr has been linked with many green initiatives including the Clean Energy Corps backed by the US Government.
“By taking the CC Forum to Hollywood, we can tap into and supercharge celebrity support for the environment and sustainability, while also being close to the scientific and tech powerhouse that is Silicon Valley.”
Studennikoff is an alumnus of the Business School at Imperial College, London, and has 25 years’ experience launching and developing international events management, property development, hospitality, and education companies.
Now resident in France, Studennikoff is a sought-after keynote speaker at international conferences, an advisor to several global start-ups, and also admits to being a frustrated environmentalist.
He said: “The pivotal moment was attending one of the World Economic Forums in Davos when I thought ‘there is a link missing here’. There’s lots of talk about what we must do and by when, but little in the way of where investment would come from and the social implications from what needs doing.
“There was also too much politicking and virtue signalling at Davos and, indeed, the UN’s COP (Climate Change Conference) rather than getting on with the job.
“So, the CC Forum was born and I’m indebted to support from major names who have participated or supported our editions, notably HSH Prince Albert of Monaco who patronised the Monegasque edition in 2020, HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, as well as Dame Jane Goodall, Tim Draper, Nouriel Roubini, Placido Domingo, Michael Flatley, Lord Marland, and Lord Wei.
“The forums are not intended to be major events in terms of numbers; the aim is to match the right ideas, projects and causes with top decision-makers and investors.
“What was impossible ten years or even five years ago, has been made possible now by the CC Forum, a fledgling yet global platform where conscientious entrepreneurs can encounter and invest in meaningful projects, and interact with like-minded spirits to make a difference in the small place we call our planet.”
The eighth edition of CC Forum in London last autumn was described in the media as “the largest concentration of impact wealth in this country over the last three years”.
Studennikoff is now scheduled to meet the president of a key African state who hopes his country can host the tenth anniversary CC Forum – a Pan-African edition – this autumn.
Studennikoff said: “Africa has suffered much from careless development, but has enormous potential to play a key role in tackling climate change and faces a real issue, now highlighted by the Ukraine crisis: how are we to ensure this huge population concentration will be fed?
“We must also involve other economic superpowers, notably China – we have hopes of staging a forum there in 2024 – and India. Both are major sources of emissions yet have the potential to drastically reduce them and rally more to the cause.”
Asked what drives him, he quickly answers: “It’s very selfish really: my kids – I have twin boys – and all their contemporaries. I don’t want them to have to battle for food and water because our generation did nothing to stop climate change.
“The job just got harder, due to the pandemic, Ukraine, and the cost-of-living crisis, which has focused attention on the here and now rather than tackling climate change. We’ve seen the UK scrambling to find replacement fossil fuels rather than, for instance, doubling down on renewables, extracting CO2 from the air through mass re-forestation and harnessing the power of algae, fast-tracking hydrogen as a fuel, converting food waste to a diesel fuel alternative, and so many other options.”
His three-point plan to get the Earth back on track is: “Firstly, harnessing both private and institutional investment. There is no shortage of money, but it always seeks the best and most viable project – which is what we aim for at CC Forum.
“Secondly, governments must avoid short term ‘fixes’ to avert the energy crisis, and rigidly monitor and enforce environmental targets.
“Finally, change must come from within: for instance, let’s not fly so often, let’s jump on a video call or stage virtual meetings, cycle rather than drive, downsize our cars, and eat more vegetables – animal farming is less efficient.
“We simply must move faster against climate change. It has been said many times: there is no Planet B.”