X Comms is the latest in our X-series designed to explore exponential, disruptive and transformative new ways of doing business. For X-Comms, we will investigate innovative and radically new thinking, methods, digital tools, platforms and technologies for corporate communications and sustainability reporting.

We are entering an era of unprecedented, digitally empowered customer-centricity, one in which the nature and power dynamics of the relationship between companies and their customers, is fundamentally shifting. The conversation is changing. Message delivery models are transforming.  Expectations are evolving. And old ways of managing corporate communications and sustainability reporting, just don’t cut it anymore. Additionally, the concept of “the customer” itself is morphing and expanding to include ALL stakeholders in a global, socially-integrated, always-connected, hyper-personalised and increasingly non-hierarchical business world.

X Comms seeks to showcase the latest thinking, innovations and best practices for changing the narrative, changing the delivery medium and empowering a transformative new relationship between business and society. It will explore the psychological and behavioural science around influencing and changing stakeholder behavior and engagement. It will demonstrate how companies can generate real business benefits by adopting a more tightly integrated approach to communications, marketing and sustainable business – one that boldly places purpose at the front and centre of messaging and fundamentally alters the relationship between companies and their customers and stakeholders.

The programme on the day was a mix of inspiring keynotes, high level panels, peer roundtable discussions and structured networking.

The audience for X Comms was carefully curated, with senior attendees invited based on their role type and their organisation.

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Event for: Directors / Heads of | Communications | Sustainability | CSR | Corporate Affairs | Marketing | Reporting


  • Jeremy Heimans

    Co-founder and CEO, Purpose. Co-Author of "New Power"
  • Henry Timms

    President and CEO, 92nd Street Y. Co-Author of "New Power"
  • Sue Garrard

    SVP Global Communications, Unilever
  • Tim Mohin

    Chief Executive, Global Reporting Initiative
  • Kate Levine

    International Director of Commitment & Corporate Communications, The Body Shop
  • Toby Park

    Head of Energy & Sustainability, Senior Advisor, The Behavioural Insights Team
  • Joanna Yarrow

