Episode #7: Trewin Restorick – focusing on what works for environmental change

23 October 2018

Trewin Restorick

In this episode, I talk to Trewin Restorick, the founder of environmental communications charity Hubbub UK, which aims to create real practical change with positive messages and creative ideas.

He was the founder and CEO for 20 years of Global Action Plan, a UNEP-endorsed environmental organisation that ran award-winning behaviour-change programmes with businesses, schools and communities. Trewin was chair of the Environmental IT leadership team, co-chaired Defra’s Compact Group, and was trained as one of Al Gore’s UK Climate Change ambassadors. He is a frequent commentator on Channel 4, Sky, the BBC and CNN. 

We talk about how he ended up getting into environmental issues, and why he moved away from a typical campaign model looking for positive vehicles to make lasting change. We talk about what he’s learned over the years about what works and what doesn’t, particularly in relation to some difficult areas such as food waste and even street littering.

Trewin is one of those people that has spent a lot of time trying to work out what actually makes a difference as opposed to simply making gestures, and this interview goes into some really useful detail.

Show notes

How did the world look to the young Trewin Restorick? (2:04)

What reaction was there from family and friends when he opted to go to Friends of the Earth? (4:28)

The experience of being at the heart of the environment campaign at a pivotal point in its history, and the gap between the anti-corporate campaigners and those that wanted business to be collaborators (5:23)

When Trewin realised it was time to take a different approach that would be more effective than campaigning (7:40)

Global Action Plan – what defined its purpose and why it was effective (8:46)

What were some of the highlights of what was achieved by Global Action Plan through it’s first twenty years? (11:03)

The concept and purpose of Hubbub UK, Trewin’s current company (14:39)

One of the examples of behaviour change in practice – the ballot bins (17:48)

What works and what doesn’t when it comes to getting people to reduce food waste? (21:15)

The habitual behaviours that work on reducing food waste (26:32)

Are we inherently unsuited to reducing waste because of our basic psychology? (28:10)

The catalyst for change that came from Blue Planet – and the value / action gap that needs to be challenged (29:39)

Social media is not the same as campaigning – the dangers of unengaging ‘clicktivism’ versus using social media to amplify and spread what works (31:15)

Hostility to environmental messaging and the polarised debate in current society (33:20)

Is Trewin an optimist or a pessimist after three decades dealing with environmental issues? (35:22)

One practical change Trewin would like to see before hanging up his campaigning gloves (37:17)

What advice would Trewin give to his younger self? (39:20)

Who are some of the most impressive change makers Trewin has met and been inspired by? (40:22)

What mistake has Trewin made that led to learning or a better future outcome? (41:09)

One habit Trewin would like to change (42:35)

Books that have influenced or changed Trewin’s life (43:06)

Advice that Trewin would give to younger would-be change makers who are just setting out on the journey (44:12)

Hubbub’s vlogging channel (45:35)


Trewin on twitter – https://twitter.com/TrewinR

Hubbub UK - http://hubbub.org.uk/