An outstanding achievement and something we are very proud of.
Back in 2019, ADLIB Recruitment was one of the first recruitment businesses to certify as a B Corp with a score of 82.8. Our belief is that B Corp provides a structure and measurement to improve, certification is the start of the journey. We set out our intentions publicly through annual impact reports and set the bar high. This approach ensured we maintained the focus and accountability needed to make change happen.

Since our initial certification, we’ve held ourselves accountable to improve year on year. We’ve become a 100% employee-owned business, created a Trust Board, Employee Council and gifted each of our existing employees share options with a clear route to realisation.

We’ve donated many thousands of £ to charities and NFPs, including Feeding Bristol, Grassroots Activation Project, St Mungo’s, Julian Trust and Forest of Avon Trust to name a few brilliant organisations.

Internally, we have created MotherBoard, a business charter, community and event series that drives tangible change for mums working in the tech industry. We’ve also vastly improved our maternity leave policy and delivered D,E&I training, lived out through a healthily balanced team. The team have played lead roles in advancing GreenTech South West and Tech Ethics meet up groups. And that’s just for starters.

Today we celebrate the hard work that has gone into achieving our recertification. Focus will soon turn to our next recertification and setting the standards to a whole new level.

We are proud to share the first annual impact report from MotherBoard – the non-profiting initiative that is powered by ADLIB and sponsored by Not On The High Street. MotherBoard is a Business Charter, Event Series and Community that is creating real long-term change for mums working in the tech industry.

Over the past 12 months the MotherBoard Community and Charter have offered a platform for people to connect and discuss taboo subjects, whilst our growing signatories have committed to, and achieved change. Topics include:

• Mentorship • Promotion & leadership • Coding courses & funding • Infertility • Pregnancy • Sexism • Racism • Parental bias • Miscarriage • Menopause • Toxic cultures • Still birth • Redundancy in pregnancy • NDAs

Within the report you will see the positive impact MotherBoard have achieved since launching in 2021, we are excited to see what the next year holds!

We hope you enjoy having a read, if you would like to hear more about MotherBoard please email the team at [email protected]

View the MotherBoard impact report.

MotherBoard is a Business Charter, Community, Event Series, and Podcast driving tangible change for mums working in the tech & data industry. We are on a mission to transform the industry to be more inclusive of mothers by tackling stigmas and supporting employers who want to create real change.

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With climate change on the agenda at COP27 in Egypt, a major new report has examined the steps different sectors within the UK’s creative industries are taking to reduce carbon emissions and what more needs to be done. 

Published by Creative Industries Policy and Evidence CentreJulie’s Bicycle and BOP Consulting, the Creative Industries and the Climate Emergency study describes the the creative industries as an “economic powerhouse” which delivers £115.9bn GVA to the UK economy, accounts for 2.2m jobs, and exports more than £50bn per year.

The government’s strategy for the UK economy to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 says “everyone will need to play their part”. With the creative industries representing 6% of the GVA of the overall UK economy, the study stresses that it’s vital the sector works with the government to achieve its goals.

The sector has responded dramatically to that call to action with the report highlighting how businesses and organisations of all sizes and in all sub-sectors of the creative industries innovating in production, design and supply to reduce their impact on the environment.

Several carbon calculators have been developed for businesses to measure their carbon footprint, and industry associations are forming alliances to produce reports, campaign groups and other activities to tackle climate change.

There are extensive challenges for all sectors though, the report said, and much more action is needed including government support to encourage and more investment for applied research.

Hasan Bakhshi, director of the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, said: 

“We are calling for a change to the definitions of research and development (R&D) used by the HMRC for tax relief, which currently excludes arts, humanities and social sciences. Without this we risk under-incentivising creative industries companies who want to experiment with new production and supply methods to reduce carbon emissions.”

The call for R&D tax relief to be extended to the creative industries is also something higlighted by Bristol Creative Industries board member Gail Caig, and the issue was highlighted in Bristol Creative Industries’ recent report on creative businesses in Bristol and the wider south west region.

We found that almost half (46%) of respondents to our survey stated they have not applied for R&D tax credits because they are not eligible.

Another significant barrier is the lack of knowledge of R&D tax credits, the report found. Although these barriers are higher among freelancers, 38% of commercial business respondents believe they are ineligible for R&D tax relief, and 17% admit they lack knowledge.

The BCI report said:

“While progress is being made to strengthen the links between the tech community and the creative industries, we need to raise our game in terms of research and development across the sector. There is a major UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) cluster programme in Bristol as well as the Catapult Network in the South West, but the research shows that these initiatives are not cutting through to BCI members. The challenge is on to build even stronger connections between creative and tech, educate more businesses about R&D and ensure programmes delivered at a national level deliver more for our members.”

Alison Tickell, founder and CEO of Julie’s Bicycle, said:

“For so long we’ve asked what is needed to motivate the political, economic and social change urgently needed. This report provides an answer; culture. Not only do the arts motivate change through storytelling and the unique ability to inspire connection and empathy but on a very practical level; it is these industries that across all sub-sectors are adapting their processes and monitoring impact. We find clear evidence of a willingness to learn and change from CEOs, boards, employees and artists themselves; it is clear culture is ready to prioritise change.”

