Attempting to make sense of the myriad issues that are troubling our planet can be perplexing, but taking information only from online sources can sometimes provide just one side of a multi-faceted story.


Our lives are increasingly busy, but we need to take time to listen to people who are leading the shift towards working and living more purposefully. It’s unusual to find so many of these individuals in one place at one time, but on Wednesday, May 15, more than 30 of these leading figures will be in Glasgow for Impact Summit 2019.


Impact Summit is organised by FutureX, which, from its base in Edinburgh, collaborates with business and government around the world in the pursuit of a values-led economy.


The summit welcomes a wide range of speakers sharing how businesses can have more purpose and become more sustainable, for the planet and its inhabitants.


This year, the event has three main themes, with speakers who will be able to expand and illustrate where the opportunities lie in each.

HeraldScotland: April Wensel Founder of Compassionate Coding.April Wensel Founder of Compassionate Coding.

A Sustainable Future explores how we can create businesses with value that comes from more than a bulging bottom line. “Simon Coley, founder of Karma Cola, is joining us to be interviewed on the main stage,” says Bruce Walker, co-founder of FutureX. “Cola has been by far the most popular drink on the planet, second only to water, but the people who produce that cola nut never made a cent from it – until Karma Cola changed all that.”


Karma Cola sources its cola nut from Sierra Leone, with money going back into the community that produces it.

Now having sold more than 15 million bottles worldwide, the drink is completely organic and Karma Cola has been named The World’s Fairest Trader by The Fairtrade Foundation and was named as one of The World’s Most Ethical Companies by The Ethisphere Institute for two years in a row.


There will also be speakers from closer to home, such as ethical entrepreneurs Scott and Karris McCulloch, who run TheVeganKind, which sends vegan subscription boxes across the UK from Glasgow.


Even the most values-led ideas require business acumen and funding, however. The Impact Investment Panel, which includes representatives from Triodos Bank and Social Investment Scotland, will provide solid advice.


Another theme for this year’s Impact Summit is Tech For Good. Bruce Walker explains that this is about, “Having discussions about technology, before that technology is created. That involves automation and the ideas around open data and data protection, as well as privacy. There are dangers in not having the conversation, particularly in artificial intelligence where people can build implicit bias into the products, sometimes by mistake.”

HeraldScotland: Amy Williams is trying the make the internet a better place with ‘ethical adverts’.Amy Williams is trying the make the internet a better place with ‘ethical adverts’.


A coup for Impact Summit is the first Scottish appearance of April Wensel, the founder of Compassionate Coding. This is a new approach to software development – one that emphasises emotional intelligence and ethics.


“April talks about how emotional intelligence is not often considered in the development of software. However, if these people are programming the software of the future, it needs to be part of the process.”


Another example of using technology for good is GoodLoop, founded by Amy Williams in an attempt to make the Internet a more positive place. Amy will be talking about how she managed to launch the first “ethical adverts” on Snapchat, as part of a deal with Unilever. The goal is to raise £5m for charity within two years – this will be achieved if people view the ads, triggering a portion of the revenue to be diverted to GoodLoop and their partner charities.


Bruce Walker says that people are at the heart of all this change, and it was an important choice to drive that message home with the summit’s third theme People Behind The Purpose.


Bruce recently visited Facebook’s headquarters in California and was impressed at the diversity of its workforce. “There were young and old, every gender and ethnicity, every style… it was inspiring to see that more mature, experienced heads were as valued as the young.”


However, it’s clear that the young will have a large role as we move to a purpose-driven economy and Bronwyn Dugtig from the Skoll Centre for Entrepreneurship at Oxford University will be at the summit to talk about how young people who are looking for impactful careers can be developed.

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The inspirational Celia Hodson will also be speaking about the founding of Hey Girls, which tackles period poverty with environmental-friendly period products. In the past year alone, the buy-one-give one model has led to the donation of more than 2.4 million products.


The Hey Girls work is far from done, however, with Celia giving talks to make the issue more open and inclusive. Recently, they launched #Pads4Dads, a national campaign which received support from Hollywood actor Michael Sheen.


“As organisers, Impact Summit is about providing a roadmap towards a more purpose-driven and impactful economy,” adds Bruce Walker. “I think in a lot of cases people want to buy ethical brands and sustainable goods, but they don’t know where to start.


“Similarly, people would like to create a values-based business or implement methodologies into their existing business. At Impact Summit we can showcase the organisations who are leading this and allow them to share how they did it.”

Impact Summit takes place on Wednesday, May 15, at SWG3 Warehouse in Glasgow. For more information and to book tickets please visit www.impact-summit.org.