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The Search For UK’S Best Social Enterprise Bosses

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Climate Action Is Driving Global Energy Transition As Businesses Reap Benefits

Thousands of charities, social enterprises and responsible businesses are being encouraged to nominate their most inspiring and effective leaders, in the annual NatWest SE100 Social Business Awards.

The search for leaders driving business success for a social purpose forms the brand new category of ‘Leadership Champion’ in this year’s SE100 Social Business Awards, which also celebrate star performers in six further categories – from ‘Growth’ to ‘Storytelling’.

Also new this year is the NatWest Customer Champion, which will see relationship managers across the bank nominate their own stars from the thousands of charity and social enterprise customers they support.

Mark Parsons, Head of Community Finance and Social Enterprise, NatWest said: “Social Businesses make a massive difference to communities across the UK, and it’s the inspiring people behind them which allows this to happen. We want to recognise their achievements and celebrate their success.”

Tim West, Director of Matter&Co and founder of the SE100 said: “This new leadership award is not about hero worship. It is about celebrating and learning from those people who demonstrate that special combination of energy, focus, resilience, business savvy and commitment to social change that drives their teams both to make money and make a difference. I’m really excited to see who will be on our shortlist.”

How to enter the NatWest SE100 Social Business Awards

The NatWest SE100 Social Business Awards are open to all social ventures across the UK. To enter, organisations need to have completed their profile on the SE100 Index, including providing standard financial information and details on their social impact.

Once completed, organisations are automatically entered in to the Growth, Impact and Trailblazing Newcomer awards. The Resilience, Storyteller and Leadership awards require completed nomination forms, available to download here. The NatWest Customer award shortlist will be drawn up by the bank.

The deadline for nominations for the Resilience, Storyteller, Leadership and Customer awards is midnight on Sunday 25th September.  Organisations must sign up to the Index and complete their profile by the same deadline to be eligible for the 2016 NatWest SE100 Social Business Awards.

Visit www.se100.net for further details on how to take part.

To learn more about last year’s winners, see our short films here.

Why should social enterprises take part?

The NatWest SE100 Social Business Awards is recognised as a leading awards programme for social enterprises across the UK – winning or being shortlisted for one of our awards not only brings you the respect of your peers but raises your profile among customers, media and potential clients and investors.

Awards winners will receive a professionally produced winners film about their organisation for use across future PR and marketing collateral, a beautiful SE100 trophy created by social enterprise artists, and a share of cash prizes totaling £6,000.

All shortlisted organisations will receive free tickets to the annual Good Deals social investment conference, and will be invited to bring members of their team to attend a special residential (overnight) Insight Event at the RBS/NatWest Business School in Edinburgh, in early 2017, focusing on “Leadership and Building a Brilliant Social Enterprise Team.”

By entering the awards and being part of the NatWest SE100 Index, organisations become automatic members of the NatWest SE100 Social Business Club, the business support club for social enterprises. The Club aims to provide insight, inspiration, expertise and peer-learning through a special programme of events and top notch online and magazine content.

By adding your organisation’s data to the SE100 Index you also become part of a growing number of social ventures aiming for greater transparency and collaboration with other like-minded businesses, contributing towards quantifying and building knowledge of the landscape of the social economy in the UK.

Visit www.se100.net for further details

The full list of 7 Social Business Awards categories this year includes:

Social Business Leadership Champion

The best social enterprise boss will be nominated by colleagues for their leadership, effectiveness and inspiration in taking the team on a mission-driven journey to success.

Social Business Growth Champion

The Growth Champion award will be given to the social venture that has experienced positive, financial growth from one year to the next thanks to an entrepreneurial and sustainable business model.

Social Impact Champion

The Impact award recognises social enterprises that take considerable measures to demonstrate and communicate the social or environmental impact of their business, using this to improve their performance and win new business.

 

Trailblazing Newcomer

The award for a newcomer social enterprise (with less than 3 years of trading) who has made great strides to become a leader amongst their peers, combining solid growth with a commitment to proving the positive impact of their business.

The Resilience Award

The Resilience Award is for those social ventures that continually deliver positive social or environmental change and repeatedly achieve impact goals, successfully tackling challenges and overcoming difficulties.

The Storyteller Award

The Storyteller Award will go to a social venture that has created and delivered a brilliant communications campaign to drive the impact and scale of its activity.

NatWest Customer Champion

Nominated by NatWest from among the social business customers of NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland, this award will go to an inspiring social enterprise customer who has combined strong community benefit with a sustainable business model.

Save the date

The winners will be recognised at a special ceremony in London on Thursday 19th January 2017, to celebrate the achievements of all the fantastic social change makers on the Index.

