Ed Gillespie sustainability speaker
Ed Gillespie sustainability speaker

Ed Gillespie

Sustainability Expert

Speaker Themes

  • The opportunities for sustainable business
  • Sustainability and consumer trends
  • Disruptive innovation and creativity
  • Understanding complexity

Travels from

Norwich, UK


Ed Gillespie is a writer, communications specialist, serial entrepreneur and futurist. He is the author of ‘Only Planet – a flight-free adventure around the world’ a book about his circumnavigation of the globe without getting on a plane, which the Independent said “Allow[s] the world’s flaws and beauty to seep into your soul”.

Ed’s core talent is to take the complex, interconnected, interdependent nature of the many challenges the world faces, from climate change to disruptive innovation, and make common sense of them for non-specialist audiences.

Currently Ed’s focus is using his twenty five years of experience to help organisations rapidly understand our changing world. This will involve ‘unlearning’ the mistakes of the past, asking the right (often awkward!) questions, and moving beyond the discomfort of today into being the better, more resilient, responsible and sustainable businesses and organisations of tomorrow.

Ed co-presents two leading podcasts, ‘The Great Humbling’ with Dougald Hine, and ‘Jon Richardson and the Futurenauts – Book of Revelations’ with comedian Jon Richardson and fellow reluctant futurist Mark Stevenson.

Ed is a lead facilitator with the Forward Institute where we works on responsible leadership with 40 of the UK’s biggest institutions, a former Director of Greenpeace UK, a Trustee of Ecolibrium and Chief Futurist at the Global Destination Sustainability Movement.

Ed is actively involved in a number of pioneering ethical businesses as a Director or Investor, from Common Objective (ethical fashion) through Bennamann (alternative methane biofuels) to Piclo (new electricity networks).

Ed was the co-founder of Futerra, a change agency that specialises in business transformation and creative communications and campaigns. For over two decades Futerra has become internationally renowned for its influential and award-winning work on some of the biggest corporate sustainability initiatives.

For more information on Ed Gillespie’s speaking topics and availability, contact leo@vbqspeakers.com.


Professionally Ed is known for his own unique brand of authentic ‘insultancy’ – being strategically and playfully cheeky to clients, with judicious wit and wisdom to inspire them to greater heights and aspirations. He is highly adaptable, constructively challenging and pushes audience assumptions of business as usual, opening minds then mapping possible practical solutions and opportunities.

Ed is a sought after speaker, event host, lively compere and trusted Chairperson, renowned for his entertaining presentations laced with thoughtful insights, trends and humour. Since 2001, he has presented all over the world, giving dozens of talks a year from Hong Kong to Bratislava, Korea to Auckland. And he’s been heard by every kind of audience, from the UN and national governments, to multi-national corporations and global associations. He’s even dabbled with stand-up comedy to enhance his presentational and engagement skills.


“With a shaft or three of enlightenment, a healthy dose of irreverence, Only Planet inspires us to carry on living, loving and travelling well” — Jonathon Porritt

“An inspiring reminder of the adventures and experiences to be had, if you just avoid that airport security queue!” — Mark Smith

“With wit, welly and wisdom, Ed reveals the fine-grained texture of the world at ground level. Required reading for the slow traveller” — Carl Honoré, best-selling author of In Praise Of Slow

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