Joel Bravette

Former Sustainability Champion

Resignation Letter, July 2021

Dear CEO and Council,

I am writing to confirm that I am resigning my position as Sustainability Champion on the Board of Trustees and Trustee of The Vegan Society effective immediately. This is a decision that I've weighed up at length, especially when I remember why I campaigned to be a trustee in the first place but, with what I have witnessed, experienced and been party to, my continued trusteeship is clearly untenable.

For the record, I have drafted iterations of my resignation a few times already in my short time on council but the most recent behaviour from some of the longer-standing trustees and their favoured members have made it extremely clear that I (and notable others) are unwelcome in their clique. Mediation is likely to be further gaslighting which I do not have the capacity for.

I did not join the society as a member or a trustee to be belittled, demeaned, racialised, mischaracterised, publicly questioned because of my ethnic background, coerced to abandon my principles on justice for all, called an anti-Semite for recognising the difference between Jewish people and the Israeli state, have my lived experience ignored nor my professional aptitude dismissed.

I see no reason to go into any more detail than this when I consider how Council and the Society at large have handled anything pertaining to race, equality or accountability. If anything, I’d expect a retaliatory investigation into me for daring to challenge the status quo (albeit launched from membership proxies so as to maintain the appearance of neutrality).

Sadly, in its current guise I no longer feel served by the Vegan Society either and so will also be cancelling my membership. I am disappointed that this is how it has to end but, in the simplest terms, I joined this society to do good, not to mean well. There are other organisations better motivated by my sweat equity and financial contribution who don't have access to licence fees from the world's biggest companies and are thus not set up to protect capital first, animals and anything else second.

I hope there will come a time where the Vegan Society Council recognises its need to be a truly intersectional and representative body and re-evaluates its purpose and means of achieving it. Until such time, my personal and professional association with the Vegan Society has come to an end. I will continue working with the grassroot vegan charities of which I am ambassador, friend and supporter and will continue sharing the thoughts, propositions and visions for a ‘justice-for-all’ society which has brought me to Davos, Brussels and Silicon Valley.

Lastly, I would like to thank Louise Davies, Gurminder Kenth and everyone who I have worked with personally in my role as sustainability champion. I recognise that the staff have no role in governance, purpose or spending but have shown virtue, ingenuity and community in each interaction I have been party to. There are some fantastic people across the organisation and, whilst it deeply saddens me to cut short what we were just starting, I wish them the best with their futures, personally and professionally.

Thank you for receiving this letter and giving it due consideration. I imagine this will be the last communication as I expect to be removed from this thread immediately as per with Sally before me.

Yours sincerely

Joel Bravette

Personal Statement, May 2021

I am an experienced marketing and communications professional with particular expertise in engaging millennial, centennial and iGen audiences. When I began my vegan journey (in 2017), I conceived and created a piece of unique content that has had over 2M+ engagements across multiple platforms with analytics confirming that over 75% of that audience are under 30 years old. I leveraged that content into promoting veganism on the BBC with Grace Dent (Radio 4) as well as developing insights for companies like Mintel, JWT Intelligence and WeWork with regard a sustainable and plant-based future. I have also now been the Youth Ambassador for vegan charity and community kitchen, Made In Hackney for three years. This role has included regular vegan cookery classes for disadvantaged young people and even cooking for the Mayor of Hackney alongside Anna Jones and The Helmsley Sisters.

I am also the former head of Marketing and Communications for the Africa Centre, the Western World's oldest post-liberation, post-independence African heritage institution. In my role at the Africa Centre I created the concept/portal #ThePlantBasedAfrican as a means of introducing African and Diasporic people to veganism using narratives that were inclusive to their (our) lived experiences. This was and is a well received concept which continues to grow in popularity and expands the scope of veganism beyond traditional western narratives.

My role as a department head for the Africa Centre also had me on City Hall's 'Africa In London' steering committee, creating African/Diasporic programming for London alongside other institutions such as the Black Cultural Archive, SOAS, Southwark Council, The Royal African Society and many other municipal stakeholders. These are relationships that I still maintain and relish bringing veganism into these conversations moving forward. I have also been fortunate to find myself in an advisory position for the Metropolitan Police and surrounding constabularies (via the Violent Crime Prevention Board with Dr. Neville Lawrence) with regard the role that nutrition plays in the cyclical youth violence that plagues so many of our home communities.

I am now professionally attached to one of the world's biggest ESG development projects - pivoting an enterprise-level hospitality operation to being fully vegan and carbon neutral by 2025. In 2020, I was part of the team delivering 'The Green Debate' at the World Economic Forum in Davos and have since being engaging the world's biggest asset managers and family offices to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in sustainable, plant-based practices.

I hope to achieve great things as a trustee of the Vegan Society - I have already been the face (and coaching voice) of the Vegan Society's digital platform, the VeGuide, but believe that I can do much more as a trustee than as a content creator. I believe that the challenges that lay ahead are very similar to those that we faced at The Africa Centre - a charitable institution that was incorporated in a very different ideological time than the here and now that we are attempting to navigate.

How do we reframe our messaging to ensure our continued relevancy? How do we recruit new members without alienating our rearguard? How do we benchmark with adjacent institutions to become even more mainstream and thus legitimate in the hearts and minds of the general public?

These are the questions I look forward to finding answers to as a trustee of the Vegan Society.