5 Key Takeaways From The Blue Earth Summit

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Enviral and Blue Earth Summit’s values couldn’t be more aligned. Drawing inspiration from time spent in the great outdoors with the belief that business has the ability to deliver positive change for both people and planet. The Blue Earth Summit provides a platform for the future where thousands of people can come together to get inspired and gain insight from the diverse list of incredible speakers across the three-day programme.

 

We’ve been part of Blue Earth Summit since it started in 2020, and it’s been great furthering our partnership within our hometown of Bristol. 

This year we curated our own panel on Driving immersive, impactful and inclusive campaigns. During the panel, we showed a screening of Do Gooders, a short behind-the-scenes film that follows our journey of delivering one of Greenpeace’s most influential campaigns, The Big Plastic Count.

Our Lead Strategist, Daniel Salzer, hosted a seminar on how brands can build consistent, credible and creative campaigns. Daniel spoke about how emotionally impactful communications can drive positive change. The audience saw good and bad examples of recent sustainability campaigns and had the chance to discuss why the ASA banned specific campaigns as a result of greenwashing. Daniel shared several takeaways that left the audience with the confidence to build creative campaigns that champion sustainability without misleading customers.

The future thinkers that left their mark

‘Business is our great hope’ was a key theme in many of the talks at this year’s summit. Across the three days, we heard so many interesting talks from the organisations and leaders who are paving the way.

1) Deborah Meaden – Investing in Nature’s Regeneration 

The famous Dragon and environmental entrepreneur calls for businesses to step up. She asks us to stop taking responsibility for young people and asks every age group to get on board. Deborah discussed the role of business in restoring our natural world, urging companies to go for B Corp and not just for the stamp but for the business’s survival. Deborah spoke about the importance of the B Impact Assessment and how B Corp values should be embedded into the team. ESG must not be seen as a side issue but should be at the heart of the business.

2) Hugo Tagholm – Future of Big Business and Grassroots Organisations

Enviral’s Non-Exec Director and Executive Director of Oceana moderated a panel where he asked, ‘Can brands meaningfully work with grassroots groups and campaigning organisations?’ The panel included Bianca Pitt, Co-Founder of SHE Changes Climate, Carlos Casas, Co-Founder of ColourUp and Phil Young, Founder of The Outside Project. It was a great discussion, and the panellists concluded that businesses need to avoid using brand partnerships with non-profits as a marketing tool. ‘If the brand is doing the work, the marketing makes itself.’

3) Simeon Rose, Brontie Maria Ansell, Kai Njeri – On Nature and Business

On the Forum Stage, we heard from the incredible Tim Smit, Co-Chair and Founder of The Eden Project; he started the conversation on how to decentre humans from the boardroom by asking, “How is it possible to have corporate structures that operate in a way that is treasonous to future generations?” Simeon Rose, the Creative Director at Faith in Nature, responded by sharing his story. Simeon reflects on the conversations they were having in the boardroom in 2017. The board asked questions about the ingredients, the packaging, and the supply chains used to bring their products to market. And as an ethical business, they were aware that all of these decisions affect the natural world. They quickly realised that it should not be the sustainability director considering how to limit the impacts on nature but nature itself. They posed the question, ‘What might nature say?’ You can read more about how Simeon and his partner Anne gave nature a voice on their board at Faith in Nature here.

Brontie Maria Ansell, Director and Co-Chair of Lawyers for Nature, stated, “The old paradigms of business as usual don’t work for the vast majority of life on earth. Whatever we do next has to be fundamentally different.” Brontie works alongside a collective of lawyers, researchers and campaigners who have come together to work on behalf of nature. Brontie spoke about how she’s helped Simeon and his team at Faith in Nature give nature a voice and a vote in their business decisions.

Concluding the conversation on how we decentre humans from the boardroom, we heard from Kai Njeri, a forward-thinking Regenerative Systems expert and Designer. Kai reminded the audience that we are intrinsically connected to nature, with nature existing within all of us. Consequently, there should be no requirement to designate nature as a formal board member; instead, we should collectively endeavour to make decisions with the understanding that we are an integral part of nature itself.

4) Emmanuella Blake Morsi

We might be biased in including Emmanuella on our ‘Future Thinkers” list as she is part of the Enviral team. However, she undeniably warrants a spot on this list as an award-winning multi-disciplinary arts producer working predominantly on inclusion and innovation in the creative space.

Emmanuella spoke on our panel on the Futures Stage; during the panel, the guest speakers delved into the art of crafting impactful campaigns that drive social and environmental progression.

Delivering truly impactful campaigns requires you to consider not only the cast in front of the camera but also the crew working behind the lens and during creative development; this strengthens authenticity, quality of delivery, and poignancy – thus making campaigns resonate more effectively. “To attain global resilience, we need everyone on board, and the creative sector holds a significant responsibility in communicating the climate crisis. By excluding voices we’re also excluding innovation and impactful solutions.”

To do this, we must embody equitable systems and embrace intersectional environmentalism, putting diverse people at decision-making level.

“There’s not a lack of people, there’s a lack of opportunity given to diverse people – diverse networks also exist, and often if you can’t ‘see’ it, it may also mean your lived experience may not allow you to tap into these.”

“Recognise your limitations and embrace opportunities to make meaningful partnerships to address your gaps.”

5) Professor David Olusoga OBE

Reflecting on the importance of increasing access to nature, Professor David Olusoga talks about the struggles we’re presented with in our nature-depleted British landscapes. On top of that, Professor Olusoga discusses how the wealth generated by slavery and the British imperial era significantly influenced the landscape through the privatisation of rural land.

The UK has lost more biodiversity than any other G7 countries. With our local landscapes becoming depleted of nature, we’re presented with fewer opportunities to connect to it. It is no surprise that the UK sits at the bottom of the list of 40 European Nations in studies on nature connectedness.

Alongside Professor Olusoga’s work as a filmmaker, author and presenter, he is also a historian and talks to the audience about how the U.K and Ireland reached this level of disconnectedness from nature.

In 1851 the UK became the first urban society, where more people lived in cities and towns than in the countryside. Quickly the countryside became enclosed by landowners, and the general public lost access to the natural world. In 2005, the rest of the world followed, and we quickly became a majority urban planet. Today, over half of the world lives in urban environments.

There is a clear intersection between class and race regarding access to nature. These systems of oppression may not be our fault, but they are our collective problem. We must collectively work together to increase access to nature, and Professor Olusoga urges us all to support the organisations and national bodies that are doing just that.

“To envision a reimagined future, we must face our history to avoid the same mistakes.”

Check out the video below to hear our takeaways from the summit.

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Written by
Bonnie Middleton