Programme List - BusinessGreen Leaders Summit 2019


08:30 – 09.00

Registration and breakfast

09.00 – 09.05

Welcome and opening remarks
James Murray, Editor-in-Chief, BusinessGreen

09.05 – 09.10

Headline sponsor address

09.10 – 09.40

Politics keynote: Politics in a decade of disruption

After years of false starts, the environment has finally broken through into the political mainstream. Record heatwaves, Blue Planet, Greta Thunberg, and Extinction Rebellion have all combined to give the 'climate emergency' a renewed salience with voters, and all at precisely the same time as businesses and investors have stepped up calls for bolder climate action. Politicians have responded, embracing the need for a net zero transition and acknowledging climate action should be a top priority. But now comes the hard part. How can politicians turn well-intentioned goals into policy reality? How can they navigate the inevitable backlashes and barriers to progress? And how can they better work with businesses to accelerate the net zero transition?

09.45 – 10.10

Science keynote: The history of climate change

If the past year has been one of the most successful in the green economy's history, it has also been one of the most terrifying. Scientific warnings on the scale of the climate threat have ratcheted up still further, global emissions have kept climbing, one of the year's best sellers bears the daunting title, The Uninhabitable Earth. The coming decade of disruption will be characterised as much by escalating climate impacts, as technological and economic transformation. Our annual science keynote will this year provide an unblinking look at the epic history of climate change, from climate change science's first steps in the 18th and 19th centuries, through initial concerns in the 1950s, up to today when, with ever-more urgent calls from the world's scientists and new voices like the Youth Climate Strikers and Extinction Rebellion, we might be finally starting to face up to the catastrophic consequences ahead.

Dr Alice Bell, Writer, Climate Change Campaigner, and co-Director, 10:10 Climate Action

10.15 – 10.55

Business keynote panel discussion: The view from the top

How are top business leaders weighing the risks and opportunities that will emerge as the net zero transition gathers pace? What excites them about the coming decade? What keeps them awake at night? This panel will bring together leading C-suite execs at some of the UK's most influential companies to discuss how and why they are preparing for the future.

Kevin Brennan, CEO, Quorn
Leon Kamhi, Head of Responsibility, Hermes Investment Management
Ashley Phillips, Managing Director, Customer Solutions UK, Ørsted 

10.55 – 11.25

Networking break


Stream 1: Towards Net Zero

Stream 2: The Circular Revolution

11.25 – 11.45

Case study: Embracing Zero

Growing numbers of leading businesses are setting net zero targets in line with the Paris Agreement. One top Blue Chip will provide insights into how it has developed a net zero goal and accompanying strategy – identifying some of the key challenges along the way.

The Circular Opportunity

Earlier this year the Circular Economy group published a report that calculated 62 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions (excluding those from land use and forestry) are released during the extraction, processing, and manufacturing of goods. The development of a more circular economy is of critical importance, but how can businesses be convinced of the need for such fundamental and disruptive change to their operating models?

11.50 – 12.10

Net Zero Economics

We take a deep dive into the CCC's landmark report on the feasibility of a net zero transition and explore what businesses need to be aware of and how all organisations can play their part in the evolution of a climate neutral economy.

Nick Molho, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group
Case study: The Refillable Insurgency

With consumers and policymakers demanding an end to wasteful packaging a growing number of firms are experimenting with refillable and reusable models. We hear from one of the cutting-edge trials that promise to revolutionise the retail and consumer goods sectors.

12.15 – 12.55

Panel discussion: Net Zero Now?

If there is broad agreement on the need to build a net zero emission economy, the question of how to deliver the transition is subject to fierce debate. How fast should companies respond? How can they address hard to tackle emissions? How can they help build public and corporate support for disruptive measures? Our expert panel asks if the world is ready for the reality of net zero?

Mark Campanale, Founder and Executive Director, Carbon Tracker
Angela Francis, Chief Advisor, Economics and Economic Development, WWF
Simon Reid, Sustainability Manager, innocent drinks
Panel discussion: From Lines To Circles

Shifting from a linear to a circular resource model is a hugely disruptive undertaking for any business, so how have some of the pioneers in the circular economy embraced the challenge? How can key stakeholders and partners be brought on board? What are the pitfalls to avoid? How will customers respond to new offerings? These are just some of the questions our panellists will attempt to address.

