Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category
Where to start?? There is so much happening right now, and this is me prioritising as I type. Sometimes you just have to do the doing before the planning! There is much more to share and explore soon but first off the mark there is this…
The short version:
I’m looking for anybody wanting invest £100 (or more, much more, they can cope with bigger!) into a Liverpool based community renewables social enterprise that is about to cause a few solar waves.
The slightly longer version:
Liverpool Community Renewables Ltd is edging closer to reaching it’s initial funding target of £80,000 and I’ve offered to help them reach that goal, raise awareness of the project, recruit an army of supporters, advise on navigating future waters and generally shouting about a great non-profit targeting an tapped opportunity.
LCR aims to push solar installations across the north west of England, beginning in Liverpool – the birth place of many world renowned social projects, to accelerate a more sustainable future for all whilst alleviating energy poverty where it is needed most.
Next on the shopping list after the share offer are businesses with a big roof or anybody with spare land to house as many PV panels as we can muster.
Entirely comprehensive version: (including business plan) and prospectus:
Ok, I’ll save the detailed details for those genuinely interested, but there are plenty of those over at www.lcr.coop.
Please share this post with your friends, enemies, neighbours, networks and taxi drivers to find the financial support to help this worthy cause make its impact felt.
Not all awards are created equal.
To some they are great opportunity to shine a spotlight on success, whilst others see only over indulgent attempts at PR and spin. I’ve always been a supporter of those receiving the credit they deserve for often swimming against the mainstream tide and pushing CSR and sustainability, and awards can be an effectively vehicle for spreading the word.
There is also an ever-growing number of awards of countless variations on criteria and the knack is rapidly becoming finding the most relevant awards to your project. It’s worth taking the time to do thorough research. Some awards have more credibility than others, and the Guardian Sustainable Business Awards are up there near the top.
This week I had the honour of joining Solitaire Townsend, Sally Uren, John Elkington and David Doughty to share our insight as judges for this year’s Guardian Sustainable Business Awards. It was our job to combine notes on the entries into the Consultancy of the Year and Communicating Sustainability categories.
I obviously can’t give anything away until the big announcements on the 29th April. What I am probably allowed to let you in on is that The Crystal is an amazing place to visit, John enjoyed the fish for lunch, David D may (or may not) have been a fan of The Archers, Solitaire enjoys chairing hyper-efficient groups, thus Sally was able to leave ahead of schedule, and I really enjoyed the return trip across the Thames on the Emirates Cable Car with my extra time. Thanks Solitaire!
Today (Friday 13th March) is also the final day to cast your votes for the Sustainable Business Leader and Unsung Hero. Click here to nominate your choice for recognition.
I’ve judged many awards and thought I’d offer a few probably obvious suggestions for those wanting to get a better bang for their awards application buck.
1. Be in it to win it.
If you’re proud of your innovation / success / idea, shout it from every rooftop you can find. Don’t allow potential naysayers to stop you. It is a great reward for those involved and hopefully exploited to help scale impact. There is evidence stating even critics see you in a better light, regardless of their voiced concerns.
2. Read and then answer the bloody question!
Don’t just use a box to elaborate eloquently on your wonderous initiative. Answer the question as specifically as possible. Assume the judges know nothing about your project and give details and data, not politician-like overly narrative responses to fill the word count and answer the bloody question. Rant done. Apologies offered if required. Judges really appreciate brevity!
3. Read the rules
It’s not rocket science people. Do your homework. Hit deadlines. Don’t go over maximum word counts. Don’t include extra attachments or links if not allowed. At best they’ll be ignored. At worst you’ll be disqualified.
4. Be honest with yourself.
Not every project is worthy of winning an award. Entering awards does require a certain amount of time to enter successfully. If your project doesn’t really tick the boxes asked save your time until you do have something special to compete with.
5. Ask for help
Build relationships with those conducting the award. It’s not against the rules to ask questions about the process or maybe even what has worked in the past. If you’re really stuck or enthusiastic, you can always ask me too.
6. Don’t ask for help
External advice is a double-edged sword. Outsiders maybe an option for writing award applications but they won’t know (or be as passionate about) your project as much as you do. Often naivety will be overlooked if the main details are there, and passion does win favour.
