The Better World Fund Returns with Chic Icon as the official media partner for their events centered around a series of powerful sustainability-focused activities in Dubai. The Paris-based Endowment Fund uses the arts as a platform to conduct discourse and curate events on the issues impacting our world. This year, taking place in Dubai on the 25th-26th of March 2022, a sequence of events took place with this year’s focal point being ocean conservation and the blue economy. The attendees consisted of Global Speakers and Filmmakers uniting under one roof to help raise awareness for the protection of our Earth’s oceans.
Returning, as featured in Expo 2020 Dubai, is the Better World Fund’s Mastermind and Academia section, which took place on March 25th, where world-renowned speakers from green activists and academics from the industry participate in a dialogue on the issues at hand. The event is all concentrated on discussing the issue of conserving the planet’s oceans and “bringing to the fore innovation and solution to create impact”. The screening of the film “Bigger Than Us” highlighted this year’s event as Director Flore Vasseur displayed a powerful piece of cinema at Infinity Des Lumieres located in the Dubai Mall.
The two-day event came to a crescendo with a Gala Dinner on March 26th accented with an exclusive fashion show by The Atelier Couture by Global Fashion icon, Professor Jimmy Choo, and co-hosted by the Middle East Fashion Council. During this affair, a total of 5 awards were presented to individuals who have shown initiative in making meaningful change and strides in positively impacting the world. The event brings together filmmakers, writers, scientists, environmentalists, and business leaders to venture into endeavors that will address environment, biodiversity, and climate challenges.
We at Chic Icon had the divine reward of interviewing the esteemed Manuel Collas de la Roche, the Founder of the BWF, and Nataliya Resh, the Co-Partner of BWF and President & Founder of Open Culture Foundation, as they discussed the event.
Chic Icon: How important is it to use fashion and art as a medium of expressing current and future world issues?
Manuel: A study by the Cone Cause Evolution, carried out in 2021 which investigated consumer attitudes towards corporate social responsibility and sustainability, found that 85% of consumers had a more positive image of a brand when it supported a charity they care about and were more likely to shop somewhere with proven corporate social responsibility. In our day and age, it has become a moral obligation to be considerate and to bring about impact – notably for the move vulnerable – and positive change.
Philanthropy in art, music, fashion, business and our daily behaviors have become intertwined; we must all be philanthropists in our lives and we must all use our voice and the tools available to us to bring about the political, social, and environmental transformations that the world so desperately needs. For us and the future generations. Fashion and art are fantastic mediums in this regard.
CI: The ocean initiatives seem to be a central focus in this March event, can you elaborate on the importance of this issue?
Nataliya: Climate action and the preservation of the environment and biodiversity are key priorities for the Better World Fund. On the issue of the oceans more specifically, there are many reasons why we should protect them, but let us mention perhaps two critical issues:
a) The Ocean produces more oxygen than the Amazones. The air we breathe: The ocean produces over half of the world’s oxygen and absorbs 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere.
b) The Ocean regulates the Earth’s climate. Covering 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean transports heat from the equator to the poles, regulating our climate and weather patterns. If we do not take care of oceans and life under the sea, it is our lives that we endanger. It is important that countries and people realize this.
CI: What are the key areas and industries the Better World Fund caters to?
Nataliya: The Better World Fund is an endowment fund based in Paris. It was created in 2016 in response to a humanitarian impulse stemming from a society in need of more equality, authenticity & truth.
Manuel: Beyond political, religious, or cultural differences, we spotlight Women’s Rights, Education, the Environment, and Biodiversity. More than ever, we must protect our Planet.
Nataliya: Since 2016, the Better World Fund has been organizing a series of high-level events in key locations in different parts of the world such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Film festival, Los Angeles, Toronto, Monaco, Cairo, New York, Saudi Arabia and at the Dubai Expo 2020. We work together with other influential people from the Cinema, Music, Business, Sports, and Fashion industries.
Manuel: In 2022, we have decided to focus on the preservation of our health and our planet but we care about all humanitarian and sustainable development issues.
CI: What made Dubai’s event in March so special? How did you feel to be a part of Expo 2020?
Manuel: The event was tremendously inspiring. In line with the United Nations Sustainability Goals (SDGs), the two-day event aimed to raise awareness of the immediate need to protect the world’s oceans and promote the blue economy, uniting filmmakers, writers, scientists, environmentalists, activists, and business leaders to explore and make tangible efforts to address environment, biodiversity and climate challenges.
Nataliya: An exclusive premiere of the film “Bigger Than Us” took place the following day at Infinity des Lumières in The Dubai Mall in conjunction with the event. The film was screened on March 26 to a VIP audience of partners, press, and celebrities, in presence of the film’s director, Flore Vasseur. The movie encapsulates the fight of Melati, the 18-year-old protagonist of the movie who takes action to tackle plastic pollution, freedom of expression, refugees’ and women’s rights. Attendees will have the unique opportunity of having a one-on-one Q&A with “Bigger Than Us” highlights the global issue of plastic pollution, which is a key topic and the very foundation of SeaCleaners. The Better World Fund financially supported the work of this not-for-profit organization, which was created in 2016 by Franco-Swiss skipper Yvan Bourgnon, who also spoke at the conference on 25th of March. Initiatives including SeaCleaners will use the funds raised at the Better World Fund events to launch a project to raise awareness with children and teenagers about marine pollution in the United Arab Emirates.
CI: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Manuel & Nataliya: As mentioned, we have decided to focus on the preservation of our health and our planet in 2022. At the Cannes Film Festival on 22nd and 23rd of May we will focuse on environment, food & health; at the Venice Film Festival on 8th and 9th of September we will focuse on climate, rising waters and the oceans. In Jeddah, on the occasion of the Red Sea International Film Festival in December 2022, we will look into the issues of biodiversity, coral reefs and the protection of our natural resources.
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