    Head of Sustainable & Healthy Living, IKEA Group
  • Daniel Vennard

    Global Program Director, World Resources Institute
  • Clare Griffin

    VP, Trust and Global Health, GSK
  • Ciaran Nelson

    Head of Strategic Communications, Anglian Water Group
  • Robert Phillips

    Co-founder, Jericho Chambers
  • Martin Wright

    Author, Speaker and Advisor

Round Tables

Download Roundtable Write-up
  • Behavioural Change: Embedding Sustainability
    Embedding sustainability into your culture is the holy grail of great communications. It’s the foundation of building sustainability into your brand, because what your brand stands for is the outcome of many internal decisions. You are what you do. Embedding sustainability also means people taking action themselves, they don’t need to be told, they don’t need to be motivated, it’s just part of ‘what it means to do a great job here’. But how do you do it? • We all know leadership needs to be on board, but how do you actually do it, and what does good look like? • How do you make sustainability communications stand out against the other competing messages and noise? • What can be done to reframe sustainability so it’s seen as enhancing existing priorities, not competing against them? This session will be a very practical discussion. We certainly won’t be concluding that customers, shareholders, CEOs need to demand it, or millennials are the answer. We will conclude with tangible, practical take-aways.
  • Bridging the gap: aligning CSR and Marketing within your organisation
    Global research increasingly assures us that behaviour-change from saying to doing (ie: from digital petitions to buying with purpose) has mainstreamed. CEOs are increasingly leading on purpose as investors, colleagues and customers share expectations with equal voice. But are marketers feeling it? Are they the final frontier... still consumed by reach, clicks and stand-out over authenticity, empowerment and activation? Or are they shackled by short-termism, narrow KPIs and integrated media complexities? How can brands take the best of both disciplines to close the gap and unlock potential for society and shareholder faster - an outcome all stakeholders believe to be within reach?
  • Business to Business Supply Chains: Who cares?
    Companies with an ethically-conscious customer base have become increasingly sophisticated in their consumer-focused sustainability communications. Building consumer brand loyalty through ethical practice and even influencing their sustainable behaviour through conscious consumption is important, but in terms of impact the business to business supply chain is key to delivering change at scale. But as communicators, it’s hard to get the same kudos or budget for upstream B2B efforts. It’s also much harder to do it well with many more stakeholders to align to drive a consistent message. We can see the importance of focusing on this area, but how can we get others to care?
  • Can you measure the true ROI of your CRS programme?
    Most companies anecdotally understand the value of their Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CRS) programmes but a staggering 55% are not measuring the ROI. Is it surprising then that 98% of initiatives fail? Equally and now more than ever, we need transformational not incremental change. This requires greater sustained investment which in turn requires more justification. This is where true ROI comes in, and in particular a better understanding of the contribution of CRS to the most valuable ROI measurements – Brand, Talent & Reputation. • How are companies currently capturing and quantifying the direct and indirect benefits of CRS to the business? • How can better measurement support the integration of CRS in the business? • How can better tracking and data be used alongside techniques such as modelling to understand the contribution of CRS to Brand, Talent & Reputational ROI?
  • Embracing new power for positive change
    The dynamics of power in today’s world have shifted. The long prevailing, elite- controlled, hierarchical, top-down authority structures have been replaced by a new power model, one that is more lateral, collaborative, networked, user- generated, empowered and mission-driven. For businesses, this shift presents both a challenge to traditional communication and marketing processes, as well as an enormous opportunity to transform the relationship with customers and stakeholders, and effect positive change on a much bigger scale. But how can companies embrace this shift? Is it easier for challenger companies? Or can long established market leaders authentically embrace new power? How can you blend old power and new power effectively?
  • Finding your authentic purpose
    In this roundtable we will seek answers to and share insight around how companies are communicating their purpose beyond the Boardroom. We will highlight and explore how companies authentically communicate their purpose priorities to employees, stakeholders and consumers. How do you find your authentic purpose? Do purpose communications best come from the C-suite? How can companies use brand love to get consumers to believe in their purpose? When should companies take a stand on social issues? What next after the SDGs for purpose?
  • How the fast pace of change is fundamentally reshaping the role and remit of communications
    The speed at which issues rise and fall means that we need brand, corporate and sustainability communications strategies that are as ambitious as they are agile. A conventional approach to responsive and reactive communications is no longer competitive in a context where action is the new social currency and stakeholder collaboration replaces stakeholder conversation. • When the speed of change catches out even the most informed, how are you mapping, tracking and monitoring issues? • When actions speak louder than words, how are you aligning corporate commitments with corporate behaviours and being honest about imperfections? • When conventional stakeholder dialogue is based on a snapshot in time, how are you incorporating their input and steer in more agile governance structures? • How does your corporate Purpose help you in this new world?
  • Innovating Sustainable Reporting Processes
    When looking at technological advances and innovation in corporate and sustainability reporting, a good place to start is how to fix the clunky time- consuming interaction and reduce the associated impacts of traditional processes. With growing requirements for mobile working, and advanced systems for automation and collaboration, you may have a cutting-edge vision in mind... but how can you future-proof your internal strategies with new technologies? What do you need to think about when looking at new innovations and a sustainable approach? With more and more reporting figures in the sustainable report, how do you help Improve Trust in your process? How can your department be seen as leaders and innovators and be in a stronger bargaining position when it comes to attracting investment, initiating new activities, entering new markets? How closely are you aligned with the business KPI’s?
  • Sustainability – a great hook for mass employee engagement?
    Effective engagement on sustainability can be challenging, especially in large organisations. Sustainability can however, also be a great hook for engagement, providing a cause and purpose for people to get behind. Sustainability related engagement has been proven to: Increase productivity; improve attitudes, behaviours and confidence in communicating; improve understanding and implementation of ESG, Sustainability and CSR strategies. In this roundtable we will explore the following questions: What approaches work best in terms of employee engagement on sustainability? What are the best ways to measure and monitor the impacts of employee engagement on sustainability? What results can we expect? How can we best ensure these engagements are for the long term and not a ‘flash in the pan’?
  • The art of telling great stories, with purpose
    Storytelling inside and outside businesses is critical to help motivate staff and customers around your sustainability agenda and to create real change. Storytelling and sustainability have not always worked effectively with one another as ideas. We have made our stories complex, our tone too challenging, our formats inaccessible. But that is changing, fast. Join us to discuss the art of great storytelling, with purpose, focusing on: • Understanding the people you are trying to connect with - co-creating with rather than broadcasting to audiences • Exploring new platforms and formats for telling effective, compelling stories • Making sustainability accessible, without losing the importance of the ideas we are trying to share and change we are trying to create • Integrating sustainability stories into brand communications effectively
  • The art of telling great stories, with purpose


