The Buchanan Institute welcomes you to:





Friday, 13 March, 2020
9.00 to 17.00



It's easy to march in the streets and point the finger at big business, but if our governments aren't doing enough to hold these corporations accountable, this responsibility then falls onto us, as consumers.

We're asking individuals to reconsider how their purchases, lifestyles, and actions contribute to environmentally destructive corporations, and this year's ESIC seeks to empower individuals in their purchases

to choose ethics over ease.

We call this responsibility

conscious consumerism.



With an issue as omnipresent and intimidating as climate change, it can be easy to point the finger at national governments and large corporations as the only players with the power to effect change, but at the direct intersection between democracy and capitalism in the Global North lies a force perhaps just as powerful, but often unacknowledged: middle to upper class consumerism. Democracy permits the individual to vote for politicians with an environmentally conscious agenda, but perhaps more importantly, the capitalist regime of the 21st century grants individuals with the power to vote with their pounds and dollars. Those with sufficient economic capital, that is, the middle to upper classes, have the privilege to choose which corporations they purchase from, and by extension, which corporations’ ethics and practices they support. In doing so, individuals have the power to put their money where their mouth is and check the ever growing power of corporations, especially those in environmentally destructive industries.


Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, surpassed only by oil. 


Cattle ranching is the leading cause of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. 


Taking one return flight generates more CO2 than citizens of some countries produce in a year. 




McEwan Hall

The University of Edinburgh

The historic McEwan Hall is located in the centre of Edinburgh's vibrant Old Town. Built in 1897, it is one of the most prestigious conference centres in Scotland due to its history and amplitude. Since its refurbishment in 2017, the Hall has been equipped with modern seminar rooms and greater accessibility.



9.00 Entry & check-in 

9.45 Official welcome by The Buchanan Institute

10.00 The Buchanan Institute policy proposals

10.20 Student speakers: Katie Monk & Sive Lawrie

10.30 Panel discussion I on waste management

11.45 Panel Q&A session

12.00 Lunch break (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free)

13.15 Keynote speaker: Jelena Sofronijevic on sustainable fashion

14.00 Workshop session I:

Catherine Dunn & Jack Reed, Dec McLaughlin, Cat Leggat, and Matthew Woodthorpe

14.45 Workshop session II: 

Nina Pusic, Lynn Jamieson, Juliet Wilson, and Jelena Sofronijevic

15.30 Afternoon coffee/tea break & stall exhibition by our sponsors

16.00 Panel discussion II on top-down vs. bottom-up soolutions

16.50 Closing remarks and thank you by The Buchanan Institute



The Buchanan Institute is Scotland’s only student-led think tank, based within the University of Edinburgh. The society aims to fundamentally change how students engage with the public and political sphere.


We provide students with opportunities to engage in policies that tackle issues to enact real change. We aim to change the conventional rhetoric that is associated with our generation, that these problems are too big for us to tackle. Through Buchanan, students gain skills and contacts which can be translated into any future career.


Students identify policy areas or problems they are
interested in. They then embark in intensive research to expand their knowledge about these issues. They are provided with academic mentors who help them and collaborate with experts and third party stakeholders.


Our Team

Zosia Pastuszka 
Director of Conference
Zosia is a 3rd year Sociology & Psychology student. In her three-year tenure with The Buchanan Institute, ESIC 2020 marks her second project in sustainability under Buchanan. Zosia’s passion for sustainability lies at the heart of ESIC, as she hopes the platform will propel the popular discourse on sustainability in the campus community and beyond.
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Jessie Yang
Head of Marketing & Graphic Design
Jessie is a 1st year Sociology & Social Anthropology student. As a former fashion design student based in New York City, she is passionate about integrating sustainability and ethics both in the fashion industry and across all sectors. Outside of Buchanan, she is currently organising the R Sustainable Fashion Show 2020 and volunteers at Talbot Rice Gallery. 
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Lucy Sinclair
Head of Finance
Lucy is a 3rd year Social Policy student. Her interest in sustainability centres around community organisation and government responsibility, and hopes this year’s conference will inspire collective action toward large scale change. Beyond ESIC, she helps manage the anthropology journal Re:Think, enjoys playing board games, drinking coffee and attempting to play the guitar.
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Paula Podskubova
Head of Outreach
Paula is a 3rd year Psychology & Business student. Her role in ESIC follows her previous experience as a sustainable project manager in cleantech start-ups, and builds on a lifelong enthusiasm for building a better, more sustainable future. If she is not dancing Bachata or contemporary, she can be found enjoying the sunshine with good music and coffee.
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Imogen Welsh
Head of Publicity
Imogen is a 1st year Maths & Philosophy student. Her interest in sustainability, from a philosophical perspective, centres around ethics and effective altruism, and she is a strong advocate for taking action, not just talking about action. In her free time, she can be found on the badminton court or writing and illustrating in cafes across town. 
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Cameron Whitford
Katrina Johnstone
Muki Liu
Aniekan Ekoenyong
Andrea Scarpello
Anna Yang

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