Professor Christopher Smith, executive chair, Arts and Humanities Research Council, said:

“Climate change and environmental issues are now at the top of the agenda for creative businesses, from international corporations to start-ups. There are dozens of innovative projects and tools to help reduce carbon emissions, and some are supported through UKRI. But there is so much more to do. This report is a starting point and a call to action.”

How the creatives industries are tackling net zero

The full report is jam-packed with useful information on how the creative industries are tackling climate change, the challenges that remain and what needs to be done to solve them. We urge you to read it.

In the meantime, here are some sector-by-sector highlights from the report of net zero schemes and initiatives with links to useful resources: 

Advertising

The advertising sector is largely computer-based work in offices but approximately 20% of its carbon footprint is generated through production. According to the Advertising Association, the largest footprint of a single production shoot was over 100 tonnes of CO2.

The sector also has a significant environmental impact through media distribution including tens of thousands of advertising billboards across the country and a million tonnes of leaflets, brochures and flyers.

Efforts taken by the advertising sector to reach net zero include the Advertising Association’s Ad Net Zero initiative, with several well-known brands, advertising agencies, media titles and industry bodies signing up to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. It also launched a report with guidance for measuring and reducing emissions through advertising, including how to enable consumer behaviour change.

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has launched its Ad Net Zero course.

Architecture

Like other creative sectors, architecture has relatively low direct environmental impacts due to mostly being computer-based work undertaken in offices.

However, its role within the wider built environment is crucial to the climate agenda. Estimates suggest that the construction sector as a whole contributes as much as 40% of all global carbon emissions, with the production and use of concrete alone responsible for 8% of all emissions.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) launched the 2030 Climate Challenge to support architects to “design within a climate conscious trajectory”. It provides performance outcomes targets for architects in how they design for energy use, water use, embodied carbon etc.

With Architects Declare, RIBA also produced the Built for the Environment report which makes the case that the built environment must drastically reduce its carbon emissions to work towards net zero.

The Architects Climate Action Network (ACAN) was established in 2020 as a “network of individuals within architecture and related built environment professions taking action to address the twin crises of climate and ecological breakdown”.

Crafts

Small scale crafts businesses, such as designer making and jewellery, have a relatively small carbon footprint. It is the creative sub-sector with the smallest economic size according to government figures.

The Crafts Council produced a report in 2010 promoting environmental sustainability in crafts, which remains an active part of the organisation’s programme. The Crafts Council is also part of ‘Ecological Citizens’, a project with the Royal College of Arts and commercial partners such as IKEA, which explores the digital preparedness of the sub-sector for net zero including manufacturing of surplus materials and helping people digitally exchange knowledge and resources.

Research by the Crafts Council in 2020 found that almost 50% of consumers said that buying from sustainable businesses using sustainable materials and local supply chains is important.

Design

Design is not a single creative sub-sector with a distinct value chain, but a set of creative practices and skills applied across industries and contexts. Environmental impacts depend on the type of work being undertaken. For example, graphic design and visual communications is linked to advertising, while product design is associated with engineering and manufacturing.

In 2021, the Design Council launched Design for Planet which “aims to turn policy into practice and allow us to design our way to net zero”.

The Design Council also runs the Design Value Framework, which helps designers and commissioners to identify and assess the wider social, environmental and democratic impacts of their work.

Designer fashion

The report said that designer fashion “has almost certainly the largest environmental footprint of all the creative industries”. It added:

“Due to the complexity of international supply chains, estimates can vary widely – one study by McKinsey estimated the entire fashion product life cycle is responsible for up to 4% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Such is the extent of the problem that London Fashion Week, the UK industry’s flagship event, has been specifically targeted by activists, with high-profile campaigns by Extinction Rebellion for it to be cancelled.

“At the same time, controversies about ‘greenwashing’ and potentially misleading claims from fashion businesses have led to an investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority.”

In 2020, the British Fashion Council helped to establish the Institute of Positive Fashion, with an ambition for the fashion industry to be “more resilient and circular through global collaboration and local action”.

There are various organisations and commitments encouraging voluntary sign-ups such as Textiles 2030. Signatories collaborate on carbon, water and circular textile targets, and contribute to discussions around policy development for textiles in the UK.

Other initiatives include the UN’s Fashion Charter for Climate Action and The Fashion Pact.

Film and television

The BFI collaborated with BAFTA albert and Arup in 2020 to measure carbon emissions from film and television. There are significant impacts, particularly for big budget productions which are estimated at 2,840 tonnes of CO2 for an average film production with a budget of over US$70m. Around half of emissions are linked to transport, 30% of which is air travel. There is also considerable onset energy consumption, with electricity and gas use accounting for 34% of emissions, while diesel generators contribute 15%.

