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HOW TO LEAD A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS

A PODCAST WITH ALANNAH WESTON

As part of Project Earth, join Alannah Weston, Chairman of Selfridges Group, as she speaks with inspiring thought leaders at the forefront of sustainability and business to find out how we can make transformational change.

Subscribe via your favourite online platform or return here every week for the latest episode.

HOW TO LEAD A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS

A PODCAST WITH ALANNAH WESTON

As part of Project Earth, join Alannah Weston, Chairman of Selfridges Group, as she speaks with inspiring thought leaders at the forefront of sustainability and business to find out how we can make transformational change.

Subscribe via your favourite online platform or return here every week for the latest episode.

 

Out of the global pandemic has come an understanding of how fragile and complex our systems are, but also how our planet and people can benefit if we act collectively with a shared purpose. Now more than ever we must double down on our efforts to reinvent retail with sustainability at its heart.

Alannah Weston, Selfridges Group Chairman

SEASON 2


EPISODE 10:

ANDREW WAUGH, FOUNDING PARTNER OF WAUGH THISTLETON ARCHITECTS, ON SUSTAINABLE DESIGN AND THE FUTURE OF ARCHITECTURE

How can we use timber to transform the current system behind construction?

In this episode, Alannah is joined by Andrew Waugh, a founding partner of Waugh Thistleton Architects. He has designed award-winning schemes from synagogues to social housing and is one of the world experts on timber construction. 

They discuss the merits of wood for human and environmental reasons and how it can transform the entire system of building. Together they consider whether steel and cement are the fossil fuels of the future. 

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EPISODE 9:

SAFIA QURESHI, CEO OF CLUBZERO, ON COFFEE CUPS AND PLASTIC PACKAGING

How can we redesign systems to reduce the problem with waste using innovation and circular thinking? 

In this episode, Alannah is joined by Safia Qureshi, founder and CEO of CLUBZERO, an award-winning returnable packaging system for food and beverage brands globally. Safia is an architect, designer and innovator who decided to take on the redesign of one of the most challenging aspects of the food service industry system: the lowly single-use coffee cup. 

She speaks to Alannah about disrupting single-use plastics, the role of legislation in regulating packaging and the challenges women in leadership positions face.  

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EPISODE 8:

JESPER BRODIN, CEO OF IKEA, ON FURNITURE, SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION, AND THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY

How can we find the balance, and what is the relationship between sustainability and affordability?

In this episode, Alannah is joined by Jesper Brodin, CEO of IKEA and its parent company Ingka Group, the world’s largest home furnishing retailer. IKEA welcomes over 700 million visitors to their stores and 3.6 billion visits to their website every year. Jesper’s career with IKEA spans over 25 years and he speaks to Alannah about IKEA’s vision, the importance of scaling businesses to build a sustainable economy.

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EPISODE 7:

SALLY JEWELL, PRESIDENT OBAMA’S SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, ON THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT AND THOUGHTFUL REGULATION

What is the government’s role in regulating businesses and how can they work in collaboration with industry?

In this episode, Alannah is joined by Sally Jewell, a business executive who was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as the 51st United States Secretary of the Interior. She was previously the CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc. and interim CEO of the Nature Conservancy. They speak about the relationship between government and business, the challenges of regulation regulating industries and working together to find solutions.

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EPISODE 6:

CHARLIE BURRELL, FOUNDER OF KNEPP WILDLAND, ON REWILDING AND REGENERATIVE FARMING

How can disrupting traditional farming methods help us in the fight against climate change?

In this episode, Alannah is joined by Charlie Burrell, a Conservationist and Founder of Knepp Wildland, the first large-scale lowland rewilding project in England. He transformed his family’s 3,500-acre estate from being a dairy and arable farm into a rewilding project which now has its own ecosystem boasting the largest concentrations of nightingales in the UK and the biggest breeding population of rare purple emperor butterflies.

They speak about disrupting the agriculture industry, stakeholder management, regenerative farming and how land can be reinvented through biodiversity.

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EPISODE 5:

DAME VIVIAN HUNT, SENIOR PARTNER AT MCKINSEY, ON STAKEHOLDER CAPITALISM AND THE VALUE OF A DIVERSE WORKFORCE

How can equal opportunities in the workplace help to create social and environmental change?

