Future Co-ops 2019 logo

Conference: Can co-operative deserts bloom?

Ethos public relations is proud to be supporting a conference in the New Year addressing the issue of co-operative deserts and how new co-ops can be helped to bloom.

Future Co-ops 2019 logo

Future Co-ops 2019, which takes place on 1st and 2nd February 2019,  will address how the co-operative sector can grow.

Not everywhere is created equal. There are some well-known pockets of success in the UK where co-ops flourish – big cities, small towns, north and south. But there are plenty of co-op deserts too.

We’re all agreed we want more co-ops, better co-ops and, sometimes, bigger co-ops. Particularly in co-op deserts. But no fairy godmother’s going to wave a magic wand, so what do we, as a diverse sector, do with what we’ve got?

Join Co-operative Futures in Birmingham on the 1st and 2nd February, where they’ll be working with Central England Co-operative’s talented Think:Digital innovation team, using their new insights and participatory problem solving techniques in a fun and effective way to explore new, practical actions that participants can all take away to help co-op deserts bloom!

According to Jo White of Co-operative Futures, the organisers of the event, co-operatives can be found right across the UK but their distribution is uneven.

“Future Co-ops 2019 will focus on why these geographic imbalances exist and how we can all help create the right environment to make new co-operatives flourish.”

Early Bird prices online available until Christmas.

Where: Hillscourt Hotel & Venue in Birmingham

Info: https://futures.coop/future-coops-2019

EAE Aesthetics logo

Branding boost for Midlands aesthetics business

We were delighted to be appointed by EAE Aesthetics in Market Harborough, a new business offering a range of aesthetic treatments, to manage the development of their branding.

EAE Aesthetics logoOur first step was to co-ordinate the creation of an eye-catching logo which reflected the clinical credentials of the new business, as well as looking clean and modern.

Once the logo had been agreed, we were able to roll out the branding across a new website, leaflets and business cards, helping to create a consistent visual identity.

The EAE Aesthetics website outlines the client’s services, as well as providing background information about the business and contact details, in a clear and appealing way.

Liz Everett, owner of EAE Aesthetics, said: “I recently launched my aesthetics business after a long career in nursing – as a registered nurse, nurse prescriber and most recently as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. EAE Aesthetics provides anti-wrinkle treatments and dermal fillers, as well as aural microsuction for earwax removal, and we needed to come up with some branding to help promote our services.

“Ethos public relations quickly understood our brief and within a couple of weeks had developed a strong new identity for us, which will help us to communicate our business – both now and in the future, when we introduce new services.”

Shaun Fisher, Director of Ethos public relations, said: “We were pleased to be asked to work with EAE Aesthetics to create their new brand and we are happy with how things turned out. We hope the work we have done will help EAE Aesthetics to grow quickly, providing aesthetic treatments by an experienced and qualified nurse.”

If you or your business would like to know more about the branding services we offer, or our range of marketing and public relations services, please do contact us today.

Business needs to change to avoid climate breakdown

In his latest blog Sean looks at how business should be reducing its dependence on carbon

All but the very sceptical now accept that our climate is changing and serious action is needed to slow down the damage caused to our environment.

The recent report by the UN international Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that we have about 12 years to ensure that we don’t exceed the 1.5 degree increase in global warming and has outlined some of the serious consequences of missing the target – even by only half a IPCCdegree Celsius.

At the time of its publication, there was much media coverage, which is great in raising awareness of this important subject, but there doesn’t seem to have been any significant business response.

As individuals, we all have a role to play in reducing energy use and thus global warming, but small changes by big businesses by definition have the potential to make a disproportionately large impact.

In the last few weeks, two examples of business practices which seem to take no recognition of the importance of climate change have stood out to me. In no way am I criticising the businesses behind these practices, it’s a competitive world out there, but they do highlight how big a sea change is needed in business thinking if we are ever going to reduce our dependence on carbon and perhaps save the environment.

