Category Archives: Insight

The UK – the go-to destination for climate tech

Dismissed as “woke capitalism” by some, the trend of making investment choices based on the positive impact they will have on society is here to stay. In the UK, much of this shift has focused on climate tech, so much so that the country is fast emerging as a global investment hub for climate tech start-ups.

A report by PwC shows that more venture capital funding is being ploughed into climate tech start-ups in the UK than any other country in Europe. Globally, the report found that climate tech is growing quickly as an asset class, with £71 billion invested over the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021. From January to June 2021, record investment levels over £48.8 billion reflected a 210 per cent increase compared to the twelve months prior.

UK LEADS THE CHARGE

The UK has been at the forefront of this boom. According to a report by London & Partners and Dealroom, London is one of the leading hubs for climate tech globally, with £2.68 billion invested since 2016. London-based venture capital (VC) firms have raised over half of all European dedicated climate tech funds in the last two years.

Earlier this year, Climate VC launched in London to support start-ups in the UK that focus on climate change and carbon emissions. It will invest in 120 early-stage climate start-ups in the next three years, with £10 million to be invested in the first year. Climate VC is looking to double its funds every quarter, which would result in over £35 million by 2025. The firm has already invested in Global OTEC, which converts ocean thermal energy into clean power for tropical island nations, and Treeconomy, a nature-based carbon removal company.

Elbow Beach Capital launched a £20 million venture vehicle in March to back start-ups focusing on decarbonisation, sustainable energy and social impact opportunities. It plans to invest between £500,000 and £1.5 million in pre-seed to Series A businesses in the UK and globally. So far, it has led the seed round for WASE, a wastewater treatment and bioenergy company, and invested in Glasgow-based electric 4×4 manufacturer, Munro Vehicles, which plans to decarbonise vehicle fleets in the mining, forestry and agriculture sectors.

The money is starting to flow in the right direction, but not fast enough, according to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report. IPCC authors warn that financial flows are three to six times lower than the levels needed by 2030 to limit global warming to below 1.5C or 2C.

WHERE SHOULD THE MONEY GO?

According to PwC, investors are prioritising low-carbon transport when they should be focusing on five other areas which could collectively deliver 80 per cent of emissions reduction by 2050: solar power, wind power, green hydrogen production, reducing food waste and scaling proteins with a lower greenhouse gas footprint than animal proteins.

The report found that by 2050, almost half of global CO2 emissions reductions will come from technologies that are currently only at the demonstration or prototype phase. That is why more patient capital from early-stage VC investors is needed to deliver future breakthroughs, according to the report’s authors. “Investors need to look beyond the low-hanging fruit to help scale technologies in harder-to-abate sectors,” they conclude.

A SLOW DOWN?

In the UK, VC funding into climate tech start-ups stood at £329.6 million in Q1 2022, down from £857.6 million the previous quarter. Globally, a Climate Tech Report by PitchBook, which examines VC trends, found that investment in climate tech took a hit in Q1 of 2022 and predicts that it could fall further in Q2. But the report concludes that ultimately climate tech investment will continue to accelerate, partly due to the war in Ukraine and resulting calls for energy independence and partly due to the climate change crisis.

As Peter Gajdoš, Climate Lead at VC firm Fifth Wall, told a TechCrunch climate technology event in California: “Climate doesn’t care about inflation. The oceans are warming up. The forests are burning. These problems are still there, and someone needs to solve them, which creates opportunities.”

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

Investment in hydrogen, solar, batteries, nuclear and wind will all accelerate, according to PitchBook’s research. The UK is already on the case. London-based HydrogenOne Capital, for example, provides investors with opportunities in clean hydrogen and energy storage. Earlier this year, it led a round of funding that secured £35 million for Bramble Energy. The investment will allow the company to roll out its portable power products globally and continue its ground-breaking work on hydrogen fuel cells.

Fusion energy is being touted as another solution to achieving a clean energy transition. Not to be confused with nuclear fission – the splitting of atoms to release energy (think nuclear power stations) – fusion is the opposite: the fusing together of hydrogen atoms at ultra-high temperatures to release energy (think the sun).