In 2011, BAFTA launched albert, an online tool that calculates the amount of greenhouse gases as a direct result of a production. The tool has been used by more than 1,300 television production companies, with 7,500 production footprints calculated.

Other tools include the Green Book of Sustainable Buildings which has resources for cinemas, the Independent Cinema Office Green Cinema Toolkit and Green Screen, an online tool that supports environmentally friendly filming in London.

Music

“The environmental impacts of the music industry are probably better understood than the impact of any of the UK’s other creative industries,” the study said.

A study by Julie’s Bicycle into the UK music industry found that the annual greenhouse gas emissions from artists touring in the UK and British acts touring overseas was approximately 85,000 tonnes of CO2e in 2010. Research by campaign group Powerful Thinking in 2018 found that the UK festival industry generated 25,000 tonnes of CO2e (excluding audience travel), created 26,000 tonnes of waste and used  million litres of diesel.

Spotify estimated in 2021 that it had a carbon footprint of 353,054 tonnes CO2, and that 42% of its GHG emissions come from listeners streaming.

In 2019, Music Declares Emergency was launched as a call to action backed by more than 3,000 UK music artists. It is now also a campaigning entity that issues guidance, co-produced with Julie’s Bicycle, on how artists and businesses can create change, such as pressing lighter weight 140 gramme vinyl instead of 180 gramme.

LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment) was established in October 2020 to bring the UK trade associations under one umbrella group as a single, united voice. It launched the LIVE Green programme.

All 14 association members of LIVE have ratified its declaration to deliver measurable and targeted action on climate change, with the ultimate aim of reaching net zero emissions by 2030.

Vision: 2025 is a network of over 500 outdoor events and businesses taking climate action.

Smaller independent companies in the recorded music industry can measure their carbon footprint using a custom carbon calculator developed by IMPALA and Julie’s Bicycle.

The Music Climate Pact is a global platform, initiated by the UK’s Association of Independent Music (AIM) and record labels association the BPI, that was launched as a response to COP26 and the urgent call for collective action to combat the climate crisis.

Performing Arts

A study by the GLA and the Theatres Trust found that London’s theatre industry generates 50,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions a year, with audience travel estimated at an additional 35,000.

The Act Green report examines audience attitudes towards the role of cultural organisations in tackling the climate emergency.

The Creative Green Tools, developed by Julie’s Bicycle, underpin the Arts Council England’s environmental reporting programme for more than 800 annually funded organisations.

The Theatre Green Book outlines a new standard for environmental action in the performing arts.

Choreographer Matthew Bourne piloted the Julie’s Bicycle Creative Green Touring Certification with its 2018-19 Swan Lake tour of the UK.

Publishing

The sector’s environmental impact is linked to printing and paper production. The UK produces more than 180,000 new book titles each year (more per capita than any other country), and is home to more than 10 national newspapers, hundreds of local papers and several thousand consumer and trade magazines.

The report said:

“Producing virgin paper from timber for all of these is highly energy intensive, and the print industries are thought to represent up to 4% of global energy consumption. Added to this is the large amount of water required in producing virgin paper – estimated to be 10 litres of water per A4 sheet. Pulp and paper mills, with their extensive use of bleaching agents and other chemicals, are also significant polluters.”

The Publishers Association (PA) has a Sustainability Taskforce, the Publishing Declares campaign and a carbon calculator.

The Sustainability Industry Forum was launched by six publishing organisations.

Video games

The video games design sector is almost entirely digital so the environmental concerns are mainly related to the large amounts of energy required for playing games. London software designer Space Ape calculated that 50% (or approximately 375 tonnes) of their carbon emissions are produced by the cloud servers used to operate their games.

The Playing for The Planet Alliance is a campaign group launched by the United Nations that seeks to create change within the global video games industry.

UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) partnered with Playing for The Planet to create the Green Games Guide.

Visual arts

In 2010, a report by the Greater London Authority and Julie’s Bicycle estimated that audience travel accounted for a majority share (56%) of the London visual arts sector’s CO2e emissions. A 2019 report by the Tate Gallery found that audience travel accounted for 240 million tonnes of CO2e, or 92% of the gallery’s total carbon footprint.

The Gallery Climate Coalition has grown from the London arts community to over 900 country-wide members, and an international membership of 20 countries. Its aim is to facilitate a reduction of the sector’s carbon emissions by a minimum of 50% by 2030, as well as promoting zero waste.



If you’re a Bristol Creative Industries member, let us know what you’re doing to tackle climate change by emailing Dan.

Related Bristol Creative Industries content

What can we learn from Patagonia giving away their firm to fight climate change?

Powerful climate change documentary produced in Bath premiered at COP27

How sustainability is going to change your (working) life

Our predictions (and hopes) for COP27

JonesMillbank, Bristol-based video production company, worked with Matter to help launch a Kickstarter campaign for their product, Gulp; the world’s first microplastics filter for washing machines.

Every time we do our laundry, up to 700,000 microfibres are released from our washing machines and pumped into our waterways.

Gulp captures these microplastics before the ocean does.