7. Plan beyond winning
Your amazing project has won? Yay! So what? That lovely new ornament needs to be more than a dust trap. Communicate through all your own channels, including sales, customer service, marketing, HR, everybody, just make sure you leverage all added value to justify the allocation of resources consumed through applying.
8. Learn from the ride
Your amazing project hasn’t won? Boo! Don’t cry. Just because you didn’t get to take home the dust trap doesn’t mean you came away with nothing. What did you learn from the process or the winners? Who did you met on this journey? How will you win next time?
Whenever my best intentions to share the amazing projects and work, that I’m bombarded by daily raise their heads, so does a new opportunity for me to add value somewhere ‘important’ and screw that balance between being a great dad to my son, passionately pushing business in a better directions and an accelerating transition to triathlon geek. I like doing, failing and learning, and proud to fail repetitively!
I digress. Which is pure me. I am a creatively chaotic soul, increasingly comfortable with this understanding and I hope you will too!
And yes, there is a point coming soon. I am seeking a commercially orientated favour, but I probably have more social capital built up than most and surely one or two asks is allowed?
I would appreciate any feedback, and sharing (please!!! – all shared love will be reciprocated when noticed) of the big project we’ve been building since I headed over to CSRwire for 3BL Media. Yesterday we officially launched an innovative CSR / Sustainability Reporting service into the wild. It definitely pushes companies into a more considered frame of mind, communication and engagement, and could even be pushing many businesses further than they admit aiming for. We like encouraging progress and asking the industry to move forward!
I’ve believed in the power of non-financial reporting as an internal process for progress as much as it is a communication tool for many years, yet always wondered why so many allocate tens of thousands in investment in the data collection and creation of a document to then dump as a .pdf on a website few visit.
The whole ethos of this new product aims to get companies communicating their success, learning and future challenges, over weeks and months not 24 hours. It should be about focusing on separate topics, taking the time to more effectively share different messages to different audiences using different channels, but most importantly over longer periods. One off announcements often get lost in today’s hyper-saturated social media world. Maximise that isolated asset!
A good CSR / sustainability report is a narrative and data menu for stakeholders to selectively delve deeper into a five-course meal if they so wish, but don’t force people to rush their meals.
Please check out our big announcement here.
Have you ever felt strangely at home somewhere you’ve never been to before? It happens to me whenever I visit the US for some reason. I can never explain it, it just does. I suppose I should have expected a similar feeling coming when I agreed to embark on my latest journey, with almost old friends.
As of October 1st I’ve been the new Director of CSRwire for 3BL Media. I’m guessing you’ve probably heard of at least one of those two companies if you’re reading this blog and travel any distance across the online responsible business universe.
A handful of the Founders of 3BL Media had worked for CSRwire before leaving a few years ago to set up 3BL Media with their own vision for the then only emerging social media explosion. Two companies with a similar ancestry borne out of the outdated broadcast press release industry headed off in parallel paths.
I’ve been close to 3BL for a long time with my own path crossing theirs very early on as an upcoming consultancy trying to eek out a reputation with a meagre budget, much to share and dabbling with the new toy called Twitter. There’s even a couple of videos of me to be found as one of the 3BL TV videobloggers along side Christine Arena, Fabian Pattberg, Chris Jarvis and Elaine Cohen – time for a reunion guys (don’t forget those lovely party glasses Elaine)!
Both 3BL’s and my own paths have run in parallel, and occasionally crossed for a project or two along the way.
I always wanted to engage more with CSRwire than I ever did. It was always a go to place for news and original content. I’m just one of those loyal types that had friendships and allegiances with 3BL and felt uncomfortable supporting the opposition, but I could never stay completely away because they were producing great pieces with great leaders.
Anyway, enough of the trip down memory lane and me sharing my childlike enthusiasm about a new role. I am after something. That most valuable of somethings. Your time. Not much, but a very precious couple of minutes to me.
We’re at the start of the process of integrating CSRwire into the bigger 3BL Media group and we wanted to explore this window of opportunity to engage with as many within our communities as possible to help us build a plan to accelerate into 2015.
