Leaders speaking at the Blue Earth Summit have moved from talking about ‘sustainability’ to openly discussing the need for ‘corporate activism’ led by businesses themselves with more radical questioning of business models on the event agenda.
Corporate activism is a public stance taken by a major company to positively impact social and environmental change or legislation, incorporating employee activism. This new, disruptive face of progressive business understands that financial sustainability relies on protecting people and the planet, and challenging outdated practices that cause harm.
Will Hayler, co-founder of the Blue Earth Summit says “This year the cost of living crisis, the summer of sewage and the vast profiteering of energy companies is driving a new conversation about corporate activism and values. Whilst this discussion is traditionally excluded from business events, we have put it at the heart of the summit, reflecting the scale of challenges faced in the UK and environmentally around the world”.
Headline speakers at the event include Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland, Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, former Shell safety consultant, Caroline Dennett, former business leader and River Action UK leader, Charles Watson, environmentalist Jonathan Porrit CBE, business activist and founding member of Fairphone, Tessa Wernink, and Extinction Rebellion co-founder Dr Gail Bradbrook.
Hayler continues, “we design the event in a participatory way as we strongly believe the expertise is in the room, not just on the stage. We create space for connections to be made and ideas to be shared informally as well as through the main programme”.
Blue Earth Summit attendees are from all levels of business and enterprise with a shared interest in redefining how we live and work. Discussion and mentoring sessions are included throughout the event to encourage the interaction of attendees and speakers.
Richard Walker says “The eighteen-year-olds who are turning up at our tills and applying for jobs now really want to associate themselves with business wanting to do good”. At the summit Walker will share examples of the corporate activism undertaken at Iceland working to remove palm oil, halve food waste, become net zero and reduce single use plastic.
Environmentalist Jonathan Porritt CBE will be opening the event with a direct challenge for businesses to move ‘beyond growth’ and seek more radical ways of working that are truly sustainable. The summit also includes a panel discussion with leading business leaders and corporate activists highlighting that younger people have different standards and criteria for work against a backdrop of inheriting a dying planet, poor economic outlook, and not being able to buy a house.
Speakers on the panel include Dr Gail Bradbrook, Co-Founder of the social movement Extinction Rebellion and honoured in a Women’s Hour Power list and Tessa Wernink, a change-maker and a business activist whose most recent enterprise is The Undercover Activist an education platform that coaches and emboldens young professionals to be optimistic and confident and take constructive action to change their organisations from within.
Book tickets now for early access to Blue Earth Summit workshops and day 3 activities.