Alannah is joined by Dame Vivian Hunt, a Senior Partner at the global management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company. She served as managing partner of McKinsey’s UK and Ireland offices from 2013-2020 and is a thought leader on productivity, leadership, and diversity. She was also previously named as one of the top ten “most influential black people in Britain” by the Powerlist Foundation, and The Financial Times identified her as “one of the 30 most influential people in the City of London”. 

In the episode, she speaks to Alannah about the importance of businesses being open to innovation, stakeholder capitalism and the value of a diverse workforce.

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EPISODE 4:

LEADING CHANGE AND REDUCING WASTE WITH SIR DAVE LEWIS, CHAIR OF WWF

How can we channel fellowship and leadership to bring about transformational change?

Alannah is joined by Sir Dave Lewis, Chair of the leading conservation charity, World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF-UK). Dave worked at Unilever for nearly 30 years before becoming CEO of Tesco where he led the company’s turnaround at the same time as embedding sustainability into its strategy. 

In this episode, Dave tells Alannah how he led transformational change at Tesco, the importance of partnering with NGOs and other key stakeholders, and why ‘followership’ is just as important as leadership.

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EPISODE 3:

VICTORIA PREW, FOUNDER OF HURR ON FASHION AND THE RENTAL REVOLUTION

How can we disrupt and reinvent retail by introducing new, exciting models that are kinder on the Earth? 

In this episode, Alannah is joined by Victoria Prew, CEO of Hurr - the UK’s first peer to peer fashion rental platform. Her business has been described as the ‘Airbnb of fashion’ by Forbes magazine. They discuss the rental revolution, a guilt-free approach to shopping and how Victoria is disrupting the fashion system by bringing the circular economy to life for customers through tech innovation.

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EPISODE 2:

DALE VINCE, FOUNDER OF ECOTRICITY ON GREEN ENERGY, VEGAN FOOTBALL AND SKY DIAMONDS

How can we create a better version of capitalism that puts people and the planet first?

In this episode Alannah is joined by Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, the world’s first green energy company. 25 years ago, the concept of ‘green energy’ didn’t exist. Starting with one windmill, he kick-started the disruption of the fossil fuel industry.

Dale shares his journey from New Age traveller to eco-entrepreneur and U.N. Climate Change Champion. He tells Alannah how he took Forest Green Rovers’ Football Club vegan and his next ambition to mine diamonds from the sky. 

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EPISODE 1:

THE SELFRIDGES SUSTAINABILITY JOURNEY WITH ALANNAH WESTON

What has Selfridges achieved so far and how is the group reinventing retail for a brighter, greener future?

In this special edition of the podcast, the tables are turned on our host as she is put in the hot seat. Alannah Weston, Chairman of Selfridges Group, is interviewed by The Times journalist and broadcaster Manveen Rana.

In this episode, Alannah reflects on the sustainability journey Selfridges Group has been on, the future of fashion, and what she’s looking forward to exploring in Season 2 of the podcast. 

Subscribe via your favourite online platform or return here every week for the latest episode.

SEASON 1


EPISODE 7:

CULTIVATING INCLUSIVE AGENCY WITH ZAMZAM IBRAHIM

How can we expect the leaders of the future to tackle the complex issues we face with an education system trapped in the mindset of the past?

In this episode, Alannah speaks with activist and student politician, Zamzam Ibrahim.

Zamzam is the former President of the National Union of Students and currently serves as the President of the charity ‘Students Organising for Sustainability’, which was created by the NUS in response to the climate and ecological crisis. 

Her campaigns have highlighted that the climate crisis is deeply intertwined with issues of social justice and inequality. And that what is needed, is a fundamental shift in the education system, to give young people the tools and agency they need to fight for a greener, fairer future.

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EPISODE 6:

FINDING HOPE AND OPTIMISM WITH CHRISTINA FIGUERES

In a moment of profound despair about the environment, how can we cultivate hope that our generation has the opportunity to shape a green future?

In this episode, Alannah speaks with Christiana Figueres, the internationally recognised climate change negotiator and campaigner. In 2015, she spearheaded the Paris Agreement which saw nearly every country in the world commit to reducing emissions and move towards a sustainable economy.

