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Businesses Call on New BEIS Ministers to Take Responsibility

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Dozens of leaders from a wide range of social enterprises and investors have written to Ministers to ask that the new team of forward thinking take on some liability for social enterprise, social investment and mutuals.

 

The call comes on the back of the news that the Office for Civil Society is going to be moved to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) from the Cabinet Office as part of Theresa May’s new government.

More than 25 businesses have signed the letter which has been sent to Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Nick Hurd, Margot James and Jesse Norman. All four of the new ministers have a strong track record of supporting social enterprise and progressive businesses, and will be key to delivering the new Prime Minister’s call for an ‘economy that works for us all.’

Social Enterprise UK’s chief executive Peter Holbrook, who rallied the businesses, said, “This is a timely opportunity to make it known that we would like some responsibility for social enterprise, investment and mutuals to sit within BEIS. For more than 15 years, successive governments have invested in social enterprise from the heart of Whitehall and moving responsibility for these businesses into the DCMS risks losing momentum. The UK is widely regarded as the world leader on social enterprise and investment – other countries look to Britain for inspiration and for groundbreaking policy ideas that have helped to grow the social economy, benefitting communities and the disadvantaged.

“Britain is facing a multitude of social and economic challenges, and businesses as a force for good are needed now more than ever.

Responsibility for social enterprise, investment, co-operatives and mutuals has always sat somewhat uncomfortably outside the Department for Business.

We know that with the support of the Department of Business, social enterprises, social investors, community energy co-operatives and other businesses working to improve society and the environment can continue to lead the way in building a fairer, more sustainable UK economy.”

In the letter, the business leaders say, “As representatives of social enterprises, social investors, entrepreneurs, co-operatives and community energy businesses we were absolutely delighted to see the new Ministerial team at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. In terms of commitment to, and understanding of, the social and environmental contribution that businesses across the country can make, we could hardly imagine the Prime Minister appointing a better team.

At the same time, we are concerned about responsibility within government for civil society seemingly moving to DCMS. We are grateful to Rob Wilson for all his support for social enterprise and social investment and we value the Treasury’s work on co-operative society legislation, for instance. At the same time, these policy areas have always sat somewhat uncomfortably outside the Department for Business. We have welcomed Ministerial responsibility for social enterprise sitting at the heart of government, but we have at times been frustrated by the absence this left in Victoria Street.

We are writing today to ask you to consider how we take forward this enduring relationship. In particular, we propose that:

– We agree to establish regular quarterly meetings with the Secretary of State, as we have done with your predecessors;

– The Minister of State (or another Minister in the department) takes on formal responsibility for this agenda within BEIS;

– As you develop your industrial strategy, policies to support innovation, and as the Government’s Mission-Led Business Review concludes, you consider how the Department for Business has formerly taken the lead in delivering previous Social Enterprise Action Plans; and

– You communicate to officials your collective interest in the social and environmental contribution of business, the social economy and social investment. The presence of a civil society team within DCMS does not mean we shouldn’t work with you in collaboration, where opportunities present themselves.

– You propose and establish, together with key central departments and DCMS, arrangements for a formal and cross-cutting government-wide policy approach, through an existing or new interdepartmental committee, for instance, or a new Commission.”

Peter Holbrook, Social Enterprise UK

Amy Cameron, 10:10

Phil Caroe, Allia

Nigel Kershaw, Big Issue Invest

Simon Rowell, Big Society Capital

Holly Piper, CAF Venturesome

Andrew Croft, CAN

Patrick Crawford, Charity Bank

Emma Bridge, Community Energy England

Ramsey Dunning, Co-operative Energy

Ed Mayo, Co-operatives UK

Jamie Hartzell, Ethex

Geoff Burnand, Investing for Good

Matt Smith, Keyfund

Tony Armstrong, Locality

Dominic Llewellyn, Numbers for Good

Alex Germanis, Pure Leapfrog

Lindsey Hall, Real Ideas Organisation

Daniel Brewer, Resonance

Jennifer Tankard, Responsible Finance

Ali Wilson, School for Social Entrepreneurs

Vinay Nair, Social and Sustainable Capital

Annika Tverin, Social Finance

Alastair Davis, Social Investment Scotland

Jonathan Jenkins, The Social Investment Business

Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
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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