Embracing the Kindness Economy at aql’s Salem Chapel

aql very much believes that collaboration, partnerships and working together will drive positive impactful changes and support the movement to be “less bad” and seek to be “more good”. People and the planet are at the centre of everything we do and this has given us the opportunity to give back as much as we can from free wifi in the centre of Leeds to our Sensing Change project that started life as an experiment to see if we could drive down the use of disposable plastic bottles. “Think People, Planet, Profit - in that order.” This thinking aligns closely with aql’s mission and was one of the key takeaways from the Leeds International Festival of Ideas 2021 ‘In conversation with Mary Portas’ event that we were privileged to host at our Salem Chapel auditorium focused on a new value system to guide businesses reset post-pandemic and build back better. The renowned retail consultant talked to journalist and former BBC Look North presenter Charlotte Leeming about the way we conduct business today is greatly changing from the traditional pre-pandemic consumer culture we were all so very used to. Mary discussed how organisations, especially retailers, have been striving to be the biggest, fastest and cheapest around creating a disposable culture that in turn has been slowly impacting our planet in a negative way. Mary Portas talking to journalist and former BBC Look North presenter Charlotte Leeming at aql HQ, Salem Chapel. She spoke about how those businesses have been far too focused on growth. So much so, they simply ignored the long-term negative effects that growth was having on our planet. But this is changing and many of those organisations are seriously looking at themselves internally after the pandemic and re-building business models focused on the people working for them, the communities they serve and reducing their impact on the planet. Mary touched on companies who have already taken on the values of the Kindness Economy, even before it was born, and have shown the world that it is possible for businesses to adopt this value system whilst continuing to grow and profit. What the new Kindness Economy quite vividly highlights is the mindset that ‘more equals better’ is not going to benefit us as people or our planet. Those businesses that start to understand the fundamental role they play in the fabric of our lives and balance commerce with social progress in order to thrive will have a much more positive impact on our society. One that will take their organisation into the hearts of many communities. Mary Portas with BBC presenter Charlotte Leeming and aql's Mel Johnson-Holliday The Kindness Economy is the subject of Mary’s latest book, REBUILD: How to thrive in the new kindness economy. There, she goes into much greater detail about how companies can thrive whilst they take on these values to build back better.

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