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How to make an impact in CSR February 28, 2013

Melissa Kinnear attended Intelligent Futures (http://www.intelligentfutures.co.uk/): Make an Impact in CSR – with Social Media & OpenData at Google Campus (http://www.campuslondon.com/) in London on the 12th February 2013. The speakers included: Adam Elma (M&S), Tamsin Lejeune (http://www.ethicalfashionforum.com/), Francine Bennett (https://www.mastodonc.com/), Nathan Waterhouse (http://www.openideo.com/), Trudy Thompson (http://www.bricksandbread.com/index/), and Paul Fletcher (http://www.through-architecture.co.uk/). More information about each speaker can be found on the blog (http://www.intelligentfutures.co.uk/?p=247) posted pre event.

Adam talked about the many initiatives that M&S are implementing to try to make M&S the most sustainable ‘supermarket’ in the UK. He talked about their Plan A (http://plana.marksandspencer.com/?extid=ps_ggl_Plan%20A_Plan%20A%20Brand&kwid=13095070543_Google+Adwords) and how they had originally thought that the plan would cost them money but ended up saving M&S £105 million. The most interesting of the initiatives he spoke about was Shwopping (http://www.marksandspencer.com/Shwop/b/1672188031) which is a partnership with Oxfam – worth checking out.

Tamsin talked about the first truly online trade events where around 160 sustainable and ethical fashion buyers, sellers and designers get together in a virtual space – described as an interactive Radio 4!!! The Ethical Fashion Form through the development of technology is really enabling a space for truly global and fair ethical fashion design, trading and retail.

Francine was excited about the opportunities of making inaccessible data available in a more visual and interesting way. She discussed the work that they had been doing for the NHS and how the mountains of information that they had gathered has been made into maps that are helping GPs around the UK make more strategic decisions about the drugs they subscribe saving millions of pounds!

Nathan talked about how OpenIDEO was an online opportunity for people to engage with and understand 40 years of IDEO’s design process and enable creative thinking to change the world for a better place. He talked about the massive amounts of E-waste and how people are innovating new ways of collecting and fixing so that less is thrown away: an e-cycle truck + farmers market booth = a type of repair rickshaw!! This process was enabled through the online platform.

Trudy Thomson discussed how tweeting has enabled her business to grow and be more sustainable. She tweets all the time and was doing so throughout the event armed with an IPad and a wicked sense of humour. She stated that this technology was fundamental as she had absolutely no money to set up the business so being able to use a free online technology meant that she could reach a very wide audience as Bricks and Bread grew. She admits that she now doesn’t even really need a physical space to run the business and pretty much does so from home!

Paul Fletcher talked about an intelligent built environment which responds to people’s needs and wants rather than being designed as standard layouts without any understanding of people. He talked about developing a service based system rather than a product based one! His parting statement was that adapting is essential for survival.

The short talks were followed with questions and answers and really drove home the essential nature of information but also the opportunities of CSR and changing businesses to be more ethical, but also developing businesses which are ethical at the heart of their growth.

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