Innocent is a brand synonymous with ethical business so it was apt that its second evening of inspirational talks looked at sustainable living and ethical practices. While I am no News of the World, I am guilty of shopping at Primark and using Styrofoam coffee cups with reckless abandon, so I arrived at the innocent yurt primed for practical advice on how to change my ways and live a bit more ethically in a city of excess.
Creator of The People’s Supermarket, Arthur Potts Dawson, was the first to take the stage imparting earthy wisdom alongside an array of just-picked vegetables. The renowned chef championed local produce, emphasising the necessity of supporting city farms in order to make city living sustainable. The prospect that if petrol were to run out tomorrow, city dwellers would quickly get extremely hungry, was motivation enough for me to purchase that vegetable garden window box.
Next up was Dan Burgess, co-founder of Good for Nothing, a community which offers their skills and time to innovators who need help to make a difference. In order to make changes in your life, the entrepreneur encouraged channeling negativity to solve a problem, the importance of stepping back from work to allow yourself perspective and simply trusting your gut. Ultimately, if you want to make society run better, you can’t be afraid to be a little weird.
Richard Reynolds of Guerrilla Gardeners promoted the elicit cultivation of other people’s land. Be it planting tulips at Elephant and Castle roundabout or a lavender field on Westminster Bridge Road, Reynolds and his crew are making London more beautiful one pavement at a time. The avant-gardener recommended planting in tree pits for the more cautious beginner to the movement and left us muddy handed with childish glee and armed with our own ‘seed bombs’ for pimping pavements on the way home.
Showing us how to be ethical with a sense of style was model Laura Bailey and designer Henrietta Ludgate. Bailey spoke about how she treads lightly on the earth (in no doubt fabulous heels). Little changes such as cycling to work and buying old clothes over high street that could actually bring you much more joy than a mass transport, mass-produced lifestyle. Ludgate, wearing one of her own dresses that used recycled baseball caps to create a peplum effect, never set out to be an ethical designer. She just thought it normal to run a business ethically. Due to factory work being outsourced, often to extremely unsafe and unethical work places, the fashion industry is being lost in Britain. Ludgate’s message was simple: when you buy clothes, consider first who made them and where they came from.
I left the Innocent yurt with a self-made seed bomb, a lettuce and a strong desire to go vintage clothes shopping. In order to make your world more sustainable the over-arching message of the evening was simple: think. Take a moment to think before you eat, shop and travel, because what may seem cheap and easy now, could cost us a lot more in the future.
The next Innocent Inspires event is on entrepreneurship. More details can be found here.