First example. Recently, my friend’s car had to go to the garage due to a damaged AdBlue tank – yes, it’s diesel, that’s a whole different blog – but not only did the new tank have to come from mainland Europe the car had to be shipped from Wrexham to the North East of England to a specialist repairer. All of which was anything but zero carbon.

Today, businesses are becoming so complex and specialised that they build in even more carbon to their business operations.

Second example. Recently, we had to have a small wall rebuilt after an insurance claim. True, many of the bricks could be salvaged and were therefore reused, but the insurance company has a contract for such works with a building contractor. The work took two days and the builder drove 50 miles each way to undertake the work. Why wouldn’t the insurance company contract the work to a local builder, which would reduce traffic as well as reducing carbon emissions?

As I mentioned earlier, these examples are not unique to the businesses concerned and on their own don’t amount to much, but when you consider the imperative businesses have to grow and how many businesses will be doing something similar every day across the globe, the only conclusion I can come to is that businesses need a real shake up in how they operate.
To date, there’s little evidence that many are about to do so.

I hope I am wrong.

Refil and Coolrec develop the coolest 3d printing filament

Coolrec, a subsidiary of Renewi and Refil have launched HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene plastic), a high quality and unique 3d printing filament made from plastic recovered from discarded refrigerators, available now in the UK

Ron Cramer from Coolrec left and Casper van der Meer from Refil launch the new 3d printer filament

Ron Cramer from Coolrec left and Casper van der Meer from Refil launch the new 3d printer filament

From discarded fridges to high quality 3d printing filament, HIPS has a neutral off white colour which is easy to paint or glue, making it a perfect material for the 3d printing of scale models.

The new filament can also be used as a support material, and if needed, can be removed when the print is finished by a naturasolvent, limonene. The filament comes in the two standard diameters of 2.85mm and 1.75mm and has successfully been tested on many 3d printers.

Sustainable 3d printing filament

After their first recycled PET, ABS and PLA filaments, Dutch company Refil is now adding Hips to their product range. The products now offer a sustainable alternative for the growing market of 3d printing and this new material has a specific focus on architects, schools and product designers. The material prints flawless and comes with a sustainable story, creating 3d products from old fridges.

The collaboration between Refil and Coolrec is a good example of two companies on the forefront of plastic recycling working together in their own field of expertise.

“Whereas Coolrec is all about the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment, Refil transforms the acquired plastics into 3d printing filament and makes it available around the world”, says Casper van der Meer, CEO at Refil.

“Making recycled filament may seem easy, but getting a steady supply chain and maintaining a high quality over different batches is a real challenge. This is why it took us several years of development to be able to guarantee the quality of HIPS. Together with Coolrec we’ve managed to realise this”

Coolrec is responsible for recycling of WEEE (Waste or Electrical and Electronic Equipment) which recycles electrical appliances and electronic products into high quality secondary materials such as plastics, metals and other raw materials.

Arjen Wittekoek, Director of Coolrec said: “Discarded appliances are made from and still contain many valuable materials. Using innovative techniques, Coolrec is able to recover the plastics from the discarded fridges, offering the sustainable solution reusing these again in the manufacturing process of new products, such as the 3d filament.

“For us developing HIPS and the collaboration with Refil is another way to protect the world against pollution, preserve finite resources and enable our partners to achieve their sustainability targets. For this reason we are very proud to be involved in this circular collaboration.”

The recipe of the recycled plastic has been optimized for 3d printing, reducing shrinkage and warping during printing. The filament will be delivered on a unique fully recyclable cardboard spool leaving no waste behind. The spools are made in collaboration with a social workplace in Rotterdam, integrating social sustainability as well.

Refil and Coolrec are also working on a black filament of the same kind of plastic but in this case made from old televisions. It’s expected to be available in the beginning of 2019.

The full range of 3D printing filaments containing recycled material is available at here https://www.re-filament.com/shop.html.

