The latest news from the world of sustainability, the latest views from the brains behind Best Foot Forward
Blog by Craig Simmons, Co-Founder and Director, 8 August 2012
I may not be in the same class as Tim Baillie and Etienne Stott, but I too did my fair share of Olympic canoeing. True, my slalom was unintended and my speed somewhat pedestrian, but I also triumphed in the end.
Needless to say, the event was not part of the formal London 2012 programme but one held jointly by Thames 21 and The Blue Mile to help clean up the River Lee upstream of the Olympic Park.
With a dozen other volunteer delegates from the Beyond Sport Summit 2012, I canoed a mile up the river with litter picker in hand to clear unsightly and polluting detritus from the water. On a rare warm day in July, with the opening ceremony almost upon us, our merry band of aquanauts relieved the Lee of nine full bin bags of rubbish. Our contribution to the Olympics was small but immensely good fun.
I have written before about the sad state of our seas and how much of this is due to a lack of awareness of the dire health of our marine environment. The Ecover Blue Mile to give it its proper name, headed by the inspirational yachtsman and three times circumnavigator Conrad Humphreys, seems to have found the ideal way to open people’s minds to this forgotten majority of our planet.
This September, they are asking us all to complete a mile on or near water in return for sponsorship from family, colleagues and friends. You don’t have to canoe, you can swim, paddle, walk, run or use any other means you wish (though I suspect that use of a speedboat would be frowned upon). It might be fun to try kite-surfing in honour of the decision to include the sport in the next Summer Olympic Games in Rio. All proceeds go to WWF who will be using the money for water-related projects.
Ecover are to be congratulated for funding this innovative, green, educational project when so many corporate social responsibility budgets are spent with so little thought as to their wider contribution to sustainability’s ‘triple bottom line’. Take, for example, a CSR manager I recently met from a major energy provider that, for obvious reasons, will remain nameless. He was naturally proud of his long-running and successful partnership with a social enterprise that was, indeed, involved in extremely worthy work. Yet when I enquired about the project’s environmental credentials and, in particular, its energy management he confessed to having paid that aspect little attention. A missed opportunity at best and, at worst, a risk to the reputation of both the company and project.
Not up a creek without a paddle, maybe, but certainly a paddle down. A Baillie without a Stott. And when one is aiming for gold, you need everything pulling in the same direction.
So, get your organisation involved in the Blue Mile and, while enjoying your chosen stretch of water, reflect also on your own CSR programme. Does it have a full complement of paddles?
And good luck to Team GB.
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