The Crowd’s 2017 editorial plan

2017 will be an important year for The Crowd, with our 100th event in April 2017, by which point over 18,000 people will have taken part. We are not aware of any monthly event in any sector that has managed this longevity.


Our focus in 2017 will continue to be on identifying the breaking issues in the relationship between business and society, and exploring how business can use its muscle to be a force for good.


We will continue to build corporate audiences of sustainability specialists, and actively broaden to other functions such as finance, supply chain, energy, corporate affairs, marketing, innovation, data scientists, and human resources.


Crowd Forum 2017 Agenda


There are two broad themes which will shape our 2017 agenda, “big society” and “sustainability”, with the aim of increasingly uniting the two as the year goes on.


We see the former as being as a big concern for company boards, and growing interest areas for our community, whilst the latter is the area where businesses sometimes tend to be rather reluctant to lead (responsible tax, migration, income inequality and more).


Big society: The issues that are focusing the national interest on the role of business in society, and that are creating a growing risk and opportunity for business. 

·         Technology (as a solution and as a source of inequality)

·         Income inequality 

·         The skills gap

·         Migration

·         Climate change

·         Food security

·         Rising transparency

·         Responsible tax


Sustainability: The evolution of some of the emerging themes in corporate sustainability.

·         How technology can help sustainability (big data, AI, blockchain, virtual reality)

·         The Global Goals

·         Modern day slavery

·         Health and wellbeing

·         Ocean sustainability

·         Biomimicry 

·         Science based targets

·         Diversity & inclusion

·         Circular economy


What we’re working on


1Social X. We’re going to be looking at how to create exponential change, from a 10% year-on-year improvement to a 10-fold improvement over time. It will be hosted by John Elkington, who will be focusing on developing exponential mindsets in the sustainability community, supported by examples of exponential solutions to social issues.


2. Ocean and marine sustainability. We look at how business can make real progress in tackling ocean waste. The aim for the evening is to shine a spotlight on the state of ocean waste and to encourage business to step up and take action. What will happen if business doesn’t lead, and what are the possible solutions?


3. Artificial Intelligence for good. With Google data centres using AI to knock off 40% of energy usage, how could it be applied to solve society’s biggest challenges? Are there any risks of unthoughtful AI use? Is it competing with humans and creating a skills gap? What are the ethics of AI? And, how do we overcome the public fear of AI taking over control.


4. The mission-led company. Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal and General and guests on the findings of the government’s Mission-led business review of corporate structures. Likely to include a focus on how B Corps can be applied to large companies.


5. Food sustainability. How do we feed a growing population in an era of climate change? What are the alternative ways to produce food? What is the role of biotech? How do consumers’ dietary changes influence food production? How do we build a more inclusive value chain ensuring the growers are treated fairly? 


6. Health and Wellbeing. Why wellbeing isn’t an apple a day, and why businesses should be serious about wellbeing. How does it connect to productivity? We’ll explore all the aspects of wellbeing and a healthy workforce.  


7. Migration. What are the risks of uncontrolled globalisation? Why could it be brutal for some people and communities whilst beneficial for corporations? What’s the UK diversity policy going to look like and how could this impact the talent pool for businesses? What role should business play in the migration debate?  


8. Workers’ rights. How is the labour market developing? With more people moving away from employment contracts to on-demand work, what does it mean for business? Is the gig economy empowering individuals to have a better work-life balance or does it lead to further exploitation by corporations?


9. Virtual reality. Is it just entertainment, or is there a greater use for it? Explore the various ways VR could be applied in business to solve some of the biggest challenges we’re facing today, such as; supply chain transparency, education and more.  


10. Electric vehicles and driverless cars. What’s the role of EV and driverless cars in building urban ecosystems of the future? What will our future cities will look like? Explore the key forces shaping our urban life, such as; accessibility, gentrification and a connected world.


11. Science based targets. Could science based targets be the solution to finally stop the temperature rise? What are the advantages of science based targets versus other approaches to manage carbon? How should businesses be adopting them?  


12. The Female era. Would an increasing shift in economics, which makes women big contributors to GDP, make us a more inclusive society? What would more active participation of women mean for business?


If you have ideas or speaker suggestions you’d like to feed in, or any other feedback, then please always feel welcome to share them with us.


The Crowd Forum agenda is developed by Jim Woods.

Jim Woods

CEO, The Crowd

T: +44 (0)20 7160 9851

M: +44 (0)7932 044 627




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