At last, my first blog of the spring after a long winter of hibernation with my PhD. I’m off to the World Forum on Natural Capital on 23 and 24 November in Edinburgh. As its website says: ‘The World Forum offers a unique opportunity to hear the latest developments, learn from real-life case studies and connect with leading players to help shape the emerging dialogue’ on natural capital. I’ve written here about natural capital (and my ambivalence about it) several times and it’s going to be the focus of my trip to the UK.
I’m chairing a panel called ‘Putting familiar tools to better use’ with speakers Michael Beutler (Director of Sustainability Operations, Kering), Erin Meezan (Vice-President, Sustainability, Interface Inc) and Andrew Vaughan (District Manager, Tilhill Forestry). They’ll be talking about how businesses can modify tools they already use ‘to help manage natural capital opportunities and risks more effectively. This “quick fire” session will look at using existing business management tools, such as risk registers and balance sheets, to help new adopters rapidly get to grips with natural capital.’ I include the quote marks because I’m quoting the Natural Capital Forum. And also because I’m not totally comfortable talking about things like soil, air, plants, bees, ants, worms, all living things – the entire ecosystem of the Earth – in commercial terms of ‘opportunities’ and ‘risks’, and yet it seems this might just be how we must start to consider them. This is one reason I’m very keen to go to the Natural Capital Forum, to have a close look at what is going on at what I think is one of the most critical junctures of our times: the interface between business and nature.
And closer to home, I’m also going to Purpose 2015 in Sydney on 7 and 8 December 2105, where I’ll be speaking with some incredibly inspiring business leaders, like James Chin Moody (TuShare and Sendle) and Helen Souness (Etsy), whose work I wrote about in May. The conference will bring together people from ‘the kind of companies that solve problems rather than cause them. The kind that have a healthy bottom line, but also a healthy perspective on what the world actually needs.’ So it looks like I’m back in the business zone.
I plan to blog about both conferences, so stay tuned.