Month: December 2020 | The Planet Mark
Happy Christmas from The Planet Mark

Happy Christmas from The Planet Mark

We want to wish you all a fun, healthy and merry Christmas, in whatever form it may take, from all of us at The Planet Mark. 

It has been amazing working with all of our members in 2020, who have achieved so much for the planet and society in the first year of this crucial Decade of Action. 

In 2021 we’ll be faced with new challenges but we will still have the purpose to build a better planet for all. Together, we are a collective force for good. 

We hope you all enjoy a well-deserved break and stay safe. 

Social Value and Local Economic Value Measurement Changes

Social Value and Local Economic Value Measurement Changes

 Members of The Planet Mark can choose to measure Social Value alongside their carbon measurement. The Social Value measurement has historically looked at social, environmental and economic activities such as people, community and volunteering, donations, procurement, and positive environmental impact. It has also included the number of local employees and local procurement spend 

At The Planet Mark, we follow the Social Value Portal National TOMs methodology for measuring and reporting our members’ Social Value. 

The Social Value Portal is an online solution that allows organisations to measure and manage the contribution that their organisation makes to society, according to the principles laid out within the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. The Social Value Portal solution allows organisations to report both non-financial and financial dataand rewards organisations for doing “more good” in the community. 

The Social Value measurement is a relatively new approach and the Social Value Portal have been looking into ways to make the reporting more meaningful, each year releasing updated proxies and measures. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this need for continuous improvement and to adapt to our rapidly changing world. Until recently, both Social Valuewhich encompasses the areas described aboveand Local Economic Valuewhich focuses on local employees and local procurementwere combined to give a financial outcome that includes both in one measurement. 

Although useful as a single metric, a monetary value is not always a true representation of  “the good “ a company delivers in terms of its contributions to society. At The Planet Mark we are continuously seeking ways to help improve, report on, and communicate our members contributions to society. 

Following a review and recent guidance by The Social Value Portal, The Planet Mark is now no longer recommending including local employment and local spend within the Social Value measurement, as these measures are more accurately classified as Local Economic Value, which is now considered apart from Social Value and thus will be reported on separately.  

For further information, the Social Value Toolkit and workshop available on this website and outlines 10 ways to improve Social Value reporting. 

More information on how Social Value will now be measured through The Planet Mark will be available in our member’s area shortly. In the meantime, our Certification team will contact any members affected by this change in reporting practices. If you would like specific support around communicating any changes to your reported figures, please contact Claire Walmsley-Moss. 

We know that all our members are making phenomenal strides in building a better world for the environment and society. We are here to support you though this transitional phase and on your wider sustainability journey. Together, we are a collective force for good. 

Working from home: emissions methodology

Working from home: emissions methodology

Our latest methodology paper, from The Planet Mark Sustainability Consultant Oly Longland, looks at The Planet Mark’s approach to measuring homeworking emissions.  

The Covid-19 outbreak has transformed most of our lifestyles, particularly our working lives with many employees taking up home working. This inevitably has resulted in a reduced on-site utility consumption as electricity and gas are no longer needed to light and heat communal places of work. In these cases, an organisation’s footprint is not truly reflective of their total emissions.  

This methodology only considers the additional emissions associated with homeworking which is broken down into two categories: electricity (lighting and work appliances) as well as natural gas (heating during winter months).  

You can read the full working from home emissions methodology paper here 

The Planet Mark’s 2020 Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide

The Planet Mark’s 2020 Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide

Unbelievably, it’s that time of the year again. The festive season is well and truly here and, for many people in the UK and around the world, the Christmas shopping hasn’t even begun as shops have been closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.  

Christmas will be looking quite different this year. While we may not be able to gather with as many friends and family as we’d like, we can still share the Christmas spirit by gifting our loved ones with something special.  

It’s been a challenging year and it has reminded all of us of the importance of community, giving back and spreading joy.  

We’ve wrapped up some of the best sustainable purchases for some last-minute gift inspiration.

For The Fashion Lover 

Vivienne Westwood X Cool Earth collection

Environmental advocate and internationally recognised fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has teamed up with our partners at Cool Earth to create an exclusive eco-conscious range. All sales help Cool Earth in their work alongside local communities to halt deforestation and climate change.  