The technology is still in its infancy. Fusion start-up Tokamak Energy, based in Oxfordshire, is calling for more investment into this emerging sector.

Technology may not be the magic pill that cures all climate change problems, but it is becoming increasingly clear that limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C will not be possible without it. The innovative solutions climate tech start-ups are providing will continue to be an essential part of the mix.

Unlocking the wildlife economy

Africa is taking the lead when it comes to realising the potential the wildlife economy has to offer. Home to abundant wildlife and diverse habitats, it is perhaps not surprising that the journey to unlocking and diversifying the wildlife economy begins on this continent.  


 

Investing in natural infrastructure is a win-win. It means habitats can be restored, species saved and jobs created. It benefits people, nature and business alike, but governments and policy makers often fail to see nature as a key strategic asset. Instead, conserving wildlife is frequently viewed as a direct threat to economic development.   

Helping to turn this view around is the School of Wildlife Conservation (SOWC) at the African Leadership University in Rwanda. Its Director of Research Sue Snyman says the economic value of wildlife in Africa is still not recognised. To remedy this, SOWC has published a report on the State of the Wildlife Economy in Africa to show governments in concrete terms just how much the continent’s natural capital contributes to the economy.  

The report focuses on the ‘Big Five’ activities of the wildlife economy: ecotourism, carbon markets, forest products, hunting and fishing, and game ranching. Snyman hopes the research will encourage governments to invest more in nature.  

 

HOW DO YOU PUT A PRICE ON AFRICA’S WILDLIFE?

Traditionally, the wildlife economy has centred on ecotourism. In Africa alone, the wildlife safari industry is estimated to bring in between US$12.4 billion and US$42.9 billion in revenue. In 1981, our client African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) helped found one of the most famous ecotourism projects on the continent – the Mountain Gorilla Project in Rwanda. Thanks to its work, the mountain gorilla population has grown from only a few hundred at its lowest point to over 1,000 today – giving them the dubious honour of being the only great ape species whose population is increasing.  

The project has been such a success that it is now facing another problem: a lack of space. The gorillas are so numerous that they are frequently roaming outside the park boundary, putting them in direct conflict with people. The Rwandan Government is planning to expand the park by 37.4 square kilometres, increase tourists’ viewing opportunities and invest more than $70 million in social housing and infrastructure for Rwandans living around the park. This will provide jobs for more than 7,500 people in tourism, construction, agriculture and service sectors.  

 

WHO BENEFITS?

 This is the wildlife economy operating at its best. A system where everyone and everything benefits – wildlife, habitats and people alike. But the Covid-19 pandemic threw this, and many other ecotourism projects across the world, into chaos. When the tourism industry shut down, it became very clear that the wildlife economy needs to diversify if it is going to survive.   

One way to do this is to find other uses for species. Developing a sustainable wild meat sector through game farming (think ostrich, crocodile, antelope) can bring benefits to local communities, like food security, and even to the environment if it is done in the right way. So can game ranching – if management practices are up to scratch. The South African government is working with experts to explore the potential for a certification scheme within the ranching sector.  

Hunting remains a highly emotive topic. Some countries, like Kenya, have banned it altogether. Others, like Zimbabwe, focus on foreign hunters rather than locals, and countries such as the UK have plans to ban the import of hunting trophies from Africa. Francis Vorhies, Director of the African Wildlife Economy Institute (AWEI) at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, believes that 2022 needs to be the year we start a serious conversation about hunting. To this end, AWEI will be researching the role wild harvesting – including hunting – can play in conservation and economic development.  

It can be easy to forget that the wildlife economy is about more than just animals. Traditionally, definitions exclude plants but according to Gus le Breton, CEO of African Plant Hunter, that is wrong. Plants provide both the habitat and food for wild animals and are integral to the wildlife economy, he argues. In his vision, Africa is the new frontier for natural ingredient research. 

 

WHAT IS THE GLOBAL IMPACT?

The FairWild Foundation is trying to ensure that plant species, such as the baobab, rooibos, myrrh and frankincense, are harvested and traded responsibly. It has already certified 25 species from 14 countries. Newly appointed CEO Deborah Vorhies says she hopes the scheme will grow the market for wild-harvested plants and at the same time conserve landscapes and enhance local livelihoods.   

