January is often a time of resolutions and lifestyle changes, we often make commitments to ourselves on a personal level. It is also possible to apply the same level of reflection and ambition within the organisation you work for.
Making these changes can improve your business’ corporate social responsibility CSR, all the while enriching the lives of colleagues, employees, clients and perhaps in turn, doing your bit for the environment and local economies and communities.
Here are just a few steps you can take to make a real difference your organisation this year:
Develop a Low-impact Catering Policy
Reducing your meat and animal product consumption can be a great way to undo some of the health damages of the excess of Christmas. It also, considerably reduces your carbon footprint and can lead to more permanent life-style changes for a healthier and more considerate future.
Choosing to go vegetarian or vegan is a big change even when considering the health and environmental benefits, so if you don’t get buy-in for a fully vegan work place you can choose instead to eat at establishments with Vegan options or specialist Vegan restaurants for work-related social events.
Buying in catering to your work-place or for work events can also be carbon-intensive, whether that is with heavy use of animal products, or plastics in the packaging and transportation. A simple way to reduce this impact is to specify a vegetarian/vegan food options when planning events and to be mindful about any waste that occurs.
Here at Cynnal Cymru we have a vegetarian food policy for all of our events, choosing to source locally and working with local suppliers where possible. We also opt for jugs of water over plastic bottles and single-use plastic cups.
At our recent Sustainable Academy Awards; Cardiff Metropolitan University won the Sustainable Procurement Award for their collaborative approach with their ‘Plastic free pledge‘. Working with your own customers, staff and suppliers is a key part of this process and encouraging them to make small changes in line with your own policies means together you can find better solutions to doing things differently.
Join a Growing Movement for Real Living Wage
The Real Living Wage, not to be confused with the Government Living Wage, is a rate of pay, independently calculated according to the cost of living. The Government’s Minimum and Living Wages do not consider the cost of living and have instead been agreed by trade unions (minimum) or a percentage of median earnings (Government Living).
By reading more about the Living Wage Foundation (Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales are the official partner in Wales) and promoting the accreditation scheme within your organisation and networks, you will be working toward ending low and unfair pay and fighting to ensure that work is a sure way out of poverty.
There is already a great network of employers in Wales who fully support the scheme and its work but we need more organisations, across all sectors to get involved to improve pay conditions for as many as possible.
Cynnal Cymru is working with the Wales Council for Voluntary Action WCVA to provide practical information and support to businesses on how they can embed activities such as volunteering into their sustainability strategy. A key part of this work is supporting young people through the #iwill campaign – At the core of the #iwill campaign is the belief that young people aren’t just the leaders of tomorrow – they have the ideas, energy and ability to change the world today.
For businesses, supporting volunteering days for your employees, providing volunteering opportunities and positively recognising volunteering as a core skill in your recruitment process can have multiple benefits for your staff, business and wider community.
For volunteers, the list of benefits is almost endless, as individuals that volunteer build personal and professional skills, improve their wellbeing and increase their understanding of others.
As a business this can increase your brand and reputation as part of your wider CSR, in turn attracting better new recruits and contributes to a healthy and happy workforce.
Visit our volunteering resources web page to find a list of tool kits and guides on to get you started as well as links to volunteering opportunities and funding.
Find out how you can support young people through volunteering – support the #iwill campaign
Share your volunteering story – we are looking for good practice stories to share on our website, so please get in contact.
Becoming Carbon Literate
The Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan, the Well-being of Future Generations and the Environment Acts are giving a clear signal: Wales is committed to meeting the challenge of a low carbon future. Your organisation could establish its leadership credentials in their field by becoming “Carbon Literate.”
The Carbon Literacy Project aims to ensure that everyone who works, lives, or studies in Wales has the opportunity to learn about the causes and consequences of global warming and the ways that individuals, organisations and communities can take action in response.
This peer to peer, shared learning method enables people to explore what the reality of climate change means for them at home and in work. Equipped with the facts on how human activity, weather and climate are inter-related, individuals, communities and organisations are helped to take action to reduce emissions, devise positive responses, and influence others.
The “Carbon Literacy Project” has achieved international recognition and is now an established movement for change in greater Manchester, the BBC, BAFTA and Scotland, Canada, Holland and France. Cynnal Cymru is the official partner of the Carbon Literacy project in Wales. We are offer certified Carbon Literacy training through a certified trainer. Public Health Wales, The National Museum of Wales, and Community Housing Cymru are some of the organisations who have joined the project through our training.
Individuals can do one of our ‘Open’ training days, or whole teams can learn together to change their organisation’s culture. Giving colleagues this opportunity to learn together and develop a set of practical responses will ultimately save the organisation money, make it more resilient, improve the its reputation and enthuse and motivate staff.
To find out more about Carbon Literacy Training please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Greening your Organisation
A key driver in investing time, energy, and sometimes money, in making your organisation more energy efficient, waste-conscious, and resource-light is that it delivers bottom-line cost savings that can be used to fund your key services or mission.
However, these actions will also play a part in helping tackle some of our most pressing global challenges, safeguarding access to resources and quality of life for future generations.
Invest in Nature have a wealth of online resources available to all that include how to reduce overheads by responsible resource use and how to encourage a healthy work environment whilst indoors. This can also boost staff well-being, creativity and productivity as this short animation demonstrates.
To find out more about how you can Green your organisation please see www.wcva.org/invest-in-nature-cymru[:]