Local authorities across Europe must join forces to tackle waste disposal

Integrated waste disposal facility, Allington

Integrated waste disposal facility, Allington (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rubbish is a rather big, costly and challenging beast. Of the £3bn spent each year by businesses on environmental protection, one third is spent on waste management. But companies are not alone in feeling the strain. Local governments across Europe face similar challenges as they consider ways to sort through the tons of waste thrown away every year.

Taming the beast will require the involvement of all levels of government, and concerted action led by Europe’s local authorities. It is broadly agreed that the current loss of resources, cost to businesses and households and impact on the environment must be stopped at all costs.

More information:  theguardian.com

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Grâce à l’entraide, les entreprises peuvent franchir les frontières

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L’union fait la force. En temps de crise, l’expression prend toute sa dimension, notamment, pour les entreprises. Mari Jose Aranguren, professeur à l’université de Deusto et directrice de recherche à l’institut Orkestra, défend ce mode d’organisation des secteurs économiques pour son efficacité dans la création de richesse et de travail.

Créé en 2006, l’institut basque de compétitivité Orkestra a pour objectif de mettre la recherche au service des besoins de la société. Les clusters constituent un champ de recherche parmi d’autres.

Les clusters sont apparus au début des années 1990 au Pays Basque. Quelle est leur origine ?

À cette époque nous vivions une grosse crise économique. La demande avait fortement chuté et le taux de chômage était élevé. Nous essayions de rivaliser sur d’autres marchés en vendant nos produits moins cher. Mais nous voyions que si nous voulions maintenir notre niveau de vie sur le long terme, nous devions mener une réflexion sérieuse pour devenir compétitifs.

Ainsi, tous les secteurs avaient participé à cette analyse pour définir la direction que devait prendre notre économie. Une des conclusions avait été la nécessité du travail en commun. La coopération est la base même des clusters. On avait alors importé le concept de Michael Porter, professeur à la Harvard Business School.

Le concept de cluster vient donc des États-Unis d’Amérique ?

Pas vraiment, les Britanniques avaient créé des “districts industriels” auparavant. En Italie aussi. Mais M. Porter avait simplifié tout cela en employant le concept de “cluster”.

Source: lejpb.com

ANTEPROYECTO DE LA MONEDA SOCIAL BILBODIRU

Bilbao

Bilbao

Desde Bilbao nos llega una sólida propuesta de moneda social con el nombre provisional de “BilboDiru” – ya que pretenden que el nombre definitivo de su moneda sea elegido mediante votación abierta – iniciativa que pretende involucrar tanto a la ciudadanía de la ciudad de Bilbao y alrededores como a todo el tejido social y comercial de proximidad de esta ciudad vasca.
Esta moneda sigue el modelo de soporte por euros muy similar a las experiencias de monedas locales alemanas e inglesas – se puede adquirir o comprar mediante euros – tiene además caducidad, formato físico y digital con valores de 1, 5, 10 y 20 BilboDirus y una equivalencia de 1 BilboDiru igual a 1 euro; los euros obtenidos en la venta de billetes se ingresan en una cuenta corriente en una entidad de banca ética, que es de donde los usuarios o comercios podrán recuperar euros mediante el intercambio de la moneda social obtenida con una pérdida del 5%, porcentaje que se destinará a cubrir los gastos propios de administración y gestión de la moneda (v. gráfico abajo del circuito monetario); respecto a la contabilidad y el pago de impuestos, los BilboDirus serán considerados Euros, puesto que están avalados por los mismos.

Fuente e info: Economia Solidaria

Les entreprises sociales jouent l’économie de proximité

Economie de proximité, relocalisations d’entreprises, produits « made in France »… les tendances du moment plaident pour un retour au local. Cela tombe bien ! Car depuis quelques années, les entreprises sociales mettent leur ancrage territorial en avant. En partant du terrain, elles répondent à plusieurs objectifs : consolider des emplois sur place, exploiter des ressources locales, agir aux côtés des populations fragilisées. Bref, le premier de leurs objectifs est bien de participer pleinement au développement économique local.
Plus d’information et source: La Croix

Why sustainable food procurement?

