The world of sustainability is broad, varied and, as we know, often overwhelming. It covers so many topics it’s sometimes hard to keep up. Which is why I went to the Sustainability Live conference at the London’s Business Design Centre last week. This two-day event was sold out meaning 8000 people had attended in person over the two days to listen to a huge range of topics including How Generative Artificial Intelligence Can Support Sustainability , the reality of the UK EV market, Sustainable Finance and Ethical Investing.
What struck me across the varied seminars was the each had the same core messaging:
1. that sustainability actions need to be honest, transparent and visible.
2. it needs to be an executive priority and core strategic pillar
3. it can’t simply be left to middle management only siloed to one or two people or a particular department to manage – it has to be ubiquitous across the organisation
The overarching message that came across throughout the whole day was that we really fundamentally need systemic change led by government and policy makers if we are to make the real changes required. It can’t be left to companies alone.
Honesty in the Debate
“Candour”, “clarity”, “honesty” and “transparency” were the words that repeated over and over again. No matter the topic trade-offs were also discussed which was great to hear. But what I found striking was what wasn’t talked about. There were conversations about the improved efficiency of data centres without acknowledging that The Cloud has a huge emission footprint which needs reducing. Another omission was an honest discussion about what we are actually trying to achieve. Are we trying to decarbonise while keeping business as usual, or are we genuinely recognising the need for a fundamental shift in our producing and purchasing behaviours?
As a family business with stewardship at the heart of our values, I was delighted to hear this being referenced within the sustainable and ethical investing conversation. It was also really pleasing to hear one of the keynote speakers acknowledged the problem for those working in the sustainability sphere like Spenbeck is the problem of operating only within our own echo chamber. It was motivating and inspiring to be around like minded individuals whose shared our passion and drive to make the UK and global economy more sustainable.
But it was so important to acknowledge that we do exist within our own bubble and that actually for the vast majority of businesses – particularly small to medium businesses – they either have a lack of awareness and understanding of the challenges they face from climate change and sustainability or they don’t have the capacity and the ability to do what needs to be done.
Which is where we come in! Attending events such as Sustainability Live is crucial in developing our knowledge and understanding to be able to authentically help clients in achieving their sustainability and climate change goals and deliver bespoke training that really makes an impact and provides value. If you’re keen to learn how we can help support you please do get in touch.