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Businesses Call on New BEIS Ministers to Take Responsibility

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2492-Cuatro Torres en La Castellana (Madrid) by Jose Luis via Flckr

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

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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Top 5 Renewable Energy Stocks to Watch

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Do you feel morally obligated to put your money where your mouth is? I totally get it. We all want to make the world a better place, and I want to help you put your investments to work for you and the planet we call home – we only get one.

Questor Technology – CVE:QST

Questor Technology is one of the most promising penny stocks to follow under $5. It turns out that investing in renewable energy stocks doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can get in on the ground floor by investing in penny stocks. These are companies that are just starting to make an impact. If they are successful in the long-run, you win BIG. If they fail, you’re only out a couple pennies. Small risk and big potential reward.

Questor Technology is exciting because they are solving one of the biggest barriers to a greener planet – huge waste and pollution from the oil and gas industry. When they first launched they enjoyed a couple of record years. But as the economy took a hit, so did the oil and gas sector.

I love these guys because they didn’t call it quits. Instead of hanging up the towel, they retooled and relaunched. Now, instead of selling clean energy tech to large oil and gas firms, they rent the tech out. This provides a stable, ongoing revenue. And, if the economy takes another dip, they can quickly scale operations back.

I’m expecting a major upswing. If you have a couple of extra pennies in your portfolio, chuck ‘em at these guys.

NRG Yield – NYSE:NYLD

If you’re willing to dance with the devil, NRG Yield is an exciting company to watch. They invest and offer all forms of energy – from renewable to traditional. I’m really encouraged by their massive investment in renewable energy.

In recent years, making energy more environmentally sustainable has become a focus for a company that used to be one of the bad guys. I think we should encourage companies to stop killing our planet. These guys are on a warpath on behalf of green energy – and so what if they showed up a little late to the party. Don’t we want to reward reform?

Oh, and speaking of green, they’ve had a phenomenal year for investors. I definitely recommend adding them to your portfolio.

Brookfield Asset Management – NYSE:BAM

This is an asset management firm that has gone big on renewable energy. Part of their genius is that they stayed on the sidelines while renewable firms launched and fought over access to technology and resources. While they watched the good guys duke it out, they swooped in and picked up green energy firms that stumbled.

This means that their investors are able to invest in green energy at a HUGE discount. Brookfield Asset Management has more than 100 years of experience making strong investment plays. I love that they allow investors to access green technology without paying the hype premium.

Pattern Energy Group – NASDAQ:PEGI

Based in San Francisco, Pattern Energy Group is a pure green energy play. They’ve spent that past few decades building, expanding and innovating with more than 20 renewable energy facilities. If you’re a bleeding heart with a passion for green energy, this is as good as it gets!

You can purchase stock in their company on two different exchanges – the NASDAQ and Toronto Stock Exchange. This allows investors both north and south of the border to avoid international transaction fees. Savvy investors can compare both markets to find the best bang for the green dollar.

Carnegie Clean Energy – ASX:CCE

I saved the best for last with this stock. Carnegie Clean Energy harnesses the kinetic motion of ocean waves to generate energy. Their tech has been proven by the Australian defense sector – helping to power a naval base at Garden Island.

They also have dipped into other forms of renewable energy, so they have a bright future in a variety of markets. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a buyout shortly based on the proprietary, proven technology that this firm owns the rights to.

In conclusion, it is totally possible to be green-conscious while making some green for your investment portfolio. Some companies are more committed than others, but I’m not afraid of rewarding traditional energy companies if they’re making a solid effort to diversify and make the world a greener place.

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