A mashup of corporate social opportunities and charities

I was recently in the House of Lords with Lord Andrew Mawson and a representative of the Australian Government discussing approaches to ‘social enterprise’ and the need to stop cultures of dependancy and entitlement. We spoke about the concept of corporate social opportunities where the line between traditional CSR activities of big businesses, social enterprises and charitable activities is blurring.

It was therefore interesting to reflect upon this discussion after spending some time this weekend watching Dan Pallotta’s TED presentation about how the way society views charities as being completely wrong, particularly how we confuse morality (why charities exist) with frugality (the widely held views about why charities should not spend much money on their overheads).

I’ve been fortunate to have some involvement with some great social enterprises, and there are a couple of charities that I massively rate. The one of most interest to me is the St Paul’s Way Transformation Project which explores a range of new business models by creating innovative partnerships – public sector, private sector, non-profits and so on; that being said, I’ve never really given traditional charities a great deal of thought until this video of Dan’s. I really value visibility around what charities are spending money on (and I am a trustee of a charity also) – and I particularly like how Kiva adds the operational costs on top of the underlying donation. But that doesn’t go far enough – we all need recognise that in the same way that successful, profitable businesses need to remunerate their teams sufficiently, invest in marketing etc, charities (or whatever the right term should be) must do the same – so thanks Dan for highlighting this very important issue!

Carbon Voyage's Blog

Late last year, we were asked by Derek Browne from Entrepreneurs In Action to help out with an event focused on raising awareness of sustainability and enterprise among students at Sevenoaks School – two things we are very passionate about. The intention was to create a day where students could hear from people involved in sustainability, hopefully be inspired, and then come up with their own business ideas and pitch them to other people (all in the space of a couple of hours). With the help of the Energy Managers Association, we were able to get a couple of awesome speakers – Sonja Graham, Creative Development Manager from the Global Action Plan and Jaz Rabadia, the UK energy manager for Sainsburys. We were joined by James Cornwell, the Quality and Environmental Director of Fourfront Group; not only is James an expert in sustainability, but he…

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Carbon Voyage's Blog

As much as I love the buzz about Tech City, the fact remains that London has had a long established tradition of enterprise, and for a long time, many great technology and science advances came out of East London, although it has not been plain sailing. With that in mind, I went along to a musical depiction of East London which was part of the Water City Festival via an invitation from Lord Andrew Mawson, chairman of the festival and one of the UK’s leading social entrepreneurs; Andrew and I are working on a number of really cool things to connect up schools and enterprises at the moment, so again, this was very much part of connecting up the dots.

In the same way that much of the Roman Empire’s success owed a great deal to the port Ostia, the British Empire was very much built upon the…

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