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Yorkshire Sustainability Festival – Day One: Circular Economy

How do we create a circular economy in Yorkshire?

Tue 18 Jun | £275

08:30 - 19:00


Cloth Hall Court, Quebec St, Leeds LS1 2HA

We believe that transitioning to a circular economy is a fundamental part of building the new sustainable world of the future, so we want to deep dive into the topic by making it the thread that runs through our conference on day one.

We’ll be hearing from world-renowned experts on the doughnut economics model, how AI can help us to bring to life a circular economy, what skills will be needed in a circular economy, how we create new manufacturing methods to turn ‘waste’ into a new product, and what our food system will look like in the circular economy. Check out the agenda below for a full breakdown of the days events!

Benefits of attending

Whether you’re a seasoned sustainability expert or just starting out, this conference is for anyone who wants to hear from experts in the field and learn more about initiatives that are already happening across Yorkshire and the UK.

Across the conference, there will be lots of opportunity to network and connect with peers in our exhibition hall, take part in interactive brand experiences in our brand activation zone in City Square, and develop your understanding through our panels, workshops and keynotes!

Yorkshire Sustainability Festival is a place where industry thought leaders come together to network with like-minded individuals all committed to making a difference. We welcome everyone from the start-up community through to established businesses who want their voices heard on issues that matter.

Exhibition Hall 

Network with our exhibitors:

Leeds City Council | Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission | University of Leeds

Green Economy | madebystudio | AD:Venture

The Data City | Biffa | Boxxe

Beyondly | ImageCo | Severfield

WRM | Salix Finance | Re:Generation Earth | Oxfam

Brand Activation Zone: 

Our brand activation zone will be taking over City Square in Central Leeds as a showcase of sustainability in action. Try delicious home grown organic veg, supplied by Incredible Edible and cooked by a host of chefs. Network in the Thors Tipi, sponsored by Lloyds Bank. See the evolution of electric cars with Lotus. Buy your healthy and sustainable lunch from one of our vegan and vegetarian food trucks, provided by Caterly.

You can also sign up for Day 2 of our conference – Future Cities.


We are delighted to announce to close Day 1 of the Yorkshire Sustainability Festival, People, Planet, Pint will be hosting their event with special guests Jon Richardson and the Futurenauts (Mark Stevenson and Ed Gillespie). Following a live podcast recording as part of the conference, they will join us at the Leeds PPP event to chat over a pint. You won’t want to miss this!

The Leeds PPP event will be hosted by John Burgess, Partnership Manager at Make It Wild. This organisation is dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing nature and biodiversity, with a strong focus on rewilding. They amplify their positive impact by collaborating with companies and individuals on initiatives such as carbon sequestration, tree planting, experience days, and more.

You have to register to be able to attend (availability is limited).

Register for People, Planet Pint here…

On the day

Opening Speech from Councillor Jonathan Pryor

Deputy Leader of Council and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Sustainable Development


Fireside Chat with Mary Portas OBE

Mary Portas OBE will join our Founder, Kate Hutchinson for a fireside chat on how sustainable creativity and innovation will be the cornerstone to successful 21st century businesses

Skills Panel: The skills needed to build a circular economy in Yorkshire

As we firmly believe that Yorkshire is going to be at the epicentre of the Green Industrial Revolution, we are creating a platform where our councils, combined authorities, education providers, businesses and young people come together to discuss the skills needed to build the circular economy in Yorkshire. Come and see what they have to say on all things skills.

Waste Panel: The Rubbish Revival: Releasing the potential in Yorkshire’s Waste!

In a circular economy, waste is redefined. It has a purpose! Long gone will be the days of overflowing landfills or sending our waste to be chucked on foreign beaches; today’s waste will be tomorrow’s new product and next weeks’ energy. So, how do we maximise on the potential that Yorkshire’s waste has to offer to the region?