 

Ethical public relations versus fake news

For over 20 years, Ethos public relations has described itself as an ethical PR agency. We might not have known it back then, but what we were really saying was that we were against ‘fake news’.

Ethos 20 logoIn recent years, a number of things have contributed to the term fake news being bandied about, almost every time someone disagrees with some information or an editorial stance. This is not at all useful and is only going to increase mistrust of information and expert opinion.

In the PR context, what we meant by ethical PR was not engaging in spin but focusing on the real news behind a story. For many clients, especially in the charity and social enterprise sectors, this is particularly important as they have meaningful stories to tell supporters and funders and we believe this is best done with real, honest case studies and stories that demonstrate the real impact of their work.

Back in the 1980s it wasn’t fake news that made us develop our honest approach but rather spin and ‘kiss and tell’ stories.

Unfortunately, the transformation to fake news from this was almost inevitable and was supported in part by some bad editorial decisions by the media along the way.

It’s easy to blame editors, but a free media does need to be protected, and probably almost everyone working in public relations can cite examples of where really interesting, pertinent and newsworthy press releases have gained no coverage, while less socially useful information gets on air or in print.

Journalists aren’t social workers, but they do need to take a responsibility to their community and reflect what is going on in a balanced and holistic way. We have always subscribed to – and done our best to adhere to – the NUJ principles in our dealings with the media.

In a pre-digital age it was true that air time and newspaper space was limited, but that’s hardly the case now. Real, good quality and verifiable news should be able to find an outlet on trusted media sites to balance the seemingly endless rise of so called ‘news’ sites peddling opinion as fact.

Ethos 20 logo

New dimensions to PR: celebrating our first 20 years

Ethos public relations was established in Manchester in April 1998 and is still going strong. Here, Shaun, one of our directors, looks at some of the changes we have seen in that time and considers a new opportunity for the future.

Ethos 20 logo

Over the last 20 years, there has been a transformation in the way news is communicated, not just in how people access the latest stories, but in terms of how organisations reach out to journalists.

One of our first commissions was to write an article for a trade journal. The article was printed and published and that was that. It wasn’t posted on a website; it wasn’t shared on social media; it wasn’t ‘liked’ and ‘linked to’, forever present in the online ether. No doubt the article remains in a dusty archive somewhere, but for all intents and purposes it was never seen again.

In those days, it wasn’t unusual for a PR agency to put a press release in the post to a journalist, in anticipation that it would be used days, weeks or months ahead. Nowadays, like all of us, journalists track websites and social media channels for the latest stories – which can circle the globe within minutes – while doing their best to sniff out fake news!

As a result, most of our PR work is now online – writing and managing websites; handling social media accounts for clients; producing online newsletters, adverts and marketing materials and so on. To survive the many changes in our industry over the last 20 years, we have had to be flexible and adaptable, and no doubt there are many more changes to come.

For example, these days printing now means something different to us – something almost inconceivable 20 years ago – and that’s three-dimensional printing. Our latest client in our 20th anniversary year produces recycled 3D printer filament which can be used to manufacture a wide range of household objects, practical items, ornaments and small mechanical parts.

We’ve all seen the startling headlines about body parts being produced by 3D printers, as well as cars, houses, clothes and food, and although it might be some time before 3D printing replaces more traditional production methods, one thing’s for sure, it’s here to stay and the potential is huge.

For us, it seems, printing has come full circle. As printed publications, which once provided our bread and butter, have declined and moved into the online world, a new form of printing – 3D printing – has emerged to fill the gap.

And finally, talking of new dimensions, from day one we had a unique, ethical approach to PR, something unheard of in the late Nineties’ world of spin, and this is something we have stuck to over the last 20 years – not just because it sounded good, but because it was what we believed. Ironically perhaps for a PR agency, it is this authenticity, which goes beyond words, that has been the anchor of what we have achieved.