Dustin Benton, Policy Director, Green Alliance
Marcus Gover, CEO, WRAP

12.55 – 13.55

Networking lunch


Stream 1: Disruptive Technology

Stream 2: Innovative Energies

13.55 – 14.15

Building block(chains) to success

Blockchain has been lauded in the tech community as a hugely disruptive breakthrough, which comes with well-documented environmental challenges in terms of energy use. But could the innovation still play a critical role in the net zero transition? A growing number of start-ups reckon that if harnessed correctly blockchain could catalyse crucial green innovations, helping businesses slash supply chain and energy impacts. In this session blockchain's green implications will be dissected by a leading technologist.

The Quest For Net Zero Energy

The energy sector has delivered some of the most effective clean tech disruption at the same time as facing some of the most complex decarbonisation challenges. The revolution in renewables and smart grids has transformed the market, but now the heavy lifting of delivering a zero carbon grid and decarbonised heat technologies awaits. One of the UK's leading energy industry thinkers will provide their take on how the emergence of a net zero energy system will impact all businesses.

Jeremy Leggett, Founder, Solarcentury

14.20 – 15.00

Panel discussion: Shaking Things Up

Emerging Internet of Things (IoT) and AI technologies are set to prove massively disruptive, sparking a boom in environmental data that promises to optimise everything from electric vehicle infrastructure to renewables generation. Join our panel of technology leaders as they explore how the combination of clean and smart technologies promises to revolutionise how every business, every city, and every building operates.

Susanne Baker, Head of Programme, Environment and Compliance, TechUK


Alexander Gilbert, Senior Energy Strategy Manager, TfL
Panel discussion: Transitioning Fast and Slow

What will a net zero energy system look like for businesses on a day to day basis? Will firms have to trade their own energy, generate their own power, and manage their own EV fleets? Or will the energy network decarbonise in the background with little participation from end users? Our expert panel will explore how businesses can navigate an energy market that is transforming faster than ever before.

Anne-Claire Leydier, DSO Transition Manager, Northern Powergrid

15.05 – 15.25

Case study: Optimisation, Optimisation, Optimisation

The primary benefit that should flow from access to enhanced environmental data is the ability to act on that data in order to optimise performance. One leading firm will offer insight into how actionable green intelligence led to tangible environmental gains.

Case study: 100 Per Cent Renewable

A growing number of corporates have announced 100 per cent renewables sourcing strategies, but how can such targets be met in a way that maximises both savings and commercial benefits? A leading corporate reveals all about how they became a 100 per cent renewables organisation.

15.25 – 15.45

Networking break

15.45 – 16.25

Keynote panel discussion: The kids are alright

Something fundamental has shifted in the past year. Greta Thunberg and the school strikes movement have become very visible figureheads for a dramatic change in public engagement with climate and environmental risks. A new generation of voters, customers, employees, and campaigners is fully aware of the climate crisis and demanding a response. But how can businesses engineer a response that satisfies their demands and drives a green economic revolution without leading to unacceptable levels of disruption and inevitable alienation? Our panel of top green thinkers and campaigners considers the implications of the new normal.

Sue Garrard, Independent Sustainability Adviser and Former Head of Sustainability at Unilever,  Sue Garrard Consulting Ltd 

16.25 – 16.55

Green Brexit: Deal or No Deal - In conversation with Greener UK's Shaun Spiers

For the past three years Shaun Spiers, executive director of Green Alliance, has chaired GreenerUK, the coalition of environmental NGOs that has campaigned for the government to ensure environmental protection, standards, and ambitions are maintained post-Brexit. In an on-stage interview he reflects on the battle to secure a ‘Green Brexit' and with just a few days to go until the latest Brexit deadline offers his thoughts on how the green economy should prepare for a period of inevitable economic uncertainty and political drama.

Shaun Spiers, Executive Director, Green Alliance

16.55 – 17.00

Closing remarks
James Murray, Editor-in-Chief, BusinessGreen

17.00 – 18.00

Networking drinks