I would appreciate more than you could imagine, just 5 minutes of your valuable time to let us know via this SurveyMonkey link what you thought was strong about CSRwire and how we build on those strengths. If you’ve never heard of CSRwire before, that’s fine, you have now, and your input would be just a valuable but you might want a quick tour of the website or @CSRwire Twitter feed first.
I’m also jumping on a plane to the US soon to catch up with the team at 3BL HQ and then onto the BSR Conference (#BSR14) in New York next Tuesday to Thursday (4 – 6 Nov). It’s my first public event in the new role and I’d love to catch up with any readers (or anybody you think I should meet) that are around the event or the city next week! Give me a shout if you fancy grabbing a coffee (I’ll be relying on caffeine by then)!
CSRwire will also be announcing a big focus on all things Sustainable Finance (#SRI, #ESG, #ImpInv) during November for anybody interested in those themes. You’ll be able to submit your own articles or media for consideration. I’ll update this page with the link when it arrives.
More news from the new fun will follow…
For the first time in quite a while I’ve noticed a distinct lack of cute / comedy cat posts (albeit somewhat distorted by buckets of ice water) and a stronger impression of more purpose based flashes in the social media world.
My gut, if backed up by more than a little professional insight into the data, feeling is that we may at long last be turning a social good communications corner. The activist world had too long preached at its audience to save the whale / panda / water / energy / planet to only see early plateauing of resulting engagement. Those who get it, got it pretty quick, but the wider mainstream world nodded, smiled and apathetically carried on regardless.
One latest indicator of the turning tide is the latest collaboration between Upworthy, Unilever’s Project Sunlight and the United Nations Climate Summit. In a space where such apathy has held fast, with nearly 10 million engagements – and yes, the ‘so what’ will need to be assessed – the reach is impressive. The campaign aims to ‘raise awareness and inspire action that prompts global leaders to adopt a more ambitious and urgent approach to addressing climate change’ is laudable indeed and I for one will be keeping a close eye on the story as it unfolds.
“With more than 100 heads of state and government joining leaders from business and civil society at the UN Climate Summit, we want to help them understand how much support there is for ambitious leadership and action on climate change,” said Dan Thomas, head of communications for the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team. “Through partnerships with innovative and mission-driven companies like Upworthy, we are constantly seeking to engage new audiences in our mission.” – And about time too.
I appreciate the ethos behind Upworthy, even if I’m not 100% convinced with their format’s efficacy over time, but if very little else it demonstrates both the reception of, and the need for better storytelling, boldness and yes, even playing those mainstream marketing emotional tricks to more diversely convey social good messages.
From the latest press release – The Upworthy community is one of the most engaged on the Web. The average Upworthy post generates 35,000 social actions (shares, likes, comments), which is 39 times more than an average post from the Web’s top 25 publishers. One third of Upworthy’s audience is now outside the U.S., in countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, and South Africa.
With such important challenges edging ever nearer we need those who know to maybe ask more for forgiveness rather than permission in getting their knowledge to the masses.
I’d also like to say a thank you to whomever made the bolder decisions (especially on budget) than usual to explore this collaboration. My optimism is mildly rejuvenated.
Check out this link to find out what all the fuss is about. It’s a no cat zone I promise.
PS – No real cats were harmed during the creation of this blog post, but countless links, images and videos were ignored or deleted.
Written by davidcoethica
September 11, 2014 at 11:20 am
It’s time to stop over-thinking and speed up the doing, and change is in the air.
Nine years after escaping the carnival that is the business of sport, with many, many commercial lessons learned, and a tough personal 12 months, the moment I hit the ‘Publish’ button a new era begins.
No huge upfront fanfare at this point, merely a few noticeable differences to the way things will be done around these and associated online and offline parts.
The short version is that the original experiment that was Coethica both excellently failed and stealthily succeeded. I did begin the introspection behind the evolution two years ago and the headline (underlined in bold) awakening was that I was an explorer, communicator, evangelist and educator that hardly ever got to play to my personal strengths.
Not great for business. Not good for me. Not any more.
The experiment with social media worked way beyond my wildest dreams creating multiple exciting, and often distracting new tangents, which ironically should have been a bigger part of the direction from the beginning.
So now with a personal account overflowing with social capital from 17 years of a wildly varied social good career that includes over 6 years of social media curation, content creation, network building and engagement, it’s time to spread my wings further, aim higher and fly faster.
