Archive for April, 2009

Guernsey printer cartridge recycling scheme

April 28th, 2009 by States of Guernsey Public Services Department

Examples of printer cartridges that can be recycled (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

St. Peter Port Services Ltd. are pleased to announce the re-introduction of the recycling scheme for used printer cartridges.  This is a pilot scheme which operates in conjunction with the Guernsey Public Services Department.  It also supports the “Guernsey Specials Gym Club.”

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Business and Ethics, are they poles apart?

April 22nd, 2009 by Jim Hopley

Responsible Retailing. Jim Hopley, Chief Executive of the Channel Islands Co-op concludes this series on Responsible Retailing and looks at the local social dividend payable as a result of responsible trading.

If ever there was an activity which ties itself up in knots trying to get a simple message across, it is that aspect of business which, across the board, concentrates on environmental and social objectives.  It is morass of overlapping themes which includes all aspects of responsible business, ethical partnerships and the desire, not only to do the right thing, the best thing, but also to be seen to be doing it. “It”, in this instance being working for the planet, doing the best thing by your suppliers, and the best by your customers.

This is no reflection on the value of any of the many awareness movements, all of which hope to pressure the retail trade (and its customers) to consider the bigger picture, rather than the cheapest price.  It is but a comment on the fractured nature of the message.  This is not the view of a cynic, because I am deeply committed to many of the causes, in particularly the Fairtrade movement, but I am also keenly aware of how confused our customers must be. If we are trying to deliver a social dividend we have to make sure our customers – in the case of the Co-op our members – are well informed and are aware, not only how that dividend is raised, but also and why we are doing it. What is the difference between Fairtrade and the Rainforest Alliance? What distinguishes the various environmental groups adding to the clamour, be it from G-CAN in Guernsey or the Jersey WI with their plastic bag campaign – or be it the government sponsored groups in both Islands – from each other? How do we help them all by concentrating on the main issues without appearing to tum some away? In all this, are we more aware of the messenger or the message? With the National Trust on the Islands, the two Island learned societies and now with the service clubs “not to mention the host of other groups – pushing their own environmental agendas. I sometimes wonder if an umbrella organisation along the lines of the Islands’ Association of Charities could be applied to environmental concerns, but that is a problem for tomorrow.

I mention this as a background to the launch of our own Co-operative Environmental Fund which I see very much an example of paying the social dividend in a local context. We have examined social investment, sourcing goods locally, targeted investment and encouraging customers /members to act in tune with best practice. In all this we make profits which can, in many ways, be re-invested locally. But having announced an environment fund, my point about the fractured nature of this particular sector comesinto sharp relief, for now we have to create, from our own resources, an equitable way of distributing the proceeds to worthy causes.

And as you may have already read in the Jersey Evening Post, the idea behind the initiative was a highly successful and unusual fund raising campaign which drew its potential income from our members changing their shopping habits. Inspired by G-CAN in Guernsey and the WI in Jersey, the Co-operative Society across the Islands promised to donate five pence for every carrier bag saved to a new environmental fund. This was launched on 6 May 2008 and by 9 January 2009 it stood at £60,000 and, as this is an ongoing project, it will amount, I hope, to a great deal more next year.

Taking as our model the Co-op Helping Hands Appeal – about which more, later – we will form a special committee made up of representatives from the main board of the Society as well as from the organisations who inspired the whole initiative, G-CAN, the WI and The One World Alliance, I cannot pre-judge what might decided, but we have £35,000 to give away in Jersey and £25,000 in Guernsey and I envisage, following the Helping Hands model, to see the bulk being used to support those smaller comminute schemes which tend to slip under the radar. Projects which might be seen as very local but which, stepping back, one can see as contributing to the big picture.

Meanwhile the shortlist for this year’s Helping Hands awards has already been announced and well over £15,000 in grants across the Islands will shortly be winging their way to socially pro-active projects which would otherwise pass by unnoticed and unsupported.