Plants and trees also form a central plank to another facet of the wildlife economy – carbon markets. Last year Gabon became the first African country to receive payment for reducing carbon emissions by protecting its rainforest, which covers 90 per cent of its territory and captures more carbon than the country emits. So far Gabon has received $17 million, the first tranche of $150 million from the UN-backed Central African Forest Initiative, by showing it has reduced deforestation.   

Private sector interest in natural climate solutions has also grown significantly. French multinational Danone, for example, has invested €3 million in a project to restore a mangrove forest in Senegal, which is expected to capture and store around 600,000 tons of CO2.  

Relationships between investors – be they from the private sector, governments or UN agencies – and those on the ground delivering conservation need to be nurtured if the wildlife economy is to blossom. In March, we helped AWF do just this at an event for more than 50 guests from the sustainability, finance and investment sectors and expert speakers from AWF Rwanda, Wilderness Safaris and FSD Africa, at the Royal Geographical Society in London.  

 

If you are a charity or startup business seeking investment and require PR support, please contact our expert communications team direct at info@gongcommunications.com and we’ll be in touch.

B Corp Month 2022 Part 3: A celebration of 10 international companies #BehindTheB 

PART 3: HOW CAN OTHERS B THE CHANGE?

In the finale of our 3-part series zooming in to focus on 10 inspiring international B Corps, we’re heading out East Asia to spotlight 3 more certified organisations. Gong’s B Corp Committee member and Senior Account Executive, Ryan Witton, acts as your guide to the final fab three.

If you missed Part 1: Where it all started, click here for the full blog.

To catch up on Part 2: B Corps all over the world, click here.

TREE PLANET

Tree Planet began life as a simple tree planting game on smartphones in South Korea and led to the planting of over 1 million trees in areas suffering from desertification like China and Mongolia. Now environmentally conscious individuals can plant trees by ‘adopting’ a pet tree that will sit in one of Tree Planet’s many themed forests. 

Tree Planet aims to plant 100 million trees worldwide by 2050, and more recently began its ‘Make Your Farm’ project to introduce environmentally friendly and sustainable coffee production methods to independent farmers. 

 

MYCOTECH

In West Java, Indonesia, Mycotech binds agricultural waste with mushroom mycelia to literally grow 100% natural building and textile materials. These eco-tech building materials offer effective heat insulation while its leather-like durable fabrics are animal-free and used in a variety of fashion apparel like shoes, wallets and bags. 

Mycotech has a strong circular economy model, re-using, recycling and composting its side streams and waste products, with very little entering landfill at the end of the process. The company-wide mantra is, “Change is a choice – and we choose to take the steps forward towards sustainability.” We’re with you Mycotech! 

 

ETHIQUE

And last but by no means least, we head down to NZ to meet a cosmetics brand based out of Christchurch, with a core guiding principle: healthy products, made with sustainable, naturally derived ingredients. Ethique eschews plastic bottles and harsh chemicals and instead produces super dense beauty product bars. These types of solid cosmetics have a long shelf life and can be used endlessly due to a high concentration of ingredients. Ethique advises consumers that their solid bars last up to 5 times as longer than their liquid alternatives with the added bonus being chemical and preservative free – great for all budgets, skin types and local water quality. 

 

That’s a wrap! We hope you’ve enjoyed following us on this virtual trek to meet just 10 of the amazing7 4,700+ B Corps across the globe. If your organisation is on a mission to make positive change for people and planet, access B Lab’s free eLearning toolkit at https://gongcommunications.com/gong-tapped-for-danone-and-b-lab-employee-engagement-brief/ 

B Lab is the non-profit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet.

B Corp Month 2022 Part 2: A celebration of 10 international companies #BehindTheB 

PART 2: B CORPS ALL OVER THE WORLD 

Welcome back for part 2 of this 3-part blog celebrating the achievements and commitments of international B Corp organisations. With 4,700 of them already certifying as part of a movement that believes business can be a force for good, we’ve picked 10 companies dotted around the world to shine a light on their activity, creating change for people, community and planet.  