It’s the first, sustainable, long-lasting solution, with zero additional filter costs and no disposable parts.

JonesMillbank worked with Matter’s team, including Founder Adam Root and Product Director Lucas Horne to bring Adam’s story and Gulp’s technology to an audience across Kickstarter and social.

“Working closely with the team at Matter was a great experience; it’s always nice to work with a client who are open to and trustful of your ideas” said Russell Jones, Director at JonesMillbank, who was also scriptwriter and assistant director of the production.

“The fact that the story and product is green-purposed and aligned with our strategy and net zero credentials was a benefit to boot”.

Lucas Horne, Product Director at Matter said “JonesMillbank did a fantastic job in pulling together a compelling creative that really told the story of Gulp and Matter’s development in a captivating way and the campaign was fully funded in under 30 minutes.”

You can view and back the campaign at www.kickstarter.com/projects/aroot/gulp-self-cleaning-washing-machine-microplastic-filter and view the campaign content at jonesmillbank.com/work/matter/gulp-kickstarter.

***

JonesMillbank are a passionate full-service video production company

They work exclusively in-house with a talented team of multi-disciplined creatives, all the while telling authentic stories long before it was cool for a range of clients such as University of Bristol, IDLES, NHS England, The Royal Mint and Battersea.

jonesmillbank.com
01173706372
[email protected]

In part 1 of this series, we looked at the power of brand storytelling in the wealth management sector. In this second part, we’ll explore the first of the audience segments that winning brands need to address as an integral part of their story: women with wealth.

This has been a challenging audience for the male-dominated wealth management industry to address. But it is an increasingly important segment for wealth managers to address, both in their marketing, and as part of their business model. Here’s why:

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“…43% of the global high-net-worth population are women…”

This wealth is being generated by more women in leadership roles, female entrepreneurs and female-led businesses. There is also a growing proportion of intergenerational wealth being passed to women, and the statistics show that many of them inherit between the age of 25-35. (source: BCG Global Wealth)

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Across the board, Boston Consulting Group found that younger generations of women are taking control of their financial interests.

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However, only two out of five women say they are confident making financial decisions, despite evidence showing that when women are deciding on investments, they often spend more time researching and gathering information than men.

Despite this growing opportunity, according to Ernst and Young73% of UK women feel their adviser misunderstands their goals or cannot empathise with their lifestyle. Consequently, the research found that 62% of women are willing to consider switching to another adviser compared with 42% of men.

“…70% of widows sacked their adviser after their husband’s death…”

The most profound of these statistics comes from Boston Consulting Group who found that 70% of widows sacked their adviser after their husband’s death.

So why is this?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that these women might prefer a female advisor, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Whilst wealth management is still a largely male-dominated sector (although this is changing slowly), according to a survey by Canada’s Strategy Marketing consultancy, only 7% actually wanted a female adviser. Across the board, research studies show that women want advice that demonstrates an understanding of their approach and attitude to investing, as it is distinctly different to men.

“…73% of UK women feel their adviser misunderstands their goals…”

There’s been a lot of research published over the last ten years about what women want from a wealth management service. So it’s surprising to see how slow the industry has been in adopting its findings. Especially considering that the audience makes up 43% of the addressable market. Even more so, when you consider how relatively simple it is to understand and address their needs.

Fundamentally women, unlike men, are not interested in investment performance for its own sake. UBS reports that women are more interested in what the money is for, rather than how it is invested. For them, it’s not a competitive pursuit in which data shows how much you’re winning or losing. Investing, for the majority of women, is about achieving their own personal goals.

Boston Consulting Group research summarised these goals as:

The specifics of these goals will change at different points throughout their life.

An overwhelming majority of women want their investments to benefit people, society and the planet. The Center for Talent Innovation (now Coqual) report that 88% of women want to invest in organisations that promote social wellbeing.

Along with these specific goals and aims, women’s mindsets are an important consideration. This means building trust is essential when advertising to women. The WealthyHer report found that:

“…88% of women want to invest in organisations that promote social wellbeing…”

So how are wealth management brands reflecting these facts in their brand story? For us, there are two leaders.

First, let’s look at UBS. They have applied a goal-orientated approach to their brand story, using the ‘questions’ narrative we discussed in Part 1 of this blog series across the customer journey. The photography gives a sense that they are talking to both men and women. The goals and questions raised feel like they apply naturally to anyone. It never feels forced, contrived or patronising.

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Having made their brand story broad and inclusive, they also create a specific journey for women. This includes advice services, online content, resources and communities aimed specifically at them.

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ABRDN is the second leader, in our opinion. Whilst UBS is subtle and understated in its application, ABRDN is incredibly direct and concise. First, with sustainable investment as its headline message, it taps into the zeitgeist, particularly for women, as the research shows.

But then, look at the body copy. The core points from the research are all addressed. Again, this never feels contrived, forced or patronising. The brand has achieved an egalitarian position, equally appealing to men and women, young and old.

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There are a growing number of niche wealth management companies aimed specifically at women, notably Independent WomenWealth for WomenWomen’s WealthEva Wealth in the UK.

