In December last year, I took a month to myself to figure out my contribution to social issues that I care about and to bring myself back to my lifelong goal of changing the world.
In the years since my student activist days, my idea of changing the world has itself transformed. I've got a (reasonably) successful career underway as a content producer for business conferences, but I've never really put my own opinions into the mix. Because like so many others, I think constantly about what makes my opinions different or special. I spent time really thinking about how I could contribute, using the skills, network and career that I already have. And whilst peaceful protest and policy lobby are important drivers in change, that was never going to be my primary action.
After this month long thought-experiment, I came to the conclusion that where I wanted to focus was climate leadership. Showing people that it isn't only the government that is tackling climate change, but that the private sector is stepping up and in many countries leading the way to a new sustainable relationship with our planet and with each other, and to encourage people to see climate change as the beginning of a movement where we have value-based aspirations rather than being fuelled solely by profit.
The view that I have on current private sector leadership is optimistic, and in sharing this view with some I was strongly reprimanded for not agreeing that corporations will do anything for money, no matter how morally bankrupt those actions may be.
I (mostly) don't agree.
In my time producing business conferences I have seen a huge transition in the motivations of corporate leadership - empathy, compassion, corporate responsibility have all become huge drivers in the future aspirations of big business, and as my generation are now founding and running more of the private sector, I see real ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) aspirations. Although equally there a many misguided attempts at their implementation, or even worse: lack of action from disempowered leaders knowing what to they should be doing, but no real roadmap for how to get there.
A further disparity is the ever increasing complexity of global social, political and economic initiatives to help leaders achieve their aspirations - attempting to decipher this landscape is itself a full-time job. Most CEOs, founders and senior company executives may consider themselves to be climate change positive, but without having the time to fully dedicate themselves to the transformation required to meet our Paris obligations, the information overload may be off-putting.
Despite some of the challenges listed above, which are by no means universal, there are also endless examples of private sector leadership who are moving full-steam ahead at changing the fabric of their industries, because they -like so many others- have realised that we don't have time to be messing around. Climate change is a time-sensitive issue.
And so, here I find myself with a very important and exciting personal announcement. After some thinking, some discussion and some very kind speakers who are taking a leap of faith, I couldn't be more proud to announce a new personal project called Be Loud: Climate.
Be Loud is launching in a few weeks as an interview series with business leaders on some of the topics mentioned above. We are launching for an initial six-month proof-of-concept period to see if we can make some kind of difference in the climate change dialogue for private sector. We want to provide some concise information on some of the practical challenges of ESG transformation.
Be Loud is a video podcast series interviewing business leaders, editorial and op-eds by people in our network, including myself, and live strategy sessions with our thought-leaders where we are inviting audiences to join in a webinar format.
I invite you to join, whoever you are.
This is not a series for sustainability professionals (only). This is a series for executives who want to know more about sustainability and current issues around climate change as it affects the private/quasi-private sector. I believe strongly that all leadership should have a base-level knowledge of ESGs, even if they aren't the ones implementing the changes.
It is also worth stating that Be Loud has no corporate affiliation, we are entirely independent and volunteer run. There is no part of the ecosystem that is being excluded for being a vendor for the truth about B2B is that the most innovative and forward thinking action often comes from the very companies that are excluded from the dialogue unless they pay to play.
Like any conference producer worth their salt, here are my calls to action, and please reach out if you can help with any of the following"
If you want to be interviewed, or want to propose someone to be interviewed
If you want to partner with us, we want to spread our message as far and wide as humanly possible, particularly for communities in the global south
If you want to lead a strategy session
If you run a business event/conference or tradeshow, and you would like a session/mini-event on sustainability, I will produce (free of charge) a program of speakers alongside your event
If you have budget for sponsorships, as mentioned we are volunteer run, but any sponsorship income will help greatly with hard operating costs
If you want to chat with me, I am educating myself along this journey and any advice, any input, any feedback is completely welcome in our editorial (HOWEVER I'm not interested in debating climate science, if you don't believe it then feel free to chat with someone else about that)
If you are an advisor of any kind. I am flying by the seat of my pants and would love any advice on how to run this sort of editorial project
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading and hopefully we will see you in one of our sessions.
Keran Boyd, co-founder of Be Loud: Climate.