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Marine conservation social enterprise Blue Ventures shortlisted for Growth Champion Award

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Blue Ventures, a social enterprise that works to support marine conservation across the world Head Quartered in London, has been recognised as a leading social enterprise, shortlisted in the 2015 NatWest SE100 awards.

The NatWest SE100 Index is an online listing of social ventures, ranked and scored according to their growth and social impact. Each year the NatWest SE100 Awards recognise social enterprises on the Index who have demonstrated some of the best business practice within the sector, celebrating the growth, impact, ambition and resilience of social enterprises in the UK.

The Growth Champion Award is given to a social venture on the Index who has experienced positive, financial growth from one year to the next. The panel also looks for a winner with sustainable and diverse income streams, coupled with a sustainable business model. Blue Ventures has a growth percentage of over 150% for the 2014-2015 financial year, and are ranked 4 out of 125 organisations in their turnover category of £1-5 million.

Blue Ventures works in communities where the ocean is vital to local cultures and economies, and is dedicated to developing innovative approaches for producing and sustaining locally led marine conservation to benefit the areas in which they work. Head Quartered in London, Blue Ventures started out with projects in Madagascar and Belize, and is now trying to replicate in new territories in south east Asia, the pacific and other parts of Africa.

As well as celebrating financial success, the Growth Champion award recognises an organisation’s  commitment to measure its social or environmental impact. Blue Ventures has a social impact score of 9/10 on the NatWest SE100 Index.

To date, Blue Ventures conservation programmes have reached 300, 000 people across the world living in marine protected areas, including their innovative model in Madagascar where it has integrated family planning services into pre-existing, community-based conservation programmes. The programme has achieved huge success, reaching 25, 000 women in remote communities with no previous access to contraception.

Richard Nimmo, Managing Director of Blue Ventures, said of its growth and impact: “We are taking an entrepreneurial, commercial approach to conservation and development, which is not typical of the sector.  We have trading income through our ecotourism business, which makes our model sustainable. Many sources of income for grant funding come through government, and are not secure. Our business model is key to being able to support our selves and maintain the teams in the countries in which we work.

He continued: “All profit is reinvested back into the organisation or donated to our conservation charity. When we go to work in new countries, typically we go without funding. Our ecotourism business means we can establish operations, and once we have demonstrated that we are effective in those regions, the funding cycle changes. Other sources of income are through more traditional charity sources, and we are more focused on foundations and trusts that are looking to support enterprise, change and transformation, as many are very attracted to our social enterprise status.”

Commenting on the award, Richard said: “We’re really excited to be shortlisted for the Growth award and remain optimistic about our future as an organisation and scaling up. In spite of our recent successes there is always room to grow and we hope to expand our services to reach 3 million people by 2020. We feel strongly that social entrepreneurship is good for the third sector, and are pleased to be a part of the SE100 Index to help promote that.”

Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise, NatWest, said: “Social Enterprises make a massive difference to local economies and communities across the UK and beyond. They are run by inspirational people who want to make a difference. That is why at NatWest we want to support them to get access to the finance, support and networks they need to flourish. That way not only do  they benefit, but the economy benefits and our society benefits.

“The NatWest SE100 Index and Growth Champion Award allow us to recognise social enterprises that have seen growth through sustainable and diverse income streams, all while making a positive impact. We congratulate all shortlisted enterprises and look forward to celebrating their success at the awards ceremony on 19th October.”

The 2015 winners will share a £32,000+ prize fund that will be awarded at the NatWest SE100 Annual Awards on the 19th October 2015, at the Good Deals social investment conference in London. For tickets to the awards ceremony click here.

The shortlist is divided into five categories: Sustainable Growth, Social Impact, Trailblazing Newcomer and the Resilience and Storyteller award.

Economy

New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035

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renewable energy policy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Eviart / https://www.shutterstock.com/g/adrian825

New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern is already taking steps towards reducing the country’s carbon footprint. She signed a coalition deal with NZ First in October, aiming to generate 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2035.

New Zealand is already one of the greenest countries in the world, sourcing over 80% of its energy for its 4.7 million people from renewable resources like hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. The majority of its electricity comes from hydro-power, which generated 60% of the country’s energy in 2016. Last winter, renewable generation peaked at 93%.

Now, Ardern is taking on the challenge of eliminating New Zealand’s remaining use of fossil fuels. One of the biggest obstacles will be filling in the gap left by hydropower sources during dry conditions. When lake levels drop, the country relies on gas and coal to provide energy. Eliminating fossil fuels will require finding an alternative source to avoid spikes in energy costs during droughts.

Business NZ’s executive director John Carnegie told Bloomberg he believes Ardern needs to balance her goals with affordability, stating, “It’s completely appropriate to have a focus on reducing carbon emissions, but there needs to be an open and transparent public conversation about the policies and how they are delivered.”

The coalition deal outlined a few steps towards achieving this, including investing more in solar, which currently only provides 0.1% of the country’s energy. Ardern’s plans also include switching the electricity grid to renewable energy, investing more funds into rail transport, and switching all government vehicles to green fuel within a decade.

Zero net emissions by 2050

Beyond powering the country’s electricity grid with 100% green energy, Ardern also wants to reach zero net emissions by 2050. This ambitious goal is very much in line with her focus on climate change throughout the course of her campaign. Environmental issues were one of her top priorities from the start, which increased her appeal with young voters and helped her become one of the youngest world leaders at only 37.

Reaching zero net emissions would require overcoming challenging issues like eliminating fossil fuels in vehicles. Ardern hasn’t outlined a plan for reaching this goal, but has suggested creating an independent commission to aid in the transition to a lower carbon economy.

She also set a goal of doubling the number of trees the country plants per year to 100 million, a goal she says is “absolutely achievable” using land that is marginal for farming animals.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson believes that phasing out fossil fuels should be a priority for the new prime minister. She says that in order to reach zero net emissions, Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar.”

A worldwide shift to renewable energy

Addressing climate change is becoming more of a priority around the world and many governments are assessing how they can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally-friendly energy sources. Sustainable energy is becoming an increasingly profitable industry, giving companies more of an incentive to invest.

Ardern isn’t alone in her climate concerns, as other prominent world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have made renewable energy a focus of their campaigns. She isn’t the first to set ambitious goals, either. Sweden and Norway share New Zealand’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045 and 2030, respectively.

Scotland already sources more than half of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to fully transition by 2020, while France announced plans in September to stop fossil fuel production by 2040. This would make it the first country to do so, and the first to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Many parts of the world still rely heavily on coal, but if these countries are successful in phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable resources, it could serve as a turning point. As other world leaders see that switching to sustainable energy is possible – and profitable – it could be the start of a worldwide shift towards environmentally-friendly energy.

Sources: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-06/green-dream-risks-energy-security-as-kiwis-aim-for-zero-carbon

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-hydrocarbons/france-plans-to-end-oil-and-gas-production-by-2040-idUSKCN1BH1AQ

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Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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