"It’s the third year that FastFlow has sponsored these awards which means it’s the third time I’ve given this speech.Neil Armstong home

Every year, the films get better and the level of competition higher and yet, ironically the problems we are facing get worse. The challenges tougher and I wrote these notes BEFORE the US elections!

What a year.

It gave us President Trump ...Brexit ...and a bar of Toblerone that looks more like a toast rack and even more remarkable than all that ...Ireland finally beat the All Blacks at rugby.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a script writer to have made that believable! Anyway, I digress!

And I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that the creativity on show here is more than incredible. It’s inspirational.

There were no less than 44 entries this year with output so varied, so colourful and so deeply moving that we should really be handing out 44 prizes.
But what does it all MEAN?!

This is a question I’ve wrestled with after each award.
Particularly last year when we raised the extraordinary nature of the two most terminal afflictions on this planet. No, not HIV, malaria, or even cancer but starvation and obesity.
Millions are eating themselves to death while many more lack the sustenance to live.

So WHAT do we do?! I’m not suggesting we give-up our worldly goods and live in a commune.

On the other hand there’s nothing easier than sitting here agreeing that there is  so much inequality in the world so much work to do so many places to begin and then go home and forget all about it for another year.

The problem is that the range of issues raised is incredibly vast and the scale incredibly daunting which means it is easiest to do nothing.
Each award category is so crucial to the future of our planet but also daunting.
The thought of squeezing some meaningful activity between the kids going to bed and the ten o’clock news is something of a pipe dream!

OK, what can we do?!

Well, we can resolve to make a difference. To take the first step on the journey.
Now what that doesn’t mean is applauding myself for the charity work that my company and I are already involved in and saying ‘enough is enough’.
It means going a step further.
I met a business contact for a coffee recently and he told me a fascinating story about a conversation he had with a Bangladeshi Uber driver. He was driving to help raise funds for his new business. He understood that there are large swathes of Bangladesh whose land is incredibly fertile with one small snag. For up to six months a year they are flooded.
As a result, they lie empty and wasted. Not for this particular Bangladeshi entrepreneur!
He has done a huge amount of research into pumpkins. He explained how they require warm temperatures and deep soil that retains water well. Precisely the conditions prevalent on floodplains of the Buriganga River. Crucially the pumpkin can grow from seed to full size in less than six months. So he will be able to harvest his crop before the floods begin again.
And because pumpkins can last for long periods when stored in cool conditions he can transport them by boat around the world. It gets better.
Because once the pumpkins have gone in the flood waters that follow he will farm fish. Creating income for the second six months of the year. I heard the story and realised it was ticking each of our award categories. Protecting the environment check reshaping the economy check transforming society check.
Incredibly impressive. But here’s the really inspiring bit. Their conversation moved on to the biggest challenges facing the driver. My friend took his number. Checked out the facts and is now advising him on how to market his business in the UK. Pro bono. Net-positive leadership - check!
Now THAT’S making a difference. Sharing expertise to help someone do something truly inspirational.
There isn’t a day that goes by when we don’t all get the chance to make a difference in our own way. Buying an electric car. Cycling to work. Donating those clothes you really don’t need. And if you’re not sure which ... I guarantee that your partner has been desperate to tell you for years!
And if you are so environmentally friendly ...so revolutionary in your thinking that there isn’t any way you can possibly make more of a difference then just tell people about these awards!

Tell them about the dozens of brilliant, talented cinematographers who have chosen to dedicate their time to raising awareness of mind-boggling subjects from sugar plantations in Paraguay to First Nations communities in Canada. These guys are doing their bit to change the world.

When you start off in a sport an Olympic medal is a distant dream. There are so many reasons NOT to pursue it and you don’t get there in one leap but through a series of incremental gains. Training harder. Eating better.Sleeping better. And so on.

Slowly but surely, those small gains work in unison to make a massive difference.
Let’s use that approach to change the world. We can’t wake up tomorrow and reverse global warming. Or create economic equality across the globe but we can contribute.
If we just convince six friend to help and then each friend convinces six.
And so on then by the time we reach the sixth set of friends we will have almost 50,000 of us working together.

Yes, it’s the Madoff Pyramid!...  but in the greatest cause of all!

This isn’t a pipe dream. It’s eminently achievable. So let’s maintain this momentum ... and each... make a real difference.

Thank you."

Neil Armstrong, Chairman and CEO of Fastflow Group, main sponsor of the tve Global Sustainability film Awards 2016