The Burntwood Lecture 2017 is now available to watch online.
This year's lecture was presented by Bevis Watts, Managing Director of Triodos Bank. As perhaps the first and only environmentalist to lead a UK bank, Bevis believes that banks are not currently serving the needs of society and are undermining our long-term ability to sustain ourselves. Indeed, environmental professionals and policy-makers may sometimes feel like the financial sector is subverting their efforts, but the UK's current financial system does hold the potential, through adaptation, to be a catalyst for a sustainable future.
After providing an insight into his unusual career trajectory, Bevis went on to challenge us, both as consumers and environmentalists, to apply societal pressure and use our democratic power to influence fundamental change within the sector. One of his final and most poignant metaphors was the comparison of consumers to octopuses. We were challenged to embody the characteristics of an octopus hunting at night and push 'our tentacles into every aspect of our bank managers that we can find and find out what they are doing with our money'.
There is a magic money tree, however it requires pruning and channelling in the right way.
So how did an environmentalist come to lead a world class bank? Watch the full lecture below or the 2-minute summary.