These are perhaps the more obvious examples of the social dividend, as the profit generated from a company owned by the people of these Islands has to have a good percentage earmarked for re-investment back into the community, once the funds needed for re-investment and expansion have been set aside.  And when I say ‘owned’ by local people, consider these figures: We have 80,000 plus active share accounts used in our stores and this is from an overall total membership of 105,000.  Most households in Jersey and Guernsey would seem to have a Co-operative Society Member as part of the establishment.  And to these people goes the bulk of our social dividend.  Last year the accounts showed that, for the first time, we had returned over £7 million pounds in Jersey and Guernsey back to our members/shareholders as redistributed profit In broad terms this amounted to about £5.25million in principle dividend with a further £1. 75m coming from the double dividend mid-week shopping days. The vast majority of island families are benefiting, directly or indirectly from our social dividend.  But it doesn’t stop there. We get about thirty letters a week asking us to support local events and charities and, in a small way, we try to give a positive support to all of them: I say “in a small way, as the well is not bottomless and we don’t like to say “no”. We also support small environmental projects, particularly in schools, on an on-going basis.  I could be taken to task for acting way beyond what many would see as the
remit 01 a supermarket group, but this all comes back to my own personal credo about ethical business and responsible retailing, so I make no apology for it.
The Co-operative Movement in the UK commissioned a national research project on what social goals the public wanted to see from a body with aims such as ours. It is too early to be able to analyse the results in detail, but the combination of ethical sourcing of goods and using the power of trade to initiate changes, both in attitude and in practice, across the world is certainly a major concern. This highlights a philosophy, or perhaps an
awareness of campaigns, which can be extended to socially worthwhile causes on an international stage as well as retaining a percentage of the profit gained here in Jersey for worthwhile investment. This money could be used to build up communities are far apart as coffee plantations across South America and Africa, Argentinian and South African vineyard cooperatives, and cocoa plantations in West Africa where child slave labour was once an un-regarded fact of life.
Ethical trading produces profits and pays a social dividend. The enthusiastic embracing of causes such as Fairtrade, and promoting an Institutional awareness of the Stop the Traffick Campaign, shows that our
business activities, our customer support, can be a positive tool for good.  The social dividend can be measured not only in hard currency, but also in influence, internationally as well as locally. Ethical trading and the
resulting social dividend know no boundaries.

This article was first published in Business Brief magazine in April 2009.

Step out for National Walk to Work Week from 27 April to 1 May 2009

April 20th, 2009 by Pat Wisher

Commuters are encouraged to put both feet forward for National Walk to Work Week (27 April to 1 May 2009).  National charity Living Streets runs the Walking Works Campaign, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, and in London by Transport for London.  Living Streets Guernsey (formerly STEPS) is hoping that Guernsey commuters will take part in the initiative this year.

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MCS and Finding Sanctuary provide seminar on Marine Protected Areas in Guernsey on 8 April 2009

April 14th, 2009 by Alderney Wildlife Trust

The Alderney Wildlife Trust prepared notes on the MPA seminar, which

Dr. Jean-Luc Solandt, Biodiversity Conservation Officer for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), and Tom Hooper, Project Manager for Finding Santuary spoke at a seminar on Marine Protected Areas on 8 April 2009.  These notes have been prepared by the Alderney Wildlife Trust.

Dr Solandt’s presentation concentrated largely on the currently developing position in regards to Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This included the current range and variety of types of protection currently used, from voluntary to mandatory. Also to be considered was the scale of protection both within UK and European waters and the requirements through both European and new UK legislation, especially in light of the newly passed Marine and Coastal Access Bill.

Pertinent points that might be drawn to general attention:

