The Snapshot 7

What does a new year promise?

2021 brought us renewed challenges – a new lockdown, vaccine inequality, fresh economic uncertainty and Brexit. We speak to business leaders around the world to hear their hopes, challenges and changes they made as a result of 2020.

Nick Hoskin
Creative Director, Something™ and co-founder of The World’s Most Rubbish
Byron Bay, Australia

 

What are you hoping for from 2021?

It’s great to see that awareness of the circular economy is increasing dramatically, but we’re really hoping to see that awareness turn into action. We’d love 2021 to be the year that everyone knowingly starts adopting more circular practices in their day-to-day lives.

 

What changes that you saw last year do you think will stick?

We’ve definitely seen an increase in general awareness of the impact our actions have on the world around us – but also how quickly the negative impact of our actions can be turned around, through making more considered decisions. We think witnessing the positive impact we can all have is the motivation everyone needs to stick with making more conscious consumption choices.

 

And what are you planning to do differently?

So far our focus has been on celebrating what’s happening within the circular economy today, but as we move forward we’re expanding this focus to also look forward and inspire what happens tomorrow.

 

Naturally we’ll also continue to look for opportunities to increase the positive impact of everything we do and make it as easy as possible for others to join us on our journey towards a future without waste.

 

Where do you see the challenges?

Our biggest challenge continues to be turning awareness into action. As a society our awareness of the need to be more sustainable is higher than ever, but the challenges standing in the way seem so big and overwhelming that people often struggle to know what they can do to make a meaningful difference.

 

We’re overcoming this by breaking bigger behavioural changes down into tiny steps that make it easy for everyone to adopt more sustainable habits and celebrating their progress along the journey, rather than demanding perfection.

Our biggest challenge continues to be turning awareness into action.

Claudia Valladares
Co-founder and CEO, Impact Hub Caracas
Caracas, Venezuela

 

What are you hoping for from 2021?

I am sincerely hoping for a better year in terms of health and wellbeing for everyone. And in general I hope that all the good things that we learnt in 2020 in our personal lives – as well as in our business and professional lives – will prevail in 2021 and help us to be better human beings.

 

What changes that you saw last year do you think will stick?

I think we will continue embracing the hybrid mode of working and interacting, mixing in person with online meetings, events, and flexible work. I also think that we will not travel as much as we used to, unless it is very necessary. I believe that the world will remain more conscious and sustainable in terms of consumption of goods and services, waste management, regenerative economy, etc. I guess we will learn how to make masks part of our outfit, as well as biosecurity measures part of our daily routine. And I really hope that everyone who has incorporated some kind of meditation, yoga, sports, spiritual connection or wellbeing practice, will keep it and continue with a better balance in their lives.

 

And what are you planning to do differently? Where do you see the challenges?

There are some things that I will do differently. I am rethinking our expansion plan, making decisions to not put our social business under financial stress, being patient and learning a new growth and impact pace.

 

I continue seeing challenges in the digital gap. The access to internet services and technology continues to be very unequal and this is a constant challenge that we need to face in our daily activities and programmes, especially when working with vulnerable communities and youth.

I continue seeing challenges in the digital gap. The access to internet services and technology continues to be very unequal.

Erika Rushton
Creative Economist and driving force behind community investment programme Kindred
Liverpool, UK

 

What are you hoping for from 2021?

The idea of the Land and Property Accelerator floated at the LCR Land and Property commission becomes reality and community ownership – of property and land – is truly accelerated. Examples like Baltic Creative and Alt Valley Community Trust have demonstrated that community ownership and development at scale is possible, and I hope that they’re recognised as a credible alternative to ‘regeneration’ as we have come to know it.

 

What changes that you saw last year do you think will stick?

Creative and enterprise-led stuff delivering community benefit economies. What else is an economy for, FFS?! The idea that together we are mighty – a different kind of economics is emerging and, I think, could stick. Whether it’s called Doughnut or Moonshot, the idea of trading socially becomes an economic force – it represents a third of the economy in our city region – driven by self-identifying businesses. We need to stop talking about the private sector as one entity and start to differentiate between the global businesses and the local social businesses, which are the majority. There are 305,000 compared to 170-ish big ones in LCR. And 42,430 micro, small and medium businesses compared to 185 large employers of over 250 people.

 

And what are you planning to do differently?

I am going to work with a network of creative people – lots of them women and a few special men – up and down the country, who are taking over spaces with their creativity and community – and start to connect them with each other.

 

Where do you see the challenges?

People wanting to make simple choices complicated. People who want to start with strategies and masterplans – like they can predict the future or own the world – rather than having a go at stuff and investing money in growing, multiplying and sharing what obviously works.