I’ll be able to share the new clients and projects soon but I should mention I’d love to have one or two more technology companies in the new communications based portfolio.
Business needs to step up its game and here’s a few examples of what you see me doing differently.
- As a brand ambassador / evangelist
- Speaking and moderating at events
- Supporting world-changing non/low-profits
… all with a stronger focus on leadership, education and innovation.
Over the coming weeks and months I’ll be more formally announcing the new services, and new clients, and I’d really appreciate your support by adding your knowledge to any best practice and thought leadership I find and share on my increasing travels through all things social good (including CSR, sustainability, social enterprise, non-profits etc).
To find out how I can help your organisation or for speaking engagements send me a direct email via email@example.com or get in touch via Twitter at @davidcoethica.
Written by davidcoethica
June 26, 2014 at 4:48 am
Book Review: Latest in the DoShorts series –
‘Creating a Sustainable Brand’ by Henk Campher
Simplicity is beautiful. In a world saturated by gurus (I even shivered typing that word) and wanna-be experts lining up with their jargon bazookas in strained attempts to prove Einstein’s alleged quote wrong…
If you can’t explain it simply you don’t know it well enough.
..well they do have to justify fees, real wisdom is usually drowned out in the melee.
One such source of accessible knowledge is the DoShorts range of books. In particular, keep your eyes open for the latest guide on the block, ‘Creating a Sustainable Brand’ by Henk Campher. Henk has one of my favourite, if a tad long, corporate titles as Edelman’s Senior Vice President, Business + Social Purpose & Managing Director, Sustainability – and breathe. Trust me, this guy knows his sustainable branding eggs.
The book’s subtitle is ‘A guide to growing the sustainability topline’ and pretty much nails what you will get from your 90 minute injection of practical expertise. The three core branding based themes cover all you really need to know about managing ‘the fusion of branding and product’ to improve profit in a world of accelerating sustainability change. In a confusing space of greenwash, good product / bad company, bad company / good product, ethical labels, evolving legal structures and corporate rankings make it impossible to directly compare two organisations.
This guide provides a strong, concise and robustly educational foundation for anybody new to sustainability, and also as a timely reminder and ammunition for those professionals at the day-to-day coal face. For example, Part 3 of the guide explores ‘The Anatomy of Sustainable Brand’ and offers the following summary
A sustainable brand cannot exist if the product itself does not have any sustainability characteristics. Similarly, a sustainable product needs to differentiate in the marketplace through branding that resonates with the consumer. This is at the heart of a sustainable brand – combining the sustainability of the product and the brand to create a unique sustainable brand value proposition and identity.
The guide doesn’t hide away from calling out the obvious elephants in the sustainability room, and Henk’s opinion and expertise is bold and incisive, whilst being fair. How can BP be greener than Greenpeace? Really? In what intelligent and authentically transparent world does that make any sort of sense? If I were to have one criticism it would centre around the guide’s segregation of brand and product that feels at times that it hopefully assumes operational processes into its wider definition brand, which of course it should, but how many brands are that deeply entrenched and understood across all business functions and employees?
Perfection is not part of the sustainability agenda – or else we wouldn’t need constant improvement. It provides us with a scale to assess whether sustainability association in the brand is completely absent or whether it is embedded – from ignored to designed.
Overall, this is the most comprehensive, informative and well written guide to sustainable brands I’ve seen yet. Henk’s huge experience on just about every side of the concerned fence from non-profit to corporate and developed to developing nations, all align perfectly with a genuinely insightful, entertaining and endearing style.
Get your copy of ‘Creating Sustainable Brand’ with a special 15% discount head over to www.dosustainability.com and enter campher15 in the voucher code box.
If you prefer shopping at Amazon click here to go straight to the guide.
Come back when you’ve read the guide and let the other readers know what your opinion was.
For disclosure: I have never been paid by either Henk or Edelman, sadly, but Henk and I are both strong Liverpool Football Club fans and quite possibly marginally intoxicated by the dream like potential of our team winning the English Premier League, and in glorious fashion. I have tried to remain totally objective but hey, this kinda stuff doesn’t usually happen in the real world, so please consider this when making your own opinions.