There are two really good initiatives happening at the moment that workplaces in Bristol are getting involved in.
The first is the Travelwest Challenge. Over the course of the next 6 weeks, businesses will battle it out to see who uses the most sustainable modes of transportation. It’s super easy to get involved, all you need to do is download the BetterPoints app and start logging your journeys to and from work to be in with a chance of winning prizes including a hot air balloon ride, tickets to top-level local sporting events and entry to local attractions.
Another initiative that is focused on our environment and changing behaviour which businesses are getting involved in this month is National Refill Day. Single use plastics are high on the agenda at the moment thanks to awareness raising by Blue Planet II, which was produced here in Bristol. In response, Bristol charity City to Sea has declared 19 June National Refill Day to encourage businesses to ditch single use plastic drinks bottles in favour of reusable alternatives. It’s a fantastic idea that promises to be a lot of fun. It’s also a great example of how Bristol is shaping the national debate on the environment and doing something about it.
As well as single use plastics, Bristol is also leading the change on modern slavery. Thanks to substantial work from local charity Unseen, with the help of a number of city partners, a Modern Slavery Act gained royal ascent in 2015. Bristol is also part of the Anti-Slavery Partnership and is home to TISCReport – the world’s largest anti-slavery in supply chains register. Vice President of Bristol Chamber Jaya Chakrabarti is a truly inspirational tech and social entrepreneur behind TISCReport, and in a truly fascinating interview she describes the journey it has taken her on.
Another challenge but also opportunity the Bristol business community is leading the way on is helping ex-offenders back into employment. Last month Chief Constable Andy Marsh, Nathan Peacey, Partner at Foot Anstey, Key4Life and I gathered together 100 Bristol business leaders at Foot Anstey’s offices in Temple Quarter to challenge businesses to think again about supporting and potentially offering employment for those with criminal records. The event was a real eye opener which I hope has helped to change perceptions and remove the stigma around hiring ex-offenders. A brief summary of the issues covered in the event which can be viewed here.
In other news, I am delighted to share news of Bristol and the West of England’s recent trade delegation to the USA. Accompanied by Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and West of England Mayor Tim Bowles, Business West Market Specialist Ameeta Virk led a delegation of innovative Bristol businesses on a visit to key markets in Boston and Chicago. The delegation raised the profile of the tech sector in the City Region and I hope that we will learn that new business and investment flows from it in the months and years to come. On the subject of international trade, there is an exciting event coming up at the Engine Shed, Bristol on 10th July called ‘Trading in the Caribbean’. The event will showcase opportunities for Bristol businesses interested in trading in the region and will also provide expert advice and guidance.
Finally, in more positive news for the city, last month, Chamber President Richard Bonner and I accompanied Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and a small Bristol delegation up to Rosyth, Scotland on a special visit to HMS Prince of Wales, the new naval ship which has been affiliated with the City of Bristol since 2017. The scale of this new Royal Navy aircraft carrier is simply mind boggling and I’m proud to say that a fair few businesses in Bristol and the West of England were involved in bringing this ambitious project to fruition through being in its supply chain and our keen to build new links for business and people from Bristol going forward. She is due to go to sea in the autumn and we are part of #teambristol building strong new links.
As always, please do get in touch with any feedback or comments you may have for me or the Bristol Chamber team.