Hay Festival is well-known for bringing readers and writers together to share stories and ideas. Every year, over 11 days, more than 80,000 visitors descend on the small market town of Hay-on-Wye in Wales. This year, the festival runs from 23 Masy - 2 June. Team Triodos will once again be onsite – braving the occasional torrential downpour – as a proud sponsor of the festival, the perfect event to join the conversation and spread the word about values-based banking.
The partnership feels particularly appropriate for Triodos as sustainability is core to Hay Festival, both in its on-stage debates and in the development of Hay’s organisation. Last year, when we first sponsored the festival, we were impressed by the tremendous focus from the organisers and the dedicated, full-time sustainability team on managing and mitigating the environmental impact of the festival, incorporating energy, waste, transport, procurement and venue decisions.
In 2018, Triodos sponsored a talk by Kate Raworth, Oxford economist and author of the best-selling 'Doughnut Economics'. Entitled ‘Seeds of the 21st Century Economy’, Kate’s talk delved into how our economy can meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. Touching on topics like city regeneration, business value-creation, and economic design, the ideas were backed up with inspiring real-life examples to show that the seeds of a new type of 21st Century Economy is already underway. Kate also referenced Triodos and the power of finance to deliver positive social, environmental and cultural change.
Kate was not the only star economist in the Hay Festival line up. Diane Coyle, from Cambridge University and author of 'GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History', spoke about the flaws of GDP and how we measure economic progress. Diane is curator of the Bristol Festival of Economics (also sponsored by Triodos Bank) that takes place in November. Read our interview with her here: ‘What’s so festive about economics’.
Highlights of Hay Festival 2018
Another speaker was Mariana Mazzucato, UCL Professor of Economics and author of 'The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy'. In her book she strongly proposes that if we are to reform capitalism – radically to transform an increasingly sick system rather than continue feeding it – we urgently need to rethink where wealth comes from.
Also relevant to the work of Triodos Bank, was a brilliant talk from executive fellow of finance at London Business School, David Pitt-Watson (with humour thrown in from comedian Marcus Brigstocke), called for greater transparency in financial services. In ‘What They Do With Your Money’ he pointed out that the origins of the finance industry were often inspired by social reformers because its purposes are so fundamental to individual and communal prosperity.
As the Hay Festival continues to grow year after year, sustainability director Andy Fryers admits they have reached a point where they can’t grow any more without starting to have a negative effect on the town and the surrounding area. It’s another reminder of the sensible ethos of the festival; they understand there are indeed limits to growth. But we were left in no doubt. The Festival is a great source of inspiration and positive energy and we can't wait to be back again this year!
The full programme for the 2019 Hay Festival can be found on its website.