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Blue Earth Summit 2023 - Can Commerce, Sustainability and Social Causes Work Together Cohesively?


Three men and two women seating on white stools during a panel discussion on the future of marketing at the Blue Earth Summit 2023 in Bristol, UK.
Tom Reding, BrewDog's Chief Digital Officer, Tamara Hill-Norton, Sweaty Betty's founder, Dan Macaulay, founder of Brandwave, and other esteemed panelist at the Blue Earth Summit 2023

Can commerce, sustainability and social causes work together cohesively? 🤝🏽


These were among the questions posed at the Blue Earth Summit 11-13 October in Bristol.


My snapshot of the summit 📸​:


🌍​ While using recycled plastics for fabric benefits the short term, it continues to release microplastics into our oceans during wash cycles, eventually returning to landfills as plastic. Is there a more sustainable and cost-effective alternative?


🌍​ Adam Gardiner, Rapha's Sustainability Manager, proposed cultivating emotional value in clothing to encourage us to prolong its use.


🌍​ Eva Kruse, PANGAIA's Chief Global Engagement Officer, questioned when CEOs feel they've made enough money considering their businesses' environmental impacts.


An off-white tent at the Blue Earth Summit 2023 in Bristol, UK where there is a blue background that states Blue Earth Futures. There are two men and one woman sitting in the middle with two flat screen TVs either side of them.
Blue Earth Futures panel on the future of fashion with Adam Gardiner, Rapha's Sustainability Manager, Eva Kruse, PANGAIA's Chief Global Engagement Officer and fashion consultant Simon Platts

🌍​ Tom Reding, BrewDog's Chief Digital Officer, emphasized that people prioritise product quality over sustainability, viewing sustainability as a bonus or a standard practice.


🌍​ Tamara Hill-Norton, Sweaty Betty's founder, recommended constant customer communication and adaptability. You know I agree!


🌍​ According to Dan Macaulay, founder of Brandwave, “A brand's purpose is now standard.”


🌍​ Businesses are reverting to traditional marketing to counter digital marketing overload, while up to 90% is still allocated to performance marketing. Quick wins may not ensure long-term success.


Patagonia had the coolest booth of course with a clothing and gear repair station on site.



There need to be more people of colour in this space! It was disheartening to be one of a few in a sea of many.


Some folks handed out paper leaflets, magazines, etc. More than what I was expecting…


I question some individuals’ commitment to driving positive environmental and social change versus pursuing financial gains in this buzzy industry.


Standing near Deborah Meaden was a definite highlight!


Overall, I am grateful for the enriching connections and uplifting perspectives at the summit, despite the industry's complexities and challenges.


I hope this has provided you with valuable insights to support your efforts toward fostering positive environmental and social change.


As an added bonus, I calculated my carbon footprint for the event as inspired by e-commerce expert Chloë Thomas. Whilst at Blue Earth Summit in Bristol for three days, I used up 0.03 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2e).


I travelled to Bristol from London via coach for 234 total miles.


I stayed in shared accommodation at the YHA youth hostel on the harbour. Which I recommend if it’s not humid AF.


I walked from the hostel to the summit site and back every day. I had the luxury of walking everywhere whilst in Bristol.


I only ate meat for dinner to keep my iron level up.

According to the EPA, 0.03 tonnes of CO2e is equivalent to 76.9 miles driven by an average gasoline-powered passenger vehicle.


Let’s see if I can improve this number for the next time.


- The realist creative you know

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