I’ve been at the NEC in Birmingham today for edie live 2017, mostly for the conference sessions. I’ve spoken at a number of their events and have another in the diary for June. They typically get a good line-up of speakers and address meaningful topics.
The day started with some stimulating presentations on policy, Brexit and the SDGs which in turn prompted some insightful questions from the audience. With Brexit negotiations yet to start it is, of course, still too early to make predictions about their outcome for sustainability. What we can do, though, is to look at what is being said by the various political parties in their manifestos, and the expectations of consumers. With a growing world population, demand for resources is only going to increase so organisations need to consider resource security in their strategic planning. Where the experience isn’t available internally, external specialists can be invaluable in helping to shape the best responses.
The role and responsibility of business is a recurring theme. There is sometimes a narrative which seems to imply that business sits outside society and acts independently. The reality, though, is that business is part of broader society and is in constant interaction with other stakeholders. An organisation in conflict with too many other groups will struggle to find employees and investors, for instance. This theme was also discussed in some of the presentations and an external perspective can often help focus businesses on how to engage with other stakeholders.