Words by Amy Packham
The Eden Project – best known as the eco visitor attraction in Cornwall – hosted Anthropy from 2-4 November 2022: a "launchpad for change" event, which aimed to discuss the qualities we live by and build a positive, sustainable, and successful future.
Dubbed 'Glastonbury for Good', we headed down to the event to hear what was being discussed, what change was needed, and why a new vision for Britain was on the horizon for many.
Here are five things we learned during the three-day event.
1. Good ideas are worth sharing
John O'Brien, founder of Anthropy, spoke passionately about the need to spread good ideas, rather than keeping them to yourself. That's how he has succeeded through the years, including creating Anthropy itself.
"You have to accept it isn't going to be just your idea," he says. "If you keep it as your idea, it won't go anywhere. It has to be shared. You have to give the idea away, don't be protective about it – everything is about sharing."
2. We need to be hopeful for our future
While it's all to easy to get bogged down with depressing news headlines about the state of our world and of Britain, a resounding message that came out of the event was the need for hope – for our planet and the people in it.
Without hope, people aren't driven to take action, or make a change. Kelly Beaver MBE, from Ipsos Mori, said: “Leaders have a role in creating a sense of hope. There is a responsibility as a leader to create a sense of pathway to change.”
3. Everyone should aim for "a 10% improvement"
In an inspiring discussion about ocean health being as important as human health, Dave Miller, from Cleaner Seas Group, posed the question that while legislation will be important to protect our oceans – do we have the time for science of legislation to catch up?
Instead, we should think about individual action, he said. "What one thing can we all do as citizens and custodians of Earth?"
"If each of us, every year, did 10% improvement of how we live sustainably to protect our oceans, it'd add up. Think of every citizen make a 10% improvement difference each year – that will make a huge difference."
4. Businesses need to create profitable solutions
In an inspiring talk about better business, Mary Portas said: "Instead of business profiting from creating problems for people on our planet, we need to flip that and create profitable solutions from the problems of people and planet."
Mary was speaking about the move from consumerism to consciousness, and the Better Business Act. The goal, she said, is to create a "small but fundamental change to company law".
"Right now, businesses are legally responsible to their shareholders. Our mission is to do this: to change UK law to make sure every single company in UK, whether big or small, puts balancing people, profit and planet at the heart of their purpose and responsibility of their directors. It’s a small but profound and potentially revolutionary shift."
5. People really want to make a change
The whole idea of Anthropy was for people to consider the qualities we live by and discuss how we can build a positive, equitable, sustainable, successful future – and the event did just that.
Through networking, discussions, workshops, sessions, and one-on-one meetings, it was clear how passionate many people in business are about building a better future.
Talking about it, and the practical solutions we need, is the first step. Actioning them is the second.