Latymer hosts Schools Sustainability Conference 2020 

Latymer Upper School is proud to be hosting this year’s Sustainability Conference for schools. 

This is just the second year it has run, having been hosted by Highgate School in 2019. In a change from last year – and responding to the restrictions of Covid-19 – this year’s event has been run virtually – with speakers addressing students and teachers from schools around London via a zoom-based platform. 

The three day event has been masterminded by Stephanie Harris, Latymer’s Sustainability Lead, also a teacher of English and Drama.  Supported by the students in the Eco Society –  who are all passionate about finding ways to combat climate change – Stephanie was able to gather together a fascinating array of speakers from around the world, to talk about various aspects of the sustainability debate. 

The event was opened by keynote speaker, Kristin Hughes, Executive Director of the Global Plastic Partnership at the World Economic Forum, based in Geneva. Kristin spoke about the need to cut the amount of plastic that we throw away, and the importance of the circular economy. 

Brenda Gonzalez joined the conference from Mexico. Brenda is the Founder and Managing Director of Symmetryca Consulting, a strategic management consultancy which supports companies undergoing transformation. She talked about the need for us to look not only at sustainability but also how we can regenerate areas that have been so badly damaged by climate change.

Brenda was followed by Sam Sutaria, from Waterbear, the soon-to-launch streaming service focused on sustainability, who spoke about getting young filmmakers to generate content and enter his competition to have their film made.

The last speaker of the day was Stefania Bertoncini, Founder and MD of AIFOS Properties, which specialises in refurbishing Victorian houses to make them ‘greener’. Stefania shared some images of wonderful tower blocks in Milan that are creating a’ forest in the sky’, and talked about ways that we can all make changes to create more sustainable homes.

The second day of the conference was no less fascinating with inspiring speakers focusing on the production of goods, including ‘fast fashion’ and food. The speakers were Howard Covington, Chair of the Board of Trustees for Client Earth, Ergem Senyuva from the Faculty of Sustainability at the Fordham University London, Pam Warhurst, the founder of Incredible Edible and Andy Cato, a member of the group Groove Armada, now an organic farmer based in France.

Upper Sixth students, Lysander and Amelia, and Nina and Oyan, all members of the Eco Committee, hosted Q&A sessions for each of the speakers, posing questions from the online audience.

The conference runs for one more day, with more interesting speakers, including Dr Michal Nachmany, lecturer in sustainability at the Grantham Research Institute and Carlos Monreal, Chairman and CEO of Plastic Energy Ltd. There will also be presentations from Latymer and other attending schools about the actions they are taking to make their schools more sustainable.


Stephanie Harris said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be hosting the conference this year and are so grateful to all of our speakers for taking time out of their busy schedules to join us. Latymer students care passionately about the environment, something that was evidenced by them choosing ‘Environmentalism and Sustainability’  for our school charity theme. They have done so well fundraising and taking part in projects like the record breaking planting of 6,000 trees that we did last December. I’m excited for them, and all of the pupils from the many other schools taking part, that they will get the opportunity to access and interact with this incredible group of environmental activists and campaigners who are speaking over these three days”.

All the speeches and Q & A sessions will be available to watch on the website once the conference is over.

Author: carolineroberts

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