Simple steps for sustainability

Sustainability guru Gayle Murphy believes everyone can play a part in building a more sustainable future

“Individuals have a desire to create change in their lives,” states Gayle Murphy, as she considers the importance of a discussion around sustainability. “They want to contribute positively and, by looking deeply at their own actions and supporting each other can find better ways to consider each other, the planet, and a long term economic stability.”

For Maltese businesses, there are also potent commercial considerations to take into account. “Right now, especially in the business sector with a fast shifting global market, those not taking sustainability seriously risk the chance of not lasting in the long term.

“Beyond that, 59 per cent of investors view non-financial disclosures as ‘essential’ or ‘important’ to investment decisions (according to the EY Global Investor Survey). Sustainable businesses grow, on average, 28 times faster, and 66 per cent of consumers spend more on goods and services that have a positive impact.”

Murphy is CEO of Global Green Events Ltd, founder of Strategic Roots sustainability consultancy and Sustainable Eats&Treats. Within her work with these businesses, she provides interactive training, talks, and workshops through facilitation sessions and her online course ‘Successful Sustainability’, which details her Five-Step and 12-Step Sustainability Frameworks.

Simplicity and achievable steps to change are the key to her approach. “Implementation can be done on all levels by simple processes. Individuals can find out ways to contribute at home and locally, and businesses can access many methodologies and specialists to help support them.”

Full of charisma and passion, Murphy is evangelical about the need to implement holistic strategies and policies to assist businesses, events and associations in becoming more sustainable. With 15 years experience in helping to achieve this, she has been invited to speak at the inaugural Malta Sustainability Forum on 14 November, where she will be moderating discussion around sustainable business practise.

But, despite her upbeat approach to the subject matter, Murphy is all too aware of the sense of hopelessness that some people feel about the prospect of a sustainable future.

Gayle Murphy
Gayle Murphy

“It is all too easy to feel disempowered by the current large scale damage in both the environment and society. So when people are offered an opportunity to contribute to making change, and given clear guidelines and support on how to make it happen, they take it.”

And this is why she sees initiatives such as the Malta Sustainability Forum as playing an important role in helping Malta plan a more positive future.

“Initiatives like the Forum not only create a platform for education and awareness,” she says, “but show that change is possible, and gives people tangible examples of how they can do this. Coming together creates a feeling of community and strengthens the individual, to highlight that there is support and collaboration to move forward in a new way.”

Co-sponsored by some of the island’s most forward-thinking businesses, namely APS Bank, PwC, GO, GasanMamo and Cool, the Malta Sustainability Forum will be held at The Westin Dragonara Resort, and the public is invited to register to attend. Murphy is keen to see as many individuals and businesses attend as possible, as she believes it will have a powerful effect on the bigger picture.

“Sustainability can infiltrate and improve our lives in so many ways – through lifestyle and consumer change, in behaviour change in the family home, and by implementing community change in their communities through grassroots initiatives. Together, all this will ensure that efforts have a far-reaching effect. I do believe that, if all members of today's' society were to implement these changes, the world would become a different place – one that supports us all to thrive.”

In fact, the overarching theme at this year’s Forum is the ‘Thinking Citizen’ and its main objective is to raise awareness on the topic of sustainability, by empowering Malta’s citizens to make conscious decisions towards achieving a sustainable life.

At the event, a panel of top local and international speakers will present practical cases about how to move Malta’s sustainability agenda forward and this will then be followed by moderated discussions.

President of Malta, Dr George Vella, will open the Forum and the keynote speech will be given by José Herrera, Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development, and Climate Change. Other speakers will include Adrien Labaeye – Sharing Cities Fellow and PhD researcher at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Carl Pratt – Founder of Future Planet, and Suzanne Piscopo – Assistant Professor and Home Economist in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Consumer Studies in the Faculty of Education at the University of Malta.

“In this day and age, we need to hear from the pioneers, the leaders, the wayseers,” Murphy continues. “They will help to inspire and empower individuals in all sectors to show what we can create and how we can come together all make change.”

Tickets to the Malta Sustainability Forum start at €20, including a networking lunch. To view the full agenda and register for the Forum, please visit www.maltasustainabilityforum.com

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