I’m often inspired what other business and people are doing to make the world a better place. Here are some of the things I’m implementing in my business to trY and do my bit:
I’ve still got a way to go, but by using Adobe Fill and Sign (for contracts and policies), Google Forms (for health questionnaires), online booking systems (I use www.bookwhen.com for my holiday camps and Try-Sports and Fitness) and digital marketing, it’s massively reduced the amount of paper (and ink cartridges!) I use. Not to mention the amount of time it’s saves!
Every month I donate 10% of running subscriptions to charities my runners are fundraising for through races. Our default charities if no one comes forward are The Gathimba Edwards Foundation: Giving kids in Kenya a chance; Love Mercy Foundation: Empowering Northern Uganda and Shoe4Africa: Saving and empowering African kids lives and empowering women.
Kit for Somalia:
I encourage all clients to drop off any old/disused sports kit and equipment at the Sports Field which, together with any lost property gets donated to a charity that sends it to Somalia.
As a professional athlete I used to spend winters training in the beautiful Rift Valley in Kenya. I was always taken with the wonderful, friendly children that would greet you out on runs: “Ow arr yoo mizungo?!”. Having worked with some primary schools in the UK I approached them to see if they wanted to form twinnings with local schools I used to regularly run past. Five years on our 4 twinnings are still going strong. All proceeds from my work in the schools in the UK, plus any fundraising efforts from the schools themselves, go directly to the schools out there, funding improvements in infrastructure and sports provision. For information on how a twinning can enrich your schools (and ace ofsted criteria!) visit our website.
Having watched a video a while ago on Facebook about an actress deciding to divest to an ethical bank, it prompted me to research my bank’s ethical credentials. It didn’t score well and so following more research I also decided to divest and go with the co-op. Although not quite as advanced as other high street banks in their technology, they have all the features I need (online banking and debit card). I procrastinated quite a while as I thought it would be a real hassle. But it wasn’t at all. I filled in a 20min questionnaire and they do the rest in terms of automatically switching over standing orders and direct debits.
Converting to a CIC:
i.e. a ‘Community Interest Company’. Basically that means we are a not for profit and all assets will be given to the Sports Field upon ceasing business (not that I have any plans as such!). One of the key benefits is that it entitles me to apply for grants to help further our work and aims. So far I have been successful in securing funding for coaching courses for some of my female teenage volunteers and to update some of our equipment.
Ethically sourced merchandise and uniform:
I now only purchase environmentally friendly, organic and/or fairtrade products. Here are some useful links to help you do the same:
Curiouslyconscious- Reviews current ethical sportswear providers with relevant links.
AWDis – They have a fair wage guarantee on all their products and have recently launched an ecologie range.
Shirtworks – a ‘Living Wage’ employer with a great range of organic products. They are also mindful of the environment with their packaging and printing. Plus their customer service is great.
Ethical Superstore – a great range of… everything! Not just sports clothes, this website can help you thoroughly clean your conscience. And house!
Keeping it local:
I endeavour to keep mileage to a minimum with the majority of my work within 300m of where I live! I also strive to cycle or take public transport as much as possible.
Whilst I appreciate that the best thing is to ‘keep carbon in the ground’ and not to use carbon off-setting as a licence to do as I please, I figured it’s better to do it than not! I used this website that offers ‘additionality’ in their projects i.e. social benefits as well as environmental ones (e.g. providing families in impoverished countries with smokeless cooking stoves). It only cost me £40 to offset all my business and personal footprint for last year. And you get a goodie two shoes certificate.
I’ve since discovered it is probably even more beneficial to support charities that seek to tackle the infrastructure surrounding climate change at a political level e.g. Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace.
Small things on my holiday camps:
We serve organic veg sticks, only use free-range eggs in our healthy baking and encourage all the children to recycle their rubbish. We also use a lot of recycled resources in our craft activites.
Healthy DIY Café at the Sports Field:
I personally stock this with a variety of fairtrade tea bags, coffee, squashes, protein balls and ice pops with all proceeds going to sports field.
I have started to run an annual lottery that awards credit for our sessions as prizes. All profits are offered as a hardship fund for those that are restricted financially from attending our sessions and donated to our aforementioned twinned Kenyan schools for sports related projects. We most recently funded the landscaping and re-seeding of a school sports field.
Purchasing second hand sports kit:
We do this wherever possible to help reduce the seemingly overwhelming amount of ‘stuff’ that’s wasted because of chinks that can be be ‘make do and mended’. On that note, I recently discovered how to mend punctured balls.
Projects in the pipeline:
Getting solar panels installed and implementing recycling at the Sports Field!