Talking Early Years: In conversation with Solitaire Townsend

October 16th 2023

Transforming Business to Create a More Sustainable Society

Solitaire Townsend is a remarkable woman. She is one of the leading international voices on communicating sustainability. In 2001, she co-founded Futerra, one of the few UK communications consultancies to specialise solely in sustainable development and corporate social responsibility. She has worked with senior management on internal and external initiatives across the UK, Europe and North America, implementing real and impactful solutions for a broad range of businesses, governments and NGO’s including Unilever, Barnet Council, Shell, DECC, DFID, Defra and Greenpeace. 

She is also a member of the UN Sustainable Lifestyles Taskforce and a member of the Green Alliance. In 2008, she was named one of fifteen ‘London Leaders’ by the Mayor of London. 

Her TED Talk in October 2021 asked the audience ‘Are ad agencies, PR firms and lobbyists destroying the climate?’ 

Given that this unnoticed industry is worth two trillion dollars a year, the answer is a BIG yes when it comes to them influencing almost every carbon emission. In her eye-opening talk, she exposes the industry’s massive but largely invisible influence on the environment — and proposes ways they can use their creativity, inventiveness, and knowledge to fix climate change instead of contributing to it. 

Her recent book, The Solutionists is also a fascinating read as it explores how businesses can fix the future. She says in the face of our climate emergency, we desperately need solutionists working to fix the future and this therefore is your handbook for becoming the leader that the world needs. 

Soli’s work is not directly linked to children but she agrees that sustainability must begin with our youngest citizens. She recognises the importance of positive narratives in a world where studies such as The Lancet Planetary Health (2021) are finding more and more children are suffering climate anxiety.  

I firmly believe we can all make progress if we combine the forces of education and business to create a strong and positive narrative. Yet in doing so, children need each and everyone one of us to step up in our own way and begin paving the way to solving the biggest crisis our planet has ever faced. 


If you want to find out how you can do this, listen to this podcast