Small actions can lead to big impacts

25 February 2020
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Reusable coffee cup in hand, a bit of recycling here and there, and you can feel your contribution to the climate emergency has been made. But is it enough? That was the big question of our last C-Team meeting.

Every small contribution is important for the environment and we all have a role to play. Combine this with larger scale changes within organisations and policy and we could have incredible results. This is why the Circular Team (C-Team) was established within the LEP. Our goal is to drive change, both internally and externally, that supports the Carbon Neutral and Circular Economy agenda.

To deliver that change, we need to start taking action now. So, in our latest meeting, the C-Team’s biggest priority was thinking about practical steps and what each individual can contribute.

Set objectives

The team kick-started the meeting with a discussion on creating individual objectives for this agenda. There was a variety of suggestions: communicating circular economy solutions (if you’ve not checked it out already, take a look at our online resources here); supporting businesses to reduce and reuse waste; improve sustainable transport links (at present, research shows that only 2% of journeys are made by train); and many more.

We also acknowledged the challenges with delivering our objectives, such as other colleagues not prioritising this work, or simply not having the capacity. It is why circular economy principles need to be embedded into the ‘day-to-day’ and become the norm for employees.

As a result, we want everyone in the LEP to have a circular objective that is complementary to their current role and agree these in collaboration.

Measure Impact

We’re also in the process of developing a measurement framework to ensure our actions are having a positive impact. It can be difficult to quantify the circular economy, but businesses such as Yorkshire Water have already established circular metrics through “integrated reporting”. This means we step away from the traditional KPIs on profits, and have a wider reporting approach, looking at the environment, influences on society, and even the wellbeing of employees.

Circular economy is not just for the environment, it’s also great for businesses and for people. We talked about some examples of this, which can be seen in the voluntary sector, such as food banks and community kitchens. Surplus food is often collected from supermarkets and shared with the community. Reducing waste is a key circular principle, but this work can also combat against food poverty and help to tackle loneliness. So the reporting of circular practices should look to capture all of this.  Further details on our measurement process will follow shortly.

Be empowered

The action-orientated discussion was particularly inspiring that we started to discuss personal commitments, such as volunteering at organisations that live and breathe circular values. A few members of the team have already signed-up to a community kitchen based in York. 

We will continue to look at the individual changes that we can make within the LEP, with an aim to develop a mini delivery plan for the C-Team. This will set out clear milestones and help us to measure our progress. For now, you could check out our Circular Yorkshire strategy and action plan here.

Kate McHugh

Growth Hub Service Analyst

York, North Yorkshire, East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership

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