However, with increasing competition in the market, we expect to see more brands adopt a more inclusive narrative in their brand stories. The big test will, of course, be whether the service they offer lives up to their brand promise. Walking the talk will definitely be more challenging than creating the story.

“…we expect to see more brands adopt a more inclusive narrative in their brand stories…”

While we can’t necessarily help you practice what you preach consistently, we can certainly help you market to women. Our team of experts can advise you on inclusive storytelling, advertising campaigns and so much more. Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

And don’t miss the next blog in our Wealth Management series, all about marketing to millennials.

South Bristol charitable organisation, Heart of BS13, has been announced as the first winner of the city’s newly launched ‘Noble Deeds’ programme. The initiative will see Heart of BS13 receive a £12,000 package of digital marketing support. This will help it develop its social enterprise work to further support a healthy, thriving community in Hartcliffe and Withywood.

Already well established in North America, the Noble Deeds programme was launched at an event in Bristol in June by the Noble Performs UK team. Local charities and not-for-profits were invited to attend and hear more about the programme before crafting their entries.

Despite receiving entries from a number of extremely worthwhile organisations, the Noble Deeds UK committee had to select a winner. Heart of BS13 was chosen due to the crucial role it plays in the community to support people through the cost-of-living crisis and to improve health equality in the area.

Lorenzo Campbell, Noble Performs and chair of UK Deeds committee explains; “It was of course a tough decision to make with so many deserved Noble Deeds winners. However, after seeing the amazing work they are doing and how we could help them really engage people in the local community to build on this, it became an obvious winner.

“Not only does Heart of BS13 strive to become self-funded through social enterprise initiatives such as selling produce from its flower farm, on-site kitchen ready meals and unique outdoor event-hire space, it puts the benefit gained directly back into the community. The community fridge, outdoor volunteering and social opportunities are all focused on improving the health and wellbeing of the local community. There’s also a climate action and community stewardship of the local environment element to Heart of BS13, which really resonates with our own values at Noble Performs.”

The digital marketing support from the Noble Deeds programme comes at pivotal time for Heart of BS13 as it accelerates is social enterprises to offer more to the community.

Georgina Perry, chief executive, Heart of BS13 explains; “We are all thrilled to be the first UK community organisation to become part of the Noble Deeds programme. The past couple of years have seen us take stock of what we’re doing and which of our initiatives will help us most efficiently achieve the health outcomes we want in our local community. There’s so much passion and support for what we’re doing, the next stage in our evolution is about how we harness that and focus our efforts for maximum positive impact.

“Working with outside digital marketing experts will really help us to sharpen up our thinking around this and where we should focus our efforts to promote what we are doing. It’s also a great opportunity for our team here to build their digital skills through working with the Noble Performs team. We’ll be able to retain these skills for the future and make more informed decisions when we’re considering marketing activities.”

Helping clients such as Adobe, Rolls Royce, Air Asia and Yosemite with their international digital presence, Noble’s ambition is to replicate the scale of its Nevada Noble Deeds programme in Bristol as its UK footprint grows.

To find out more about Noble Performs go to https://nobleperforms.co.uk, to find out more about Heart of BS13 please visit https://heartofbs13.org.uk/

The West of England’s first-ever Good Employment Charter has been launched by Metro Mayor Dan Norris as part of a push to develop good jobs, deliver opportunities for workers to progress and help local and regional employers succeed.

First to sign up is the world famous, four times Academy Award winning animation studio Aardman. Others already pledging their support include Visit West as well as Bristol’s Wake the Tiger, Bath’s Storm and Stoke Gifford’s Service Robotics.

The Charter has been designed by trade unions, employers and employees from across Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire.

Local firms big and small will be supported by the West of England Combined Authority, led by the Metro Mayor, to raise standards across a number of areas, including regarding recruitment and worker engagement, with a two-tier approach to help them progress.

Good Employment Charter

The two tiers of the West of England Good Employment Charter are:

Tier 1: Supporters – working with aspiring organisations to help them take steps to improve their own practices, including through a personalised action plan, workshops and other events, raising employment standards across the whole region, to meet the requirements of accreditation.

Tier 2: Membership – requiring employers to demonstrate excellent practice in key characteristics of employment practice. These are:

Businesses receiving funding through the West of England Combined Authority’s investment funds will also now be required to become Charter supporters, confirmed the Metro Mayor.

Currently more than 15% of West of England workers take home less pay than the Real Living Wage, while an estimated 111,000 in the wider South West are on zero-hours contracts.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “I’m delighted to see this manifesto pledge fulfilled. No matter what job you do, everyone deserves dignity at work, fair pay and secure work in a safe workplace with clear opportunities to progress and develop. I want to praise the brilliant employers we have in our region such as Aardman.

“Recognising those good employers and seeking to persuade everyone else to do the right thing is what this is all about. We know that employers who are best at properly supporting their employees are usually the most successful. So this a win-win for employers and employees. I welcome the employers ego have started the journey with us today, and I’ve no doubt that many, many more will join them soon.”