Here’s more from Gong’s B Corp Committee member and Senior Account Executive, Ryan Witton. 

If you missed Part 1: Where it all started, click here to read the full blog.

 

TAZE & KURU 

In the city of Ankara, Turkish brand Taze & Kuru (meaning fresh and dried) is using ancient methods of food preservation to reduce food waste and embrace cultural traditions. It has pioneered a unique renewable energy powered food-drying process. 

How does it work? Well, the facility produces healthy snacks free from preservatives and additives. And its carbon footprint? An impressive 0 tonnes of carbon emissions are released in the process. The company believes that health and happiness is driven by the food we eat saying, “changing our eating habits can create miracles.” 

  

INSPIRA FARMS

Heading to West Africa, we spotted our innovative friends at InspiraFarms who provide agribusinesses across Africa with off grid cold chain solutions to reduce food loss and waste. With operations near clients in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Ghana and a UK HQ, the company provides tools, technology and expertise to support innovative farming and crop management. We salute its triple impact, reducing food loss and energy costs while helping farmers and coperatives unlock access to higher-value markets. Check out this agri-tech on a mission using the latest IoT and cloud-based systems, solar kits, cold rooms and other cool, cooling technologies. 

 

TRUTRADE AFRICA

Working out of Uganda and Kenya, TruTrade provides smallholder farmers with routes to market and fair prices for their produce. The social enterprise uses the ‘supply power’ of millions of small-scale producers connecting them with sustainable value chains. TruTrade also offers a mobile trading and payment platform which opens up new possibilities for farmers. This gives global commodity buyers the ability to connect with their smallholder farm suppliers. The B Corp is proud of its community impact too, helping local people drive rural development for future generations.  

  

LUBANZI WINES

Next stop, Cape Town! We’re shining the spotlight on the founders of Lubanzi Wines – they had a vision to create a social enterprise that would make a difference to the lives of agricultural labourers, with a strong focus on safeguarding the human rights of all their employees at every stage of production  

As part of Lubanzi Wines’ community pledge, 50% of net profits are recycled back into the Pebbles Project, a non-profit that supports families who live and work on South Africa’s wine farms. The company is planet-focused too and has achieved an impressive carbon neutral operation with 100% of its carbon footprint being completely removed or offset. 

 

There are a few more B Corps to reveal in our 10-stop international B Corp spotlight blog. Visit our social media channels for more in the finale of our 3-part series celebrating international corporate social responsibility (CSR) with 10 B Corp certified organisations. Can you guess where we’ll be going to next?  

B Lab is the non-profit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. To learn more about how your organisation can change for good, take the free eLearning course with B Lab.

B Corp Month 2022 Part 1: A celebration of 10 international companies #BehindTheB 

With this year’s B Corp Month of March set to be the biggest on record, Gong’s B Corp Committee set off to learn more about the B Corp movement globally and how creating change from within our organisations can benefit people, communities and the planet. 

B Lab is a non-profit organisation on a mission to enable companies around the world to create a positive environmental and social impact. We think their mantra, “Make Business a Force for Good” embodies all the values of the B Corp movement helping to drive better standards and catalyse change – it’s already impacting more than 300,000 workers worldwide. 

Gong Communications, which celebrated its B Corp recertification this year, is a supporter of B Corp initiatives including the Better Business Act and related campaigns including greener pensions movement, Make My Money Matter, always striving to do more with other B Corps, both as clients and suppliers. 

In this new blog series, we hear from Gong B Corp Committee member and Senior Account Executive, Ryan Witton, who has been on the hunt for compelling B Corps based outside the UK to learn more about the diversity of impact around this growing global movement.  

 

PART 1: WHERE IT ALL STARTED

 

I’ve been engaged with B Corp for over a year now at Gong and in that time our B Corp Committee has learnt a lot about the different industries joining the movement. There’s a huge mix of products and services from various sectors, but one thing remains the same – a shared passion for social and environmental interdependence. 

At Gong, we feel it’s important to celebrate our fellow B Corps around the world using business as a force for good. There are currently over 4,700 certified B Corporations scattered across more than 70 countries, so whittling them down to just 10 was no easy feat! If you want to take a look at the wide range of certified B Corps out there, make sure to explore the online B Corp Directory. 