Shortlisted organisations will be announced at the Good Deals conference on November 14th-15th, the UK’s leading Social Investment conference. All shortlisted organisations will be invited to attend this event for free to celebrate the success of the sector. For SE100 members wishing to attend the full conference, limited discounted tickets are available via www.good-dealsuk.com/tickets

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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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Energy

What Should We Make of The Clean Growth Strategy?

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Clean Growth Strategy for green energy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By sdecoret | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/sdecoret

It was hardly surprising the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS) was much anticipated by industry and environmentalists. After all, its publication was pushed back a couple of times. But with the document now in the public domain, and the Government having run a consultation on its content, what ultimately should we make of what’s perhaps one of the most important publications to come out of the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the past 12 months?

The starting point, inevitably, is to decide what the document is and isn’t. It is, certainly, a lengthy and considered direction-setter – not just for the Government, but for business and industry, and indeed for consumers. While much of the content was favourably received in terms of highlighting ways to ensure clean growth, critics – not unjustifiably – suggested it was long on pages but short on detailed and finite policy commitments, accompanied by clear timeframes for action.

A Strategy, Instead of a Plan

But should we really be surprised? The answer, in all honesty, is probably not really. BEIS ministers had made no secret of the fact they would be publishing a ‘strategy’ as opposed to a ‘plan,’ and that gave every indication the CGS would set a direction of travel and be largely aspirational. The Government had consulted on its content, and will likely respond to the consultation during the course of 2018. And that’s when we might see more defined policy commitments and timeframes from action.

The second criticism one might level at the CGS is that indicated the use of ‘flexibilities’ to achieve targets set in the carbon budgets – essentially using past results to offset more recent failings to keep pace with emissions targets. Claire Perry has since appeared in front of the BEIS Select Committee and insisted she would be personally disappointed if the UK used flexibilities to fill the shortfall in meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, but this is difficult ground for the Government. The Committee on Climate Change was critical of the proposed use of efficiencies, which would somewhat undermine ministers’ good intentions and commitment to clean growth – particularly set against November’s Budget, in which the Chancellor maintained the current carbon price floor (potentially giving a reprieve to coal) and introduced tax changes favourable to North Sea oil producers.

A 12 Month Green Energy Initiative with Real Teeth

But, there is much to appreciate and commend about the CGS. It fits into a 12-month narrative for BEIS ministers, in which they have clearly shown a commitment to clean growth, improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions. Those 12 months have seen the launch of the Industrial Strategy – firstly in Green Paper form, which led to the launch of the Faraday Challenge, and then a White Paper in which clean growth was considered a ‘grand challenge’ for government. Throughout these publications – and indeed again with the CGS – the Government has shown itself to be an advocate of smart systems and demand response, including the development of battery technology.

Electrical Storage Development at Center of Broader Green Energy Push

While the Faraday Challenge is primarily focused on the development of batteries to support the proliferation of electric vehicles (which will support cuts to carbon emissions), it will also drive down technology costs, supporting the deployment of small and utility-scale storage that will fully harness the capability of renewables. Solar and wind made record contributions to UK electricity generation in 2017, and the development of storage capacity will help both reduce consumer costs and support decarbonisation.

The other thing the CGS showed us it that the Government is happy to be a disrupter in the energy market. The headline from the publication was the plans for legislation to empower Ofgem to cap the costs of Standard Variable Tariffs. This had been an aspiration of ministers for months, and there’s little doubt that driving down costs for consumers will be a trend within BEIS policy throughout 2018.

But the Government also seems happy to support disruption in the renewables market, as evidenced by the commitment (in the CGS) to more than half a billion pounds of investment in Pot 2 of Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – where the focus will be on emerging rather than established technologies.

This inevitably prompted ire from some within the industry, particularly proponents of solar, which is making an increasing contribution to the UK’s energy mix. But, again, we shouldn’t really be surprised. Since the subsidy cuts of 2015, ministers have given no indication or cause to think there will be public money afforded to solar development. Including solar within the CfD auction would have been a seismic shift in policy. And while ministers’ insistence in subsidy-free solar as the way forward has been shown to be based on a single project, we should expect that as costs continue to be driven down and solar makes record contributions to electricity generation, investment will follow – and there will ultimately be more subsidy-free solar farms, albeit perhaps not in 2018.

Meanwhile, by promoting emerging technologies like remote island wind, the Government appears to be favouring diversification and that it has a range of resources available to meet consumer demand. Perhaps more prescient than the decision to exclude established renewables from the CfD auction is the subsequent confirmation in the budget that Pot 2 of CfDs will be the last commitment of public money to renewable energy before 2025.

In short, we should view the CGS as a step in the right direction, albeit one the Government should be elaborating on in its consultation response. Its publication, coupled with the advancement this year of the Industrial Strategy indicates ministers are committed to the clean growth agenda. The question is now how the aspirations set out in the CGS – including the development of demand response capacity for the grid, and improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential premises – will be realised.

It’s a step in the right direction. But, inevitably, there’s much more work to do.

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