It’s always a pleasant experience to be in the same room as a load of people who are passionate about the same thing you are – and keen to talk about it! That is what happened at the University of Northampton’s first ever Sustainability Summit last month. This was two days to share ideas about how we ensure our organisations are truly sustainable – not just for our planet but for our people too.
I had the privilege of speaking at the University’s networking breakfast on the second day, alongside our contact at the University, responsible for their GBC accreditation, and Councillor Jonathan Nunn, who was keen to emphasise the Council’s commitment to the principles of the Good Business Charter. This set the day up well and I enjoyed many conversations in between excellent panel sessions with organisations keen to explore the GBC framework for themselves.
This was a summit led by the indomitable Ebenezer Laryea who was determined it would not be simply a talking-shop but would lead to sustained, collective action. He ensured that happened by having moderated breakout groups on both days to focus on the E and the S of sustainability and pulled together the outcomes from those meetings to unveil the Northampton Accord of what organisations in the county agreed on and could commit to.
As of one accord, we read through a list of concrete, practical actions – including I’m pleased to say, encouraging organisations to commit to the Good Business Charter – and agreed these would be worthwhile goals. To help in achieving them, the University shared its plan to launch a hub where organisations could receive support in achieving these goals, a need already identified in the breakout I had helped moderate.
This was a refreshing, energising and deeply inspiring conference with a difference and I am excited to see the next steps for the town of Northampton and the whole county, pushing one another to best practice on how they treat their workforce, how they think about their environmental impact, what they do through their supply chain and much more. Inevitably much of the detail of the sessions gravitated back to the environment, and all the complexities around that. It is my hope that the Good Business Charter’s role in the Northampton Accord is to ensure the social side of things does not get sidelined.