2024 Kickoff: Celebrating Sustainability, Good News and Wellbeing

16th January | 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM | Future Leap, 1-3 Gloucester Road, Bristol (and Online)

Wellbeing 2024 text with background of mountains
2024 Kickoff- Celebrating Sustainability, Good News and Wellbeing.
Written by Imogen Green, A-level student on Future Leap Work Experience.
On the 17th of January 2024, Future leap hosted a virtual and in person event at the Gloucester road hub titled “2024 kickoff: celebrating sustainability, good news and wellbeing”. Before the event began, attendees enjoyed networking and refreshments including pastries provided by Hobbs House Bakery. 
To start the talks, Katherine Piper, Director of Partnerships and Head of Sustainability at Future Leap, welcomed a full house of attendees, talking on not only the vital progression towards net zero but also on how positivity is important when achieving sustainability goals. In addition to this, the audience where given a useful insight into the goals of themselves and others in attendance, when posed with the question “what would you like to get out of the event?” Responses such as “insight”, “connection” and perspective” set up a strong ground which was expanded upon by guest speakers:
Mike Barry, Mike Barry Eco and former head of sustainability at Marks & Spencer
Ed Garret and Holly Smith, The Discourse
Peter Smith, Bristol Sport
Aimee smith and Blaise Penny-Kirkwood, Aim2Be
Mike Barry, Director, Mike Barry Eco 
Mike gave a comprehensive insight into the impacts of carbon emissions that pose significant risk to both the environment and social equality. He spoke not only on global warning, citing the record temperatures of land and sea that had been recorded in the past year, But also posed sustainability through a political lens explaining the links between rising populism and how this has led to a decrease in quality of life for many people globally. In addition to this, headliners where given on the current state of net zero in the corporate setting and how this can be improved and implemented through processes of simplification and changing current systems that are in place in order to modernise and adapt to increasing sustainability awareness. 
Ed Garret, (Managing Director and Founder), and Holly Smith, (Consultant)The Discourse 
The next talk was offered by Ed and Holly from design agency and B Corporation The Discourse. They spoke not only on their own mission to design as a force for good for sustainability-minded organisations, but also gave valuable insights into the B Corp certification and what this means to their business. Ed outlined how B Corp allowed them to identify and improve sustainability strategies, as well as offering advice to listeners who might want to follow suit and work on attaining their own certification. This involved asking for help and  being adaptable, and helped give a comprehensive overview into the process of becoming a B Corp. 
Peter Smith, Head of Change and Sustainability, Bristol Sport
After this we heard from Peter Smith, head of sustainability at Bristol Sport. This prominent organisation champions major teams across football, rugby and basketball as well as managing venues such as the iconic Ashton Gate stadium, and supporting youth and charity endeavours across the city. Peter informed attendees on the current sustainability goals of the company, including Project Whitebeam, their net 0 by 2040 scheme, as well as recognising the tribulations of applying an environmental mind to a fast paced and culturally established sector. Successes were also celebrated, through the recognition of various awards including the English Football League Green Club of the Year.
Aimee smith, (Co-Founder), and Blaise Penny-Kirkwood (Co-Founder), Aim2Be
The final talk was offered by Aimee and Blaise, who formulate their work around aiding sustainability through the lens of wellbeing. They emphasised the threat that poor mental health can have on the workplace, and held an interactive mindfulness session, highlighting how small daily habits, such as regular movement and square breathing, can have a positive impact on emotional and physical health. They also explained the pillars of wellbeing-mental, financial, social, physical, career and community- 6 vital areas in which stability is required in order to build a happy and productive lifestyle. 
Following an array of diverse and interesting talks, a reflective question was posed to the audience “what tangible actions can you carry out following this event?”. Responses echoed the impact that each speaker had delivered, and included “exploring B Corp”, “building common unity” and “talking to others”
The floor was then opened to a 60 second pitch opportunity, in which attendees were given the chance to network further by advertising their services. This was taken up by CedarUK, a sustainable uniform and merchandise brand, and then by Cornish Gems, a letting agency focused on giving back to the community through schemes like locally sourced food boxes for holiday makers. 
To close, attendees enjoyed further networking and drinks, a social end to a highly informative morning! 
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