Tackling sustainability: 8 key learnings from the INVNT Think Tank at TEDxSydney

Adam Harriden

The INVNT Think Tank brought 29 people from all walks of life together to devise potential solutions to sustainability related issues, a tie in with the event’s 10-year anniversary theme of Legacy.

There were speakers from the likes of Adobe, SAP, Optus and Xero, event partners including OzHarvest, Reverse Garbage and 107 and TEDxSydney and TEDxYouth speakers, who all engaged in organic, 25-minute long discussions.


So, what were the results?

We extracted eight key solution themes and accompanying stats, which were calculated based on the number of times the speakers mentioned these or similar terms across all 125 discussion minutes.


Here’s a snapshot:

  1. Brands and corporations

From making sustainability a core value at Adobe to introducing a social and environmental impact program that aims to educate Xero’s partners, suppliers and customers, 100% of participating brands noted that when it comes to protecting our planet, they are pro-actively taking action.

  1. Education

Whether it’s amongst the general public or from a cultural, socioeconomic or generational standpoint, 27.5% of speakers suggested education as a potential solution to the sustainability issues we currently face.

  1. Government and legislation

The idea that the government needs to take a stance and help us protect the planet was raised by 37.9% of people. Colin Blake, the then Managing Director of Semi Permanent suggested legislated requirements like taxes as a solution, and Nat Dean-Weymark, Co-Director of Compass Studio explained how imposing surcharges on companies that don’t act sustainably – as they do in France – could be an effective move.

  1. Recyling and re-using

As a solution this was discussed in 60% of sessions, with Jess Cook, Managing Director and Founding Member, 107 tying it back to storytelling and community, meanwhile Kirsten Junor of Reverse Garbage explained: “The solution lies in slowing down our consumption altogether and re-using what we already have.”

  1. Product alternatives

This idea was discussed by 31% of speakers, such as Penny Dillon, National Manager, Experience and Culture at Optus, who talked us through the brand’s sustainable transport program, which takes up to 1,500 cars off the road each day.

  1. Incentivising

There were 17.2% of speakers who suggested that incentives for brands and consumers would influence people to make changes. Cassie Winter, Nutrition Programs Advisor at OzHarvest said: “There’s only so far that our advocacy and consumer education campaigns will go. We need support and funding at a bigger level to make fighting food waste a top priority for Australia.”

  1. Technology

Across 60% of sessions our speakers discussed the ways we can use technology to help protect mother earth. Rushenka Perera, Head of Marketing ANZ at SAP, explained: “Using technology to educate consumers on the fly is one thing we’ve been doing a lot of. In the UK they’ve started using an app that identifies how recyclable the packaging and other materials in shoppers’ trollies are, so they are more aware of what they should or shouldn’t buy.”

  1. Individuals taking action

While our speakers agreed we should be looking to corporations and the government for support, it was discussed across 80% of sessions that individuals also have an important role to play. With little things, big things grow.


What’s next?

Download our key themes and findings summary deck complete with speaker soundbites from each session, which we’ve created with the aim of spreading the word about the plight of the planet and inspiring people to action.

We’re continuing the conversation with our clients, partners and media, positioning the Think Tank as an important platform to encourage discussion around not only sustainability but all key issues affecting our world today.

The Think Tank has already fostered new partnerships, such as this super cool sustainable art party, which involves Think Tank speakers Jess Cook of 107, Kirsten Junor of Reverse Garbage, and Issy Phillips (who is a TEDxYouth speaker, too!).

INVNT was the official production partner responsible for designing and producing TEDxSydney 2018 and 2019.

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