Rapid innovation using blockchain technology is becoming a major game changer, surfing the renewables revolution and shift to prosumers*. We interviewed Erwin Smole at the EventHorizon conference in Berlin on how blockchain has the potential to disrupt every part of the energy market.
Erwin is a busy man, having co-founded both Grid Singularity, which runs a blockchain peer-to-peer energy platform and the Energy Web Foundation, an open sourced platform designed to create a unified standard to make energy data more usable, as well as being part of the team that made EventHorizon happen. Therefore, he is well placed to give an overview of blockchain for energy.
Erwin explains that in Europe, governments are expecting the energy transition to happen at a consumer level as current approach of building big wind farms are starting to cause problems to the energy grid. In the developing world, with 2 billion people without electricity, solar and small batteries along with blockchain technology is expected to accelerate the creation of local energy markets with invoicing capability.
He also shares his personal journey of more than 2 decades in the energy sector and why innovation in the energy sector and the purpose of reducing environmental impact inspires him.
* a prosumer is both a consumer and producer of energy
Erwin Smole on Linkedin.
Abraham Cambridge, CEO and Founder of The Sun Exchange talks about how they are bypassing the disinterest of governments and banks in solar energy, while combining the best decentralised technology and financing model to create game changing impact.
The Sun Exchange’s vision is enable Africa to leapfrog into a new clean energy future using a blockchain enabled crowdfunding platform. Their solution enables anyone, anywhere in the world, to buy and lease solar assets to power villages starting in South Africa.
Abe talks about how solar energy is the most distributed and democratic source of energy and why the openness and transparency is key to making their platform work. Abe also shared on how a change in market conditions and his experience running a solar installation cooperative in Cornwall, UK lead to the founding of The Sun Exchange.
Connect with Abraham Cambridge on linkedin.
Dr Greg Lavery, Founder of Rype Office talks about how he's bringing a disruptive circular economy model into the buildings industry by re-manufacturing beautiful furniture
According to a 2012 study by WRAP, 300 tons of office furniture is going to waste every day. Serial entrepreneur, Dr Greg Lavery enlightens us on why he sees remanufacturing office furniture as the big opportunity for a more circular building industry.
In this episode, Greg shares his personal journey from running a solar company in Australia to founding Rype Office and how they are able to supply beautifully designed, sustainable and low cost furniture. Greg talks about their game changing innovation of creating job opportunities for the long term unemployed, thus creating social, financial and environmental sustainability.
Ken Webster, Head of Innovation at Ellen MacArthur Foundation shares where he sees indications of the tipping points towards a circular economy, particularly focusing on high growth businesses and initiatives.
Ken discusses why platform cooperatives and collaboration opportunities in circular economy are seen as a key in moving towards a circular economy. He also talks about policy issues such as how finance will need to be more patient and why there needs to be a change in taxation to tip us towards a truly circular economy.
We are now moving towards an economy where utilisation of assets rather than selling of products becomes important. Ken explains how we are shifting from products to services and cites Philip’s offering of lighting-as-a-service and Bundle's washing machine and MudJean’s clothing rentals as examples of moving away from selling products to providing a service which means making things last longer.
Ken shares that nature works with a limited palette of material and there is a new science of using form to find new functions in biomimicry and at a materials level we should move towards simplicity. He provides examples of Brazil’s Leontino Balbo Junior who is scaling regenerative agriculture, and Lula farms in Canada which is using rooftop aquaponics for urban farming and London’s own Winnow who reduce food wastage from restaurants.
The podcast was recorded over the phone, so apologies for the comparatively poor audio quality.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation aim is to accelerate the transition to the circular economy.
Ken Webster tweets @CircularEconKen
Frank Krikhaar Global CSR Director of Dentsu Aegis Network on using power of people and marketing to achieve the UN SDGs
Frank Krikhaar leads the Global CSR team in Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN), a global corporation with 65 offices and 35000 people. DAN has worked on creating marketing campaigns to create mass awareness for the UN Sustainable Development Goals as well as working with local partners to achieve behaviour change at a community level.
In this episode, Frank talks about his 6 years in DAN and how he achieved the culture change in this large global marketing agency and why people are now knocking on doors wanting to engage in sustainability.
Frank made the internal move from finance and strategy into sustainability. With a background in the creative and marketing industry, Frank emphasises the importance of using connections and relationships in building on the sustainability transformation within Dentsu Aegis Network.
Frank also shares with us where he takes inspiration from and his personal concerns of the future of CSR.
Head over to Dentsu Aegis Network CSR page here.
Frank Krikhaar tweets at @FKrikhaar
John Elkington, Founder of Volans, creator of the Triple Bottom Line and global CSR leader on his sustainable journey
Business Week described John Elkington as "a dean of the corporate responsibility movement", a poll placed him in the top 5 of global CSR leaders and he created the concept of the Triple Bottom Line: he truly is the sage of sustainability.
