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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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Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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