We need to stop talking about the private sector as one entity and start to differentiate between the global businesses and the local social businesses, which are the majority.

Thandi Dyani
Head of Strategic Partnerships, Girls Are Awesome
Copenhagen, Denmark

 

What are you hoping for from 2021?

In the beginning of 2020 and even in the end of 2019, we all kept saying – 2020 is THE year. It is where a lot of work and initiatives will materialise and become sustainable; we will impact many and live in abundance of impact, partnerships and change. We even had a saying in my team, a hashtag: #20plenty – somehow we forgot to really identify what that plenty was all about.

 

I think, from a personal perspective, I’m really hoping for a little more moderation in this year 2021. And, on the professional side, I hope that organisations do not forget the bigger picture and what is important to focus on outside crisis-pandemic-covid mode – but climate, gender equality and anti-racism.

 

What changes that you saw last year do you think will stick?

One thing I have truly loved about lockdown work and long, sometimes tiring, Zoom calls and everything on screen, is the fact that you show up. You show up in your full holistic self. Before, most of us put ourselves into these boxes or categories when going to work. Kids – work – friends – all belonged in these different boxes (and yes, they somehow do), but before Covid we also pretended when entering the workspace that the rest of ourselves was non-existent.

 

2020 was full on, full being!!! All of the interruptions, “mama give me snaaaacks”, large cats in front of the screens, chickens in the background when doing keynotes, or little greasy hands on the keyboard sending strange codes to clients was super charming to me and we got to know that we are all full people with lives outside our roles and responsibilities that need life balance with all that it entails. We went from a one-dimensional workforce to multidimensional beings and ironically from beings we could feel and hug to flat smiles on a screen. That’s something I think will stick – no-one wants to go back into a life where there is no connection or balance between being an individual with multiple dreams and facets or a parent versus having a career.

 

And what are you planning to do differently?

I plan to never take my privileges for granted. Full stop. This pandemic has been and is a magnifying glass of everything that is wrong with this world with all its inequalities, fragility, unjust, exploiting ways. I plan to try and speak my mind on the issues and if anyone tries to say that we’re all in the same boat, I will not shy away but point out that a statement like that is not true and offensive, almost. But with all the frustrations of lockdowns, stuck in your home and lack of liberty to move around, people tend to forget that they can still be in a place of pure privilege – we need to count our blessings.
Even my statement on things I think will stick is coming from a place of privilege. That assumes you still have your job and that you have access to the internet, a computer, etc.

 

Where do you see the challenges?

I always see opportunities – my glass is usually half full. However, I also recognise a huge challenge in the big disconnect that coronavirus has brought with it into so many layers of society. The disconnection between people who love each other, the disconnect between accepting the same realities and the dilemma of conspiracy and fake news, the disconnect of access to education and health services, the disconnect between children and youth and their social circles, disconnect in global supply chains that left the bottom workers jobless and cashless. And the disconnect of long term goals versus short-term crisis management. There are so many bridges to build and gaps to be filled post-corona and I see that as the biggest challenge of all. It’s the greatest realisation for me that though we realise the need and existence of a global interdependence and interconnectedness, the world is somehow, at the same time, in a state of deep disconnection.

 

But this just means that, for people like myself and organisations such as Girls Are Awesome, that works towards a better society, there are so many possibilities and so much more work to do to creating a more inclusive and equitable society, with interconnectedness and heart at the centre.

We will face continued challenges with respect to Covid and Brexit and the economy, but the big challenges really are climate change and biodiversity loss.

We will face continued challenges with respect to Covid and Brexit and the economy, but the big challenges really are climate change and biodiversity loss.

Kresse Wesling MBE
Co-founder, Elvis & Kresse
Kent, UK

What are you hoping for from 2021?

I’m hoping that we emerge from the pandemic like butterflies, that somehow we will have grown to love each other more, and the earth more, and that we behave accordingly in all aspects of our lives. I hope to hug more people.

What changes that you saw last year do you think will stick?

We spent a lot more time on R&D, thinking carefully about what we should be developing. Specifically, we thought about how our R&D has to be entirely driven by the potential for a positive impact. I think this will stick. It has been incredibly fun for us and the outcomes of the last year of working this way are already taking hold.

And what are you planning to do differently?

We are planning to become directly involved in working in nature, in regenerative and restorative practises. It’s going to be muddy! We are also planning to grow the team, and branch out more, just as soon as we can safely create space for more team members.

Where do you see the challenges?

We will face continued challenges with respect to Covid and Brexit and the economy, but the big challenges really are climate change and biodiversity loss. It doesn’t matter that we are a small business, we have to continue to tackle these with every decision we make. We can’t really afford for anyone to follow or wait, every individual, business, city and country has to lead and act on this.

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