Our September 2016 conference
Ethical Consumer co-editor Tim Hunt looks at what's in store for delegates
Here at Ethical Consumer we're really looking forward to our annual conference, taking place in London on 30th September.
Not only do we have some really excellent speakers lined up (including Fiona Gooch of Traidcraft and Marilyn Croser of the CORE coalition), but we also like the opportunity to meet up with those we work with throughout the year (including advertisers and Best Buy companies) and, of course, our readers.
The day also gives us the chance to reflect on the last 12 months and to look to the future. Our panels try to reflect areas that we have been working on throughout the year with our various partners.
The event will be kicked off by Ethical Consumer founder Rob Harrison, who'll be giving his expert analysis of the latest Ethical Consumerism report and framing the day (before he sets off to Japan to deliver a conference speech in Tokyo. We'll be reporting on this in October).
Later in the day we also have a brilliant keynote speaker in Marilyn Croser, Director of the CORE coalition which represents some of the biggest NGOs in the UK including Amnesty, Christian Aid, Unicef UK and WWF UK. She'll be talking about how we can hold companies to account.
One area that is becoming increasingly important in the work of those challenging corporate power is transparency.
It is widely accepted that this is the first step that companies must take before they can seriously address issues in their supply chains.
This year we have worked in this area with Fashion Revolution on a project, called the Transparency Index, to rate and rank clothing brands.
The Transparency Index has been well received throughout the world and we look forward to producing an updated version, with more companies included, next year. Sarah Ditty from the campaign will be joining us on at the conference to talk about the work and some of its impacts.
More good news is that we are also seeing steps from the government in addressing the issue of transparency.
The Modern Slavery Act and the Supermarket Adjudicator in the UK, and the US Frank-Dodds Act addressing conflict minerals are three such examples.
At the conference we'll be looking at these areas in particular with:
- Colleen Theron, Sustainability lawyer and consultant
- Nathaniel Dyer, Democratic Republic of Congo Campaign Leader, Global Witness
- Fiona Gooch, Senior Policy Adviser at Traidcraft
The last few months of this year have, of course, been more turbulent than usual in the UK.
As we've written previously, the issue of the European referendum is one that is likely to have a big impact on ethical consumption over the coming years and we have tried to reflect this in the conference itinerary.
After the result of the referendum was announced we shifted the focus our final panel discussion of the day to look at our exit from the European Union.
The session will be a Question Time style debate and we're inviting attendees to submit possible questions in advance (via twitter or email). We'll select five or six to be asked on that day and these will cover a range of issues that are close to our readers’ hearts, including environmental protection, animal testing and workers’ rights.
Speakers for this session include:
Away from Brexit the first session of the day will see a discussion on ethical procurement. While not always a "sexy" issue, it is one that is vitally important and has appeared in our manifesto for some years.
Its importance comes from the impact that government buying can have in terms of the sheer scale and size of their purchasing power.
At the moment procurement is playing a central role in three topics which Ethical Consumer has covered in depth and continues to campaign on:
- Tax avoidance, where we continue to work with the Fair Tax Mark and others in the area of council procurement,
- The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign were we have seen action from councils and a drive to stamp out activism from central government
- Carbon divestment, where we have recently begun to campaign around personal finance building on the work of 350.org and others
All three areas will be covered at the event by:
You can buy your ticket (which includes veggie and vegan lunch and a drinks reception) from the embedded form below.