Lyle & Scott

The sustainable clothing designer that has set up a series of sustainability targets to be achieved over the next three years across three areas: People, The Planet & Product.  

A pair of sneakers from Veja 

This French label are leaders in sustainable sneakers: they don’t advertise or use sweatshops, and are transforming the industry.  

Shopping tote from Arthouse Unlimited  

Not only is this shopping tote a sustainable alternative that is organic and Fairtrade, the artwork on the front has been done by an artist at Arthouse Unlimited – a company that supports adults living with complex epilepsy and learning disabilities.  

Active wear from Girlfriend Collective 

With almost all synthetic activewear being made from plastic, Girlfriend Collective offers a sustainable alternative: making theirs from materials that would otherwise end up in landfills and pollute the earth.  

For The Foodie In Your Life 

Produce from Ingram Valley

As The Planet Mark holders, the team at Ingram Valley are working towards addressing the global challenges faced; helping to achieve a brighter and more sustainable future. Their produce is award-winning and has even been listed in the Sunday Times Best Fireside treats.  

Tenzing

Inspired by the brew drank by the Sherpa people, the team at Tenzing have created a natural energy drink that is made entirely from plants. 

Chocolate from Cool Earth 

Ideal for the chocolate lover, this vegan chocolate is not only delicious but is also saving rainforests. The organic, single-origin, handmade bars are helping to provide a vital income that aims to keep the Peruvian Amazon safe.  

Feel Good Drinks  

At the heart of Feel Good Drinks is a mission to make a positive impact on the world. 3% of sales go towards charities that support personal and planetary wellbeing. 

Bodega Bay 

The next generation of alcoholic drink: giving a new low-calorie alternative that is delivered sustainability. 

For The Homebody 

Roberts Bluetooth speaker

As a Planet Mark holder, Roberts Radio has a continual focus on ways to reduce their environmental impact through creating high-quality products that are designed to last. This retro-style Bluetooth speaker blends the best of modern technology with timeless design. 

Sourdough bread eco gift bundle from Beeswax wrap

This year has seen many taking up sourdough baking at home. This gift pack is perfect for any avid baker as it includes all the essentials for making a perfect loaf, as well as a sustainable alternative to plastic clingwrap.  

Cosy up with a book from World of Books

This second-hand online bookseller is protecting the planet by enabling more goods to be reused. The affordable prices mean that millions of used books find new homes each year.  

For The Kids 

Plant a seedbom from Kabloom 

This seedbom planter is not only fun but also helps the planet by creating a diverse guerrilla garden for bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. 

An ABC of Equality from Small Stuff UK 

As a Planet Mark certified, eco-conscious children’s lifestyle brand, Small Stuff UK sells the finest ethically made products. This A to Z book offers simple explanations with beautiful illustrations to teach children about the world we live in.  

A game to save the planet from Eco Action Games  

Eco Action Games is on a mission to save the planet while taking a fun, fresh and positive approach. Game favourites like snakes and ladders, toppers and bingo have been reimagined to educate and encourage behaviour change

For The Person Who Just Has Everything 

Tickets to England’s longest and fastest zip wire from Eden Project 

Perfect for the adrenalin junkie, this SkyWire allows you to zoom across the world-famous biomes of the Eden Project.  

 Brilliant beehive from Cool Earth 

A donation of a beehive as a gift will help local communities around Mount Namuli in Mozambique develop sustainable agricultural practices like beekeeping that aims to diversify income streams and help preserve rainforest. Plus, aa bonus, this virtual certificate means no packaging and no carbon footprint. 

 Hamper from Social Stories Club 

These beautiful hampers include products that have a unique story of social impact. By buying these hampers, you are helping to transform local communities, individuals and the environment.  

Gift of a tree with Woodland Trust 

An extra special gift that supports woods and wildlife in the UK. You can choose to dedicate a tree or an area of woodland, making for a truly meaningful gift for a loved one.  

Connecting with nature and crafting your own Christmas

Connecting with nature and crafting your own Christmas

As well-loved as it is, the festive season is also known for being a stressful and busy time of yearparticularly for the working mum like me; and in 2020 this is particularly true. After a challenging year, it will be more important than ever to take a well-deserved break and reset for the coming year. One of the best ways to relieve stress and tension is to get out into the fresh air and connect with nature. It’s also a great way to spend quality time with family without any added distractions; something that is often lacking in our increasingly busy lifestyles.  