In the first blog of this 3-part series, we’re going to the Americas, both South and North – where it all started for B Lab. So in no particular order, let’s introduce our first B Corp. 

 

UNCOMMON GOODS

How much do you know about B Corp founding member, Uncommon Goods? The company founded an arts and crafts marketplace based in New York putting people and the environment at the heart of its business. Uncommon Goods offers consumers a place to discover creative designs by independent artists and craftspeople. Its catalogue is printed on recycled paper, delivered in environmentally friendlier packaging, and artists are also encouraged to use recycled or sustainable materials. Items available for sale are completely free of fur, feather, leather or pearl, and it donates $1 for each purchase to non-profits through its Better to Give programme 

  

ECO POOP

Sitting just north of the equator, Colombian company Eco Poop collects organic waste from pets and passes it through a bio-transformative process, creating excellent pesticide-free fertilisers for soils and plants. The enterprise installs kits in residential communities and provides all the tools (bespoke shovels and paper bags) that animal lovers need to create a culture of responsible pet ownership. 

Kudos to Eco Poop whose ingenious business model makes communal outdoor spaces healthier and free of pathogens for all. It’s also reducing CO2 emissions and helping to tackle climate change. 

 

ECOFACTORY

Next we’re heading further south to sunny Buenos Aires to give a shoutout to Ecofactory which makes reusable, recyclable shopping bags. Each month it produces more than 5 million plant-based bags with biodegradable textiles made from crops home-grown in Argentina. As well as pledging carbon neutrality by 2030, Ecofactory believes in Fair Trade and has a commitment to fairness across its entire commercial chain. In 2021, it won a B Corp award in the ‘Best for the World’ category. 

 

B Lab is the non-profit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. To learn more about the movement take the B Corp 101 – 4 super accessible and free eLearning modules that you can complete on any device, designed by Gong in response to an idea generously gifted to the community by Danone working in partnership with B Lab.

Come back for more in part 2 of our B Corp series where we shine a light on 10 B Corps who are using businesses as a force for good. 

The retrofit revolution

The UK’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050 means we will all have to change some aspects of our lives for good. Whether it is giving up petrol and diesel cars, switching to renewable energy or making changes to our homes and offices, everyone will need to do their bit.

ELIMINATING EMISSIONS BY 2050

The government’s long-awaited net zero strategy sets out how the UK plans to halve emissions in little over a decade and eliminate them by 2050. Introducing the strategy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims “the United Kingdom is not afraid to lead the charge towards global net zero because history has never been made by those who sit at the back of the class hoping not to be called on.”

Leading this charge will involve decarbonising our power sector by 2035, phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and decarbonising the way we heat and power our homes.

The UK has around 30 million buildings, including some of the oldest building stock in Europe, with 20 per cent of homes built before 1919. They are responsible for 17 per cent of our national emissions. Retrofitting them with better insulation, low-carbon heat and clean power sources is an essential part of the country’s journey to net zero.

Newly constructed buildings are far more energy efficient, but 80 per cent of the UK’s 2050 building stock already exists, hence the need for some large-scale retrofitting. A national retrofit programme has the potential to reduce household energy bills by up to £430 a year and create 500,000 green jobs.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a “retrofit revolution” in the capital to upgrade ageing homes so that social housing landlords can cut carbon emissions and improve the cold, damp housing stock currently on offer.

He hopes the move will also help tackle growing fuel poverty. In London 11.4 per cent of households are fuel poor, in joint place with the West Midlands. Only the North West is worse, with 12.1 per cent of households affected by fuel poverty, according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

HOW CAN THE UK REACH ITS RETROFITTING GOALS?

So what does retrofitting actually involve? Modifications to existing buildings to make them more energy efficient can range from small additions to big building projects. From switching to energy-saving lightbulbs to cavity wall insulation, from installing smart meters to putting solar panels on the roof, the possibilities are endless.

One of the government’s central policies is to phase out natural gas boilers in homes and buildings by 2035 at the latest. It plans to support 600,000 heat pump installations a year by 2028, driving down the cost so that they are on a par with traditional gas boilers.