In this episode, John talks about his personal journey over the decades pushing for sustainable development. He discusses his work bridging the gap between activist NGO campaigners and those mainstream businesses looking to be responsible.
During the conversation he shares insight from the Volans report “Breakthrough Business Models: Exponentially, More Social, Lean, Integrated, and Circular.” John suggests that the sustainability industry needs to disrupt itself and how we need to think in much longer terms.
A serial sustainability entrepreneur and thinker for 40 years, he started his first business, ENDS, in 1978 (which is still going strong), founded two high profile consultancies, SustainAbility and Volans, is the author of 19 books and is on the boards of 20 organisations.
Head over to Volans to learn more about Breakthrough Business Models.
John Elkington tweets at @VolansJohn
Mayor of London Low Carbon Entrepreneur 2016 Winner and Echoing Green Fellow, Ryan Robinson is the cofounder of Aeropowder which is turning waste feathers from the poultry industry into a high value circular economy product.
In this episode, Ryan explains how biomimicry inspired Aeropowder is exploiting the unique insulation properties of feathers for last mile food delivery and getting rid of synthetic insulation. Ryan shares the interesting background behind meeting cofounder Elena Dieckmann at Imperial College and what lead them to forming their company.
Ryan also talks about his journey from being a PhD researcher in air pollution and talking to astronauts in his Masters to figuring out the entrepreneurial challenges of working with industry partners and the importance of learning by doing.
Head over to Aeropowder to learn more about this new circular economy product.
Ryan Robinson tweets at @Aeropowder
Multi award winning African entrepreneur, Kennedy Odede shares his journey tackling extreme poverty and bringing education, healthcare and clean energy to local communities.
In this episode, Kennedy Odede inspires us with his story as a homeless kid facing daily challenges of violence on the street to how he started Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), the largest grassroot movement transforming urban slums in Nairobi, Kenya.
Kennedy Odede is the founder of SHOFCO that is addressing the deep challenges of extreme poverty. Kennedy explains how he has managed to create quality healthcare services and a safe space to educate young women and bringing in new solar technology to the local community.
Kennedy is recognised for the impact he is creating and awarded the Young Global Leaders and Echoing Green Fellow. Kennedy strongly believes the power of technology, education and why we should always start with the people.
Learn more about SHOFCO here https://www.shofco.org/
Kennedy Odede tweets @KennedyOdede
Chris Forbes, award winning entrepreneur and cofounder of The Cheeky Panda on disrupting the toilet paper industry with sustainable bamboo.
In this episode, Chris Forbes the cofounder of award winning The Cheeky Panda talks about why bamboo is an obvious solution to disrupt a mainstream product that is such a core part of everyday life. Chris explains how The Cheeky Panda business has moved from concept in 2016 to launching in mainstream retailers such as Wholefoods and Ocado and big wholesale distributors Bunzl by 2017, and with even bigger plans for 2018.
Chris explains how he is driving this potential #GameChanger business and why the whole business process is pushing the boundaries of consumer sustainability.
Chris compares bamboo versus recycled toilet paper and why they have created a health product in the process of developing Cheeky Panda. He also talks about how they are protecting the rainforests through carbon offsets and plan to use biobased plastics in their packaging.
Head over to www.TheCheekyPanda.co.uk to find out more about their bamboo loo rolls.
Chris Forbes tweets @forbesymore
Neil Gaught, author of "CORE", talks about how a Single Organizing Idea can change business for good
Neil Gaught is a strategy advisor, author and speaker who helps businesses define and implement sustainable positioning strategies. He is the author of “CORE: How a Single Organizing Idea Can Change Business for Good.”
In this episode, Neil talks about; his journey, both recent and over his career, how he is using the Single Organising Idea (SOI) framework to get clarity on business positioning, the power of brand, and how to humanise businesses.
“CORE” draws on Neil Gaught’s personal experiences as a design consultant and strategy advisor on businesses positioning to change business for good.
He advises a wide variety of organizations, ranging from international NGOs and corporates to start-ups, faith based organizations and government institutions across the world and is currently on a world tour and is delivering keynote presentations.
Neil Gaught tweets @NeilGaught
Having literally written the book on it, John O'Brien, Partner at One Hundred discusses the challenges of developing a more purpose led culture within your organisation
Ethical purpose champion, author and philanthropist, John spent over a decade with Business in the Community before managing several of the Prince of Wales' charity programmes. More recently John wears several hats within Omnicom, where his passion for purpose led positions is evident.
He brought all his learning from the last decades together in his book "The Power of Purpose", which has the tempting sub-title: "Inspire teams, engage customers, transform business" and has got into the Top 10 for Amazon, and Top 3 for WH Smith business book charts.
