London Calling

Picture of an electric white van decorated with colourful green and blue patterns with the slogan "Soul Food on the Move".

Just landed in London. Doing some exciting work here with my UK client, Selfridges, and speaking about regenerative business models at the flagship event of London Climate Action Week.

Thought I’d share some observations while they are fresh.

1. The EV revolution is fully underway.

So many models. Cool designs. Charging plugs are on lamp posts identified by a blue light. Supermarkets also have rows of charging stations. 

While I know that EVs have issues (their use of rare earth minerals and their end-of-life disposal), the inner city benefits are obvious. Air and noise pollution are down, in part helped by a hefty congestion charge in central London. The ‘Ultra Low Emission Zone’ currently in place will be expanded London-wide in August to tackle the ‘triple threats of air pollution, the climate emergency and congestion.’ This can only be a good thing. 

2. Spring is late.

It’s a month from mid-summer and until today I was still sporting a beanie (woolly hat). Admittedly, Londoners are not … and with the first whiff of summer they are sunbathing in parks. But it’s been a long, cold winter and a wet, cool spring. Wonderfully, this weekend, the sun came out and May Blossom — or Hawthorn — is floating like white clouds along the hedgerows. What will this mean for summer? Hopefully not another scorcher like last year when the celsius topped 40 degrees in the UK. 

3. Worn again launches at selfridges.

Already a world leader in sustainability, Selfridges, the luxury department store has just launched its new creative scheme (see pictures below of their Oxford Street windows.) With its tagline of shopping, swapping, repairing, upcycling, and trading, Worn Again offers customers the chance to rent clothes, swap clothes AND buy pre-loved items from Reselfridges. I love the playfulness in how it does this…  through pop-ups like ‘The Stock Market’ which also has a handbag clinic to give bags a second life.

A picture taken from inside Selfridges in London. Showing a LED sign from the "Worn Again" campaign.
"Worn Again" banners hang boldly in the Oxford Street store.
A picture taken from outside Selfridges in London. A blue model to represent how Selfridges will repurpose old clothes.
All these items are second-hand and will be repurposed after display.
A photo taken from Selfridges on Oxford Street, London. It shows a sign from part of their "Worn Again" scheme - The Stock Market.
This playful approach gives a new meaning to the traditional London stock market.

4. Nature themes and schemes are popping up everywhere.

The big theme at Chelsea Flower Show this year is rewilding and the restorative powers of nature. #NoMowMay has really become a thing… this Plantlife UK initiative urges people NOT to mow their lawns to encourage wildflowers to bloom. Councils are also liberating roadside verges to encourage weeds to grow. The upshot: more food for pollinators like bees and butterflies — desperately needed as the UK has, according to Plantlife UK, ‘lost nearly 97% of flower rich meadows since the 1970’s’. 

A picture of block text on a yellow background that says "The Urban Nature Project". Taken from the Natural History Museum in London.
The signs are unmissable: nature is being welcomed back into urban life.
A picture of text from the London Natural History Museum. It starts with the sentence, "wildlife is in trouble in the UK".
Led by the Natural History Museum, who is partnering with various UK organisations, is this the start of a new urban nature movement?

5. Getting a read on London’s pulse is always tricky…

This time a year ago, the city was just waking up again after the long cold winter of Covid. Now, tourists are coming back, helped by the coronation of King Charles III and Eurovision. But inflation is high, and so are food and energy prices. Rail strikes are ongoing, with nurses and teachers walking out again soon. Footfall is down in the shops and there’s a sense of uncertainty about what lies ahead. 

From a regenerative perspective, what does this mean?

In part, I see it as cultivating the capacity to hold the tensions: staying optimistic about the positive changes already underway and staying the course when we hit the inevitable road bumps. More EVs on the streets are just one part of the massive systemic change facing a city like London. This move to bring back nature in large and small projects gives me hope. There’s also the human side of things: more connection and kindness to each other. How can we all hold a vision for the future we all want to live… while accepting that we can only get there one day at a time? Do share your thoughts. 

Say hello if you’re in London on 27 June.

I’ll be speaking on a panel Exploring Regenerative Business Models and Strategies, with the inspirational Jannine Barron, Regenerative Business Mentoring, and Galahad Clark, MD, Vivo Barefoot. 

13:00 – 13:30 at Reset Connect London, the UK’s largest (free) sustainability ecosystem and green investment event.

Hi, I’m Claire. Through my business Wordstruck we help companies bring their sustainability strategy to life. As the Founder of Regenerative Storytelling, we’re helping leaders do more for their people, their community and the planet. I publish regular content about storytelling, regenerative leadership and reframing how to address our rapidly heating world. To see more of my content, please sign up for this blog.