We had a great debate on Monday inspired by the controversy around Climate Week. Andy Raingold from the Aldersgate group chaired a discussion on the ethical minefield of working with corporates on climate campaigns.
Our panel was a diverse bunch, all experts in the field of sustainability but from very different perspectives. We had…
Katie Webber, Business in the Community
Katie is responsible for overseeing the strategic development and implementation of the Prince’s Mayday Network, the UK’s biggest group of businesses committed to moving towards an environmentally sustainable future. By working together and with partners Mayday businesses seek to understand the best ways to act on climate change and resource depletion in their own operations, and to support their suppliers, employees and customers on their own journeys.
Jo Clarke, Otesha
Jo is part of the Otesha Project UK, inspiring young people to take action on climate change, global poverty and inequality. She is also part of activist networks Rising Tide and Liberate Tate, working on oil sponsorship and the root causes of climate change.
Tim Gee, Politicaldynamite.com
Tim Gee is co-editor of the campaigning blog Politicaldynamite.com . He was one of the ‘Superglue 3’, arrested and tried following a protest against RBS in 2010. His first book, entitled ‘Counterpower: why movements succeed or fail’, is due to be published by New Internationalist in October 2011.
Sara Howe, Tata Global Beverages
Sara currently leads on sustainability for Tata Global Beverages, the business created in 2010 from the integration of five Tata Tea companies. Her particular interests are ‘future proofing’ product portfolios and supply chains, leveraging sustainability to drive innovation and build strong brands, and developing strategic partnerships between business and Third Sector organisations. She is currently overseeing a collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance which will see all tea for the Tetley brand purchased from certified sustainable sources by 2016.
The discussion centered on the difficulties of working with, and accepting funds from, organisations with questionably ethical practices. Audience members joined in the debate, directing questions to the panel around areas such as the relative effectiveness of direct action against businesses like RBS as opposed to working alongside them, and about the compatability (or otherwise) of sutainability and capitalism (as we know it). There was a general consensus that for real transformative action to be taken on climate change it simply cannot be ‘business as usual’.
In typical Hub fashion, the debate even continued the next day on the toilet wall….
Thanks to everyone who came down – and to LeapCR who have written an excellent summary of the debate in their blog – well worth a read.
We hope to have more debates here at the Hub in the future, so any suggestions for topics and speakers are welcome. Just send any ideas to email@example.com