John is a #GameChanger within the world of charity, social enterprise and business, and in this podcast we discuss how anyone within an organisation has the potential to influence and add purpose to their place of work.
John shares his obervsations of the shift towards purpose lead organisations following the financial crash, the rise and fall of "CSR" and how to use the power of purpose to create a new culture within your organisation.
Find see his Tweets here.
Solitaire Townsend, Co-founder of Futerra shares the inspiration behind her new book, 'The Happy Hero', the Climate Optimism movement & successful Futerra campaigns
Solitaire Townsend’s Twitter profile succinctly reads: “Author of www.thehappyhero.org. Co-founder of @Futerra. #ClimateOptimist”
In this equally succinct interview we dive into an exploration of what inspired Solitaire to become a green entrepreneur as a teenager, how that has influenced her to investigate the connection between happiness and heroism and the evidence of its impact.
We discuss how she is passionate about communicating that whilst we must take climate change seriously, that linking climate and optimism isn't either weird or dangerous, and how we can deal with apathy around climate change by believing that we can deal with it.
Along the way we also find out about the work Futerra has done with the likes of WWF and Sky, their partnership with The Climate Group for #ClimateOptimist, the importance of empowering and educating women, and more, all in a succinct 26 minutes.
Bernie Bulkin, Executive Chairman of K3Solar provides a whistle stop tour of the major challenges and opportunities in cleantech with a focus on solar, 5G and more!
Bernie Bulkin is currently Executive Chairman ofK3Solar. In this podcast we share his #GameChanger ideas which include the need and future of solar energy and its role in supporting health and education in developing economies. We also discuss the challenges and opportunities also seen in other sectors, including the clean-tech application of 5G in water monitoring and waste-reuse - it's not just for making phone-calls!
Bernie is a former Chemist Lecturer and was the Chief Scientist for BP. As a "critical friend" to the UK Government, he championed a number of topics in his role within the Sustainable Development Commission with a specific focus on solar when he led the UK Office of Renewable Energy.
John Corr, MD of Smart Ledger, discusses the impending Zero Carbon Economy including Energy Prosumers, Blockchain, EVs, VCs, and everything inbetween
John Corr founded Smart Ledger in April 2016, since then it has gone on to become one of the global Top 40 Blockchain businesses.
In this #GameChangers conversation we discuss the rapid rise in electric vehicle (EV) use, with the potential that in 10 years 95% of all journeys will be electric. We also explore how ordinary citizens are set to go from being just energy users to also being energy producers (AKA prosumers), storers and traders on the wider market, driven by blockchain technology.
Lastly we discuss how the very nature of venture capital (VC) is changing to drive forward these innovations.
Andy Last, CEO of MullenLowe salt has literally written the book on how business can do good and grow profitably
Andy Last co-founded MullenLowe salt in 2000 and in 2016 published the award winning 'Business on a Mission: how to build a sustainable brand'.
In this conversation we have a fascinating chat about his career, his clients, the book and the power of business to do good and grow profitably.
Andy advises brands and corporates on social purpose and sustainability communications and is a regular speaker and commentator on the power of business to lead positive change.
His consultancy was one of the first companies in the UK to be accredited as a B-Corporation, working on high profile campaigns for brands such as Unilever, Manpower and JLL.
Pat Harned of the Ethics & Compliance Initiative tells us how 'culture trumps compliance'
Pat Harned leads the Ethics and Compliance Initiative (ECI), regularly engaging with leaders of global corporations and the US Department of Justice as well as testifying before Congress. She was named one of the ‘100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics’ in 2014.
In this wide ranging conversation, she shares how culture trumps compliance, the key to reducing corporate risk and her volunteer role as a baby cuddler.
Jane Davidson of INSPIRE at University of Wales Trinity Saint David talks wellbeing of future generations and appealing beyond the converted
Dr Jane Davidson has achieved many things in her time and this conversation takes us from her childhood in Africa to her current role as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Sustainability and Engagement and Director of INSPIRE at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David which is on a journey to embed sustainability throughout the university’s culture, campus and curriculum. Jane has won a number of UK wide awards for this work.
A highlight of Jane’s career is her work, from 2007- 2011, as Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing in Wales where she proposed legislation to make sustainable development its central organising principle – the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act came into law in April 2015.
Her work saw her being recognised as the third most influential environmentalist in the UK for the Independent on Sunday in 2009.
Listen to this fascinating journey through a life which has been devoted to inspiring sustainability.
Christine Lins of REN21 talks Trump, record-breaking year, baseload myths and going 100% renewable
Just prior to the launch of their Renewables 2017 Global Status Report, which found there was a record of 161 GW added to global power capacity, for 23% less investment, I talked with Christine Lins, the Executive Secretary of REN21, which is based at the UNEP.
