Thursday 16 April 2009

People power

Today we launched a project I’ve been working on for two or three years now; a new climate fund for the Northwest that focuses on local, sustainable projects as a viable route to achieve carbon reductions whilst combating fuel poverty. It’s called ‘Foundation’.

Foundation, a climate fund for the Northwest is launching with a modest but significant scale and will deliver £1m per year for local, community based carbon projects. It will also give individuals and businesses the opportunity to donate to local community projects across the region that are helping to combat climate change whilst advancing social justice and tackling problems like fuel poverty. 

Money raised will be spent on carbon reduction projects ranging from insulation, solar panels and wind turbines, to biological carbon sinks like peat bogs. The fund will be managed by Groundwork Northwest, chaired by United Utilities and with an initial investment of £1.6m from the Northwest Regional Development Agency, has a target to raise an additional £3m in donations over the next three years. 

Foundation is as much about social equity as carbon reduction – projects must realise a reduction in carbon, but equally must deliver a wider range of benefits; including supporting families struggling to pay their heating bills, assisting local schools and community groups, investing in ‘green collar’ jobs and ultimately developing the region’s low carbon economy. 

How did we help? Well we led the development of the entire concept (basically to develop a socially-engaged, local offset fund) with the help of a range of partners including Pannone, BDO Stoy Hayward, Arup, Quantum, Vision 21 and a host of others. Once we were into the launch phase, with Groundwork leading, we developed the Foundation name and brand, plus its website, media relations, marketing materials and we managed its launch.