6th June 2016

Seeing The Bigger Picture: Key Highlights From EdieLive

B2B account executive, Calum Metcalfe, attended EdieLive, an annual energy, sustainability and resource efficiency exhibition held in Birmingham’s NEC. Here, he shares his key takeaways from the event and his thoughts on the latest developments in the world of sustainability.

EdieLive was packed full of insight from some of the world’s foremost experts on sustainability. A key focus, mentioned by a number of speakers, was how important it is for companies to see the bigger picture in terms of corporate environmental responsibility.

In his opening remarks, Luke Nicholls, editor of sustainability news title, Edie.net, suggested industries were moving in the right direction, especially in the UK. He pointed out the general shift towards renewable fuel sources and that coal-fired electricity generation has fallen to record lows in recent weeks. His message was a positive one, stating that most companies have already realised where they need to go and are now in a state of transformation, aligning their deliveries with expectations.

Supply chain innovations

One of the best methods of greening up any business is by increasing levels of sustainability in its supply chain. Successes in this area were discussed at length by representatives from a number of leading companies during the afternoon. Fiacre O’Donnell, Head of Strategic Development at UK bottler and Tangerine client, Encirc, talked about the value in having carbon offsetting campaigns, as well as ensuring an optimised route-to-market for greener products.

Dell’s Jonathan Perry showcased the company’s commitment to creating a ‘legacy of good,’ arguing that all stakeholders must work together to find the most efficient way to ‘close the loop’ in the wider circular economy.

Disruptive business models

The day also showcased entrepreneurs who have been pioneering exciting new business models. One company on the scene, Nimber, (described by its CEO as the AirBnB of deliveries) uses an economy-sharing app that connects people who need to send something from one place to another with people going that way anyway.

Another interesting organisation was Warp-it, an asset-reuse network that maximises the potential of waste by diverting assets away from landfill towards places where they could still be of use. Daniel Bede O’Connor, founder and CEO, provided an example of hundreds of used office chairs being thrown out by one company, while another in the same building was in the process of buying new ones. He claimed that, through connecting the right people to each other, Warp-it has saved more than 2.5 million kilograms of carbon for clients around the UK.

My key highlight


My favourite talk at the event was from Dr Heather Koldewey, head of global conservation programmes at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). She spoke around the value of networking and how it can lead to unlikely but beneficial partnerships. In her case, it meant a successful collaboration between Selfridges and the ZSL.

The partnership, Project Ocean, aimed to raise awareness of marine conservation efforts and overfishing. Through a strong joint marketing campaign, it reached more than 12 million people in over 37 countries. By reaching new audiences with different messages, Project Ocean also raised £120,000 for the cause.

My key takeaway from this talk, and the event in general, was that there has to be greater levels of communication across the board. By working together, companies are successfully making their business models more sustainable and creating a more environmentally secure future in the process.