I spent two weeks tracking Rio+20 as a student reporter seeking to make sense of the sustainable development talks, listening to ministers, CEOs and scientists who opened up trail-blazing perspectives on changing economic and societal paradigms.
Most media judged it as meaningless, mainly due to its lack of political commitment, but to only focus on this would be wrong. As important was the momentum and narratives it created, which are seeding ideas among the younger generation that may actually change the way they will lead society and the economy in years to come.
Rio+20 was a great platform for networking, conversations and knowledge exchange, bringing together experts from all over world to discuss specific topics such as climate change mitigation, social inclusion and ethical finance.
The major ongoing impact from the conference will probably come from the world of business. There appears to have been a shift of thinking among corporates towards inclusive growth. The growth paradigm will not vanish, but it will change. This shift is tremendous. Instead of depleting natural resources and deteriorating social capital, companies will start thriving by developing them.