RSA Talk: The Kindness Economy

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Thu 06Feb

A Conversation with Mary Portas

Facilitator: Mary Portas

Join us for an evening of conversation with global retail authority, author, entrepreneur, TV personality and TED speaker Mary Portas. Mary believes we are entering a new era, where people as shoppers, as workers, as friends, in every part of our lives, want meaningful connections and shared values. Mary Portas calls this new era, “The Kindness Economy” – an economy built on the stuff that we care about, where kindness is the new economic and social capital.

This is part of the series of events between Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking and the RSA SW.


Event time: Thu 6th Feb 2020 at 7:30pm - Thu 6th Feb 2020 at 9:30pm

“The tenets of capitalism, that ‘more equals better’, is not going to be better for us or for our planet”

‘The Kindness Economy’ is a new economy that businesses have to get used to, one that’s built on a new value system. If you look at the past 30 years, consumerism has been peaking and the whole infrastructure of retailers has been around who is the biggest, the fastest, the cheapest. It’s all been down to operations rather than an understanding of how people are living.

Big retailers will give you many reasons why the high street is failing and this won’t be among them. The first reason they give is the internet, the second is the economic climate, that most people are strapped for cash, and the third has been the uncertainty of Brexit.

Of course, all of these play a part, but the biggest reason has been that we’ve changed our value system as people. What we’ve come to realise as a society is that the tenets of capitalism, that ‘more equals better’, is not going to be better for us as people or for our planet.

The indicators are everywhere. We now have a real backlash against fast fashion. We’re seeing a rise in recycling, upcycling, vintage, secondhand. We’ve got global marches, we’ve got a real mistrust in large organisations. And on the back of that a rise in volunteering.

Old-school consumer culture, reducing people to what they buy rather than who they are, is dying. And businesses that were set up to feed that beast are crumbling. This new era, The Kindness Economy, is going to be about sentience. It’s going to be about care, respect and understanding the implications of what we are doing.

The businesses that can connect with people as people, not merely consumers, will start generating a whole new way of shopping.

Extract from Interview with Mary Portas by Francesca Cassidy. Continue reading.

Price Options

£5 - £10 Suggested Donation


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Practical Information

The Bar is open at 7.00pm for mingling and networking. After Mary Portas's talk there will be Q & A. The evening will finish at 9.30pm

Tickets will be available on the door but we recommend booking online in advance as events can sell out.

Mary Portas

Mary Portas is widely acknowledged as a leading authority on the retail sector. As Creative Director of Harvey Nichols, she transformed the company into a luxury global brand and by age 30 was a member of the company’s board. She has advised government and led an independent Government review into the regeneration of high streets, as well as producing a host of retail and business-themed TV programmes. Currently, Mary leads her creative agency and consultancy, Portas, consulting on every sector of the retail industry. Her latest project Work Like A Woman is a manifesto for change and the book and podcast of the same title are being used by businesses across the UK to create positive change within their organisations. Currently, she is recording a series for BBC Radio 4, Mary Portas: On style, looking at the changing world of fashion and design and its effect on how we live and shop.

A determined, passionate advocate of the social role of retail, Mary is at the forefront of making the nation better consumers and the country’s shops better businesses. In recent years, her work life and personal life have become increasingly intertwined, focusing on the things she cares most about: making our world a fairer place. She has three children and is investing in giving them a better world to live in. One of Mary’s proudest achievements to date is her ‘Mary’s Living and Giving’ charity shops in partnership with Save the Children. There are 26 shops across the UK now and these have raised over £22 million for charity.

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