Imagine a world where sustainability becomes a tool for companies to reap larger profits. Imagine a world where companies move from merely presenting consumers with 'greenwash' to actually having sustainability and community well-being in their ethos. Imagine a world where the ordinary citizen has the right and the opportunity to voice a thought on sustainability issues and have them taken into consideration.
That world is not too far away, as Sustainable Entrepreneurship - an event held last Thursday at Faculty of Law, Cambridge University - showed. Presentations by distinguished speakers included success stories of businesses that have greatly increased their revenue through recycling instead of disposing 'waste products', how we are currently in the fourth economic revolution (after the agricultural, industrial and digital ones-sustainability is the fourth one), an analysis of the long-term sustainability of businesses in terms of financial support, how companies can communicate their social ethos more effectively, how engineering and the humanities can work together to create sustainable technology, among countless other exciting topics.
Conrad Young, Associate Director, at 2degrees, a company that believes that 'only companies that make sustainability a goal will achieve competitive advantage', commented, 'I was impressed with the inter-disciplinary nature of the speakers and that the audience was also from a wide range of backgrounds… as long as they work on this area intensively, they can change the world.'
Dr Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley, Business Innovation Manager of the University of Cambridge, InCrops Enterprise Hub, said, 'I am very fascinated by the speakers and the different approaches to such a complex issue and we need to continue this… once we deal with the short-term costs, the long-term benefits are there for us to reap!'
This event was organised by These Young Minds, a service based social enterprise that provides an inclusive platform for stakeholders to learn about corporate responsibility issues through research, seminars and conferences. Dr David Cleevely, Founding Director of University of Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy, co-chaired the event with Dr Schlarb-Ridley. The other speakers were Cathy Taylor, Senior Partner at Ernst and Young; Stine Jensen, Senior Sustainability Consultant at Radley Yedlar; and Dr Nicola J. Dee, Greentech expert at the Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge.
Alim Abubakre, Founder and Director of These Young Minds said, it is through initiatives such as this that Britain can lead the world in sustainable entrepreneurship. The choice of the University of Cambridge as the venue is instructive as the quality of engagement of the audience has been world class.
This event was sponsored by Cambridge University Press, Ethical Affairs department of the Cambridge University Student Union and the InCrops Enterprise Hub. Media sponsors include CSRWire USA, EEDA,Policy Review TV and Lowcarbon.com.