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The Green Shoots of Crowdfunding by @rwscarter

There is a beautiful bottom-up revolution underway in the energy market, but like all revolutions there is hurdles the question is can the state facilitate the green revolution, I think it should. This requires putting into reverse how the state has been seen in market interventions as a monolithic agent ‘crowding-out’ competition. I believe that the state can and should act smart and counter to popular opinion ‘crowd-in’ the market, breaking the hegemonic cartel of the ‘Big Six’. As of 2013 renewable energy provides a mere 21.7% of all electricity generated across the globe, so it is time to harness the ‘green revolution’ going on in the energy market and push for a sustainable future not turn our backs on it.

Despite government attacks on ‘Feed in tariffs’ there is still a green light on sustainable energy solutions in this race against time and despite being the new tool in the arsenal crowdfunding seems to be meeting the demand for these solutions. Crowdfunding allows substantial sums to be made up from small contributions. Now with a boom in crowdfunding it is time the new far lower barriers to participation so everyone can make a difference no matter how large or small their contribution. The most significant barrier to participation to-date has been regulation and patents, but ideas do not need the support of the ‘Big Six’ to make it to market any longer as the crowd can facilitate the struggle towards a democratic and dynamic market model.

In the past, we have seen a number of promising ideas surrounding tackling the energy crisis being bought by large multinational corporations and never seen again such as the original design for electric car batteries. This cycle cannot be allowed to continue. Crowdfunding has the potential to empower groups of people who feel a responsibility towards the planet and allows them collectively wield their power, to take a moral stance fostering a sustainable difference. The short-term or short-sighted moves on energy pursued by governments and corporations, such as the controversial plans for fracking, or rip off nuclear plants run by China, can, if we want it to be a part of the past not the future. For this and many other reasons, green crowdfunding and a municipalisation and publicity owned and conscious energy market is not going anywhere but up. Evidence suggests that the really big challenges facing society, such as energy and climate change, cannot be met by the state, large companies, well-intentioned individuals or any other agent acting alone, so putting the values of co-operation into our heads, hearts and policy is now surely non-negotiable.

There is serious scope for intervention and municipalisation in the energy market, councils have socialised consumers to bargain a better price going someway towards helping ease fuel poverty. This proves that when society pulls together then there can be a real drive towards significant change. Crowdfunding, community funds and co-operative solutions offer the possibility of a seismic change; this is never truer than in sectors of strategic and societal significance such as renewable energy and financing innovative solutions. Large scale ‘crowd-led’ projects have taken place in Norway and Denmark for example which has contributed towards reducing carbon emissions while this stronger form of energy security has allowed these countries to continue without worry to expanding their business and industrial bases. Cooperatives and collaborative finance tend to play a much larger role in the energy markets of these countries; one of the largest wind turbine Cooperatives in the world is in Denmark, where 50% is owned by a ‘crowd’ of 10,000 investors and 50% by a municipal utility company.

Co-operatives across the country following examples of other co-operatives across Europe have begun issuing community-based shares a form of online crowdfunding with voting rights to tackle this sort of problem. There have also been Housing Association schemes aiming to tackle fuel poverty by installing solar cells on residents’ roofs to lower the cost of energy this had success with Leeds Housing Association using Abundance a green energy crowdfunding platform. There is no reason as to why the councils could not build their own solar farms, wind turbines or perhaps invest in any other form of clean or renewable energy independently using their pension funds or council budget. Nottingham Council have done just that setting up Robin Hood Energy as a municipal not-for-profit enterprise.

Going forward these green shoots from the crowd, municipal authorities and cooperatives will be put under real strain, but together tackling fuel poverty, sustainability and an un-equitable market will be enough to ride the wave. This hegemony will not last forever in its place will be a truly public interest, democratic and dynamic energy market with people not profits at its core. There is many ways to get involved in crowdfunding for renewable energy and local community cooperatives, you won’t be alone in doing so.

Oringally published on : https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/the-green-shoots-of-crowdfunding/11/11/ it is an older piece and all facts were acurate at the time.