Aardman Managing Director Sean Clarke said: “We’re really pleased to support the Good Employment Charter and feel that improving employment standards is crucial for staff wellbeing, retention, engagement and productivity. Many policies such as the Real Living Wage and Secure Work have been in place for some time, which has already made a positive impact to the business.

“As an employee-owned business we are always looking to expand and improve engagement with the ‘partners’ in the studio and have various forums for partners to have a voice on the how the studio is managed and our business planning and priorities. Aardman is committed to providing a workplace where people and their ideas can really thrive.

“We believe that implementing these standards helps us to nurture our most important asset – our people – and ensures we are well placed to attract and retain our talent in an increasingly competitive talent market.”

Employers interested in signing up to the West of England Good Employment Charter should email [email protected]

 

In 2019, Bristol became the UK’s first local council to declare a climate emergency. And six months later the elected Mayor, Marvin Rees, set a goal for the city to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Last year at Bristol’s bi-annual City Gathering, the One City Environment and Economy boards launched the Bristol One City Climate Ask – urging every business and organisation in Bristol to declare their support for their net zero initiative.

It’s exactly this kind of moving and shaking that makes Proctors proud to call Bristol home. So we’ve not only pledged our support to the city’s goal, we’ve also set our own – with an aim to reach net zero by 2030.

The rise in interest around climate change has also meant working with our clients on their own sustainability journeys. From creating explainer videos to running campaigns for more sustainable products and services, we are collectively learning and improving together.

We created an animated explainer video for Burges Salmon, showing how their multi-sector legal expertise enables clients to take a holistic view of their Net Zero roadmap and make the most of the opportunities it presents.

Achieve your Net Zero goals by seeing the full picture video here.

Proctors offices

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When we moved our office from St Paul’s to Easton, Bristol, our Founder and Chairman, Roger Proctor, made the conscious decision to reduce the building’s environmental impact and make it as sustainable as possible going forward.

To do this, we sought out environmentally responsible materials. The ceilings, walls and floors in the main office area are ‘super’ insulated using CelotexPIR boards, manufactured with low Global Warming Potential (GWP) and zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP). And the outside of the building has CristalACTiV coating which reduces atmospheric pollution in the surrounding areas. As far as we know we are the only building in the UK to have this coating.

We were also conscious of the waste we produced. Generally, all leftover building material was recycled, including the original building fittings such as steel, old radiators, wood etc.

We wanted to go beyond bringing an old, unused building up to modern standards. We wanted it to be sustainableself-sufficient and practically future proof. So, we installed a 3KW PV solar panel system (90 panels) on the roof to power the building, charge our company fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles (company car policy since 2010) and export any excess to the grid.

We understand that on occasion, our building may need more energy than the solar panels can provide (we are in the UK after all!). To offset this, we are on a green tariff with Good Energy for both electricity and gas. Ensuring we use renewable energy is always our top priority.

Since installation, our 90 solar panels have reduced our CO2 footprint by 72,960kg. That’s the equivalent of 30,400 litres of petrol. And from July 2021 to March 2022, our solar panels have produced an average of 2,213.5 kWh of energy a month, saving 75 tons of carbon.

All our lighting is ‘ambient lighting’ which self-adjusts to light coming into the building and switches off when there is no activity in the room – reducing our energy use. And our HVAC is all monitored through a programmable thermostat.

We have installed a living wall in our building that circulates fresh oxygen, removes air pollutants, increases productivity and creativity and boosts wellbeing.

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Getting to the office

We installed a bike lock up and have a cycle to work scheme to reduce car congestion both at the office and on the roads. We recently signed up to CyclingWorks Bristol, a group of organisations supporting better cycling infrastructure across Bristol to allow their staff to travel safely to work by bike.

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For those that do drive, we have 8 electric car ports which are powered by our solar panels. And we encourage use of public transport where possible with our commuter travel club scheme by first bus.

Company culture around sustainability

Lots of our sustainability success comes from our Proctorians’ passion to get involved. We saw this on this past Earth Day when one of our CSR officers, Aimee Ferris, ran a seed planting lunch and learn. We learned all about how we can use edible flowers, some of their medicinal properties, as well as how to garden sustainably using peat free composts and avoiding chemical pesticides.

We have numerous reminders around the office that celebrate our company culture and promote a sustainable mindset. From our living wall which helps purify the air, to our solar energy panel in the entrance. We even got in a local artist to create a mural wall highlighting everything we do for our team and the local community.

Our aim

Alongside many other businesses in Bristol, we’re currently working towards our B Corp certification. And to help us reach net zero by 2030, we are using the advice provided by Bristol City Council.

A word from Cllr Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for City Economy, Finance and Performance:

“The city’s ambitions to reduce emissions are accelerating with the finalisation of the City Leap consortium– and up to £1 billion in new investment, the shortlisting of Bristol and Oxford as the potential pilot for the UK’s first zero emission transport city and the announcement that Bristol along with Glasgow have been selected to join the EU Horizon 100 Net Zero by 2030 cities mission. 

