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Patrick Grant knows that fashion has the potential to be about far more than the clothes we wear: from supporting disadvantaged communities to the ultimate anti-dote to throwaway consumerism. And he’s working at many levels of the industry to put these ideas into practice: from the Savile Row tailor Norton & Sons to the social enterprise Community …
 
Dale Vince isn’t your average entrepreneur. After leaving school at 15, he spent ten years living off grid in buses, trucks and underneath tarpaulin. In 1996 he founded Ecotricity with one windmill in Gloucestershire. The company now employs over 600 people and supplies green energy to 117,000 homes. He’s also chairman of Forest Green Rovers - the …
 
When Yvon Chouinard became a member of the Southern California Falconry Club in 1953, he was taught how to abseil down cliffs to view the birds’ nests and it sparked a lifelong love of climbing and the outdoors. Twenty years later he founded the clothing company Patagonia. Today it’s a billion-dollar business whose mission statement reads: “We’re i…
 
FOR a long time, the world of beauty was stuck in the old ways of perfume counter selling, excess packaging – and those giveaway foundation samples in magazines that only ever came in some shade of peach. As a teenager of Nigerian heritage, Simi Lindgren felt invisible when she opened up those samples. But last year she founded online beauty market…
 
Ella’s Kitchen is a lot more than a baby and toddler food company. Its core mission is to improve children’s lives by developing healthy relationships with food. But it’s also a B Corps - which means it takes its responsibilities to people and the planet very seriously. It lobbies on company tax rules. It donated over 900,000 food pouches during th…
 
More than three billion people watched the last World Cup final. The reach–and potential impact–of sport is almost limitless. But while social issues are increasingly creating a stir in sport, the environment isn’t yet making quite such an impact. Michael Doughty wants to change all that. A former professional footballer, he’s co-founder of Hylo at…
 
Food is under increasing scrutiny and meat is high on the agenda. Everyone - from the authors of the UK’s national food strategy to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – are telling us to eat less of it. But Glen Burrows, co-founder of the Ethical Butcher, argues that meat isn’t the problem. It’s industrial farming methods…
 
Frieda Gormley and her husband Javvy M Royle dreamed up the idea for their interior brand at the kitchen table. Ten years on, House of Hackney is one of the most influential – and aspirational - British interiors brands. Best known for its use of colour, pattern and craftsmanship, House of Hackney also takes its wider responsibilities very seriousl…
 
In the UK last year, if you were a woman, just 2.9 per cent of venture capital went to you. If you were a black business founder you saw just 0.2 per cent of all investment capital. And if you were a black woman, it was a mere 0.02 per cent. "Those numbers mean there are a lot of individuals who are not being funded who have great ideas, and that s…
 
John Schoolcraft’s LinkedIn profile lists everything from dishwashing to shop assistant, DJ to Alice Cooper’s security guard among his previous jobs. But there’s one that he will forever be synonymous with: global chief creative officer at Oatly. Along with CEO Toni Petersson, John has transformed the unknown Swedish alt-milk brand into a global su…
 
Richard Walker has taken his father’s business in a new direction since taking the helm. A passionate believer in the good that all businesses can do, and the critical importance of their role in combatting environmental damage, he’s committed to initiatives including banning palm oil in own-brand products to waging war on plastic. It’s created a l…
 
We’re doing our bit, we’re buying green energy right? Not always. In fact, a third of the energy that’s marketed as renewable is in fact greenwashed by companies using loopholes in legislation. Juliet Davenport set up Good Energy in 1999, the UK’s first 100% renewable electricity supplier. Today the company produces its own electricity, generated i…
 
Anna Blackburn is the first non-family member to run the jeweller Beaverbrooks. She’s also its first female managing director. And she’s more than doubled profits since she took the helm of the business. Anna has done this by building on a foundation already in place at Beaverbrooks which has always invested in its people. But taking this ethos a s…
 
Sheep Inc is a new kind of fashion brand and its knitwear leaves behind zero emissions, zero harm and zero waste. The attention to detail needed to create this kind of accountability is staggering - involving everything from sourcing wool from regenerative farms to solar-powered knitting machines. Even the sheep that produce the company's wool are …
 
People who buy from sportswear specialist Rapha don’t just buy product - they buy into a global brand that’s all about connection. Whether it’s a clubhouse, cycling group or via technology, Rapha’s people connect first through their shared passion for sport - before tapping into a far deeper sense of community. In this episode founder Simon Mottram…
 
The frozen food brand Cook is a true family business. Co-founder Edward Perry was inspired by his parents’ frozen cake company to set up Cook and then joined in the business by brother James and sister Rosie, who’s now co-CEO. An early B Corps, Cook has donated two million meals to children living in some of the most poverty-stricken areas of the w…
 
Michael Green is CEO of the Social Progress Imperative - an organisation that’s helping national and local government accurately measure what life is like for ordinary people. It’s a fascinating move towards measuring more than just money and ensuring the wellbeing of people is maximised. Plus, Mary chats with two of her key Portas people about wha…
 
Architecture is not just about what we build - but how we live. And Amanda Levete CBE believes our homes, shops, offices and public spaces can be radically reimagined in the future. In this fascinating discussion she tells Mary how we can apply those ideas to our vacant department stores as much as the new structures we design. Plus, Mary talks to …
 
Kate Raworth calls herself a rebel economist and it’s true. Now a Senior Research Associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, she was in fact switched off economics at university because it didn’t answer the questions she cared about like protecting the environment and challenging inequality. Luckily, she later reconnected with…
 
You’re more likely to get divorced than you are to change your bank. But have you ever questioned how your money is being invested? Join Mary as she talks to Triodos UK CEO Bevis Watts about sustainable banking, the huge potential of the financial sector to create positive change and how we can all get involved. Plus, Mary talks to one of the Porta…
 
After years of new, new, new, the resale fashion business is booming as more and more of us get savvy about fashion’s impact on people and planet. Vestiare Collective is at the forefront of this movement and in this episode, Mary talks to co-founder Fanny Moizant about what inspired her – and the very feminine values she’s put at the heart of her b…
 
Can something as simple as making a cup of tea change the world? Maybe not quite. But it certainly can help if the tea is made by a company like Pukka Herbs – who have put respecting people and protecting planet at the heart of what they do. Join Mary in conversation with Pukka co-founder Sebastian Pole as they talk hope, environmentalism and what …
 
Ethics are at the heart of beauty brand Lush which campaigns on political issues, animal & human rights. Hear co-founder Mark Constantine talk about what his team brings to his business and his passion for the potential that business has to do good. Plus the latest updates from the Portas team about the businesses this week that are making a differ…
 
James Watt believes business, not governments, are the true drivers of change. And he’s making sure BrewDog, the company he co-founded, is doing all it can to tackle climate change. In the first episode of this new series, Mary talks to James about why it’s time for all of us to think carefully about the companies we buy into. Plus, Mary talks to o…
 
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