For Green innovation we need Green Education by @ MarIntroini

That´s the challenge and the greatest revolution: being educated around a Green culture able to develop strong skills and become sustainable individual and collectively.

Once again Education become the powerful pillar for building new structures. A no reliable political system and global institutions that progressively are loosing capacity of influence transform Education in the only source for new initiatives.

Work towards a sustainable world that face climate change with determination is not a matter of “recycling” or “reducing energy consumption” but of educating generations around the concept of being green. That supposes more than specific actions but entire systems around a green culture. Is not happening.

Green Education is not about educating people around green issues but to boost green professionals. Architects, engineers, activists are all professions directly linked with the environment, however a resilient world could only be built by a deeper action. Lawyers, politicians, teachers are also paramount for creating frameworks and spaces of green action and reflection; because a green education is also about “construction “ of creative minds that from any field of work could achieve a goal of innovation and adaptation.

Simply… make a real revolution in our Education systems.

A world hit by crisis and a population no prepared to change the system don´t lead to redirected the society into a “resilient focus”. It is here that Education plays that fundamental role to create enough defenses against uncertainties. A pillar through which the rest of the reforms could be addressed from a stronger position.

The question is: are we educating to boost professionals able to innovate? or are we delivering traditional education systems with additional updates on technology? There is a big difference and current systems do not seems to see it, leaving innovation only for creative people that develop a particular skill over a particular green project. Innovation is normally seen as a consequence of Education, but it should be the educational system that prepares professionals to work and live in a world of uncertainty that is demanding a permanent state of Innovation.

Education and Innovation feed each other, we need to educate on how innovate and we need also to Innovate on how we educate. Creating professionals able to adapt to any kind of work to face new challenges.
To be prepared for a new dimension we need to build globally although from an individual basis in which a Green Education delivers the platform to boost the workforce that goes beyond current parameters.
It is not just about innovating educational systems but to reshape current system accordingly to the new challenges. It is also a matter of transforming patterns of learning by maximizing creativity and preparing to innovate in all disciplines. The holistic approach that we are referring needs innovation at all levels and not just reserved for “skillful and creative minds”

In current process of awareness of the need to build a Green culture it becomes essential to prepare individuals to be innovators in all professions for facing uncertainties and build resilient societies. The more educated we are, the more prepared we´ll be to search for innovative solutions that face adaptation challenges with strength and determination.

 

Mar Introini

Blogger/Analyst Political-Economy thesustainabilityreader.com







How to Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization: Part 3 Scale by Wendy Firlotte @EngageIntl

The Challenge: Since the path to sustainability is rooted in local context, creating an overarching corporate program that is also relevant to numerous departments and locations may seem counter-intuitive. How do we create an overarching corporate sustainability program that is relevant to every employee and is implementable across an entire organization, especially those with diverse departments, services and geographic locations? How could we implement programming that would be relevant to office, laboratory, retail and field-based settings or perhaps in operations located in New York City, New Delhi and in a small rural town in northern Canada?

Another key consideration when we are thinking through the scope of corporate vs. local, is that the reverse also needs to be considered. How does the program engage employees to directly understand their impact locally on organizational performance? For example, would employees be able to read a sustainability report and relate their everyday actions to the outcomes that the organization reports on? Do employees feel that their daily actions make a difference toward organizational goals?

An Effective Approach: “Strategic Flexibility”: I encourage an approach that I like to call “Strategic Flexibility”. This approach is about finding an effective balance with aligned action between corporate level targets and locally organized events and activities.

What does this mean in action? Companies focus program efforts on their overarching sustainability targets, but provide local autonomy by working with all locations to plan how they will meet the company targets in a way that is relevant to their specific context.

Strategic flexibility is where the “top down” big picture planning, meets the “bottom up” operational insights and practicality. Each approach has advantages, but reliance on only one restricts the potential effectiveness and success of your strategic goals. It combines the strategic alignment of efforts with the business vision, while leveraging local experience, operational knowledge and momentum of existing initiatives. Creating efforts that are strategically flexible builds trust, commitment, enthusiasm, buy-in at every level, and company resilience by creating the space to be responsive to internal and external influences.