However, to shift the city’s economy we need every business in the city to act. I welcome the steps that Proctor + Stevenson have taken to reduce their emissions. This is this is the kind of leadership the city needs to reach its 2030 climate ambition. I hope that other businesses are inspired by this example, and that they too will share their stories of how they are reducing emissions, and join the Bristol One City Climate Ask.

What do we mean when we say the word sustainability?

This may seem like a trivial way to begin this guide but this is an absolutely vital start if we’re going to address the first hurdle one must climb when talking about sustainability.

When you think about what sustainability is, like, the picture or definition that pops into your head; I can almost guarantee that what you thought is different from what I and practically everyone else (yes, I’m talking to all four of Future Shift’s loyal blog readers) thinks sustainability is.

Unlike, say, a pencil, which in this part of the world will almost certainly conjure up this image (left), sustainability in our collective mind looks more like this (right). On the right is what is called a floating signifier in linguistics. A signifier because it points to a specific image or idea and floating because the image or idea is unspecific amongst a population. The word sustainability floats around without a common definition which makes it almost impossible to talk about.

And I will start with my hypothesis here: that because the definition of sustainability is not agreed upon (and in some cases not fully understood by those advising sustainability), greenwashing is endemic in the world of business and sustainability consulting. This is because of a structural problem and not any malintent on the end of sustainability consultants, but all the same something that should be talked about and addressed through education and sound communication.

This is where my definition of sustainability comes into play. Just like an anthropologist must be aware of their positionality (their social or political stance relative to what they’re studying), you must be aware of my stance: which is chiefly biological. That is, that sustainability is a status of a business or person that would make this person or business exist within nutrient, water and carbon cycles indefinitely all the while not relying on existing structures of inequality to do so.

Now that the definition and hypothesis is out of the way we can get to our greenwash guide. I’ll run through three things to look out for to spot greenwashing in sustainability reporting.

1. Lack of independent reporting body or framework

This one’s especially important for large or impact-driven companies (companies that have impact at the heart of their business model or value proposition) that have sizeable budgets set aside for sustainability reporting.

If a company is working within a given framework (like the Science Based Targets Initiative for carbon reporting for example) or have brought in an independent reporting body to do the heavy lifting with respect to the numbers (like a university or research institute), they are already taking a big first step towards cutting out bias and greenwash from their sustainability report. Riverford Organic Farmers partnered with the University of Exeter and independent researchers Savanta to sort out their carbon foot-printing and plastic packaging reporting respectively and a produced a stellar, evidence-driven sustainability report as a result.

On the flip side, if a company is doing everything in-house, using their own reporting methodology, you’ll have to do some digging before their reporting approach can be considered greenwash free.

2. Lack of accountability

Accountability is important in reporting and there are tricky ways that companies get around accountability for things like sustainability commitments. One law to live by is that numbers always speak louder than words.

Numbers always speak louder than words

If words are chosen instead of numbers to define a commitment or action taken towards sustainability, then you need to look out for weasel words. These are words like ‘supporting’ ‘encouraging’ and ‘promoting’ which sound all well and nice, but when it comes to sustainability reports, an action to ‘encourage staff to be more environmentally friendly’ carries with it no accountability. This is because the extent of encouragement is up to the company here. It could be just putting an A4 print out over the printer telling staff to print two sided; a valuable nudge, but as a serious sustainability commitment, this is nothing more than wordplay to ensure a company is not held accountable for doing not much at all.

A better way to approach this ‘encouraging of staff’ can be seen from Riverford Organic Farmers who give a free lunch to anyone who cycles to work. There is no ambiguity here and, though not a number, is something that Riverford can be held accountable for if they fail to deliver.

3. Commitments without clear roadmaps

This one’s high up on my pet peeves list and perhaps for me the most telling sign of greenwash. Let’s take Net Zero commitments for example, something that every company seems to be churning out these days.

Something I see all too often are half-commitments that don’t have a clear cut way of how to get there. An example I came across recently is Bristol’s Net Zero 2030 commitment which is mapped in this 120-page report. Their commitment relies on so many forces that are out of their control making it very difficult to actually call this a true commitment; more greenwishing than malicious greenwash, but still reduces the integrity of commitments all the same. Some of the assumptions are that the UK energy mix will be pretty much zero carbon by 2030, all 20-25,000 new homes in Bristol will be built with no carbon emissions, and that citizens will replace gas boilers (which have a life expectancy of 15 years) with air source heat pumps within the next 8.5 years.

This last one, where Bristol residents have to replace fossil fuel boilers with an electricity-powered alternative is particularly tricky as it passes on a pivotal part of Bristol’s commitment to the consumer. If we don’t see significant policy-led incentives for consumers (especially those who don’t have the disposable income to replace a working boiler) to make the shift, this commitment can be considered greenwash on a city level.

Good roadmaps, based on existing technologies are vital for sustainability plans that are free of greenwash. There are countries and companies that are net zero right now, so waiting for the system to change to suit your commitment leaves commitments and sustainability plans empty and false.

