Episode 3: Ep 3 – Conversation with world renowned sustainability leader, Mike Barry

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Episode Summary In this episode, our guest Mike Barry shares his sustainability journey with us. Mike started his stint in consultancy initially and says he fortuitously joined M&S because of then Chief Financial Officer, Alison Reed. He then talks about Stuart Rose who came in as the new Chief Executive M&S in 2004 and asked “I want to be a leader on sustainability, how do I do it?” Mike says that was the inspiration for launching Plan A in 2007 because there is no Plan B for our planet. Talking about the role of businesses in sustainability where a real business case has eventually emerged beyond legal compliance, beyond reputation management, it’s about existential business model disruption.  During his time as Director for Sustainability at Marks & Spencer and his role in balancing social impact and sustainability, Mike gives a few examples – (a) “shwopping”, and (b) “marks and starts”.  On the issue of technology and supply chains, Mike says the sustainability challenge is in some ways a data challenge.  Finally talking about what the future holds, he has seen optimism and courage amongst his kids’ generation to do things differently and do it faster, Guest Bio We have an amazing guest on the show, Mike Barry, who currently has his own consulting firm,  mikebarryeco ltd. Mike is a leader in sustainable change. One of the pioneers of green business in the corporate world, he helped to develop, launch and implement Marks and Spencer’s ground-breaking sustainability programme, Plan A (because there is no Plan B for the one world we have). In ten years, Plan A delivered £750m of net business benefit and over the years won 230 awards.​His external leadership ensured that Plan A leadership and learning was leveraged into wider change throughout the global economy, including as an inaugural winner of the Guardian Sustainable Business Innovator of the year in 2011 after a public vote.  Key moments timestamps [00:25]- Mike Barry’s sustainability journey   [05:38]- What does sustainability mean to Mike  [07:38]- The role of business in the sustainability process [10:50]- The major drivers of sustainability in business [13:17]- The impediments for businesses to become more sustainable [16:14]- How sustainability and social impact are intertwined.  [19:05]- Personal stories [22:02]- The links between social inequality, the environment, and technology [26:31]- Does technology help address sustainability?  [29:42]- Any particular sectors that are in the lead when it comes to sustainability? [34:42]- Underrepresented sectors in the sustainability space [42:00]- What does the future hold? Is Mike optimistic? Check out the full episode transcription at: https://https://morewithlesspodcast.com/           Quotes My first big piece of learning on that (sustainability at Marks and Spencer) journey I would share with anybody is to surround yourself by good people. – Mike Barry.

Sustainability is about making sure that we are preparing our kids for the future, leaving them with far more upside than currently on the table and where we are leaving the big problems, helping them with the solutions and helping build resilience into their lives individually, and collectively. – Mike BArry The sustainability challenge is one in some ways, of data. It’s a challenge of data. – Mike Barry            About Us Venkata Gandikota is frugal innovation and impact investing evangelist and Prof Jaideep Prabhu is a Professor of Marketing at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School and co-author of an award-winning book on frugal innovation. If you have questions or feedback on this episode or our series, reach out to us. Twitter: https://twitter.com/morewithlesspodLinkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/more-with-less-podcastInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/morewithlesspodcastYouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_hymDe_ez7RbRko0PLsFkwWebsite: https://morewithlesspodcast.com