In this fascinating conversation, Christine and I discussed Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, and why it may aid global action on climate change, baseload myths, fossil fuel divestment and how policy makers and innovative small businesses can help drive the renewable revolution.
REN21 was created in 2004 as a ‘Coalition of the Willing’: all those in the private and the public sector that are keen on advancing renewable energy. Their members span from national governments to different international institutions such as the UN, European Commission, World Bank, industry associations, NGOs and actors in the field of science and academia.
Karl & Tom of Clean Energy UK talk Al Gore, COP21, renewable revolution and the big clean switch
On this podcast I’m joined by Tom Old and Karl Walker who are both directors of Clean Energy UK, which is a leading light in the renewables revolution, helping businesses switch to 100% clean supply.
They share their adventures in sustainability, with Al Gore being their matchmaker, and then taking us through their visit to COP21 and onto founding Clean Energy UK together in addition to being involved with The Big Clean Switch and the Carbon Free Group. On the way we discuss the learnings from An Inconvenient Truth and how they are looking towards the exponential growth of climate solutions.
Dan & Nadia of SafetyNet Technologies talk about making fishing brighter: by using light to decrease by-catch and increase sustainability
Over-fishing and bycatch are massive global issues with few clear solutions. In this edition of we talk to Dan Watson, the founder and CEO of SafetyNet Technologies, which has developed the innovative Pisces, and has the potential to provide a solution to this massive problem (27 million tons of bycatch!) and revolutionise fishing. Using light to attract the right fish into nets, they could reduce wasted catch by up to 90%.
Also joining us on the podcast is Nadia Labbs who guides their business strategy, which is currently centred on a Crowdfunder to support the business to bring Pisces to life on a mass scale.
The fascinating conversation ranged from where Dan got his inspiration from for this exponential technology to why businesses and individuals should care about it.
Paul Gerrard, Group Policy and Campaigns Director for The Co-op talks about how they are leading the way in battling modern slavery
In this fascinating and inspiring conversation Paul Gerrard, Group Policy and Campaigns Director for The Co-op tells us about why this grand-daddy of the co-operative movement was one of the leading businesses to campaign for the introduction of the UK Modern Slavery Act (MSA).
The interview also covers how the Co-op first started to address slavery over 150 years ago and how they have now developed a range of partnerships to help people in slavery to break free.
I was also delighted to be joined by an expert in the MSA, Jessica Cresswell, from the highly-regarded consultancy Carbon Smart who asked insightful questions regarding the challenging area of engagement with suppliers regarding modern slavery.
As an added bonus Paul also shares at the end of the discussion two further fantastic initiatives that the Co-op are delivering in their communities.
Hugo Spowers founder of Riversimple talks about multiple innovations that are being applied to developing a cutting edge eco-auto
A passion for racing cars and sustainability aren't usual bedfellows. Hugo Spowers is not an usual entrepreneur though, and the business he has created, Riversimple, isn't a business-as-usual company, as represented by its purpose: “To pursue, systematically, the elimination of the environmental impact of personal transport”.
The headline innovation of Riversimple is they are bringing to market a hydrogen fuel cell car: the Rasa. Whilst this is impressive, it is actually only one of the cutting edge circular economy innovations at the core of this company. As Andrew Davis, CEO of the Environmental Transport Association, observes: "It’s important to think outside the box. I think some people at Riversimple don't know where the box is”
Ian Joseph talks about how to unlock the potential of individuals by stepping on board
Ian Joesph, the CEO of Trustees Unlimited, a leading resource of trustees and board roles for not-for-profits, had a fascinating conversation with Adam Woodhall about the benefits of good governance, avoiding Napoleon’s and finding where the magic happens.
Beginning life as a church minister, Ian Joseph has had an eclectic career. He moved from being a pastor to working with those experiencing homelessness and drug addiction, and then took an interesting step into being a head hunter. His heart was still in the right place however, as he continued working in the charity sector, recruiting the CEO's of numerous charities such RSPCA and National Autistic Society. As well as being a father of three, Ian walks the talk himself as a trustee of a charity.
Inspiring Sustainability the Interserve way with Tim Haywood their Finance Director and Head of Sustainability
Interserve is one of the world’s foremost support services and construction companies of 80,000 people. They are in the FTSE250, with revenues of £3.6billion. After a career in finance, Tim joined the business over six years ago as FD, and five years ago, took on the sustainability portfolio.
We talked about what inspired his interest in sustainability, favourite story, uncomfortable lessons and what inspires him about the future.
You can read a summary of the interview with him here.
In addition to helping clients communicate, connect and change, I love highlighting stories from the front line of inspiring sustainability.