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Transforming Business from the Inside

At Blue Earth Summit we imagine how business can work better to make positive change happen. But what is it really like for leaders working within their business as they try to bring about change?  

One of those working on the frontline of the future of air travel is Carrie Harris, Director of Sustainability at British Airways, who will be speaking on the Main Stage at this year’s Blue Earth Summit.

Whilst we will all have a view on the future of air travel, Carrie Harris makes it her day job, with a remit covering people, planet and responsible business. Her role includes the airline’s investment in hydrogen-powered aircraft, a new community investment fund, mapping the flightpath to net zero emissions (including delivering the airline’s first flights powered directly by sustainable aviation fuels) and the unveiling of a unique ‘BA Better World’ special liveried aircraft. 

One of the biggest challenges is the damage being done by fuel, and Harris says “Sustainable Aviation Fuel is in high demand but in short supply across the globe, and so it is essential that we scale up its production as quickly as possible.” At the Summit, Carrie Harris will share a vision for how the airline industry can – and must – change. 

Guy Singh-Watson is Founder and Visionary for organic veg box company, Riverford. From regenerative farming to making the company 100% staff-owned in the future, Guy is constantly looking for new ways to improve the business. Guy will be joining us in October, heading up a session titled ‘Can Business Be Better? The reality from the inside “.

Singh-Watson recently told Positive News “If I am honest, my motivations on a day-to-day basis are largely selfish; I love a challenge right down to the boring (to some) detail of what makes one plant happy whilst its neighbour struggles. Weird as it may sound to a musician or painter, the ever-morphing matrix of decisions involved in running a farm and business presents the opportunity for imagination, creativity and learning that I never tire of. 

Riverford is lucky to be supported by customers who want to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. Most people just need to be given better options and information.”

Bevis Watts is Chief Executive of Triodos Bank UK and has spent his whole career working in sustainability in public, private and voluntary sectors. Since 2016 he has led Triodos Bank UK, whose mission is to “help create a society that protects and promotes quality of life and human dignity for all.” He recently said “to continue living like this, we would need three planets rather than one. This is an untenable situation, and one that is exacerbated by the financial sector. The vast majority of financing decisions do not take planetary boundaries into account, and this has to change.” 

“To continue living like this, we would need three planets rather than one”

Bevis Watts is Chief Executive of Triodos Bank UK

Watts explains “The reality is that the financial sector has a significant ecological footprint. Consider, for example, investments in fossil fuels: even now, in spite of everything we know about climate change, financial institutions continue to invest more money in oil and gas than they do in sustainable energy”. Last year he also published (in his spare time) his first book ‘River Journey’ – detailing his discovery of wild beavers in the River Avon – with the author proceeds donated to conservation charities.

Group Sustainability Director at the BBC, Danielle Mulder, was appointed to the role in 2021 with a remit to achieve net zero by 2030 across the global BBC organisation. Danielle has been working in sustainability for more than 18 years and has experience working with major global clients and projects that include London 2012, Commonwealth Games and Network Rail. Danielle is a Net Zero specialist and is leading the Net Zero and Climate Risk program across the BBC Group.

Danielle is speaking at the Blue Earth Summit and explains the BBC’s sustainability strategy has three pillars. “The core pillar homes in on net zero,” she explains. “We also have a pillar on nature – we call it nature positive – where we take responsibility for our impact on biodiversity and nature itself. And our third pillar is people positive, which is about the impact of our programming on people, as well as our staff.”  

Danielle continues “There’s a big role to be played in having climate science implicitly weaved into our content. It’s all about the normalisation of sustainability. In EastEnders you’ll see an electric vehicle (EV) charging point on the programme, or an EV whizzing around Albert Square. We also build it into storylines – characters talk about recycling and reuse, and food banks. We’ve even had special edition end credits highlighting how climate change will impact London and the River Thames. It’s subtle but it normalises important topics.”  

“There’s a big role to be played in having climate science implicitly weaved into our content. It’s all about the normalisation of sustainability.”

Danielle Mulder, Group Sustainability Director at the BBC

The team at Oatly understands the power of the message as well as the product. Shaunagh Duncan, Head of Sustainability at Oatly UK says “Food production is responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions – with more than half coming from animal production, and it’s not even working for us. Around the world, basic nutritional needs often go unmet.”

“It is imperative that we revolutionise our food systems to help cut down on emissions.”

Shaunagh Duncan, Head of Sustainability at Oatly UK

Duncan continues “It is imperative that we revolutionise our food systems to help cut down on emissions. Measures like making it mandatory for all food and drink companies to publish the carbon footprint of products on packaging, for example, would help inform consumers and encourage this much needed switch.

Blue Earth is committed to supporting those working on the frontline of business as they try to make their business and sector a better place. They may be at different stages on that journey but we welcome genuine discussions about how change happens as well as the challenges facing businesses wanting to change.  

Shaunagh will share her insights at the Summit in Bristol this year alongside practical ways forward.

Click the button below to view our full event programme for further details on the content available at this year’s Blue Earth Summit.

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