  • Currently around 2% of British waters receive some protection, whether statutory or voluntary.
  • There are a wide range of conservation designations for MPA’s, some of which are requirements of wider European legislation, others are UK wide or local designations, of which some are voluntary gentlemen’s agreements:
    • European Protected Sites (47 sites). The term ‘European marine sites’ is the collective term for Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) that are covered by tidal water and protect some of our most special marine and coastal habitats and species of European importance. SACs contain animals, plants and habitats that are considered rare, special or threatened within Europe while SPAs protect important bird species. European marine sites form part of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) network.
    • Marine Nature Reserves (MNRs). There are 3 in the UK of which only one, Lundy, is in England. Lundy MNR will become a Marine Conservation Zone under the Marine Bill.
    • Subtidal Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Although most SSSIs are on land there are some which extend into the marine environment.
    • Voluntary Marine Protected Areas; several voluntary MPAs have been established by local groups or councils. Activities may be managed by voluntary codes of conduct.
  • The UK is currently under-performing in its European obligations on the designation of protected areas; however, it is still outperforming most other European countries.
  • France is currently searching for sites to designate; areas being looked at include significant sections of the Bay of St. Malo. Designation is planned by 2011.
  • Different designations obviously mean different levels of protection, however, there is growing, strong evidence that MPA’s can have a significant impact on non-migratory species with case studies being presented from Lundy, the Mediterranean and the United States.
  • Size of MPA’s has a significant impact in the range of species protected, with large sites necessary to impact migratory species, especially white fish such as bass, mullet etc. However, there is evidence to show that small sites can impact non-migratory fish species as well as shell fish, invertebrates and flora.
  • Clear evidence was given to show that areas removed from scallop dredging produced not only larger scallops but also much greater muscle mass and fecundity, which in turn has been shown to have knock-on benefits to areas surrounding the MPA.
  • Some new evidence was presented from Lundy which might be seen to identify the potential recruitment benefits of sanctuaries to surrounding waters.
  • Case studies from the Georges Bank off the coastline of the United States show a clear correlation in benefits to local fisherman. After the initial loss of fishing grounds and the necessary resizing of local fishing fleets, fishermen saw a dramatic increase in catch size for effort expended as fishing practices are more focused around the MPA’s boundaries.
  • Sites designated with local support also showed significantly greater success in most cases than those
    pushed through without local interaction or backing. Further a significant number of designated sites
    experience poaching which reduced their effectiveness and muddied potential results.
  • Under the terms of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill there will be a requirement for 4 regional networks
    of MPA’s to be established, using criteria currently being defined by the JNCC and Natural England,
    covering a total area 10% by 2012. These networks will be labelled Marine Protected Zones and their
    designation will be orchestrated by the regional development bodies, Finding Sanctuary representing the
    South West area http://www.finding-sanctuary.org.
  • Designation will be undertaken by a steering group made up of the interest groups who, making use of the
    guidelines supplied, will discuss and then approve all designations required before 2011.
  • Once a site is designated its success will be monitored however it is unlikely to have its designation
    removed.
  • Interested parties need to be involved in mapping the current uses of their waters to help identify the
    marine resource and impacts of designation. The current approach is much broader than the traditional
    meeting between parent body and government department, with an interactive website allowing all users to
    map out their activities for consideration. Further to this, members of the Finding Sanctuary team are
    meeting users throughout the region to map out in person the local fields of usage interests.
  • Perhaps clearest of all the messages was that for successful designation of a MPA to take place the interested
    parties need to have a clear objective, aims and goals for the designation.

Summing up

After the presentations discussion was held around the room. This raised several points of consideration concerning the relevance of large area MPA’s to such a relatively small area of Bailiwick waters, the potential implications to renewable energy and the requirements for monitoring.  The following list details just some of the points that might be considered:

  • To what extent do existing gentlemen’s agreements and fishing restrictions pre-empt the creation of MPAs. (Need a detailed break down of Guernsey and Alderney’s current legal and voluntary agreements)
  • Guernsey Sea fisheries and Harbour authority is already carrying out some special mapping of marine resources using a combination of SeaZone and ArcView, systems available on both islands, though currently this is restricted to a small area of the total marine resources use.
  • What are the benefits of MPAs that we are looking for? E.g. increasing marine biodiversity as a whole, Increasing fish stocks, shellfish, lobster crab.
  • To be nationally recognised as an area/island whereby we create protection for our wildlife/marine life.

What next?

The presentation helped to clarify the emergent situation around MPAs in regards to both the UK and European Union as a whole. Being sandwiched between two participating partners the Channel Islands will be affected by the future actions of France and the UK whether it opts to consider the adoption of aspects of the new Marine Bill or not and should therefore consider these implications carefully. It would seem inappropriate to simply ignore the developing situation and not take a clear stance on the way forward for an island planning to establish significant marine renewable development, as well as sending out a very mixed message concerning the Island’s approach to its waters.

It is proposed that both speakers be invited to repeat their presentations in each of the island’s to open forum
meetings; it would be a significant step in the right direction if politicians could be present as well as more
members of the commercially interested parties and recreational interest groups.

The seminar notes prepared by the Alderney Wildlife Trust may be downloaded as a PDF file.