But who is going to carry out all this work? A report by the Green Finance Institute and Bankers for Net Zero, Tooling Up the Green Homes Industry, estimated that to reach net zero by 2050, an estimated 29 million existing homes will need to be retrofitted. That means a million homes a year, every year until 2050, will have to be modified.

That is an enormous task. The report revealed that the majority of companies which carry out this type of work are small and medium-sized businesses. The UK retrofit industry is relatively fragmented compared with some European countries and it is hard to find retrofit managers who can create end-to-end propositions for clients.

One organisation hoping to change this is not-for-profit cooperative RetrofitWorks. Its members include contractors, tradespeople and community groups. The cooperative offers homeowners a Retrofit Coordinator who assesses their house, produces a plan to make it more energy efficient, then works with contractors from the cooperative to oversee the process.

But it is not just housing stock that needs some TLC. Non-domestic building stock currently represents 23 per cent of UK built environment emissions, most of which is caused by fossil fuel heating systems. Heat pumps form a big part of the solution here. The UK Green Building Council’s Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap advises that 70 per cent of all non-domestic buildings should have heat pump systems by 2045 to reach net zero goals.

THERE’S HOPE FOR THE UK’S BUILDING STOCK

The good news is that retrofit solutions already exist. Organisations such as LETI, a network for built environment professionals in London, have published a Climate Emergency Retrofit Guide. Then there is the EnerPHit standard, which certifies retrofits to the high level required by the Passive House Standard. The Association for Environment Conscious Building also has a Retrofit Standard.

We already have the knowhow, the tools and the certification systems to retrofit the UK’s building stock. What we lack is a clear national retrofit strategy from the government that sets out long-term funding and political commitment to do this. The construction industry and consumers need to know that retrofitting is not just the latest trend, soon to be forgotten: it is the key to unlocking our ability to reach net zero by 2050.

 

For more news updates and insights around the global energy transition from Gong Communications, follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter at @gongcomms.

B Corp’s Wonder Women

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we recognise the historical, cultural, and political achievements of women across the world. The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #BreaktheBias, this campaign calls for solidarity against gender bias, discrimination, and stereotyping. In the workplace this includes the need for gender parity, equal pay, inclusive work practices, and education opportunities.  

Inclusivity is one of the key principles in the B Corp movement, centred around the idea that a business’s impact should focus on the planet and community benefit and not only shareholder profit. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to showcase some of the B Corp movement’s most inspiring certified founders using business as a force for good. 

KRESSE WESLING CBE 

Kresse Wesling, an award-winning environmental entrepreneur and Young Global Leader, is the Co-founder of apparel brand Elvis & Kresse. After a chance encounter with the London Fire Brigade in 2005, Elvis & Kresse was launched to use London’s decommissioned firehoses that could not be repaired.  

Elvis & Kresse donated 50 per cent of the profit from its first line to the Fire Fighters Charity and now donates 50 per cent of its profits to various charities related to waste management. It collects from 12 different waste streams and has several charitable partnerships, including a five-year partnership with the Burberry Foundation. Their dedication and passion for sustainability has garnered both public attention and a high B Impact score of 147.6 points, which is 67.6 points higher than what is needed to qualify for B Corp Certification. 

JO-ANNE CHIDLEY

Jo-Anne Chidley, a sustainability advocate, is the Co-founder of Beauty Kitchen UK. She has won a variety of industry awards, including the ‘Who’s Who in Natural Beauty’ and business award, ‘Scale Up Entrepreneur of the Year’. Her goal behind the creation of Beauty Kitchen UK was to be a pioneer in sustainable beauty, creating products that are effective but also work in harmony with the natural environment.  

She inspects everything, including the efficacy of the products, where ingredients are sourced, and ensures that all packaging is sustainable. The product line includes compostable pouches, FSC approved cardboard, vegetable inks, and pre-cycled containers that can be returned for reuse. Every aspect of the business process is transparent, ensuring that stakeholders can see the hard work and care that goes into the product line. This has contributed to the business’ overall B Impact Score of 139.8 points. 

