Cradle to Cradle Marketplace @ The Dutch Embassy
It is ten past four on 21st March 2016, I make a superman like change from my bright yellow and orange Hawaiian style working shirt in to a neatly pressed colourful Paul Smith stripped shirt and a black dinner jacket, in preparation to welcome our esteemed guests and key note speakers.
The Cradle to Cradle Marketplace & Dutch EU Presidency Celebrations at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands have begun. As I walk passed the 2 glistening Tesla Model S's parked either side of the Embassy entrance & get up stairs to the conference room, my business partner Paul grabs my hand, looks me in the eyes and says, "…let the wild rumpus begin!"
The last 3 months of planning & organising have been supremely exciting, sometimes challenging and yet, needless to say, worth every minute of effort. With diligent and well managed support from the amazing team at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, we jointly brought together over 80 of some of the most inspiring European innovators, pioneers and entrepreneurs from both the Cradle to Cradle® & Circular Economy Arena's.
Our intentions with this event were to celebrate everything Dutch in economy, innovation, business & social activity and to showcase the development of the Cradle to Cradle® movement & Circular Economy activities in The Netherlands & the UK. This was also an opportunity for us to present & promote the activities of our unique Cradle to Cradle Marketplace to Dutch & UK businesses, policy makers and government organisations for the purpose of informal & active engagement.
Motivating Cradle to Cradle® understanding and engagement in the British Trade & Industry sector was also a key purpose of this celebration. To allow the existing Dutch Cradle to Cradle® businesses to informally introduce their companies and open discussions with similar UK companies to create friendships, partnerships and open channels of trade, commerce & knowledge transfer around the built environment.
Opening the event Jannet Duijndam, Head of the Press, Public Diplomacy and Culture for the Dutch mission in the UK, remarked on how Dutch/UK synergies have been promoting the positive Circular Economy & Cradle to Cradle® endeavours in recent years. Making note of the amazing achievements in The Netherlands with Cradle to Cradle® commerce and how the British Trade & Commerce sectors have begun to actively engage with this also.
Thanking Jannet and the Embassy Team for their superb efforts in hosting the event, we presented them with a commemorative plaque crafted from etched Cradle to Cradle Certified® AGC glass and beautiful Accoya wood. Paul & I then presented Lumi Hama with a gift to give thanks for creating our awesome new company branding and logo design. Such a talented women is Lumi, her skills and insights in understanding our needs and delivering a very clever, stylish and timeless design was deeply appreciated!
I presented a very brief outline of what Paul & I are doing with Cradle to Cradle Marketplace, our strategy for promoting and supporting current Cradle to Cradle® producers, manufacturers & service providers to actively adopt & incorporate more Cradle to Cradle Certified® products and services in their own businesses. The "Walk the Talk" initiative encourages, educates and actively facilitates businesses to procure Cradle to Cradle Certified® products that fuel the Circular Economy with healthy, purpose built design.
Ken Webster, Head of Innovation at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation takes to the stage after an informal introduction by yours truly. Ken's big picture overview of what the circular economy really looks like is fascinating and our guests are intrigued by the very simple, yet superbly explanatory diagrams & concepts he presented.
Our MC, Adam Woodhall of Carbon Smart then introduces Eric Logtens from The Noble Environmental Group. He gives us a brief history of time according to Eric and expands on various sustainability & Cradle to Cradle® concepts relating to a personal moment of realisation. This changed his perspective on doing business and lead him, amongst other things, to develop the US based ECOR product & service range in his home town of Venlo in the Netherlands.
Pablo van der Lugt, Head of Sustainability at Accsys Technologies then gives us a deep dive into the value added to the building & construction environment by the amazing Accoya wood product. The truly committed Cradle to Cradle® product development strategy pays off in a big way, as Pablo demonstrates the unique properties of Accoya and it's versatile applications.
Leading our guests down to the Cradle to Cradle Marketplace installation in the Atrium, Adam inspires the attendees to engage with each other around 3 specific topics that facilitate focused and sincere discussions. The sound of classical music, the vigorous exchange of business cards and the cacophony of enthusiastic conversation fills' the Embassy Atrium, the event is a success!
Our Cradle to Cradle Marketplace stall is made from Cradle to Cradle Certified® Gold Accoya Wood, one of the most eco-efficient & effective woods on the planet. Guests get to touch, feel & experience the wide range of customer facing Cradle to Cradle Certified® design products on sale on our unique Cradle to Cradle (online) Marketplace, first hand.
With traditional Dutch beer & snacks in free flow, the event evolves into a cohesive and enjoyable social ballet, with the Circular Economy & the Cradle to Cradle® ethos as a central theme, the event is ceremoniously closed by yours truly, with an announcement that "the Embassy Bar is closed!"
As guests wrap up their conversations and begin to slowly amble towards the Embassy exit, they are cordially handed a "goodie bag" filled with gifts & information packs from the C2C ExpoLab, ECOR Benelux, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Cradle to Cradle Marketplace and a special gift of the "Cradle to Cradle - Remaking the way we make things" book by William McDonough & Prof Michael Braungart.
With the relentless stream of follow ups & enquiries on our "Walk the Talk" initiative from all the enthusiastic attendees, this author is grateful to finally have a day of rest, until we begin planning our next exciting collaboration…. the London Design Festival
....to be continued!