Empowering Yorkshire's Public Sector: Decarbonisation and the Circular Economy with Salix Finance

This presentation explores how Salix Finance has empowered public sector bodies in Yorkshire to transition towards a low-carbon future. By highlighting key projects and initiatives, it showcases the significant impact of energy efficiency and decarbonisation efforts on the region. The session delves into the importance of these initiatives within the broader framework of the circular economy, offering insights into successful case studies, innovative technologies and future directions.

People, the hidden part of sustainable manufacturing hosted by Abraham Moon and Sons

This session focuses on the ‘not so obvious’ side of circular manufacturing in the textile industry. As one of the last remaining vertical mills in Yorkshire, Moon will be discussing the challenges surrounding their people strategy and creating the skills required to future proof the business.

Economy and Finance Panel: How the Doughnut Economy Model will save the world.

As we come to terms with being in business at a time when our economy is pushing society over the edge of critical planetary boundaries, it becomes clear that our journey doesn’t end with sustainability, Net Zero or Circular Economy solutions. The world is crying out for a new economic model by which to do better things, not just do things better. Most famous amongst emerging models is Doughnut Economics, a theory developed by Kate Raworth. So how does doughnut economics work in reality? And what could it look like in action, in Yorkshire, or in your business?

Green Background Header image

Strategy to become a better business hosted by Beyondly

The evolving economy and the fight against climate change is driving businesses to act. Startups, SMEs and Large Corporations are all feeling the pressure as they start to prepare for an uncertain future, whilst driving to become a business for good in a changing world. During this session, Beyondly will cover the following: - How and where to start your journey for making a positive difference - Stepping stones to build an ESG strategy - A focus on materiality assessments and the benefits these enable - Engaging with your stakeholders to drive better business decisions - Investment in training and increasing internal knowledge - Considerations for starting your journey to B Corp certification You will also have opportunity to ask specific questions during the session.

Tech Panel: How can AI help us to build a Circular Economy?

As we live through both a Technological Revolution and a Green Industrial Revolution, we’ll use this panel to explore what the opportunities and pitfalls are in using fast-emerging AI technology to support the growth of the green industrial revolution. Learn from regional leaders in the AI greentech space about how AI can help and hinder the growth of the Circular Economy.

Lloyds bank session

Lloyds Bank Networking session drop in

Over lunch, there will be a special finance focused drop in session hosted by Lloyds Bank in the Thors Tipi. Meet with the Lloyds team to discuss how they can support the growth of your green business with a range of finance options purposely developed to strengthen the green economy.

Sustainable Leaders Skills Hack hosted by Creaticity

Join us to uncover the skills and mindset needed to lead a more sustainable future. What type of talent and teams do we need to design and activate change, how do we develop a more innovative mindset and make sure that current business practice doesn’t get in the way?

SME Panel: Small but mighty - The Power of SMEs in galvanising the Green Economy sponsored by Beyondly

Never underestimate an SME, we’re small but mighty! 61% of individuals employed in the UK private sector work for SMEs and in 2023 we contributed £2.4 TRILLION to the UK economy. This means that SMEs are uniquely placed to help the UK to transition to a green economy. So what’s the opportunity for Yorkshire’s SMEs in becoming green businesses? Well, aside from stopping the world from burning and everything falling to shit, the Green Economy grew by 9% in 2023 - while the rest of the economy was in negative growth. The Green Economy is where the growth opportunity is at, in more places than one. So come and hear from some of the SME thought leaders paving the path in their small but mighty way!

Data-Driven Insights for a Sustainable Yorkshire hosted by The Data City

The "Data-Driven Insights for a Sustainable Yorkshire" workshop, presented by The Data City, focuses on leveraging modern data techniques to enhance the understanding and development of sustainable industries in Yorkshire. This session aims to address the challenges posed by outdated Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes and demonstrate how new data methodologies can provide more accurate and actionable insights. Featuring experts from The Data City, this workshop demonstrates practical applications and uncovers new opportunities for sustainable growth in Yorkshire, paving the way for smarter investments and effective regional policies.

