Giles Gibbons is one of Europe’s leading thinkers on the evolving role of organisations – businesses, charities, social groups and networks and government – in creating a stronger society for us all. For two decades, he has inspired and advised some of the world’s biggest names, from Coca-Cola to UNICEF to the BBC, to understand, innovate and act on the opportunity to spark social change.
On business responsibility in the 21st Century, Giles has a unique view of what good business means in today’s world: if you want to help your business, then help change the world; if you want to change the world, then do it through business.This isthe conviction behind strategy consultancy Good Business, co-founded by Giles and Steve Hilton, which revolutionises the idea of ‘corporate responsibility’ from a CSR add-on into an opportunity to create both social and commercial value. Since 1997, Good Business has created innovative business strategies for Nike, Microsoft, L’Oréal, McDonald’s, Telefónica (O2), HRG, Disney, Relais & Châteaux, British Airways, KPMG, Fiat, E.ON, Kellogg’s and many others.
On the social power of brands, Giles brings together experience from the worlds of marketing and corporate responsibility to redefine the role of brands. Brands – social and commercial – have the power to inspire behaviour change, far beyond that possible through authorities telling people what to do. He champions this concept in the Economist’s Book on ‘Brands and Branding’ (2009), and in his ongoing work as Co-Chairman of ‘We Are What We Do’, a social enterprise triggering mass behaviour change, best-known for its groundbreaking I'm Not a Plastic Bag campaign and Historypin – an online, user-generated platform of historical photos and personal recollections ‘pinned’ to GoogleMaps, in partnership with Google.
On consumer trends linked to social and environmental issues,Giles has overseen numerous European and global projects that explore public attitudes towards social and environmental issues, then create strategies to test and influence consumer behaviour. In 2007, he established the Concerned Consumer Index – a monthly poll that tracks attitudes towards issues ranging from the role of banks in society, to the ethics of luxury goods. He has written numerous columns for The Times on business and consumer trends in the social and environmental arena.
On strengthening society, as a Trustee of the Big Society Network, Giles is recognised as one of the UK’s leading advisors on bringing together business, social ventures, charities and government. At the international level, he lead the formation of The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation – harnessing the power of sport to inspire positive change in communities around the world; and the establishment of J8 – a partnership between UNICEF, Morgan Stanley and the country with the presidency of the G8, which gives young people a chance to take their solutions for global issues to world leaders. Giles plays an active role in the third sector, advising a number of charities and social enterprises.
On the sustainability of food and the hospitality sector, Giles draws on wide-ranging personal experience, including co-founding The Good Cook – a social venture serving quality food at affordable prices while training young people from deprived backgrounds. His most recent success is The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), a flagship not-for-profit enterprise supporting UK restaurants to be more sustainable. The SRA Star Ratings are now used in Harden’s Restaurant Guides and have been dubbed ‘The Michelin stars of Sustainability’ by The Sunday Times. In 2011 Giles was named one of London’s most influential people by the Evening Standard in its ‘Foodies’ category. Giles is also an advisor to the luxury hotel groups Relais & Châteaux and Orient Express, guiding them in the development of their approach towards sustainability.
Giles has been invited to speak to business leaders, policy makers, social enterprises, charities, the media and other decision makers around the world, inspiring and challenging them to think differently about the role of their organisation in society.
Recent speaker events include:
- Full Circle, Talking Heads: The Art of Changing Behaviour, June 2013
- McDonalds European Corporate Relations Insights Meeting, May 2013
- RBS Senior Leaders meeting, The Role of Banks in Society, London, January 2013
- Council on Environment and Product Stewardship (the Conference Board), Paris, October 2012
- Base London Sustainability Conference 2012, June 2012
- The Chartwell Business Briefing on 21st Century Business Ethics, London, March 2012
- Orient-Express International Conference 2012, hosted by Raymond Blanc, London, March 2012
- The 37th International Relais & Châteaux Congress, Lisbon, November 2011
- The Institute of Ideas: Battle of Ideas 2011, London, October 2011
- Base London Sustainability Conference 2011 (Eco:Drive Forum Chair) August 2011
- Editorial Intelligence Comment Conference on Enterprise, London, April 2011
- Credibly Green, Itella, Helsinki, April 2011
- Names Not Numbers: thought leadership symposium, hosted by EI, March 2009 & 2011
Giles also speaks at charitable events and internal meetings e.g. briefing employees of The Coca-Cola Company about their role in the Olympics. He was also invited by the Education and Employers Taskforce to be one of their inspirational ‘Speakers for Schools’.
Brands and Branding (2nd Ed), The Economist, 2009
Good Business: Your World Needs You, Texere, 2002
Columns in The Times (UK):www.goodbusiness.co.uk/our-thinking/articles