Head of Youth Volunteering, James Alexander, gives us an insight into some of the exciting opportunities to come for the Greenprint 2020 programme
The past few months have been quite hectic! Since the ‘Our Sustainable Future’ event at the end of February where we outlined the Greenprint 2020: your vision of a greener, fairer Britain in 2020 to a variety of businesses and youth organisations, we haven’t stopped. The event kicked into life our joint vision of not just talking about action on climate change, but being a force for change through finding and implementing practical solutions for business, government and society.
Our first stop was the Business in The Community (BITC) Responsible Business Conference, where our steering groups ‘product of the future’ ideas impressed people so much that they out shone other ideas developed by leaders from some of the UK’s top businesses. As a result many doors have opened up to us, and we are busily meeting CEOs and top directors around the country.
We are currently planning community days with Hammerson (if you have never heard of them before, they are one of the largest shopping centre landlords in the UK), and we are just about to work on a water project with Anglian Water.
We have also had a great opportunity to talk to Accenture who are concerned with the amount of young people struggling to find work. They are interested in seeing how we can work together to support young people in gaining the skills and experience required to make the most of the emerging green economy
I really knew we were on to something when Ian Cheshire, the Head of Kingfisher (who own B&Q), saw me at an event and before I had the chance to speak, said we should definitely work together. Their situation is fairly interesting, Kingfisher as a group are striving ahead in creating a sustainable business but are finding that the public and their suppliers are a little way behind. They are finding it hard to sell sustainable products even when they are heavily discounted, whilst also struggling to source new products that meet their environmental standards. In these circumstances many businesses would have decided that the market wasn’t ready and reverted back to their old ways. But Kingfisher are pressing ahead with creating one of the most environmental big businesses in the UK, and it will be great if we can be involved.
With supermarkets, shopping centre’s, retailers, financial intuitions and utilities wanting to work with us, I think we are going to have a busy time ahead. However it will be an exciting time with loads of opportunities for you to get involved, and not only shape what we do but see how some of the UK’s most powerful corporations operate as well.