Ethical Corporation’s annual Responsible Business Summit London, May 7-8, brought together global experts to share their experience and discuss the latest sustainability challenges faced in 2013. Talks were focused around how smart businesses can gain from being climate-conscious leaders, how to embed sustainability into company management and how to engage customers. Following are the highlights and insights from the sessions we joined on Day 1:
COLLABORATION IN THE NEW ECONOMY
Greenpeace UK John Sauven - Executive Director
The Economist Daniel Franklin - Executive Editor
Janssen Pharmaceuticals Jane Griffiths - Company Group Chairman
RiiЯ Tom Vesey - Chief Executive Officer
London Business School Ioannis Ioannou - Assistant Professor of Strategy
In this session the speakers were asked to consider what might society, governments and businesses working together be able to deliver for a greener sustainable recovery – and what are the challenges this idea throws up?
John Sauven (Greenpeace) talked about deforestation being the important issue; Jane Griffiths (Janssen) believes that, with an aging population, Alzheimers is one of the great focuses we have to have and that working with academic institutes will be important; Daniel Franklin (Economist) states collaborators must be clear what they are trying to achieve or problems may occur; and Tom Vesey (RiiЯ) says people should be thinking in the long-term, not just short-term.
The digital universe is set to grow to eight zettabytes by 2015, according to IBM (and just so you know, a zettabyte is approximately a million terabytes). We’re told the insights from this vast Big Data resource will drive new business models, products and services, and steer our future food, transport and energy systems. The intangibility of figures, however, means finding and communicating relevance and value is one of its greatest challenges.
As part of a series of talks to inspire students to embrace sustainability in their projects, SustainRCA invited three experts to discuss their work: Angela Morelli, Vin Sumner and Richard Gilbert are using data visualisation and gamification (which is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context) in order to solve problems and change the way we manufacture products, consume goods and supply energy.
The website GOV.UK has won the Design Museum Design of the Year Award 2013. This revolutionary website designed by the Government Digital Service (GDS) combines all of the UK government’s websites into a single domain.
The jury unanimously agreed that GOV.UK was the overall winner, for its well thought out yet understated design, making the user experience faster and easier. The website is regarded as one of the leading government websites in the world.
Deyan Sudjic, Director of Design Museum adds, ‘GOV.UK is a remarkable success on so many levels. It makes life better for millions of people coping with the everyday chores, from getting a new passport, to paying their taxes. It’s a reflection of the government understanding how to communicate with the country in a way that works. The rest of the world is deeply impressed, and because it has rationalised multiple official websites, it saves the taxpayer millions, what’s not to like?’
The much-anticipated Designs of the Year 2013 exhibition is open, showcasing the most innovative and imaginative designs from around the world. The Design Museum invited a selection of trusted friends and colleagues to nominate their favourite projects from the past 12 months. These are practicing architects and designers, academics and design tutors, journalists and writers, plus curators from other museums and institutions.
Designs of the Year creates a platform and an opportunity for young designers to be recognised and displayed alongside established design names. Previous winners such as the Folding Plug and the Plumen light bulb have seen prototypes and original ideas become mass manufactured consumer goods sold throughout the world.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall left the comfort of River Cottage behind and went on a journey to find out what was really going on at the industrial end of our fisheries. What he found was that things are not just bad… they’re mad. Hugh’s Fish Fight, in association with Channel 4, set sail in January 2011 to campaign against the waste of fish caused by the insane Discards Policy. Half the fish caught in the North Sea are being thrown back into the sea, dead, because of crazy EU laws.
Photo courtesy of Channel 4: Hugh’s Fish Fight: Save Our Seas
Hugh’s “Discards Campaign” condemns the throwing away of perfectly edible fish to avoid breaching limits. The response from the UK public was incredible. Over 850,000 people have now signed the Fish Fight petition, and so many people emailed their MPs to protest about discards that they forced a debate in the Houses of Parliament.
We briefly mentioned the work of Chris Haughton of NODE, in October 2012, in our summary of Tent London, knowing that we would return to the story to give you greater detail.
