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  • Writer's pictureThe Just Audit team

Part 6: Taking sustainability into the community

Updated: 15 hours ago



Increasingly organisations are putting corporate social responsibility on their agenda. There are so many ways in which your people can get involved with the local community, particularly to promote sustainability and taking care of the immediate environment.

 

We really like the charity ‘The Big Help Out’ which brings community causes and helpful people together, with a dedicated page for businesses who would like to get involved. The Big Help Out weekend this year is 7-9 June but you can get involved at any time! You can register your business and also download a partner pack to support your efforts. Bear Grylls is the ambassador for this charity – the perfect advocate for sustainability, nature and the environment.

 

Here are a few other suggestions about how you can integrate your business locally to really make a difference.

 

Competitions with local schools

You could run an age-appropriate competition for local schools on an environmental theme. You could do all sorts of things from simple colouring/’design a poster’ style of competition right through to more high-level environmental workshops for business/geography A-level students, for example. Make sure the prize is relevant, appropriate and serves the school as well as any individual winners – this will help to ensure that your proposal is considered. Be prepared to manage every aspect of it though as schools are overloaded with their own commitments but generally welcome environmental projects. Working with schools builds relationships for future collaborations such as recruitment drives and other initiatives as well.  

 

Volunteer days

Volunteering is a valuable way to get directly and personally involved. You could identify what services are available (such as homeless charities or food banks) and ask what your business can do to help. Acting as a drop off point for food or donations is one low-effort idea. Some organisations support volunteer time during working hours. Regular faces will help the groups you are supporting so they don’t need to train new people every time (which can end being counter-productive if they are busy).

 

Helping out in the community

From your community centre, neglected allotments to public parks and walkways you could assess the area, see what needs doing and offer your company’s services. This kind of endeavour could include mending, painting, litter-picking or fund-raising for something specific. An initial scouting expedition to talk to the right people will pay dividends.

 

Planting schemes

You’ll need to ask permission obviously (depending on where you hope to plant) but identifying, selecting and planting trees, shrubs or shrubs is always a popular way to improve your locality. There’s not much that aligns more powerfully with the sustainability theme than planting or sponsoring a proposed planting scheme. You could also do this in conjunction with a garden centre.

 

Support your independents

Encourage everyone within your business to buy locally. If there’s an independent sandwich shop on your road, why not see if you can set up a loyalty card scheme between them and your company? Again, be prepared to take on some of the work – maybe once you have agreed a loyalty scheme with the owners you could organise the cards and awareness posters for example. If you can support local businesses who also support local suppliers, all the better.

 

Extending your recycling programme

As well as recycling on your own premises, you could extend your recycling programme to local people and other businesses. Is there a way that you can reach local people and let them know about anything you are getting rid of such as office furniture, office supplies and other items? It’s worth checking out your liability in terms of electrical goods such as computers and printers. It doesn’t have to be restricted to work related items either – recycle books, games, old DVDs, anything you and your team no longer need. Facebook community pages and public noticeboards are a good place to start.

 

By getting out and about in the community, your people can make a real difference. Their efforts can be included in your communications, social media, website and newsletters – to show how your business is doing its bit for the planet. It’s a way of publicly recognising your team’s work and can be inspirational to other local companies as well. Any good causes you are helping will also benefit from the reflected promotion and raised awareness – it works for everyone involved.

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