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‘Businesses must focus on system change’

Julia Hailes, a pioneer in sustainability, has emphasised the imperative for businesses to embrace system change to address environmental challenges effectively

Julia Hailes, renowned sustainability advocate and author, delivered a passionate address at The Big Zero Show, stressing the critical need for businesses to shift towards regenerative models in the face of mounting environmental challenges.

Ms Hailes, known for her seminal work in promoting sustainable consumerism through books like “The Green Consumer Guide,” underscored the inadequacy of current efforts and called for a fundamental rethinking of corporate practices.

During her speech, Julia Hailes lamented the insufficient media coverage of recent environmental protests and emphasised the catastrophic impact of climate change on global biodiversity.

Referencing the documentary “Breaking Boundaries,” she recounted scientists’ emotional responses to ecological devastation, including the collapse of the Great Barrier Reef and mass wildlife extinctions due to climate-induced disasters.

Julia Hailes said: “We need regenerative businesses. We need businesses that are looking at system change. We don’t want businesses that are thinking we’re going to go on doing exactly what we’ve done before but possibly a little bit greener.

“And I have to admit that I’ve seen some businesses out there, which I think is that’s what they’re proposing. People are talking about sustainability. I set up a company called Sustainability in 1987. And followed it with a book called The Green Consumer Guide, which sold over a million copies worldwide.

“At the time, what we were doing was we were highlighting the fact that if businesses were doing, making greener products and services, they would get more business because they would get consumer support.

“And we were excited because businesses heard our message. I started talking to the supermarkets in 1987 about what they were doing. And they had no idea what I was talking about. It was just a whole new world that they hadn’t even heard of.”

Click the video to watch the full session:

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