We shine the spotlight on six initiatives improving the world of work, including an organisation lobbying oil giants to change from the inside and a mental health support scheme for staff
This piece is part of our Hope 100 series, telling the stories of the people and organisations creating hope for 2020 and beyond
#35 Follow This
Dutch journalist Mark van Baal was frustrated with the way the oil and gas giants paid little heed to policies aiming to curb their emissions. So in 2015, he set up Follow This, an organisation of ‘responsible investors’ that targets the big fossil fuel firms by buying shares and lobbying for change from the inside. The group played a key role in Shell’s first carbon reduction targets, announced in spring 2019, and it now has its sights set on BP and Norwegian energy company Equinor.
A consultancy and incubator with locations in London, Lisbon and San Francisco, Impossible exists to make businesses better. Its main aim? To shift the mindset of ambitious companies from thinking about “users” to thinking about the planet. To do this, the team has developed a ‘planet centric design’ framework, which encourages businesses of all sizes to consider the impact of their work against the UN sustainable development goals. Its startup incubator has helped to make the likes of Fairphone a reality.
Recognising the influence that big business holds, RE100 is getting the world’s biggest companies to switch to renewable power. Businesses that sign up make a public commitment to source 100 per cent of their electricity from renewables by a specific year, and RE100 keeps leaders accountable to that commitment. So far, 211 organisations have signed up to the pledge, including the likes of BMW Group, global grocery chain Walmart, Marks and Spencer and fashion retailer H&M Group.
#38 Positive Money
An action group formed in the wake of the 2008 crash, which lobbies for a banking system to drive a fair and sustainable economy. That means an economy not driven by housing price bubbles or a bloated financial sector and with better distribution of wealth. The movement now has more than 50,000 supporters, working on campaigns as varied as keeping cashpoints free, to calling for greater transparency from the Bank of England.
#39 The Valuable 500
Caroline Casey is on a mission to make big businesses recognise the value of the 1.3 billion people worldwide who live with a disability. Her campaign, The Valuable 500, was launched at the 2019 World Economic Forum and aims to get 500 companies to put disability inclusion on their board agenda within a year. Firms from Barclays to Tesco, IBM to Microsoft have signed up. 2020 looks likely to kickstart an exciting next chapter.
#40 Mental Health First Aid England
The UK has some 500,000 people who are trained to offer mental health support in the workplace, thanks to the efforts of charity Mental Health First Aid England. It says it has trained staff at more than 20,000 companies to better support their colleagues. From January 2020, it will work with London South Bank University on a three-year study to explore the impact of mental health first aiders on a business.
Featured image: Caroline Casey, who is registered blind, founded The Valuable 500, credit: The Valuable 500