Sometimes it’s simply better to be there in person. Websites, blogs and twitter feeds are efficient, carbon-lite and immediate, but with a topic like creative disruption, real conversation wins hands down. Which is why people who attended Green Strategy 2011 in London on Wednesday were happy they didn’t spend the day answering e-mails.
Julie Meyer, founder and CEO of Ariadne Capital gave the presentation of the day. Describing her business model where entrepreneurs – the drivers for creative disruption – back new entrepreneurs, she caught our imagination with her focus on market transformation. And as a World Economic Forum Global Leader of Tomorrow she knows a bit about that, having founded, then sold First Tuesday and backed and advised a host of game-changing companies. It’s time, she said, to forget the big/small business dichotomy and for David to dance with Goliath.
While Julie propelled the sustainability audience outside it’s comfort zone, Jonathon Porritt provided some rocket fuel for the journey. He praised Marks & Spencer’s Plan A and Renault/Nisssan’s US$ 4 billion electric car bet, but made clear that even they are not doing enough. Businesses, he says, have an urgent obligation to share and drive the sustainability challenge with investors, consumers, politicians and the 1%. Rousing stuff, and something of a conundrum. The power and reach of a progressive commercial sector offers a sustainability motor, but does it have the will to change our fundamentally flawed financial system? Unlikely. So, with Western governments in paralysis it looks like the onus is on NGOs to turn up the volume and for David and Goliath to own the dance floor.