How it Works: Whether your program focuses on individuals or teams, create an overarching framework around your organization’s sustainability targets that is clear and relatable to your sustainability reporting. Using the focused framework you have created for guidance, allow local offices to develop their own plans to address each target. Local offices may or may not be implementing the same activities, but they will all be working towards overarching sustainability targets.

Some key elements for implementation:

Local Planning – Encourage the development of a local sustainability plan by involving the entire office/location. Sustainability/Green Teams often only look within their limited group for ideas, champions and resources. Developing a local sustainability plan by involving all employees will open up avenues for participation, discussion, ideas, solutions, collaboration and resources.

Encourage involvement in the process by providing various approaches that appeal to employees’ interests and time commitments. This is an amazing opportunity to build on the momentum of existing local activities, previous success and identify local champions. When it’s time to prioritize and decide on action plans, create space for productive discussion; for example host solution lunches, where you can bring into the fold anyone interested in a specific issue or initiative by discussing solutions to a particular challenge.

Local Support – This sort of “bottom coming up to meet top” approach will be a new concept to many people, so providing ongoing support for planning and implementation for local offices is important and necessary. Having a strong support network for them to move forward will be key. In addition to corporate assistance, creating a community support network of local champions/mentors is also effective.

Networking and Knowledge Sharing – Providing an avenue for discussion, sharing ideas, success stories and advice on lessons learned is an effective way to make offices feel supported and ultimately more successful. Learning from each other and feeling connected as a community working toward a common goal greatly increases enthusiasm and momentum.

Want to learn more?

Watch for the next installment of our 6-part “Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization: Part 4 – How to Systemize “ series. We will focus on how to systemize your program, no matter the size, function or structure of your organization or program.

Start a Sustainability Movement Series:

· Part 1: Steps to follow

· Part 2: Building buy-in at every level

· Part 3: How to scale

· Part 4: How to systemize

· Part 5: All in for sustainability

· Part 6: Fostering culture & embedding sustainability

Connect with Wendy om the links below.

Twitter: @EngageIntl https://twitter.com/EngageIntl

LinkedIn: Wendy Firlotte https://uk.linkedin.com/in/wendyfirlotte

Wendy is a Corporate Sustainability Employee Engagement Strategist. She specializes in translating high-level strategy and purpose into aligned and embedded employee action.







Announcement of a regular Green Show on @VoiceFMradio by @rwscarter

Some of you have already listened to @rwscarter on VoiceFm recently, some of you are so dedicated that you have heard both of his appearance so far. Credit where it is due, that cannot have been as easy as listening to Adam from Green Hampshire or Denise from ‘Eco Hair and Beauty‘. Both the earlier show and the now regular slot. On that occasion (my first VoiceFm appearance) I was with the wonderful Denise Baden from Southampton University who was discussing the great initiative ‘Eco Hair and Beauty’ which have written for us here at @CrowdLeaf before. She also discussed the sustainability agenda in Cuba- which she tied in rather nicely with her musical ‘Fidel’. More of that can be found here along with a link to that guest appearance below.




Like wise the new green show on VoiceFM – hosted by Xan Philips and the green agenda taken forward by @rwscarter on Xan’s ‘The Business show’ every first Thursday of the month from 8pm- 9pm.

The December the 1st episode can be found above – With the inside scoop on all things Christmas ,Autumn Statement, local green campaigns, national crowdfunding news and the green agenda and insights, from £5 notes to electric vans.

As @rwscarter is now a regular guest- the first in the sequence of Green issues radio appearances os merely the start, we want your green news, campaigns and insights to share live on air. At the moment this scheduled be broadcast every first Thursday of each month from 8 PM however we are both human and sometime this may change, so keep an eye on our twitter and on here. You can tune in on 103.9FM or find us online at : http://www.voicefmradio.co.uk   . If you happen to miss the show but still want to listen, perhaps you want to take us for a train journey, or on a long walk  – there is both a listen live and as you’ve  probably noticed from the links above a ‘listen again’ option.  Thanks as always for being here with us – keep your green news, campaigns, opportunities and more coming our way. Equally there is room for suggested sustainability/green/conservation songs – please do share your suggestions.




