Watch Nigel Topping on how the diplomacy of love enabled success at COP21

Systemic stories

Richard Roberts

11 February 2016

Nigel Topping is a Leaders’ Quest Associate and CEO of We Mean Business, a coalition that represents thousands of businesses and investors who are committed to addressing climate change. In December 2015, he played a critical behind-the-scenes role at the COP21 climate talks in Paris.

In this short video, he reflects on the importance of the talks and what it took to get there: “For the first time ever, we have a universal climate change agreement”. He describes the “diplomacy of love” that enabled a consensus to emerge amongst the 196 countries who joined the talks.


Nigel says that, despite enduring 4 hours sleep a night (for 15 days), he left Paris feeling hopeful. COP21, he explains, “Has allowed many of us working on this issue to seriously hope and believe, for the first time, that we may actually, as a human family, be successful in tackling this very serious challenge.”

But Paris is a beginning rather than an end. Nigel believes we now need a “reflexive dance” between politicians and business leaders, where both sides push each other to expand their ambitions. At Leaders’ Quest, we’re excited to work with Nigel, and others, to help make this happen.