PIP MURRAY

Pip Murray is the Founder of Pip & Nut, the fastest growing Nut Butter brand in the UK, after realising that current products on the market were lacking a healthier and more playful brand alternative. Although nut butter was not new to the market, Pip’s creative spin was the differentiator needed to launch a successful product. Pip & Nut is now stocked in over 7,000 stores across the UK, including Tesco, Morrison’s, ASDA and Holland & Barrett.  

Pip & Nut is committed to leaving a positive environmental and social impact, sourcing ethical chocolate from Colombia  and supporting community initiatives in the country. It has also committed to transitioning to net zero by 2023 and has prohibited the use of palm oil in its production process to protect rainforests. Based on their B impact assessment, Pip & Nut earned an overall score of 81.2 points which is almost double the median score for ordinary businesses who complete the assessment. 

AMELIA HARVEY

Amelia Harvey is Co-founder of The Collective Dairy UK. Amelia had past success in the FMCG sector before joining The Collective team. She started her career at Kellogg’s and L’Oréal before a segue into the start-up sector with a sales director role at Gü Puds. Amelia loved working in a high-growth business and felt ready to start something new. So, when she met Angus Allan and Ofer Shenhay, creators of The Collective Dairy New Zealand, she knew this was the perfect product to bring to the UK market.  

The Collective’s aim is to create great tasting yoghurt and leave a positive impact on the environment. Its climate friendly initiatives include the creation of the UK’s first carbon neutral dairy yoghurt, and it has committed to a carbon neutral production process by 2025.  

MICHAL ALTER

Michal Alter is the Founder of Visit.org, a platform created for social impact travel experiences that allows users to discover, support and interact with organisations that leave a positive impact on their environment, both virtually and in-person. 

As one of the first female pilot cadets in the Israeli Air Force, a Computer Science Engineer and the Director of Refugee Affairs at the City Government in Tel Aviv, Michal was able to use her skills in technology and social development. This subsequently led to her idea to combine the two and create an online platform that helps HR, CSR, and D&I teams in enterprise companies engage their employees.  

CAROLINA MIRANDA

Carolina Miranda is the Founder and CEO of Cultivating Capital, a company that helps small businesses implement sustainable business practices. As a B Corp consultant, she specialises in helping companies align their business operations with their values by integrating social and environmental responsibility into business processes. She has helped organisations such as Pixar, Bayer, the City of Emeryville and the California Department of Transportation develop sustainable action plans, while also leading training sessions and providing coaching and mentoring services. 

She served on the executive committee for the B Corp Women CEOs ‘We the Change’ movement and supports B local activities in the San Francisco Bay area. She was awarded the 2020 Community Builders award from B Lab for her contributions to the community.  

BRIANNE WEST

Brianne West is the Founder and CEO of Ethqiue, a regenerative beauty and lifestyle brand. In 2020 she was named one of the ‘One Young World’s Entrepreneur’ of the year, and in 2019 the Ernst & Young ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’. 

The concept behind Ethique was to create a product that would help eliminate plastic from the global beauty industry, proving that beauty brands can be environmentally proactive while being financially sustainable. Ethique is described as a regenerative brand because its purpose is to give back more than it extracts. All the products are vegan, cruelty-free, palm oil-free and are wrapped in compostable packaging.  

ANITA RODDICK

Dame Anita Lucia Roddick DBE was a British businesswoman, human rights activist, and environmental campaigner. Most recognised as the Founder of The Body Shop, a cosmetics company that sells natural beauty products which shaped ethical consumerism, Anita built the brand on empowering women and integrated this purpose into each business decision.  

The Body Shop’s mission is to make a positive difference in people’s lives by retailing good-quality products that use natural ingredients. Its most recent campaign, “Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics”, was a collaboration with Dove, PETA, CFI, and over 500 leading animal protection organisations. Its aim was to campaign for urgent action against animal testing requirements in Europe, highlighting its ongoing commitment to better business.  

