“In these volatile times, with so much in flux, there’s everything to play for.” 

The most daring innovators aren’t found in boardrooms or tech startups, but in protests, street markets, prisons and refugee camps… and at Meaning Conference.

Taking place this year on 14 November at Brighton Dome in the UK, expect encounters with pioneers on the edges who are designing new models and systems for a more humane or equitable future.

Director Louise Ash explains: “These folk aren’t just walking the talk. They are living and breathing it in the most fundamental way – standing up to governments, rejecting the status quo, risking the bottom line for their principles, showing that it can be done. I find that incredibly inspiring.”

Louise gives new Meaning to asymmetry

For the self-professed accidental ethical business geek, meeting her heroes is a perk of curating Meaning: “These progressive thinkers and do-ers are making their mark on the world, showing us an alternative to business as usual. It may be now or never. Let’s embrace the possibilities and get to work.”

? AtlasOffer: Click here for 20% off tickets

Watch this video we created at Meaning last year:

From supermarket rebels, the most political food in the world and the coolest phone on the planet to the ‘good’ card game that’s big in Japan, this AtlasChart Top 15 features just some of the projects by Meaning speakers past, present and future…


1. Sortition Foundation, United Kingdom

Democracy, but not as we know it

“Revitalise politics? Yes please! The Sortition Foundation believes in the practice of ‘sortition’ favoured by the ancient Greeks. With a proven track record dating back centuries we’d be mad not to give citizens’ assemblies a go. With faith in politics at an all-time low and thorny and divisive issues aplenty in these volatile and politically corrosive times, it is time to reinvent the way we interpret democratic ideals.”

Imagine ► Politics, without the politics


2. Extinction Rebellion, United Kingdom

Rebel rebel, our climate’s a mess

“I’m totally in awe of the way Extinction Rebellion have managed to combine a rigorously executed strategic plan of action with immense authenticity and love – in a global movement of non-violent, mass civil disobedience aimed at getting governments to take seriously overdue action. It’s incredibly powerful and I’m hugely grateful for the intelligence and commitment of the core organising team. Legends in their own time.”

Rebel! ► Prepare to be arrested for the cause


3. Camerados, United Kingdom

Join the public living rooms for radical friendship

“There’s something wonderfully hopeful in a total lack of hierarchy in public living rooms. Camerados are somewhere between a stranger and a friend. The love and compassion embedded in this project is made infinitely more powerful by the fundamental principle of equality that underpins it. The benefits are clear for all involved, not just those who may be in crisis.”

It’s okay to be “a bit shit” ► The answer to our problems is each other


4. Hearken, United States

The people vs. fake news

“Journalism’s survival is vital to a healthy functioning democracy. The disruption of traditional news funding models – along with the advent of fake news – means we must find innovative ways to hold our public officials and organisations to account. We may just have found it in Hearken – a people-powered journalism model for the digital age that treats people as citizens and partners, not consumers.”

Expect ► The quality and relevance of your news to improve


5. The Cleveland Model, United States

Cities copy Cleveland’s prosperity model

“Anyone who hears about Ohio’s Cleveland Model has an ‘a-ha’ moment! It’s oh-so simple, but oh-so effective. When people take ownership of their own future, amazing things happen. The impact that a simple model has had on Cleveland, and the dignity it has restored to communities, is inspiring. ”

A radical plan ► A poor city remakes itself

? AtlasOffer: Click here for 20% off tickets

6. HISBE, United Kingdom

Supermarket rebels

“A revolutionary supermarket is proving that Brighton really does rock, by making it easier to be a good consumer. Rather than tinkering around the edges of responsible shopping, HISBE is going all-out to challenge the supermarket status quo and prove things can be different. We really do agree, HISBE supermarket is just ‘How It Should BE’.”

Buck that! ► Listen to your inner shelf: nude food and loose veggies


7. The Empathy Museum, United Kingdom

A Mile in my shoes

The Empathy Museum is an ambitious artistic endeavour that strives to help us all discover the empathy we can use in our daily lives and work. The museum’s brilliantly-named A Mile in My Shoes exhibit uses a bold approach to meet this challenge. It takes a literal interpretation of the well-known saying, offering each visitor a box containing an audio player and a pair of shoes.”

