Speaker Spotlight: Disruptive Sustainability with Georgia Elliott-Smith

Do you know your SBTs from your GHGs? ESG from the CE? Sustainability can be a minefield of acronyms, targets and reporting standards. Not to mention the time and resource it takes, which is no mean feat even for big corporates, let alone smaller businesses just starting out or in high-growth mode.

So how can you grow your organisation whilst ensuring you’re balancing purpose and profit? Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because your clients, employees, and wider community expect it.

At our quarterly Silicon Brighton Leaders gathering, Georgia Elliott-Smith cut through the jargon, told us what we really need to know, helped us identify greenwash and apply the principles of sustainability in our work.

Following the event, we caught up with Georgia to learn more about her and her work, so read on!

Can you tell us a bit about you and the work that you do?

I’m a sustainability consultant, working with companies to create kick-ass ESG & sustainability strategies that deliver efficiency, generate new opportunities, and activate passion.

What was the inspiration for your recent talk?

My journey from seeing sustainability as a job to becoming a activist in the business community, using my influence to create positive change at scale.

Any key highlights / takeaways for anyone who missed it?

We must change our mindset from just focussing on making our own company green – we need to understand the system that we exist within (whether that’s a local community, an industry sector, or a whole profession), and see how we can use our expertise to change a whole system. For example, if you are an architect, how can you change the professional standards that all architects must comply with to include sustainability considerations? In that way, you create change at scale, not just changing your own working practice which can only ever deliver small scale impact.

Did you come up through a “traditional” techie route or has your career taken twists and turns along the way?

No – I’m not a techie at all. But my ideas apply to all sectors of industry

Is there a moment that helped define your career?

When I was suffering with eco-anxiety, realising that I had been complicit in greenwash that had enabled industry to get away with harmful activities while appearing to implement solutions, my sister encouraged me to attend an Extinction Rebellion protest and it changed my life. Now I’m on a mission to help businesses “do sustainability” better!

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

You’re just fine! Every twist and turn in life teaches you something new, so don’t try to control things – relax and enjoy the ride. The results will be better than you could ever have planned.

What’s your big tech prediction for 2023?

I have no predictions, just a hope. That the voluntary carbon market gets some amazing tools to improve transparency and combat greenwash.

Silicon Brighton wouldn’t be here without people like you giving back to the community so… what does the word community mean to you?

Being held safely in a space where everyone is loved and respected, trusting that we can all express thoughts freely without critisism.

Anything else you would like to share?

I am running to become a MP in the next general election for the True & Fair Party, fighting corruption, cleaning up politics and modernising democracy. I’m challenging Oliver Dowden, the Deputy Prime Minister, in Hertsmere. Find out more at https://www.trueandfairparty.uk/ and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook.

Missed Georgia’s talk and the panel discussion, or want to watch it again? Check it out here…

Following Georgia’s keynote, we were joined by a panel, hosted by Sam Zindel, to provide a range of perspectives on how we can build a better tomorrow. The panel included Georgia, Laura Gelder-Robertson (Innovation Strategist), Dave Carlos (Managing Director at JustOne.UK), and Paul Brewer (Director of Digital, Sustainability & Resources at Adur & Worthing Councils). You can watch that here…