The Journey to a Circular Economy hosted by Biffa

What does a circular economy look like for the Waste industry? How quickly can we get there? And what can businesses do right now to help? These are some of the tough questions we’ll explore in this session with Roger Wright, Waste Strategy & Packaging Manager for Biffa. Using Plastic Packaging and Food waste as a proxy for every other type of material, Roger will explain how Biffa are developing a new approach to identify where the best circular opportunities lie and the practical action you can take straight away.

Org Design and Transformation: Levers for Sustainability hosted by Q5

This session will introduce you to some best practice tools and approaches in org design and transformation. We will focus in on the application of these tools to see how they can help you drive towards sustainability objectives of your choosing! Join us for an interactive case study-based session which is sure to add an arrow to your quiver!

Food Panel: The Triple Threat Trifle: how do we tackle malnutrition, overconsumption and unsustainable practices in Yorkshire?

Yorkshire’s public, private and third sector is building an interconnected food economy to tackle the triple threat of malnutrition, overconsumption and unsustainable growing practices. Hear from the thought leaders paving the way in building a regenerative and innovative food system for Yorkshire.

Manufacturing Panel: How Yorkshire is at the epicentre of the Green Industrial Revolution

Yorkshire has the right makeup to maximise on the opportunities presented by the Green Industrial Revolution, being at the heart of the UK’s manufacturing industry, and with an abundance of natural resources and the people to support the green industrial skills boom. This panel of manufacturing thought leaders will give you insight into how Yorkshire is already leading the way in the Green Industrial Revolution - and how you can become part of the boom!

Build Your Sustainability Story and Carbon Reduction Plan hosted by Small99

Create your sustainability plan in our simple, fast, fun workshop for any small business feeling lost & overwhelmed. Do you want to attract more of the right kind of customers, grow your business , and do the right thing at the same time? Are you feeling overwhelmed with sustainability and unsure where to start but know it’s important? Then this workshop is for you! In this 2 hour session, you’ll be guided through 6 key areas of your business to build your sustainability plan; by documenting what you've achieved in the past, guided through what to do now, and prepare a plan for the future. By the end of the workshop, you'll know the best next step to take your business forward on its sustainability journey.

SME Support talk hosted by AD:Venture

More details coming soon

Creating Sustainable Events hosted by SAIL

The "Creating Sustainable Events" workshop aims to delve into the environmental impact of event management and the importance of adopting environmentally sustainable practices.    The workshop will be led by Jamie Saye, co-founder and general manager of SAIL who will share insights and experiences gained from their involvement in major cultural events, including LEEDS 2023 and the upcoming Bradford 2025, UK City of Culture

Greenwashing, greenwishing and greenhushing; the challenge of promoting sustainable action in the food industry hosted by NorthPR

Promoting sustainable credentials is essential in building trust with customers but how do you navigate your communications strategy whilst ensuring you don’t overplay your hand? Looking at the pros, cons and missteps of claiming to be green.

Jon Richardson

Live Podcast Recording - Jon Richardson & The Futurenauts!

Join Jon Richardson and The Futurenauts as they record a live podcast interview with Eve Roodhouse, Chief Officer for Economy and Culture. This episode will take a deep dive into "The Future of Leeds", as always answering the 3 key questions: How in trouble are we? Why are we in trouble? How do we get ourselves out of trouble? Jon, Ed and Mark will then join us for the evenings networking as we host a People, Planet, Pint in the Thors Tipi in City Square

People, Planet, Pint

Included in your conference ticket, you'll have access to this evenings People, Planet, Pint networking hosted in the Thors Tipi in City Square!

Tickets £275.00 (£330.00 including VAT)

Discounted tickets

£225.50 SME tickets

Under 200 employees? Purchase a limited SME ticket.

£176 Start-up tickets

Been in business less than 2 years? You are eligible for a startup ticket!

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