I’m Caroline Harris, and I work for the Sustainable Business Group and the Bettany Centre of Entrepreneurship. As the Event Coordinator for both teams, I focus on creating and increasing engagement and outreach both internally and externally to Cranfield.
The edie Sustainable Leaders Conference is an annual event where industry leaders from across different sectors come together to share ideas, celebrate progress, and create new connections. The mission is to deliver an event that drives tangible social and environmental change, while holding themselves, their industry partners, speakers, and delegates accountable for this.
This year, I represented Cranfield University on the exhibition stand at edie to promote engagement and possible partnerships with Cranfield and the sustainability practitioners in attendance. My goal was to engage delegates about what we’re doing at Cranfield and provide awareness around our courses. Our presence as a university at edie is to encourage businesses to commit to their sustainability goals and ESG promises by investing in employees and providing them with the tools and knowledge to deliver that.
We also took our MSc Management and Corporate Sustainability students along to the conference so they could engage with industry practitioners, hear what the leaders within the sustainability field are talking about, and stay on the forefront of what’s happening. I wanted them to put their best foot forward to be a part of that community and be able to say, ‘I was there’. Throughout the day external attendees approached our stall to congratulate how articulate and engaged our students were.
Cranfield belongs at edie because it provides a place to really build our network and connect with leadership in sustainability. Being the only university there, gave us a unique opportunity to offer an educational link to all these people who want to improve their knowledge and skills. We can help fill the gaps in their knowledge and tie things together through our MSc sustainability course which is studied on a part-time, which collaborates across our specialist business school, the School of Management, and the technical school, the School of Water, Energy, and Environment.
At our stand, we had a vast range of people approaching us, ranging from the management and leadership side to the technical and engineering innovation roles. The exciting conversations being with those where real change could be implemented, such as with ESG focused directors, senior leaders, CEOs, etc. These interactions create exciting partnership opportunities, especially for the technical school. There are people with land, with money, with huge resources that want to do better, to do something, but they don’t know what, how, where, and with whom. This is where we can make those connections between sustainable development and innovation, between the rest of the university, and external partners.
Having a bigger presence from the technical school would support this enormously, and my wonderful colleague from the School of Water, Energy, and Environment, Professor Paul Burgess, was there to provide that technical connection, link, and knowledge to the delegates that were asking for it. Having more colleagues like Paul would supply our ‘proof in the pudding’ and enable us to get in and have those conversations and really turn that into leads and future connections and partnerships. Key themes coming up this year were around management, agriculture, energy, and biodiversity.Overall, edie was a fantastic opportunity for Cranfield to display our knowledge and expertise in sustainability and to connect with industry leaders and practitioners who are actively seeking ways to improve their businesses’ sustainability. I am proud to have represented Cranfield at the conference and to have been a part of such an important event in the sustainable business community.
I’d love to connect with more of our colleagues on how we could build our impact from these conferences and make sustainability a driving force in why people connect with us.
If anyone would like to get in contact and have a chat about edie and the opportunities it presents, please do at: firstname.lastname@example.org