To kick off Anthropy 23, Ben Buckton, group chief operating officer at Ampa, returned to the Eden Project and took part in a quick-fire panel session that looked back at the transformative impact last year’s unique event had on him both personally and professionally.
No one knew what to expect when some 1,000 business leaders, influencers and politicians embarked on the Eden Project for very first Anthropy in 2022. But the conference turned out to be a gathering that sparked conversations, collaboration, and a vision for a more sustainable and positive future.
A year later, we returned to Cornwall and dozens of leaders shared the inspiring moments from 2022’s event and the actions that have since unfolded.
Ella’s Kitchen founder Mark Cuddigan passionately emphasised the need to translate inspiration into meaningful and positive action. He shared the idea of a flat structure within his business where every voice matters. Inspired by Anthropy’s focus on giving youth a voice, he introduced a youth shadow board to provide diverse and innovative perspectives.
Dave Allen expressed Brandpie’s dedication to pushing large corporations towards a balance between purpose and profit. The branding consultancy’s participation in Anthropy led to the creation of an emerging leaders programme, bringing young leaders together to create a manifesto for what the trailblazers of tomorrow need.
Finding a new purpose
Wild Card’s managing director, Georgie Upton, recalled the pivotal moment when, in 2019, the PR consultancy embraced the B Corporation initiative. Still, she felt more could be done. Anthropy provided the confidence to create a third division in the company focusing on pro bono work for the third sector, partnering with organisations like Oxfam and Citizens Advice.
Inspired by Anthropy, Lee Collins founded Significent CIC, an organisation aimed at working with academic underachievers to support their chosen career paths.
Catherine Johnstone, from Royal Voluntary Service, learned from Anthropy that mobilising communities and helping them lean in can provide an impactful approach. She established the Coronation’s Big Help Out, which inspired 7.4 million people to engage with their local community.
Jane Acton, director of Common Flora, talked about establishing partnerships with gleaning groups, which bring farmers and people in food poverty together to promote friendships and bridge the gap. Her key takeaway was that community-focused initiatives can drive economic success.
From inspiration to action
For me personally, I was inspired by the breadth of conversations and wisdom shared across the biomes among the birds. It was just the start of the journey, but we all knew collaboration and cooperation were key driving forces for long-term change, something we need for Britain.
What was clear was that we were not starting from scratch. There were various platforms already in place or making progress, such as the Better Business Act and B Corporation. The opportunity was to double down, connect the dots and drive forward.
As a group, we have taken learnings from Anthropy 22 and embedded them into our business – we’ve taken inspiration and turned it into action ‘beyond the biomes’.
We have achieved our B Corporation certification, becoming the largest legal and professional services group to gain accreditation; published our first impact report, which outlined our results against our 33 stated responsible business ambitions; reduced landfill waste and paper usage by 60%; delivered 7,000 volunteering hours; supported more than 400 young people via our mentoring and virtual insights programmes; and delivered forward research and thought leadership around place, starting with the regeneration of our towns and cities.
While we are really proud of what we have achieved this year, we are not resting on our laurels – we know we have a lot more work to do and a lot more to learn.
The one-year anniversary of Anthropy 22 is not just a reflection on the past but a celebration of the transformative actions that emerged from the conference. From fostering leadership skills to promoting sustainability, and building partnerships to igniting conversations, Anthropy has proven to be a catalyst for change.
As we look back on 2022 and, now, 2023’s conference, what is clear is that all businesses should consider the impact they have on people, communities, and the planet, and help address the challenges our society is currently facing. Not only does it make moral and ethical sense, but it also makes commercial sense as our clients, communities, suppliers and regulators increasingly expect this approach. Anthropy is not just a conference; it’s a beacon of hope and progress for a better future.