Season 3: Building business resilience

Tim Smit Executive Vice-Chair and Co-founder, Eden Project

How community can power your business

Whatever the nature of your business, you can become more resilient by bringing people and communities together, combining resources, and facilitating change. Looking at the bigger picture like this is exciting and revolutionary, and it’s why we’re doing it at the Eden Project. But you can easily apply this kind of cooperative participation to your business. 

Creating New Edens 

If you ask me what my greatest hobbies in life are, there’s one that may surprise you: I’m a frog kisser.


I love to take abandoned, dilapidated spaces around the world—places where there’s a pull on the land and fertility is dead—to transform them into areas flourishing with life. Just like we did at the Eden Project. The public has always been interested in everything we do at Eden and the magic of how we brought life to a once-derelict, sterile clay pit. As a society, we’re entering a phase where the subject of ‘environment’ needs to move up our agenda. Inspired by this, I created New Edens—a series of similar projects across the UK and on every inhabited continent of the world. These projects are our global response to the planet’s emergency, restoring wild sites and prioritising the natural ecosystem. 

Making the impossible possible 

I’ve kissed frogs all over the world to create these new Edens. From old gas works in Dundee and a dirty and disused mine in Melbourne, Australia, to the earthquake zone epicentre in Christchurch, New Zealand, and an area of polluted land in Qingdao, China. Each site is utterly unique to its surrounding environments. 

We understood that creating these new projects; we couldn’t do it alone. So, we reached out to those former communities from which they were born. And just like Eden Cornwall, we drove out the sense of despair over a once-inhabited landscape. We showed people that something once thought impossible could be possible, like turning degraded farmland into a thriving, secondary-growth, tropical dry forest of biodiversity at Eden Project Costa Rica. 

While each of these New Edens is ongoing, they’re a testament to the strength of ordinary people working together for one common purpose and creating a new narrative to tackle environmental challenges. 

Community outreach 

Part of our Eden mission is to encourage people to engage with others actively where they live. We do this through our Eden Project Communities Outreach all over the UK, including The Network, Community Camps, and The Big Lunch. Open to all, it’s where connections are made, advice is shared, and ideas are explored. But what can you do where you are? 

A great start would be to connect with fellow businesses locally. Use social media to help you discover like-minded businesses to see how you could help each other or work together. Or sponsor an event to help spread the word about organisations with similar values or ideas to yours. 

In the future, businesses will be more open and connected, making environments better for everyone to live and work in. So don’t forget to create magic in your business. Developing these networks will help you pool community expertise to build a resilient business with a strategic edge. 

Great things happen when people come together, and with the power of community, you can create your own Eden, wherever you are.