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AI won’t kill us, but climate change will if we don't act, says leading advertising CEO

David Jones, co-founder of One Young World
David Jones, co-founder of One Young World Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Hannah Brown
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David Jones has worked on many famous advertising campaigns, but now his focus is climate change.


David Jones is a big name in the world of advertising. He used to be CEO of Havas, one of the world’s largest communications groups, until he went out on his own to set up the Brandtech Group - one of first marketing companies to use generative AI, in 2015, and now valued at around $4 billion (€3.7 billion).

Now, you might be wondering why you’re reading about an advertising exec on Euronews Green, but while the rest of the business and creative world fears AI will take their job, David has another fear. 

“People go, ‘AI is going to kill us’. It's like, it probably isn't, but what will kill us is climate change if we don't act.

“And actually, if you put all the data into the AI models and said, ‘Should we do something about this or not?’ They would all say, ‘You should probably do something about that quite quickly or you will be extinct’.” 

What is the One Young World charity?

David is self aware and declares that he was ‘born lucky’. In recognition of this, he feels it’s his duty to use the power he has to be a force for good. 

In 2009, alongside his Havas colleague Kate Robertson, David founded One Young World, a charity that supports young leaders driving change. 

Though it works across a variety of fields, including gender equality and refugees, a big focus for the charity is climate. 

“All the things that Kofi [Annan] said back in 2009, we're not doing.

“I've always believed that yes, of course we can use creativity to change people's behaviour, but you can also use it to change people's behaviour around some of the big issues facing the world. 

“And that was why, when I was offered the opportunity to help [Kofi] with his climate campaign [tck tck tck in 2009], I said immediately yes, but that's also why we created One Young World out of a belief that we could empower the brilliant young leaders of the world to drive change,” David tells Euronews Green. 

Fast forward 15 years and One Young World is one of the biggest charities of its kind and gives out the largest cheques to young leaders driving initiatives around the Sustainable Development Goals.

Who are One Young World’s young leaders?

“One Young World ambassadors have impacted the lives of over 50 million people since we started in 2009,” David proudly tells Euronews Green.

Piipee is a Brazilian company founded by Ezequiel Vedana da Rosa to fight water waste. Its biodegradable spray neutralises urine and sanitises a toilet without needing to flush. One ml of Piipee can replace one flush, saving 10 litres of water

Since 2015, Piipee has amassed a user base of 200,000 individuals. On average people and businesses who use the product have reported a 35 per cent reduction in their water bills.

EnRoute is an app developed by Angela Busheska in Macedonia to educate users on how to make more sustainable shopping and transport choices. The app allows users to scan an item of clothing in a shop and receive a detailed sustainability analysis as well suggesting more eco-friendly alternatives. 

Xilinat was founded by 18-year-old Javier Larragoiti in Mexico. The company makes an affordable, sustainable, healthy alternative to sugar produced by fermenting wasted corn cobs into a product to target obesity and manage diabetes, while also removing the negative carbon emissions from industrial levels of agricultural waste.

Watch the video above to learn more about David Jones and One Young World.

You can see more content from Cannes Lions here.

Video editor • Joanna Adhem

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