  • 13:00
  • 13:30
    WELCOME: Luke Clarkson , Managing Director, The Crowd
  • 13:35
    KEYNOTE AND Q&A: Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms, Co- Authors of “New Power”
  • 14:00
    LEADERSHIP PANEL Corporate communications, trust and purpose in a new power world Sue Garrard , SVP Global Communications, Unilever Clare Griffin , VP, Trust and Global Health, GSK Kate Levine , International Director of Commitment & Corporate Communications, The Body Shop Ciaran Nelson , Head of Strategic Communications, Anglian Water Moderated by Robert Phillips, Jericho Chambers
  • 14:50
    ROUNDTABLE SESSION 1 Attendees join their pre-selected roundtables – see the first number on your name badge.
  • 15:35
  • 16:05
    KEYNOTE: Tim Mohin , Chief Executive, Global Reporting Initiative
  • 16:20
    NEW THINKERS SHOWCASE & PANEL Communications innovation and new thinking for a “new power” age Toby Park , Head of Energy & Sustainability, Senior Advisor, The Behavioural Insights Team Daniel Vennard , Global Program Director, World Resources Institute Joanna Yarrow , Head of Sustainable & Healthy Living , IKEA Group Moderated by Martin Wright, Author, Speaker and Advisor
  • 17:15
    ROUNDTABLE SESSION 2 Attendees join their pre-selected roundtables – see the second number on your name badge.
  • 18:00
  • 18:00