She speaks to Alannah about how she is both outraged and optimistic about what is arguably the most consequential moment in human history, and how business leaders urgently need to chart their path to halving emissions.

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EPISODE 5:

THE IMPORTANCE OF PURPOSE DRIVEN BUSINESSES WITH REBECCA HENDERSON

How can purpose driven businesses pave the way for opportunity in the new green economy?

In this episode Alannah speaks with acclaimed scholar and Harvard Business School professor Rebecca Henderson. Rebecca is one of the world’s most influential scholars focused on driving large-scale change. Her research explores purpose-driven capitalism and the ways in which the private sector can help build a more sustainable economy. Rebecca’s latest book, Reimagining Capitalism: How Business Can Save the World, lays out a pragmatic roadmap on how business can help catalyse the systemic change we need to build an economy that works for everyone. 

Rebecca talks to Alannah about how to marry purpose with clarity of strategy, the importance of redefining growth to include measures of wellbeing and offers insight into why business leaders find transformational change so difficult.

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EPISODE 4:

INVESTING IN THE FUTURE WITH DAVID BLOOD

What if investing in the planet could make you money? 

In this episode, Alannah sits down with one of the leaders in sustainable investing, David Blood. In 2004 David co-founded Generation Investment Management alongside former US Vice President Al Gore. David has helped shift the dial towards long-term sustainable investing, not merely because it’s the ethical thing to do, but because it has an undeniably robust business case. Hear David discuss his vision for how businesses and governments might tackle issues of equality, poverty, social justice and climate change.

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EPISODE 3:

GREEN SWANS WITH JOHN ELKINGTON

How can business leaders deliver us from COVID-19 into a more sustainable society?

In this episode, Alannah speaks with John Elkington, author of Green Swans: The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism and the bestselling The Green Consumer Guide. As a world authority on corporate responsibility, John works closely with governments and business leaders to achieve transformational change. Here, he shares his compelling thoughts on the kind of leadership we’ll need for businesses to be resilient in the face of climate change.

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EPISODE 2:

LEADING TOMORROW WITH CLOVER HOGAN

How can we mobilise mindsets to turn anxiety about the climate crisis into action?

In this episode Alannah speaks with activist Clover Hogan, the 21-year-old founder of ‘Force of Nature’ – a youth-led organisation empowering Gen Z to step up, rather than shut down in the face of the climate crisis. Clover has passionately highlighted one of the hidden side effects of the climate crisis, the rise in eco anxiety. At age 16, as she was lobbying decision-makers at the Paris climate meeting, she realised that the threat greater even than climate change was the universal feeling of powerlessness in the face of it.

Clover shares with Alannah her remarkable journey and her mission to wake business leaders up and inspire them to take action.

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EPISODE 1:

MAKING CHANGE HAPPEN WITH PAUL POLMAN

What does it take to be a sustainable leader?

In this episode, Alannah speaks with Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever. Early in his tenure, Paul realised that capitalism as it was being practised did not meet the challenges of today. In 2010 he launched Unilever’s audacious Sustainable Living Plan, designed to decouple growth from their environmental footprint while increasing positive social impact. Widely hailed as a game changer, Unilever under Paul’s leadership proved that sustainable businesses are the future. Here, we hear about how Paul brought about these changes and how they continue to benefit both the business and our planet.

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DISCOVER MORE ABOUT PROJECT EARTH

Alannah Weston in conversation

In this interview with broadcaster and diversity campaigner June Sarpong, Alannah Weston shares the story behind Project Earth – from the core aims of the project to how sustainability is inextricably linked with other pressing issues of today.

Our Project Earth online events

Discover our series of online events with inspiring names from the worlds of sustainability, fashion and more, including our 'Champions of Change' talk with Alannah Weston and leading voices in climate action.

Our legacy in sustainability

From fighting plastic pollution to partnering with leading charities, discover how we’ve been champions of positive change for the last 15 years as we look back at some of the changes we have made to drive the conversation forward. 

Explore Project Earth

Looking for more positive solutions for your everyday? Find all the latest Project Earth stories, events and exclusive product launches right here. 
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