Monday, 20 February 2017

The IFLAS Open Lecture series for spring 2017

Here at the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability we are just putting the final touches to our spring series of free Open Lectures. This year we will be presenting them as part of the University of Cumbria’s 10 Year celebrations, which will gather pace during 2017 towards the official birthday of the 1st August.

On Tuesday 21 March, we have our very own Professor Jem Bendell. His talk, entitled “The Future of Collaboration for Sustainability: in the company of revolutionaries?"

Over twenty years ago, large companies and environmental groups started teaming up to address global problems like deforestation and overfishing. Suddenly both sides realised the benefits of collaboration for sustainability. In 1997 Jem Bendell co-wrote "In the Company of Partners" about this phenomenon, with IFLAS Deputy Director Dr David Murphy. Today such partnerships are widespread. But what are they delivering on their original promise? As indicators of Sustainable Development give little cause for optimism, what might collaboration look like in future? In this 20th anniversary retrospective, Professor Bendell argues for a more revolutionary approach for partnership that focus on transforming economic and political systems to achieve a more rapid transition.

Dr Jem Bendell

 Dr Jem Bendell is a Professor of Sustainability Leadership and Founder of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS). A graduate of the University of Cambridge, he has twenty years of experience working on business sustainability, as a researcher, educator, facilitator, advisor & entrepreneur, having lived & worked in six countries. He is co-author of “Healing Capitalism” and founder of the Post-Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership. Previously he helped create innovative alliances, including the Marine Stewardship Council, to endorse sustainable fisheries and The Finance Innovation Lab, to promote sustainable finance. The WEF appointed him a Young Global Leader in 2012. Professor Bendell now specialises in leadership development, offering coaching and training to senior executives from around the world who have an interest in sustainable enterprise and finance.

Next in the Spring series is a welcome return to a speaker who we first heard back in 2015. Mick Fowler is an award winning author, lecturer and climber. He was voted the ‘Mountaineers' Mountaineer’ in a poll by The Observer newspaper and in 2012 he was awarded the King Albert Mountain Award for his “outstanding contribution to mountaineering”.  In 2016 he and Paul Ramsden became the first pair to win a Piolet d'Or award for the third time, after their ascent of the 6,451-metre (21,175 ft) Gave Ding in the Nepal Himalayas. He was a senior leader in HM Revenue and Customs for many years. He has served as President of the Alpine Club and led numerous cutting edge mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas. Mick has written two volumes of memoirs - On Thin Ice & Vertical Pleasure - both of which were shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature.  He won the Jon Whyte Award for Mountain Literature at the 2005 Banff Mountain Book Festival and the best book prize at the Bormio Mountain Festival (Italy) in 2012.  Eric Vola compiled segments of books by Fowler and Saunders and published the collection in French as "Les Tribulations de Mick et Vic." It won the Grand Prix award at the Passy Book Festival in 2015.

Mick Fowler

 Mick’s talk, “On Thin Ice: Business Ethics and Climbing Ethics” will take place in April, the 25th to be exact. He will be exploring ethics and ethical choices in the field of climbing and parallels in the workplace. He will be discussing what steers climbers to make the ethical choices that they do, the consequences of those choices and whether or not those consequences were foreseeable or intended. Against a backdrop of stunning imagery Mick will be taking us through some of the heated ethical debates in the world of climbing, linking these to business and engaging the audience in discussion of those issues.

In May, a speaker new to IFLAS and The University of Cumbria – David Saddington. Influencing UK & international policy, fronting a pioneering climate media campaign that reached over 3 million people and giving a TEDx talk at London's O2 arena are just a few of David Saddington's achievements as a climate change activist since experiencing a stark introduction to the impacts of climate change as a thirteen year old. 

As a climate change communicator David works to raise the profile of the issue through blogging for media outlets like the Huffington Post, writing book contributions and organising innovative large scale public awareness events in the centre of UK cities involving outdoor cinema, interactive science experiments and panel debates. He is constantly looking for new and innovative to engage with the public and is currently exploring using Virtual Reality technology to tell the story of climate change. 
 After leading education reforms to get climate change on school curricula David has pursued his own academic work studying climate science and a broad range of climate impacts from the environmental to economic, security & health implications. 

David continues to be a contemporary voice and advocate for climate change action, speaking to a range of audiences around the world - from United Nations Conferences to MTV. David speaks about the opportunities and challenges from tackling climate change from his experience consulting on the implementation of carbon and energy policies and on sustainability initiatives with multinational corporations. He always seeks out innovation and ways to re-energise the conversation around this global challenge.

David Saddington

 On the 16th May, at this talk – “Turning science into stories: How do we get people to care about climate change?” David will say that most people are now aware of climate change and the threat it poses - but still, too few of us care enough to take action.

David has been a strong advocate for rapidly moving away from talking about climate change as an environmental issue and instead start getting to grips with the economic, health, security and social aspects.
In this IFLAS open lecture, which follows a year where ‘post-truth’ and ‘populist’ politics have reshaped the western world, David will share his ideas about what all of this means for climate action and how sustainability leaders need to respond. By turning science into stories David believes we can reenergise the conversation around this global challenge and create a more inclusive and diverse voice for change.


For June, we can reveal we will be welcoming iconic fashion designer and environmental activist Vivienne Westwood to Ambleside. For further details on this very special event, click here

Paul Rose
...and then on July 4th, we welcome broadcaster, explorer and adventurer Paul Rose. Paul's talk is entitled The very wet side of sustainability: Changing the world - one dive at a time!
The finest investment for a sustainable future must be ocean protection. Paul explores the last wild, pristine places in the ocean, communicates their value to the world and helps get them protected. To get this done he’s been lost under icebergs, bitten by moray eels, run out of air and attacked by a polar bear. Paul brings to life the challenges and successes of ocean protection with glorious images, film and enlightening tales. He invites us to bring enquiring minds and difficult questions!
A man at the front line of exploration and one of the world’s most experienced science expedition leaders, Paul Rose helps scientists unlock and communicate global mysteries in the most remote and challenging regions of the planet.

Former Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society – representing Fieldwork and Expeditions, Paul is Expedition Leader for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expeditions.
In his work for BBC Paul presents television programmes focused on science and the environment.
As a Polar Guide, Paul has led Greenland Ice Cap crossings, first ascents of previously unclimbed Arctic mountains and new ski-mountaineering routes.

He was the Base Commander of Rothera Research Station, Antarctica, for the British Antarctic Survey for 10 years and was awarded HM The Queen's Polar Medal. For his work with NASA and the Mars Lander project on Mt Erebus, Antarctica, he was awarded the US Polar Medal.

A mountain in Antarctica is named after him!


All Open lectures are free to attend, and will take place in the Percival Lecture Theatre, at the Ambleside campus of The University of Cumbria, from 5.30 until around 7pm on the dates indicated.


To register a place on any of the Open Lectures, contact

For further information about IFLAS, see our website, follow us on Twitter (@iflasinfo) or on Facebook (