Chris Haughton of NODE
Chris Haughton is a children’s book author and illustrator who has been working in Fairtrade for the past 9 years. In 2010 Chris spent eight months in India and Nepal working with Fairtrade groups. The projects he developed resonated with people and became popular online; he was featured in Eye Magazine, Fast Company and other publications.
More recently he sought the help of Akshay Sthapit, a Kathmandu based entrepreneur with a passion for social projects, to develop a venture making and selling Fairtrade rugs. Together they called themselves NODE.
Rug design by Chris Haughton
To celebrate London Fashion Week, which is happening right now, until 19 Feb 2013, we’re featuring some wonderful sustainability projects from graduating MA students at the London College of Fashion: Thalia Warren works with the seasons and locally grown dyes to create sexy sustainable wear; Rachel Clowes incorporates metamorphosis through biodegradable elements; and Anja Crabb wants to make fashion more personal.
Susan Postlethwaite, director of MA Fashion and the Environment (LCF), explains a bit about what the course aims to achieve: “It’s a unique course examining what new models of practise for fashion designers might look like. Students’ work is informed by the whole environment that fashion operates within; from psychology and neuroscience, to philosophy, politics, sustainability, ethics, fashion theory, new technologies and materials, science, economics, anthropology and new business models. Students go on to explore novel and unusual approaches to designing as critical thinkers and able communicators”.
Through this approach they hope to develop insights into the future of fashion and new ways of working with it. Take a look below at the impressive exploratory work of these three students. Their designs are also currently on show at the London College of Fashion’s MA Exhibition.
BOUGHT & SOUL-ED was number 3 in the series of Sustain Talks organised by the Sustain RCA group. The subject was how to put the soul back into our communities and kick-start the economy of the local high street through art, design and social enterprise. It was hosted by Clare Brass of the RCA and chaired by Liz Cox, an economist for the New Economics Foundation.
The evening began with a first year RCA architecture student talking about his participation in the project Pop-Down Square. This was the winning entry for a competition brief to create a use for derelict land near Wembley Stadium in Brent, London.
‘Pop-Down Square’ concept for Brent, London, by graduate group Mike Lim, Shoichi Sado, Olivia Wright and Isobel Davies.
The team designed a large adaptable deck area. The expectation is that Pop-Down Square will provide some much needed space in this corner of Brent for creative and social entrepreneurs. Local organisations, individuals, businesses and community groups are now being sought to bid to become tenants of the Pop-Down Square, as part of a nationwide competition.
London based designer-maker Rupert Blanchard makes fabulous sustainable furniture from an array of reclaimed salvage, and he’s had a bit of a quandary - his workshop, warehouse and Momosan Shop keep evolving and he’s constantly fighting for space – so he’s decided to start giving away some furniture & materials over the coming weeks, in an effort to clear space and hopefully find new homes for some of his designs & surplus materials.
He’d like to swap the items on offer for anything you want to offer – see the rules below - a book, a favour, piece of wood, help, art, something broken, drink, service, ANYTHING…
This process starts today with a couple of his own pieces. He’ll decide on the best ‘Swap’ in the next few days and will contact the winner….
It’s been estimated that nature is worth as much as $100 trillion annually to the global economy. Yet we take most of Nature’s services for granted, imagining them to be free and limitless.
Tony Juniper used to run Friends of the Earth. Now he’s written a book, titled What Has Nature Ever Done For Us? with the aim of changing the way we think about life, nature and the economy. On Jan 10 we went to one of the RSA’s Lunchtime Events to hear him speak, in conversation with Jo Confino.
The point that Tony gets across in his book is that we’ve lost sight of the dependence we have on nature in economic terms, and that we’re ‘blowing natural capital’ in a way that doesn’t make sense for our long-term welfare. He argues that the global economy is underpinned by natural resources and, rather than ruthlessly exploiting them, we should find a way of putting a proper value on them. Nature does so much for us – and it will keep doing this – but we need to take steps to make sure that it happens.