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My family are holidaying at home and last week my son and I sat in the garden researching which Xbox games have fewer carbon emissions.

It was a big challenge to see how he can off-set his many hours playing FIFA in the holidays – it’s going to take planting bamboo to another level!

I explained to him that we are all looking at ways to change and demonstrate a positive impact on our communities and I am constantly learning too.

I had a note that my August newsletter introduction would be about social and economic impact going hand in hand. However, as I started to write I found myself overwhelmed by the definitions of ‘social impact’ and the ‘sustainability impact targets’ coming from so many different sources.   

Does social and economic impact go hand in hand? Here are some of my observations while working with our beneficiaries this week. Join us on Facebook with your views!  

Having recently completed my Carbon Literacy Training I am much more aware of all the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were launch in 2016 and make up the global road-map to a safe and equitable society. 

Climate Action is number 13 on the SDGs LIST, after

  • Responsible Consumption (acting on climate change means consuming less, more responsibly; know what goes into the products you use and your purchasing power to shift the market to more ethical goods),

and before

  • Life Below Water (promoting plant-based diets leads to a reduction in GHG emissions from fishing vessels, but also prevents species collapse, and reduces the chance of nets being left in the ocean as plastic pollution, trapping and killing animals).

There are many ways our BGP clients are taking on the SDGs and many are tackling their impact on the three highlighted above. We hear from clients on how they use customer segmentation to design and promote new products to those consumers committed to buying ethical goods. This has seen increased sales/income and a positive brand awareness has enabled the businesses to see an improved Social Return on Investment (SROI).

It has been amazing for our team to be part of their journey and as they continue, we are offering support to develop their impact reporting processes to highlight their hard work and social and economic impact!

Please contact your Business Development Manager for more information or to discuss how we can help you start on this exciting journey. 

COP26

In about 77 days, COP26 will see world leaders convene in Glasgow to plan measures in order to tackle the climate emergency. This is at the forefront of our minds with many organisations considering their activities holistically, taking account of the wider economic, social and environmental effects of all their business and personal actions. Our Sustainability Bootcamp certainly paved the way in creating commitment to this and we used the WWF Footprint Calculator to see where we can set our own personal commitments.  

In my previous blog, I highlighted how we can help SMEs develop impact measurement frameworks and we will be offering more support for our SME community over the next few months. This will align with those SMEs joining the SME Climate HUB. This is where SME leaders future-proof their business by committing to halve greenhouse gas emissions before 2030 and reach net-zero emissions before 2050.

This is the SME Climate Commitment:-

Recognising that climate change poses a threat to the economy, nature and society-at-large, our company commits to take action immediately in order to:

  • Halve our greenhouse gas emissions before 2030
  • Achieve net zero emissions before 2050
  • Disclose our progress on a yearly basis

We have a couple of beneficiaries fully committed and please let us know if you have or are about to make the Commitment, we would love to share your news!

The University of Chester is proud to have Fairtrade University status, and our goal is to embed sustainability throughout our campuses, communities, cultures and curriculum. As a University, the biggest impact we can have is to educate our students in becoming more sustainable. We endeavour to equip them with the knowledge of environmental, social, economic and political challenges and opportunities we will face in the future. Our University aims to not only minimise our negative impact, but to actively create collaborative partnerships within our local community to build and develop initiatives that have a positive effect on the people and environment where we work and live. For any organisation the first step is to communicate clearly what you are trying to achieve, how you are working to achieve it and the progress you have made so far. We are definitely taking social and economic impact hand in hand and we agree with our VC, “it’s important that this is a collective responsibility”.

There are signs of the Government encouraging social value locally, through the new Procurement Policy Note (PPN05/21). It encourages creating new businesses, new jobs and new skills- tackling climate change and reducing waste - improving supplier diversity, innovation and resilience. All of which can be part of a business’s CSR, Sustainability and Social Impact strategies! Don’t read red tape, this represents another shift towards placing social value at the very heart of government procurement and in turn this will impact how the private sector change their procurement. Strengthening a commitment to social value will foster a level-playing field for SMEs to bid for public sector opportunities. Contracting authorities do not have to select the lowest priced bid, and that they should take a broader view of value that includes social, economic and environmental wellbeing of our communities. Commercial and procurement teams should see their activities as a means of delivering policy (so much more than ‘just buying’) with the specific aim of helping our communities recover and renew themselves as they emerge from the pandemic.

Finally, back to the bamboo. My final point to share…………. Did you know that one of the biggest environmental benefits of bamboo is its ability to absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Compared to an equivalent tree mass, bamboo produces 35% more oxygen and research has shown that bamboo can absorb as much as 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year! 

Heather Carroll
Business Development Manager