It often feels that we are living in darkening times. With our societies facing rising demagoguery, polarised politics, social collapse, trust deficits, persistent bigotry and information warfare, alongside a natural world that is gasping and staggering, struggling for survival in the face of climate change, biodiversity loss and growing mountains of toxic waste, plastic pollution and overpopulation.
At our darkest moments – we yearn for the light. But as sustainability leaders, the burden often falls on our shoulders within the business, to chart a path to a brighter future. It’s a burden that can sometimes feel overwhelming.
So how do we turn things around, take back control, and bring light back to our world?
Perhaps the answer can be found in the concepts of heliotropy and biophilia.
Heliotropy is the tendency of particular plants to grow towards the light. Think sunflowers in a field, or trees in a rainforest reaching for the canopy. They turn and grow and strengthen in the direction of light and warmth. In the context of human and organisational behaviour, heliotropy is about people growing stronger and more creative by focusing on points of light rather than dark clouds, focusing on the positive and the things that can be changed, rather than being overwhelmed by that which cannot.
And biophilia speaks of an innate human tendency to seek connections to nature and other forms of life. Billions of years of evolution have elegantly solved so many complex natural problems and may also have answers for multiple human problems crying out for a solution.
What human systems, problems, solutions and environments then could be improved by emulating and re-incorporating nature? How do we move from the dark to the light? From wasteful to sustainable? And from sustainable to regenerative?
Our July 02 Crowd Forum explored the concepts of biophilia and heliotropy and how we can emulate and learn from the system-design genius of nature, to create thriving, sustainable businesses, societies and people.
Charmian believes in the power of business as a force for good. She is an active champion of the global B Corp movement and helped coordinate the launch of the community in the UK. She is Co-Founder and Co-Chair of B Lab UK and supporting the development of B Lab’s Multinational and Public Markets Advisory Council. In addition to her role at B Lab UK, Charmian is Co-Founder and Non-Executive Director of Volans. Here she advised on the design and implementation of corporate innovation and talent development strategies for clients including HP, Nike and Allianz. Charmian also led the development of research projects focused on long-term innovation (The Future Quotient) and corporate venture capital (Investing in Breakthrough). Charmian continues to enjoy working closely with corporate venturing teams. Her recent project, Corporate Impact X, is focused on developing pathways for corporates to activate new venturing strategies which prioritise the creation of positive outcomes.
Richard is an award-winning designer and business consultant who works in collaboration across many sectors, ranging from water infrastructure and urban development, through to manufacturing and product design. When he isn't busy looking to nature for solutions, he is busy on his allotment, running around Yorkshire and attempting to play basketball. He is currently working on computational methods to identify the most effective strategies in the natural world, thus streamlining research, and working with a large consortium focusing on solutions for the South African water crisis.
Catherine has been working as a change agent on the business/policy/academia roundabout for more years than should be disclosed. She is leading the Living the Dream programme, working to change the narrative on sustainability in the UK to make it accessible, populist and normal. Director at Agulhas, Stern Review core team, previously visiting academic at Oxford on stranded assets, now at Essex and Anglia Ruskin, on global resource constraints and food shocks, Chair of Advisory Board to Sustainable Aviation (including Airbus, BA, Boeing, BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, TUI and Virgin Atlantic).
Oliver Heath is an industry recognised expert in the field of sustainable architectural and interior design focused on improving health and wellbeing in the built environment. He specialises in creating more productive, happier and healthier spaces to live and work in, by implementing Biophilic Design principles. With strong media and presentation skills, he has presented television programmes since 1998 working for numerous channels including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, the Discovery Channel and Norway's TV2. As a qualified Domestic Energy assessor, he frequently acts as a media spokesperson for the UKís Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Energy Saving Trust and the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP). He is a regular speaker at essential industry events such as Ecobuild, Grand Designs, Education Estates and Facility Management conferences. He is a trusted voice of authority in interior design having written 3 books- his last urban Eco Chic (Quadrille) selling over 30,000 copies in 8 languages.
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|Assistant Project Manager||International Maritime Organization|
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|Head of Department||The Crown Estate|
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|Executive Director||UN Global Compact Network UK|
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