London Capital Credit Union welcomes largest ever customer satisfaction survey

London Capital Credit Union, a not-for-profit co-operative which provides savings and low cost loans to people living, working or studying in Barnet, Camden, City of London, Hackney, Haringey and Islington, has welcomed a new report which found significant approval for the services offered by credit unions.

Martin Groombridge

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union

The largest ever survey of credit union customers, published by Financial Inclusion Centre, found that 81% of members across the country were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their credit union, while 84% said they would recommend a friend or family member. This compares to a recent Which? survey showing that mainstream banks’ average overall customer satisfaction score was only 68%.

These results support the feedback received from London Capital Credit Union’s own members. Results from the Credit Union’s 2017 annual survey show a very high overall level of customer satisfaction, with an average score of 9 out of a possible 10.

London Capital Credit Union is one of the fastest growing credit unions in the capital, with over 15,000 members and outstanding lending of nearly £12 million.

Financial Inclusion Centre research also demonstrated just how important the broad range of financial services being delivered by these not-for-profit financial providers are, with the majority of respondents using their credit union as an affordable and fair source of borrowing – giving them an invaluable alternative to high-cost credit such as payday loans, rent-to-own firms and door-step lenders.

Credit unions work hard to help their members understand financial issues and members are shown to score well compared to the general population on a range of financial capability measures, saying they feel they have their finances under control and are confident in dealing with money matters.

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union, said: “The findings of the largest ever credit union customer satisfaction survey back up what we see at London Capital Credit Union and show that most members are extremely satisfied with the services provided.

“With the current pressures on household finances, credit unions such as ours provide an essential lifeline for many, offering affordable loans in time of need and supporting people to develop a saving habit. At London Capital Credit Union, we believe it is important to help people make the most of their finances and this survey shows the hugely positive contribution that credit unions make to our communities.”

Mick McAteer, Co-Director of Financial Inclusion Centre, added: “These results are very encouraging and go to show that credit unions are highly regarded by those that use them, with higher satisfaction rates than mainstream banks.”

A copy of the report, ‘An Insight into Credit Union Membership’, can be found here.

Media Statement on behalf of Cae Post

Cae Post Logo

  4 January 2018

Cae Post announces end of trade recycling and waste collections

Cae Post, the environmental charity and social enterprise based in Welshpool, has announced it is to stop its waste and recycling collections with effect from 31st January 2018, with the loss of 10 staff.

Making the announcement, John Harrington, chair of the charity’s trustees, said: “It has been an extremely difficult year for us. Although we have been able to grow our services to trade customers in Powys and Shropshire, we have seen the value and demand for the recyclable materials we sort and bale fall. This has led us to a very difficult decision.

“As a board of trustees, it was very hard for us to decide to close our recycling centre in Trewern, but financially we had no choice. We hope to be able to continue to meet our charitable objectives of offering training and employment to those disadvantaged in the jobs market in some other way in future.”

Cae Post has a long history of pioneering charitable action in the fields of learning disability and environmental action.

Although the current trading activities of the charity will cease, the charity will continue to exist while the trustees investigate new ways to deliver their charitable objectives.

Added John: “We would really like to thank all of our staff, customers and suppliers over the years for their support and the significant contribution they have made to our social enterprise.”

– e n d s –

Notes to Editor:

Cae Post believes that employment and access to work are central to how people see themselves and that people with a range of disabilities, or who are disadvantaged in the labour market, should be given the same opportunity of contributing to their community through work.

By promoting the many individual achievements our beneficiaries make, Cae Post can help to create a more inclusive image for all those who are disadvantaged.

 

Mince pie - Ethos public relations

Season’s greetings 2017

As another year comes to its end, it has become our tradition to have a(nother) glass of sherry and a mince pie and to reflect on the previous year.

It’s now over three years since Ethos public relations made the move from an office based PR agency in Manchester to a more flexible Shropshire operation. During this time, we feel we have become part of the local community and have had the benefit of meeting and working with some fantastic local people.

