Ubuntu | Thoughts | Blue Earth Summit 2023 round-up

Blue Earth Summit 2023 round-up

Blue Earth Summit 2023 round-up

Ubuntu Thoughts  /  Article  /  5 min read
October 18, 2023
Ubuntu | Thoughts | Blue Earth Summit 2023 round-up
Ubuntu | Authors | Jaz Newberry
Jaz Newberry
Account Manager
Nestled amidst the revolutionary innovations and startups of Silicon Valley, lies Dr. Sarah Lindholm’s laboratory. In a world heating up over the debate surrounding climate change, it stands more as a testament to the urgency of the green transition than to a research centre.
A noun describing a series of meetings between two or more leaders.
If you were to ask me to sit in a room and listen to people chat for hours on a topic, I’d no doubt roll my eyes and try to find an excuse not to be there. Such occasions often come across as an opportunity for “thought leaders” to go on about some vague topic, or argue their financially-biassed opinions, leaving me feeling mentally drained and no more educated or inspired on the topic than I was before.

I can honestly say that the Blue Earth Summit is different. A standout event bringing people together to build a more positive future for our planet, it captivates and motivates attendees — leaving you feeling positive, inspired and eager to drive change.

This year was another astounding success, offering insights and perspectives across industries and from a spectrum of business leaders, innovators, politicians, and activists. Here are a few key topics from this year’s event that left a lasting impression on me, sparking inspiration and igniting curiosity.

We need to decolonise the outdoors
According to the Office of National Statistics (2020), one in eight British Households have no garden. This percentage is even higher among ethnic minorities, with Black people in England nearly four times as likely as White people to have no outdoor space at home.

In a bid to make nature accessible to all, it's imperative to address disparities in green space availability, accessibility, awareness, affordability, acceptability, and appropriateness.

The Blue Earth Summit shed light on this critical issue, featuring insights from distinguished speakers including Corinne Fowler (University of Leicester), Geeta Ludhra (Brunel University), Hana Sutch (Go Jauntly), Oge Ejizu (Black Girls Hike), and Foluke Adebisi (University of Bristol).

Decolonising the outdoors is also a vital step towards fostering a more inclusive, just, and sustainable world. It acknowledges the historical injustices, promotes equity, encourages diverse perspectives, and enhances the overall relationship between humanity and the natural environment.

The summit urged everyone to contemplate solutions and embrace initiatives like Go Jauntly and Black Girls Hike, and emphasised education on historical context and the cultural acceptance of outdoor activities.

Athletes need to use their power to influence change
The global sports sector is a significant contributor to environmental degradation, emitting up to 60 billion tonnes of CO2 and generating immense waste every year.

Panellists and brands at the summit called on athletes to leverage their influence and advocate for change—from reducing flight travel and limiting and influencing personal consumption, to volunteering for community projects. They have the power to drive impactful transformations and mitigate the environmental footprint of the sports industry.

Athletes, sports clubs and governing sporting bodies also have a unique platform and influence that when utilised effectively, can make a significant difference in promoting sustainability.

We heard from athletes and powerful voices who work with them, including Victoria Gosling (GB Snowboarding), Dan Yates (Protect Our Winters), Gillian Rosh (Picture), Rowena Samarasinhe (GENSport), Chris Boardman (Sport England) and Blue Earth Summit host, Keme Nzerem.

They shared how they each have the ability to influence the equipment they use, to carefully select the events and brands they promote, and can (and should) lead by example to advocate for sustainable policies.

It is clear that it’s possible for sport to make a change, and there’s certainly room for improvements. Inspiring positive action should become part of the day-to-day role of sports men and women within their clubs, respective sport, and wider communities. After all, without our planet, we’d have no sport to play.

Regenerative business is possible
The future of business lies in regenerative practices that contribute more to the planet and society than they consume.

Shifting from a mindset of "doing less harm" to "doing more good," regenerative businesses must embrace circularity, carefully assess their supply chains, and change the way they see and operate in their industries. Looking to trailblazing brands like Patagonia, Hiut Denim, and Finisterre, we can find inspiration for building businesses that prioritise sustainability, social responsibility, and positive impact.

We were fortunate enough to hear from a number of sustainability leaders, each working in a regenerative business either to support others, else to offer expertise on the future of regenerative business models. Panellists included Andres Roberts (Bioleadership Project), Juliet Davenport (Good Energy), Kresse Wesling CBE (Kresse & Elvis), Charles Ross (Royal College of Art), Sara Ladd (Hiut Denim), Adele Gingell (Finisterre) and Neil Baker (Icebreaker).

Beyond mere sustainability, regenerative business models actively contribute to environmental and social restoration, promoting circular economies, regenerative supply chains, and equitable practices. They seek to regenerate ecosystems, cultivate positive social impact, and drive innovation that prioritises long-term well-being over short-term gains.

The Blue Earth Summit is a breath of fresh air, inspiring hope and fostering collaboration. It sheds light on today's critical issues, emphasising inclusivity, environmental responsibility, and forward-thinking business practices.

The atmosphere at the summit is incredibly open, filled with genuinely welcoming individuals eager to listen and provide actionable advice in their area of expertise. The Ubuntu team is looking forward to next year’s event (tickets are in the bag already!) and we're all feeling fueled by the shared dream of a sustainable, fair, and regenerative future.

Now to get to work…
About Mitzy Cortés
Mitzy Cortés is a Mixtec from San Sebastián Tecomaxtlahuaca, Oaxaca. An active member of the Futuros Indígenas network, Mitzy attended the COP26 as a member of the “Defenders of the Earth” delegation and the “Cura Da Terra” Assembly of Indigenous Women. Mitzy was awarded the 2022 Global Citizen Prize: Citizen Award Mexico. With her key mission being to defend the planet, Mitzy uses her platform to encourage others to become involved in the battle against climate change and to understand international perspectives, especially those of Indigenous peoples.

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