The Green Crowd – A Partial Follow up to Deep Impact  Conference

Following on from the Deep Impact Conference this November just gone, I managed to talk to some really cool people. People like Ian Tracey from Innovate UK and The Knowledge Transfer Network, Bill  Morrow, Helen Farmer, a speaker from Indigogo, Jon Terry from PWC , and more.

I got to talk,  to the experts, to the people in the room and the people making the alternative finance industry grow. So obviously  I asked them about sustainability I asked them about the future of green issues. Below is a video of what they had to say with regard to using crowdfunding in the green, sustainability and conservation communities which we here at CrowdLeaf all make up.
Do you  know what they said?

Have a listen.





They agreed, the future of the planet belongs to us, it is our time, it is our time, it is our time… our time to take the bull by its horns to take the money from the industries that destroy the planet and put the money into industries that create the future. Save today and preserve yesterdays species and planet today ready for tomorrow.

People seemed to enjoy the day, the world was put to rights and issues such as the ‘Grey Suit Factor’ in the Women Unbound report which highlights some really interesting work showing women doing as well as and better than men in crowdfunding campaigns. Some of the best crowdfunding practices and views from both the UK, the US and across europe surrounding the future of alternative finance. Which has been done with Barry James, who as CEO, co-founder and instigator of the Crowdfunding Center and the Deep Impact Conference worked with PwC and many more ( including me over a few pints) to create a report that may yet change the way we see the ‘glass ceiling’ and most importantly how we get past it.

Distinguished speakers such as Sarah Warman who is the Commander in Chief of the task force for the crowdfunding success BrewDog , Bill Morrow CEO and founder of Angels Den, Kathleen Monigue from Crowdfund Better USA, Tim Wright from Twingables, Julian Swan from The Imagination Factory, Michelle Rodger from Tartan Cat Communications, Jon Terry from PwC, Clive Lewis from ICAEW Chartered Accountants, Jamie Veitch who coordinated the first ‘Community share issue’ into media in 2014 and many more.

It was a great day, I really enjoyed the day and found out some really interesting things going on in the world of Alternative finance, fin-tech and some really interesting and cool products such as FormCard which I think might go someway to giving a better name to plastic. I am still opposed to plastic, but the thing that gets me most is the single use plastic, the plastic bags and the broken bits of plastic our grandkids, grandkids will be digging up, so any sort of reusable plastic will go a long way to cutting the level of waste both now and in the future.

View more about FormCard here from their crowdfunding campaign information video.

 



In conversation with @barryejames – Crowdfunding: Deep Impact Conference

CrowdLeaf is a proud sponsor for Thursday the 24th of November’s Crowdfunding: Deep Impact Conference.

@rwscarter did an interview with Barry James the brain child and man in charge for the conference. Barry is CEO of the Crowdfunding Center and Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Crowdfunding among many other positions, ventures and successes.  This week Barry found time to talk about how crowdfunding can help the green, sustainability and conservation community and much more. Listen below as we discuss the speakers, the concepts, the change that Acts of Parliment such as the Social Value Act can and will make a difference to the causes we care about.

Here’s a list of some of the fantastic sponsors for the event. Click on the video or the link to see/ hear about the speakers and schedule for the day.

sponsors

Hextio – Air Purification X10 – Radic8 & The next generation of indoor air

Introducing:

Hextio – Air Purification x 10

While you can read below for more details, they have also shared this awesome video. It explains what we all want explaining. Hextio – click to watch and listen to what it is, does and more, straight from one of the brains behind the product – Richard Greenwood . The reasons we need it, covered, the technology is covered and the whole concept is explained for you, what is not to like?




 Below us we have both a link to to the updated campaign, as you can see its already fully funded but the fun does not stop there. There is still room to get involved, chip in and indeed to give enough to receive some of the awesome rewards. There is also an awesome picture showing us all a brief glimpse into the inside of the Hextio. It looks like something from a sci-fi movie but I have been assured by the experts it is in fact real and crucially super effective.

inside-hextio