Watch ► Walk in the shoes of refugees 


8. 2030 SDGs Game, Japan

Card game that\s big in Japan

“Do you know what the SDGs are? They are a framework for developing a fair, prosperous and environmentally sustainable world that has been agreed by every UN nation. But sometimes global goals like these can seem too big to enable a single person, organisation, or community to make a difference. That’s where the multiplayer, in-person, card-based 2030 SDGs Game comes in.”

No batteries required ► Play the analog game


9. Fairphone, Netherlands

A good call

“Screw the others, Fairphone is the coolest phone on the planet and I’m really excited that we’ve finally managed to get the MD Eva Gouwens to come and speak at Meaning after years of fan stalking them! (Factoid – she used to be the MD of Tony’s Chocolonely!) This is the ultimate example of a group of people identifying a problem in the world and stepping up to do something very tangible and meaningful about it. ”

AtlasAction ► Explore the Fairphone


10. Better, Ireland

Whoop! Online freedom

“There’s a growing unease about the use of behavioural advertising. Rather than blocking ads, privacy tool app Better blocks the code that tracks our activity, giving us back a level of privacy most of us have surrendered to the likes of Google and Facebook.”

AtlasAction ► Download the app

? AtlasOffer: Click here for 20% off tickets

11. Tony’s Chocolonely, Netherlands

The story of an unusual chocolate bar

I’m not sure if it’s the audacious nature of the founding story, the joyful branding, the symbolism of the uneven shaped pieces in the bars, the damn fine tasty chocolate or the underlying mission, but Tony’s Chocolonely is one of the most inspiring businesses I’ve ever come across. After having himself arrested as a ‘chocolate criminal’ for being complicit in slavery and child labour, Teun van de Keuken founded a better kind of chocolate company with a focus on humour.” 

AtlasAction ► Help make chocolate 100% slave free


12. Forest Green Rovers F.C., United Kingdom

The world’s first vegan football club

“With a football pitch that is organic and rainwater-fed, an eco-friendly stadium with solar panels, LED floodlights and a menu only serving vegan food, Forest Green Rovers is turning ‘the beautiful game’ green. I love this spirit of putting a flag in the ground and saying ‘no, we can do this differently, we don’t have to conform to the status quo’. It obviously comes with a risk that traditional football fans will balk at its difference (especially the vegan food) but eco-warrior Dale Vince is not willing to compromise his values and I love him for that.”

AtlasAction ► Sponsor a match day


13. Oatly, Sweden


Wow! Milk with no cow!

Oatly is milk from oats grown in Sweden. But it’s not just a tasty, healthy alternative to cow’s milk, it’s a fun-loving for profit business that’s helping farmers in Sweden to transition away from planet-trashing dairy farming to a more sustainable crop for themselves and for the environment. Oatly aren’t allowed to call it milk though due to legal action from the the milk industry in Sweden who are obviously feeling a little worried about these cow-less imposters. But it is milk. And it is good. And it is the future.”

Watch ► A song that explains what Oatly is all about!


14. Lush, United Kingdom

The sweet smell of ethical success

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics was founded in a kitchen workshop in 1995. Now a family-run global chain with hundreds of stores all over the world, the ultimate beauty delicatessen of natural, organic and vegan products is still run out of the original shop in Poole in Dorset. The deeply-held values of sustainability and animal welfare have earned Lush a reputation for being uncompromisingly ethical.  But they don’t shout about any of this. Plus, they pioneered the fizzing bath bomb. What’s not to love?”

AtlasAction ► Learn more about Lush’s Charity Pot for grassroots organisations


15. Zaytoun, Palestine


The world’s first Fairtrade olive oil

Zaytoun is the world’s first Fairtrade cooperative producing Palestinian olive oil. In 2004 activists used their European passports to provide Palestinian farmers with safe passage to their olive trees in the occupied territories. It’s been said that olive oil from the West Bank is ‘the most political food in the world‘. Made from some of the planet’s oldest olive trees in the world,  Zaytoun (the Arabic for olives) provides dignity and hope to the farmers as well as a fair income.”

AtlasAction ► Dip your flatbread in the taste of pure hope

Spot Atif Choudhury, who co-founded Zaytoun

? AtlasOffer: Click here for 20% off tickets