Nature’s benefits: Getting out and about  

Studies have shown that getting out into nature not only improves your emotional wellbeing by reducing fear, anxiety and sadness; but it also has a wealth of physical benefits.  

Even a short walk – it could be a 15-minute stroll in your lunch hour – can lead to increased happiness, attentiveness and confidence according to a 2016 study. 

I’m sure I speak for many people when I say that a lot of this year has been spent indoors, however, parks have never been fuller as people make a concerted effort to get out and about. We’re all feeling the benefits of ‘nature bathing’, and while we may not be able to get out and travel, there is still plenty we can do this Christmas in our local area 

    Here are some tips to encourage getting out and about:

    • As we’re not able to host parties at home this Christmas, why not walk the neighbourhood and stop by a friend’s house to hand-deliver a Christmas card (at a distance, of course)It’s a much more personal touch than sending Christmas wishes over text or email. 

    • A fun night-time activity, particularly for those with children, is checking out the local Christmas lights. Since we are spending so much time at home this year, people seem to have made an extra effort with their decorations and lights.  Pro-tip: Make sure to wrap up and for extra warmth bring along a flask of hot chocolate, or mulled wine for the adults. Mince pies optional!

    • Another nature activity to help you unwind over the Christmas break is mindfulness walking. Mindfulness is a practice that is lauded for its many health and wellbeing benefits; and is a technique that has helped many people during the Covid-19 crisis. Mindfulness walking is an aspect of this practice and can be an excellent way to slow down and ease out of our everyday ‘autopilot’ mode by gathering our awareness and appreciating the nature around us. Learn more about Mindfulness walking here.

    Getting hygge: Bringing the outdoors indoors 

    Truly appreciating nature is an idea that the Danes have mastered, and as one of the happiest nations in the world – they may be on to something. The Danish concept of ‘hygge’ refers to adopting a lifestyle of happiness, wellness and contentment by slowing down and appreciating nature, You don’t need to buy anything to feel ‘hygge’; it’s all about finding small moments within the day to celebrate, acknowledge and appreciate life. This could be through something as simple as picking some fresh flowers, enjoying a coffee with a friend or taking a walk. It’s all about simplicity, and as Covid-19 has made many of us slow down and has simplified our lives, with no rush hour commute or clubs to taxi children to and from, without knowing it we have embraced the principles of hygge.  

    A key element of hygge is bringing the outdoors indoors – this is important as during the winter months it can often be too cold to spend long periods outdoors. Anyone can create hygge instantly – bringing the outdoors into their home by even simply opening the windows to let fresh air in or picking some fresh flowers or using branches or leaves to decorate your home, naturally.

    Crafting your own Christmas 

    Of course, one of the most magical parts of Christmas is the decorations and special seasonal touches that we look forward to each year. You don’t have to go out and buy new things every season to get into the festive spirit – it’s easy enough to craft your own sustainable Christmas at home.  

    Here are some ways you can create eco-friendly Christmas crafts, all of which are fun to do with kids or even friends outside or on a festive video call. 

    • Make your own Christmas wreath using Autumn leaves. All you need is some wire to create the base and some colourful fallen leaves to decorate with. To create extra interest, you could add pinecones and spare ribbon.  
    • DIY Christmas garland. This can be done using slices of colourful dried fruit and cinnamon sticks threaded through some twine. You could also make your own folded paper star garlands.  
    • Instead of using paper for gift-wrapping using fabric squares that can be reused or try brown paper and repurposed ribbons. If you have children, you could get them to help paint or stamp brown paper with fun Christmas patterns. 

    • Make your own Christmas air-freshener using boiled water in a jar (try reusing an empty jam jar) and adding slices of orange, cinnamon sticks or whole cloves, and a bay leaf or sprig of Christmas tree. Leave it to steep for three days then open and gently heat with a votive or on top of a radiator to release the festive aromas 

    • Create your own Christmas table decorations by studding oranges with cloves for a beautiful scent, or pinecones to create a natural feel.

    • Draw festive scenes or snowflakes on your windows with chalk pens that can be completely washed off and are visible from both outside and inside.