Justin King & Sainsbury's meet the crowd

Monday, October 01, 2012

18:00 - 20:30

October saw us launch an exciting new format, a “crowdsourced” version of our evening events. The aim was to build an outstanding audience of business and sustainability experts, and to lay out Sainsbury’s business model around environmental and social issues for assessment, comment and suggestion. If 150 experts made 5 suggestions, that’s 750 ideas for Sainsbury’s to take away, and in turn the audience got to learn from a spotlight being shone into one of the most valuable companies in the UK.

We were delighted that Justin King, Sainsbury’s CEO, pioneered this new format with us and we hope that the trade of transparency for the wisdom of the crowd worked for them.

Here are some components of our Going Naked format:

  • Through a series of interviews with a diverse group of Sainsbury’s employees, we laid out Sainsbury’s business model as objectively as possible in advance of the event. We covered areas such as how sustainability is held in the corporate structure, the management of its own operations, how it is engaging its suppliers and customers, focusing on key issues such as energy and water.

  • This was presented to the audience two weeks before the event in a survey format, which is designed to take 20 minutes to complete. All of the attendees were asked to rate each area that was showcased, express how important they consider that area to be to Sainsbury’s and make comments.

  • The survey results were returned in aggregate to the audience on the Thursday before the event, providing the crowd’s opinions on where Sainsbury’s was performing well, where it could improve and listing out the collective suggestions.

  • The survey results helped to deliver a focused plenary session on the 1st October, led by CEO Justin King. He responded to the results in his opening speech, before sharing insights through an interview and Q&A session where he was joined by some members of his team.

  • The 14 roundtables afterwards explored different areas of Sainsbury’s strategy, such as supply chain and communications, with key members of the Sainsbury’s team present. All of the tables had note-takers who captured the conversation.

  • And finally, together with our crowdsourcing partner Fishburn Hedges, we pulled all of the conversations during the event into a 30-page document which was shared with Sainsbury’s and all event attendees.

October 2012 was a world first for this kind of event, and we hope it was be an illuminating experience for both Sainsbury and the audience. 


Anna Ford

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Justin King Sainsbury's

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Round Tables


How Sainsbury’s determines its material sustainability issues and measures these impacts across the business. Sainsbury's expert: Alex Cole, Director of Corporate Affairs

Setting Targets

How Sainsbury’s applies targets to different business areas, determines the level of ambition and operationalises its targets. Sainsbury's expert: Helen Ireland, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Manager


How Sainsbury’s measures and reports sustainability to stakeholder groups: its position on integrated reporting, EP&L’s and measuring the value of sustainability etc. Sainsbury's expert: Jeremy Hartland, Project Manager


How  Sainsbury’s engages it consumers on sustainability: meeting customer expectations versus actively shaping demand? Sainsbury's expert: Stuart Wright, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

Supply Chain

How Sainsbury’s engages its suppliers: Fairtrade, supplier standards, knowledge sharing, supplier targets and measurement etc. Sainsbury's expert: Beth Hart, Head of Product Development and Technology, Fresh & Frozen foods

Carbon & Energy

How Sainsbury’s sets a standard through its own operations around carbon and energy efficiency. Sainsbury's expert: Paul Crewe, Head of Sustainability, Energy, Environment


The progress Sainsbury’s is making in key areas of packaging, food and wood, and how it is working with collaborative groups. Sainsbury's expert: Stuart Lendrum, Head of Packaging and Programme Management


As an influential buyer of fish, the role that Sainsbury’s plays in one of Britain’s most important food chains. Sainsbury's expert: Ally Dingwall, Aquaculture & Fisheries Manager


Sainsbury’s engages its employees: communications on sustainability, training, sense of ownership etc. Sainsbury's expert: Deborah Dorman, Head of Great Place to Work

The Changing Energy Landscape

What is the case for a decentralised energy strategy for a large organisation? De-risking, security, attractive returns etc.

Plenary roundtable - 1

ROI v’s values. Should organisations make sustainability decisions based on clear financial thresholds, or values-based criteria?


The role that Sainsbury’s plays in society: impact on the high street, paying tax, job creation and community investment. Sainsbury's expert: Erica Zimmer, Head of Public Affairs

Venue Detail

Bank of America Merrill Lynch: King Edward Hall

King Edward Hall | 2 King Edward Street | London | EC1A 1HQ


Bank of America's offices are a very short walk from St Paul's tube station (Central Line). Exit the station at Cheapside/Newgate Street. Go past the BT centre, with it on your right-hand side and take the first available right down Edward Street. Continue down this road for 80m and the entrance to the venue is on your left-hand side.

Do not go to the main reception desk at their offices when you arrive. You are looking for an entrance that leads you directly into the King Edward Hall.