We might now be based near to Oswestry, but we still have clients across the UK and as the nature of public relations changes from its broadcast and print focus to an increasingly digital and social media focus, we have enjoyed supporting clients with new website projects, conference preparations and product development, as well as traditional media and public relations.

Over the year, we have seen a number of fundraising events take place locally and a few have been less well publicised than we think they ought to have been. As we are passionate about local charities and fundraising initiatives we launched a PR service especially for that sector. More details are here. We really would love to work with you to help you raise your fundraising and business objectives.

Holly

Talking of fundraising, along with a number of other volunteers, we have started to plan a new music festival in Welshpool to raise funds to support the reopening of the Montgomery Canal between Shropshire and Powys. There are a number of sponsorship opportunities available to businesses and brands that would like to be associated with this. Why not take a look at www.musicforthemonty.co.uk and get in touch?

We will be closed over the Christmas break from lunchtime on Friday 22nd December until Tuesday 2nd January 2018, but, as we are firmly in the 21st century, we will be checking our emails, social media accounts and text messages, so do stay in touch.

We would like to wish all our clients, suppliers, friends and future clients Season’s Greetings and a very successful 2018.

New plastic film recycling scheme for Powys communities

Town and Community Councils in Powys are introducing a new recycling scheme, developed by Welshpool-based charity Cae Post, to deal with unwanted plastic film.

Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ieuan Williams, at the launch of the  plastic film recycling scheme with Chair of Cae Post, John Harrington.

Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ieuan Williams, at the launch of the plastic film recycling scheme with Chair of Cae Post, John Harrington.

Following the decision by Powys County Council to stop the collection and recycling of plastic film, waste and recycling experts Cae Post were approached by a number of Community and Town Councils to see if they could fill the gap.

Although Powys County Council no longer offers recycling collections for plastic film and suggests disposing of it with household refuse, stretchy plastic film items, such as carrier bags, magazine wrappers, bread bags, frozen food bags, cling film and bubble wrap, can be recycled.

Cae Post is working with eight councils in Powys, including Brecon Town Council, to roll out its new film recycling scheme and the results to date have been very encouraging.

Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ieuan Williams, said: “We are delighted with the response to our new plastic film recycling point that has been set up outside the Co-op in Brecon. Although we were originally expecting to empty the bin once a month, demand has been so great that we are now emptying it at least once a fortnight. This shows that the people of Brecon recognise the importance of recycling plastic film and that there is a real need for the service. We would like to thank Cae Post for setting it up.”

John Harrington, Chair of Cae Post said: “We are pleased to be working with councils in Powys, such as Brecon Town Council, to manage plastic film recycling for their communities.

“The environmental impact of plastic film should not be underestimated. Studies suggest that plastic bags, for example, can take anywhere between 20 and 1,000 years to degrade, if they degrade at all in modern landfill sites. In fact, many countries around the world have now banned them. So, if we are going to use items made from plastic film, it is important that, as a society, we do what we can to recycle them.

“At Cae Post, we believe it is vital that these items do not end up in general waste and so we are pleased to offer a collection service for communities in Powys, as well as for businesses, charities and other organisations.”

While it is true that plastic film can be difficult and expensive to sort from other materials by mechanical means, Cae Post has maintained its manual sorting capacity and so is happy to offer this service.

John Harrington added: “As a charity and social enterprise, Cae Post has a mission to tackle disadvantage and create opportunity through environmental initiative. By using Cae Post to recycle plastic film, communities in Powys are helping us to fulfil our social objectives, providing work opportunities for disabled people and those who are disadvantaged in the jobs market.”

The other Community and Town Councils in Powys that are trialling the scheme include Banwy, Castle Caereinion, Dwyriw, Llangunllo, Llangynidr, Llanwrtyd Wells and Trewern.

If your community group or organisation would like to find out more about plastic film recycling in Powys, contact Cae Post on 01938 570426 or email info@caepost.co.uk.