MPs launch sustainability commission in parliament

Parliamentarians, including Joan Walley MP, Adrian Bailey MP, Jeremy Lefroy MP and Lord Whitty, as well as senior business people and academics, launched the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) Sustainability Commission in Parliament on 9 September.

The Sustainability Commission is a new series of events exploring how businesses approach sustainability issues and what can be done to promote more sustainable business practices. Organised by the IPT and the University of Birmingham Environment & Energy, Economics & Management Cluster, the Commission will meet for six evidence sessions following the opening dinner, before a report is published in February 2015 outlining the Sustainability Commission’s findings.

To meet the challenges of the 21st century, governments and businesses need to adapt critical systems, innovate and transform their processes and products to be fit for the demands of the future. In a rapidly changing world, companies are increasingly realising the correlation between risk management and sustainability. Leadership is required by industry and governments to go beyond ‘business as usual’ and build on the framework put in place by the United Nations Rio Summits that began in 1992 to promote sustainable development. The IPT Sustainability Commission aims to investigate what the UK Parliament and future governments can do to better understand sustainability and create an environment to promote sustainable business practices.

The dinner on Tuesday 9 September launched the Sustainability Commission with Professor Brammer providing an overview of what the Commissioners are looking to achieve; and Adam Elman, Global Head of Delivery: Plan A at Marks & Spencer, speaking about Marks & Spencer’s approach to sustainability envisaged through its Plan A 2020 commitments.

The Industry and Parliament Trust will be documenting each session of the Commission with regular blog updates and podcasts, and comment from prominent members of the Commission. The report will be led by analysis from parliamentarians and industry and suggest a framework for industry to foster a more sustainable approach to business.

A podcast featuring the Dinner’s two speakers, Professor Stephen Brammer and Adam Elman, is available to download on the Industry and Parliament Trust’s Soundcloud page: www.soundcloud.com/indparltrust

Joan Walley MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee said:

“The Industry and Parliament Trust Sustainability Commission provides an important platform for politicians, leaders from across business sectors and academics to share knowledge, best practice and seek common goals, developing a roadmap for sustainability that educates legislators and businesses of all sizes. There is too little engagement amongst parliamentarians with the cross cutting green agenda. As Chair of the Environmental Audit Select Committee I am keen to see sustainability rise up the agenda for politicians and business people. This opening dinner has set a framework for discussion over the subsequent sessions and I look forward to being part of the project”

Adam Elman, Global of Head Delivery: Plan A, Marks & Spencer commented after the event:

“There are lots of barriers and challenges, but we must not lose the opportunity to achieve sustainability. Sustainability requires transformational change; things are going to have to be fundamentally different. 

“The more businesses that come on board this journey, the more governments understand and the more society understands, the easier it will become to make the change to  drive the behavioural shift and come up with solutions.”

Stephen Brammer, Professor of Strategy, University of Birmingham said:

“The Commission is about an evidence based mind set. People will share their perspectives on various issues around sustainability. It’s about shifting the perspective on sustainability from something we can’t afford to do, to something we can’t afford not to do.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Professor Stephen Brammer, Joan Walley MP, Adam Elman and Rt Hon the Baroness Prashar CBE at the launch of the Industry and Parliament Trust’s Sustainability Commission.