Look out for the three mentioned things in sustainability reporting to spot the green from the greenwash. At Future Shift, we are committed to evidence and science-based sustainable transition and reporting. We dig into the norms to create valuable resources that allow our clients to steer clear of greenwashing and implement true sustainability.

A lesson from the 90s

In the mid 90s there was a buzz in the air. A new technology was on the horizon and the business world was starting to get their head around the opportunities associated with it. The internet was just around the corner and it was going to change everything.

You can bet your bottom dollar that your average successful 50-something business(wo)man rode the dot-com wave – in some form or another – all the way into the doorway of their second home in Padstow.

As Peter Thiel (PayPal) recounts, “The dot-com bubble was a goldrush: there was money everywhere, and no shortage of it, and no shortage of people to chase it … Appending .com to your name could double your value overnight” (Zero to One). The titans of business today were forged in the dot-com furnace – fueled by limitless information.

The dot-com wave irreversibly changed everyone’s lives. For the better? That’s not what this blog is about. The important point here is that today, 20 years after the large-scale adoption of the internet, we spend a sizable portion of our days thinking about the internet. In the eight hours a day we spend at work, we spend at least two of those hours thinking about the internet.

An important clarification: what I mean by “thinking about the internet” isn’t the time we spend navigating the internet, but the time that we spend making decisions in which the internet is a player. “Thinking” in this should could be more accurately thought of as consideration.

The next dot-com bubble

In the mid 90s, the internet was a fringe concept: open to debate and not universally accepted as a norm. At this point, the innovators and early adopters were turning the wheel and setting sail towards new ways of conducting their business which included the internet. The laggards and late majority, had their fingers in their ears and took the “I don’t think the internet’s going to change our business too much” stance (Context if you don’t understand these groups).

In the end, it was those who had full faith in this new way of thinking (pre-2000 in the graph above), changing their internal decision making to adopt an unproven and futuristic way of thinking who shaped the world we live in today. Those who were resistant, were forced to join the future at some point – and most likely don’t have that second home in Padstow today.

It will be no surprise — especially given the nature of our work at Future Shift — that I will pull this internet analogy into the world of 2022: a world just starting to adopt sustainable thinking into business. If you add 20 years to each of the values in the X axis in the graph above, you are seeing a picture of what the future trends will look like for sustainability being adopted as a core element of a business day-to-day.

For businesses and the people that work in them, thinking about sustainability today is just like what thinking about the internet was like 20 years ago. One had to think about a complicated, risky, futuristic system that we’re all moving towards, and no one had any idea of the social consequences. I can completely understand why people are opposed to making complicated, systemic changes — there’s definitely a lot less brain-ache involved with keeping your fingers in your ears (but I guess that’s why only 2.5% of the population are innovators). It is the job of this 2.5%, who quite like the risk and brain-ache to make thinking about sustainability accessible to everyone – just like Microsoft, Google and Apple did in the 00s. This is the business challenge of our working lives (unless you are in your second home in Padstow) and one that Future Shift is embarking on now.

The Microsoft’s, Google’s, Fa***ook’s and Apple’s of the world succeeded because they took the unbearably complicated concept that was the internet and made it so simple your nan could use it. This is the nature of the sustainable business arms race of the next 20 years. The internet’s market size is about $2 trillion. If you’ve heard Mark Carney speak on sustainability in the financial space, you’ll know that $2 trillion are baby numbers compared with what must be circulated to combat the climate crisis.

So, how is sustainability going to change your life? If you are a director or working in the innovation space, then everything you’ve already read is for you and how sustainability will penetrate your every business thought over the next 20 years.

For everyone else, think about your day-to-day job — and I want you to be honest here — and answer the question: “do I think about sustainability in my every-day decisions?” (sustainability here means how this decision will compromise the ability of people to live forever). If the graph above is anything to go by, only 3/10 of you can answer yes to this, and that’s pretty accurate in my experience of working with developing sustainable thinking in businesses.

Here are just some examples of how sustainability will be involved in your day-to-day, for some of the most common roles in a business:

In reality, a lot of these problems are on people’s minds right now and will become every-day consideration in the all too near future. When we get to a sizable chunk of the world thinking about these ideas before they are risks, that is when we transition into a sustainable society and start to address the fundamental sustainable issues we face today.

“Invest in emotional intelligence and emotional resilience because for the first time in history people will have to reinvent themselves multiple times throughout their life”

Yuval Noah Harari on what children should be taught today.

How Future Shift are going to change your life

Our mission in the world is to redesign sustainability for business. Our mission for our clients is to change everyone’s job description to include sustainability principles, thus nudging people to start thinking about sustainability and pulling sustainability into the equation when making day-to-day company decisions, however seemingly futile.

If we change enough people’s job descriptions, we begin to redesign what sustainability means to business – not some limitation or harsh boundary in which a business can operate, but an ideological shift within a business’ inner workings that can be induced by nothing more than the ability to see the world a little clearer.