Venue Details

20 Aldermanbury, London, EC2V 7HY, United Kingdom

Who's Attending

Media Relations Manager AB World Foods Ltd
Environmental Sustainability Manager Adnams
Senior Sustainability Analyst Anglo American Plc
Senior Manager Aviva
CSR manager Bank of England
CSR Exec Belron
Transformation Programme Lead Belron
Head of Communications and Policy Bioregional
Senior project officer Bioregional
UK Head of Internal Communications BNP Paribas
Enviornment & Sustainability Manager Bouygues Energies & Services
Global Sustainability Specialist BP
Head of Marketing, BP Target Neutral BP
Consumer Insight Director Bright Blue Consulting
Community and Public Affairs Executive British Land
Group Head of Social Responsibility British Standards Institute (BSI)
Senior CRS Manager Bupa
EMEA Sustainability Manager Canon Europe ltd
CR&S Reporting & Communications Capgemini UK
Disclosure Support Officer Carbon Disclosure Project
Assistant Director Catch22
Senior Corporate Citizenship Manager Centrica
Corporate Advisor Charities Aid Foundation
Head of Brand & Communications CIPD
Head of Marketing Citicourt & Co. Ltd
Director of Learning & Creative Cloud Sustainability
Business Relationship Manager Ctrl Print
Best Practice Specialist De Beers Group of Companies
Sustainability Manager DP World (Dubai Ports)
Circular Economy lead Ebay
Director Ellwood Atfield
Global Corporate Responsibility Leader EY
Purposeful Business Fleishman Hillard
Purposeful Business Fleishman Hillard
Programme Lead Flying High Challenge
Digital Lead Forum for the Future
Co-Founder Futerra Sustainability Communications
Co-founder & Executive Director Future Fit Foundation
Associate Director Given London
Managing Partner Given London
Strategy Director Given London
Supply Chain Sustainability IP GlaxoSmithKline
Group Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Manager Go-Ahead Group Plc
Director Gong communications
Founder and MD Gong communications
CSR & Sustainability Manager Goodwood
Sustainability Assistant Manager Grant Thornton UK LLP
Sustainability Manager Grosvenor
Supplier Engagement Manager GSK
Head of Communications GVA
CEO & Founder Halotrade
Environment Manager Heathrow Airport Ltd
Sustainability Manager Heathrow Airport Ltd
Senior Communications Manager, Global Operations HSBC
Group OHSE & CR Director Imperial Brands
Head of Corporate Communications, UK, Ireland, Middle East ING
Sustainability Officer Innocent Drinks
Innovation Partner Interface
Assistant Project Manager International Maritime Organization
Corporate Environmental Manager Interserve Plc
Head of Supply Chain Sustainability Programmes Intertek
Global Head Energy & Sustainability ISS Global
Director of Sustainability Jacobs
Director – Business Partner Programmes JCDecaux
Head of Social Impact JCDecaux
Senior Sustainability Communications Consultant JLL
Sustainable Sourcing Manager John Lewis Partnership
Corporate Responsibility Manager John Lewis plc
Operations Sustainability Manager King’s College London
Sustainability Advisor Kingfisher plc
Environmental Governance Manager Lego
Sustainable Supply Chain manager Lego
Global CR Manager Linklaters LLP
Founder Mission in Action Ltd
Assistant Sustainability Manager Multiplex Construction Europe
Senior Social Investment Manager Nationwide Building Society
CEO Neighbourly
Founder Neighbourly
Head of Customer Success Neighbourly
Senior Communications Officer NHS Property Services
Account Director Note Taker
Sustainability Policy Analyst Note Taker
Corporate Press Manager Novozymes
Investment Manager Pictet Asset Management
Ethical Trade Coordinator Primark
Head of CR Prudential UK & Europe
Sustainable Behaviours Executive PwC
Sustainable Behaviours Lead PwC
Director Responsible 100
Performance and Development Manager Royal Bank of Scotland
Founder & Director Russ Avery Consulting
Senior Sustainability Consultant RY
Senior Sustainability Consultant RY
Senior Sustainability Consultant RY
Sustainability Director RY
Sustainability Officer Sainsbury’s
Deputy Managing Director Salter Baxter
Director of Strategy Salter Baxter
Head of Reporting Salter Baxter
New Business Director Salter Baxter
Senior Consultant Salter Baxter
Sustainable Investment Analyst Schroders
External Relations Manager (Sustainable Development) Shell
CEO Simply Sustainable
Director Simply Sustainable
Project Analyst Simply Sustainable
Director, Corporate Social Responsibility SITA
Communications SYSTEMIQ
Head of Communications SYSTEMIQ
Director Corporate Sustainability Tata Communications (Uk) Limited
Director Sustainability Taylor Wimpey
Head of Corporate Communications Telford Homes PLC
Corporate Responsibility Reporting Manager Tesco
Head of European Communications Tesco
Insight & Strategy Director Tesco
Corporate Communications Manager The Body Shop
Head of Internal Communications The Crown Estate
Media Relations Manager The Crown Estate
Head of Sustainability The Royal Parks
Director of Sustainabilty TUI Travel
Sustainability Marketing Manager TUI Travel
Global Communications Director, Home Car Unilever
Head of Global Content, Sustainable Business & Communications Unilever
Unilever graduate scheme Unilever
Corporate Responsibility Manager Unite-Students
Head of Sustainability University Of Greenwich
Practitioner Doctorate University of Surrey
Strategic project lead Veolia
Senior Sustainability Advisor VINCI Facilities
Head of Sustainability Virgin Media
Head of Engagement & Responsible Business Virgin Trains
Head of Innovation and Strategic Engagement WaterAid
Editor We Mean Business
Head of Corporate Stewardship – Food & Water WWF
Senior Communications Manager WWF
Senior Advisor – Communications Xynteo
Global Supply Chain Product Leader Zurich Insurance plc