This month at Gong, we will continue to reflect on gender bias in the workplace and the role of businesses in a changing world – because we can use business as a change for good. We are committed as a B Corp to keep striving for an inclusive, equitable business that keeps people, community, and planet at its centre. Follow our B Corp Month campaign and International Women’s Day celebration on our social media channels: 

Twitter: @GongComms 

Instagram: @gongcomms 

While there is so much to celebrate this month, we want to acknowledge the deeply saddening and difficult crisis in Ukraine and neighbouring territories. Refugee Support, who we work with on a pro-bono basis to publicise their work supporting refugees across Europe and the UK, are working to help the humanitarian emergency facing the people of Ukraine. You can help them to support those fleeing Ukraine via the Just Giving page below. By donating you are also supporting the border communities that are receiving the people who have fled, as all the funds will be spent locally: 

https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/RefugeeSupportUkraine 

Advice for Graduates wishing to pursue a career in PR

The good news is that according to the IDS (Income Data Services) there is an eight per cent increase in the number of graduate roles being advertised.  The tide is definitely turning and we are certainly feeling it here at Gong. Our numbers have more than doubled in less than a year.  A third of our new starters were graduates. Our international client base and the expansion of Gong Creative has allowed us to stretch upwards and outwards.

However, there are still 2.49 million unemployed people in the UK and last year one in 10 graduates were unemployed six months after graduating.  We have a way to go yet.  CVs and covering letters have never been more important.

We have seen a lot of CVs here at Gong. Here are my top five tips to help you write a standout application and make a lasting impression:

1. Research: Dig deep into agency websites and thoroughly research the company you wish to approach.  If you can drop in a subtle one liner, something you’ve noticed, or are interested in, or impressive company stats and achievements, this will show you have done your homework and impress potential employers.

2. Covering letter: This should detail a little about you, why we should employ you and what attracted you to us. Keep it brief, informative and relevant. 

3. CV’s: They should be no more than two pages. Make sure the layout is clear and sectioned off neatly, so that if someone is scanning through it, they can find information fast.

4. Internships: Do as many as you can. You cannot beat office experience.  Internships have become an elongated  ‘interview process’. They are a fantastic way for you to gain experience and re-confirm your career path.  As an employer, it gives us the chance to see how you work and fit in, so make the most of it, be keen and get stuck in.

5. Stay in touch: Link up with everyone and stay in touch via the usual social media networks. Generate a strong presence out there, keep it up to date, but be mindful of your output.

These may sound painfully obvious, but very rarely are such simple guidelines followed.  If you are interested in joining the team, I would be delighted to hear from you.  Gong continues to grow both in London and internationally, particularly East Africa and the US.  We have a wonderfully diverse culture in our London office alone: 50 per cent of our employees are non-Brits and between us we have a huge array of skills, languages, experience and creativity to bring to the table.

For more information please go to our ‘about us’ page and get in touch at careers@thewilful.com.

AFRICA NET ZERO: SIGGI HUEGEMANN AND DR INNOCENT UWUIJAREN ON AFRICAN HYDROGEN

“One cannot decarbonise the world without hydrogen. And one cannot decarbonise Europe without African hydrogen […]. Africa will automatically play a very strong role [in decarbonising the world] because of the sheer potential, there is no way around it. And what is really needed now is close political cooperation and willingness, to allow the financial markets to invest in those regions of the world.”

In the latest episode of our Africa Net Zero series, we were delighted to sit down with two guests: Siggi Huegemann and Dr Innocent Uwuijaren from the African Hydrogen Partnership. We learned more about the African hydrogen journey so far and discussed what the future might hold as the continent becomes one of the world’s major producers.

Thank you, Innocent and Siegfried, for sharing your insights with us!

AFRICA NET ZERO: SIGGI HUEGEMANN AND DR INNOCENT UWUIJAREN ON AFRICAN HYDROGEN

Announcing the launch of Wilful

Across the globe we are witnessing an unprecedented push to find solutions to the climate emergency and more sustainable ways of living. Awards such as the recent Earthshot Prize provide a glimpse at some of the ingenious ideas worldwide which will help tackle climate change.

Through our merger with CherishPR, announced on October 19th, we have created Wilful, a new firm that works at the intersection of tech innovation and sustainability. We asked the team what most excited them about Wilful, and this is what they had to say:

Wilful quotes