Making sports clubs as sustainability leaders in a community through audits, education and behaviour modification.
The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you
Country of residence of entrepreneur
Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?
I have a strong academic, professional and personal interest in sustainability. In my academic life I hold a Bachelors Degree in Manufacturing Engineering, a Graduate Diploma in Management Practices and a Masters in Sustainable Development. During a brief period where I was looking for work I undertook upskilling, environmental FETAC Level 5 classes in ‘Permaculture Design’, ‘Sustainable Garment Construction, ‘Artisan Food Production’, ‘Start Your Own Green Business’ and a module in ‘Introduction to Planning for Sustainability’ from the Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability Masters from BKIT in Sweden. My professional work includes working as a waste management engineer, wind energy development engineer, environmental educational facilitator and lecturer and sustainability consultant. I wrote and deliver an environmental education workshop a number of times a year in primary schools, I am currently writing a class for secondary schools and community groups. I also try and bring sustainability in to my personal life through general day to day duties, cooking, crafts, using (and selling) homemade and natural body products. I was part of the Ben & Jerrys Climate Change College in 2007 which brought me to the climate change camp in Rotterdam and last week I was one of the Irish testers for one of the new Ben & Jerrys core flavour (maybe not an environmental activity but still yummy). My entrepreneurial experience stretches from a Christmas stall selling homemade body scrubs and bath salts. I put the ingredients and recipe on the label for full transparency and I encouraged people to use the batch they bought, make a new batch and give them as a present. As part of a British Council project in conjunction with 5 others I wrote an ebook and puppet show aimed at children teaching them about climate change, this will be released at easter.
About Your Organization
Ireland, DB, Dublin
Country where this project is creating social impact
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The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
Sports clubs are hubs of activity bringing life to a community; however they are not exempt for the pressures of the current economic downturn. Sport clubs are suffering from lose of members due to emigration and membership fees. The rising costs of utility bills is also a huge issue for sports clubs in addition to retaining members interest due to the competition between clubs and variety of clubs available. Seeing a drop in members in sports clubs affects people’s health and the community as without people there is no sport and without sport, there is no community. People attend sports clubs as an escape from other pressures in life; they attend sports clubs for fitness, fun and socialising. Sports clubs losing members or closing due to the economic downturn could be detrimenta.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
Future Fit’s solution to the issue above is to empower club stakeholders about sustainability and its economical and social benefits for the club and the world around us. This will also lead to big marketing opportunities for the club in terms of green credentials and green events. The steps within Future Fit are to save money in the areas of waste, water and energy initially by carrying out audits and then assisting an assigned green team in the club in working towards leadership in sustainability within the club and community. Future Fit in addition with expert sub contractors will carry out energy, waste and water audits for the club, studies show that with no investment the club should be able to save 10% off their current utilities bills after the audits. Phase two will deepen awareness and understanding of the business case for sustainability through training and engagement of staff, members and suppliers of the club.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
Our solution is looking at sustainability and sports. The approach is in two phases. In the first phase there are four actions – get it, see it, audit, do it. ‘Get it’ is the buy in stage where the club agree to meet with Future Fit, ‘See it’ we hold a presentation talking about Future Fit, sports in Ireland and sustainability. More importantly we find out what the club want and how they want to be seen in the future and together create steps to get there. ‘Audit’ is where a waste, water and energy audit are carried out to see how much money (and carbon) can be saved for the club. ‘Do it’ is where procedures, products, services, signage etc is put in place to reduce costs on the club, the level of investment is up to the club. Even no/low cost solution will results in a 10% reduction in the clubs utility bills. The second phase is bringing long term sustainability in to the club. This is working with the club staff and members to highlight the club as a sustainability leader within the community. The can be done by hosting events in an environmental manner, hosting environmental talks etc. We will also work with the club to write environmental policies to create a sustainability culture within the club. We are also working on a standard that we will roll out with the sporting governing bodies. we want the club to be a sustainability leader within their community, Future Fit will act as the travel agents in this sustainability journey.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
This service is not currently being provided for sports clubs in Ireland. A similar scheme is being carried out by the ‘Green Hospitality Awards’ for hotels. An Taisce has an environmental management standard set out for schools in the Green Flag programme. Green Schools it is a long-term programme that introduces participants to the concept of an environmental management system for schools. It is carried out under separate topics. The Green Hospitality Awards is an environmental certification standard for the hospitality sector and they are currently working on green travel programme in Ireland. Sports stadiums have embraced sustainability with Croke Park and the Aviva obtaining BS8901 for sustainable management systems. Croke Park in conjunction with Electric Ireland runs a pledge scheme
Select the stage that best applies to your business
Operating for less than a year
This Entry is about (Issues)
What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?
So far Future Fit had a BER carried out in the Royal Saint George Yacht Club (RSGYC). We have carried out an initial presentation outlining the work of Future Fit and how we can help the RSGYC in cost saving and empowering them to become leaders in their suitability journey, during this presentation they let us know what they want the RSGYC to look like in the future in terms of sustainability. We are in talks with energy and water auditors to carry out an audit for the club and writing a waste audit procedure that we will use in the club. We are working on signage highlighting no cost measures that will be visible in the club to assist with the reduction of waste, energy and water bills in addition to reducing the clubs carbon emissions. We are working on a standard for all clubs.
What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?
Barriers include getting buy in from sports clubs. The area is so vast ands sports clubs are under pressure from the recession that the ‘get it’ stage can be difficult, stating the cost saving and no or low investment measures is important and getting results from one club will assist in generating more business from other clubs. Convincing sceptical staff and members will be a challenge but by showing them successful examples and working with them closely this should convince them of the power of sustainable development. We are approaching the Future Fit Model from a Top down and Bottom approach simultaneously.
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?
The model is sustainable financially, socially and environmentally – financially: the model works by saving money for the club and using savings for investment in environmentally friendly products and services, therefore it is minimal cost to the club; the marketing potential for the club will have financial gain. Socially – sports clubs are the heart blood of many communities but due to membership fees dropping and emigration this results in lose of members and this reflects on the community, empowering the club to a sustainability leader in their community will bring moral to the members and the community at large. Environmentally – with no cost and very lost cost measures the club can save 10% on their energy bills but this is also a reduction in their carbon footprint, this will educate staff and members to carry out the same practices at home this reducing the carbon footprint of the community as a whole.
Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?
Social entrepreneurship contributes to the improvement of developing countries in many ways. Entrepreneurs are people who think for themselves, turn challenges in to opportunities and social entrepreneurs do this whilst thinking of the benefits to others around them. Social entrepreneurship can contribute to the improvement of developing countries either by working on the ground in developing counties, educating local people in developing countries to become social entrepreneurs or by setting up social enterprises in developed counties and using profits from the business to fund/work with local projects in developing counties. All of these methods provide hope, empowerment and education for people in developing counties. Social entrepreneurship is about collaboration, not competition. Collaboration between developing countries and the 'western' world and developing world will assist all involved.
What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?
Travelling to a new country especially in the developing world can be emotional and sometimes shocking. This will be a challenge but it also empowers the person to want to make a difference and to appreciate the life they lead. Entrepreneurs turn challenges in to rewards and there will be huge rewards learning from the simpler lives people lead in Uganda. A challenge will also be to see how tough life can be for some people in Uganda; this is always emotional and difficult to accept. Seeing successful projects in Uganda will be a major reward and it’s always powerful to bring back good news stories to recession filled Ireland. I know there will be challenges, many unforeseen but the rewards will out-way any challenges possibles.