This year M&S launched a new brand of tea Iriaini, to sell in its stores. What was different about this tea was that it was packaged and branded where it was produced, generating an extra $2-$3 of income for kg produced. In fact the charity Value Added in Africa estimates that products processed at source could add up to 26 times the value of the commodity to the local community and thus generating considerably more income.
Rethinking value chains and establishing a business case to do things differently are just two of the areas that came up when we launched our scoping study on tea last December. At that stage with the support of Finlays and Unilever, we set out to examine whether a collaborative project exploring a sustainable value chain for tea and involving all parts of the tea value chain was needed.
I remember the first time I learnt about sustainable business at University – it was a day that changed my life. If I’d skipped that lecture on ‘business and the environment’ back in 2001, I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today. This is why I’m personally so excited about our Fashion Futures education module and how it’s now being used across the world to help create ‘eureka!’ moments for our next generation of fashion designers.
Over the last couple of months Louise and I, who worked on Fashion Futures back when we started in 2008, have spent a couple of sessions with with James Butler and Judy Fitzgerald who runs the BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Development at the London College of Fashion. It’s been brilliant.
I came nerve-janglingly close to missing my train from Brighton on Tuesday. I suspect that many of the 27,000 people who pass through the station every day will do the same over the coming year. Not because of meetings overrunning, or long queues at ticket barriers. No, there’s an altogether different – and more welcome – reason.
But then neutrality seemed to lose its fizz, and inquiries about the report pretty much dried up. Maybe our challenge that achieving neutrality should be a dynamic, ongoing process (rather than a one-off exercise in offsetting) scared companies away. Or, more likely, companies started to look elsewhere to demonstrate leadership on climate change.
I definitely wasn't expecting to find PowerPoint in the Peruvian jungle. But when I arrived at a community meeting in the village of Pucallpillo a few weeks ago, everyone was busy agreeing which photos to include and who would present the official slides to any visitors. Pucallpillo wants to tell the world its story, starting with anyone who cares to stop by there.
It's just one of many places along the Alto Huayabamba river that emerged relatively recently from intensive illegal coca production, and whose inhabitants now grow organic cocoa instead. Earning enough from that to keep coca out for good, repairing damaged soils and protecting their cocoa trees from climate change are all big concerns for the residents.
If I am honest, I have to admit that even I am quite surprised that Bristol’s BIG Green Week 2012 this June has turned out to be… well simply huge.
When I first suggested to Forum’s CEO Peter Madden and Founder Director Jonathon Porritt nearly two years ago that we create the UK’s annual festival for sustainability, I don’t think we imagined we would end up with over 100 events in nine days in our first full year.
You can see the massive festival programme for yourself, with the tickets and the details for all the events between 9th and 17th June now online at www.biggreenweek.com.
It is a spectacular line-up of internationally renowned speakers and celebrities. Their mission inspire the next generation of great green ideas through a fun-filled nine days.
‘Human Capital consists of people's health, knowledge, skills and motivation,’
personality and creativity etc.
Social Capital usually ‘concerns the institutions that help us maintain and develop human capital
in partnership with others,’ like families, communities, businesses, groups etc.
I was sitting on the bus one morning this week, wearing my headphones, studiously avoiding eye contact with strangers and still waking up for the day ahead. Adhering to the unspoken rules of commuting in a major city, in other words. It was 8.15 in the morning, and I hadn’t had any coffee yet. Mulling over human and social capital – ie the value that humans possess and how it can be tapped into - was not high on my agenda.
At a recent high level UN meeting Bhutan’s Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley said that if mankind is to avoid its current unsustainable and self-destructive course it needs to replace GDP with Gross Domestic Happiness. A tough challenge. But one we think we’re up to at Forum for the Future, so we’re trying it in our own little corner of the cosmos – the Forum offices.
Our very own James Goodman published a book of poetry...
We’re just wrapping up our final reports and accounts for 2011. Not particularly exciting news you say? Well, what is exciting is reflecting on the success we’ve had and what that means for our staff.
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