The Food Tent

The Food Tent (Photo credit: Jon Person)

Why should local government get involved?
“Sustainability focuses on providing the best outcomes for both the human and natural environments now, and into the indefinite future.”
The UK Government buys £13 billion worth of goods and services each year, for the wider public sector this figure is £125 billion (1).  This year, the UK’s 468 local authorities will spend over £80 billion on day to day services – over a quarter of all public expenditure (2).
It is clear that with such significant buying power the public sector can make a great deal of difference if it changes its buying habits, creating a large market for more sustainable products and ways of procuring those products.
But why sustainable food?
As for all public sector activities, it is important that a policy can be shown to benefit the local community.  How food is served, prepared, purchased and produced can have a significant impact on the health of individuals, communities and their environment.
For local councils sustainable food is about (2):
• Promoting good health
• Having access to healthy food.
• Supporting the local economy by buying food from as close by as possible
• Eating food in season
• Sustainable farming, involving high environmental standards and reduced energy consumption
• Promoting animal welfare, and valuing nature and biodiversity
• Fair prices, fair trade and ethical employment in the UK and overseas.
Food procurement not only effects the wider global environment but also directly affects the health of the individuals who eat it.
Sustainable food procurement allows both the healthy eating, economic and environmental agenda to be combined and acted upon . It gives local government an opportunity to take the lead in a field where we can truly make a difference to our local communities.
For more info and a toolkit, please visit FOOD VISION

Fresh Ideas (East Brighton New Deal for Communities)

Brighton beach October 2002

Brighton beach October 2002 (Photo credit: What’s the rush)

The initiative has set up several clubs, activities, workshops, and a fruit and vegetable voucher scheme, in order to increase access to a healthy diet and contribute to reducing levels of obesity. eb4U is a Government funded regeneration organisation for East Brighton. In 2000 the area was awarded £47.2 million of New Deal for Communities funding, which is to be spent over the next 10 years to help regenerate the area. Decisions about how the money should be spent are made by various boards and panels, which are made up in the majority by East Brighton residents.  The work is being lead by the health4all team, which is made up of a range of people from voluntary and statutory organisations in Brighton and Hove, and their role with local people and local organisations is to look at new ways of improving health in the area.
The Fresh Ideas worker has the responsibility of promoting healthy eating and developing access to fresh food products. The main aim is to increase access to a healthy diet and contribute to reducing levels of obesity (with access referring to affordability, awareness, acceptability and availability). The work carried out is based on the issues and concerns of local residents and these are conveyed  via a Food Interest Group (FIG), which has been set up. The Group consists of local residents, health visitors, and statutory representatives and during their meetings various requests and ideas are suggested upon which work is based.
For example one request was for a local affordable slimming club, and another was more accessible, affordable fruit and vegetables. These projects and others are listed in more detail below. At the end of each year the success of the projects is evaluated, also taking into account the results of MORI polls, which measures the consumption of fruit and vegetables in the area.

For more info on this project, just visit FOOD VISION

Food Vision toolkits

English: Local food cartoon created for Transi...

English: Local food cartoon created for Transition Town Worthing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Food Vision toolkits provide more detailed information and guidance about specific types of initiative, such as farmers’ markets or local food strategies, or settings for food work such as schools or workplaces. They draw together good practice from a number of local and regional initiatives in delivering a particular project. In general the toolkits aim to provide an overview of what is involved in setting up a food project, covering areas such as benefits, policy, legislation, as well as links to other useful websites.

Just visit them here!

The Plymouth Food Charter

Good food is vital to the quality of peoples’ lives in Plymouth. By promoting healthy and sustainable food as part of a thriving food economy, the Plymouth Food Charter aims to improve health and wellbeing for all and to create a more connected, resilient and sustainable City. Signatories to the Charter – which include public, private and community partners – are committed to promoting the pleasure and importance of good food to help create a vibrant and diverse food culture. We will work together to increase both the demand and supply of delicious and affordable, fresh, seasonal, local and organic food throughout Plymouth in order to achieve:
  • A thriving local economy
  •     Encouraging a greater number and diversity of food enterprises and jobs, making the most of Plymouth’s rich land and sea resources.
  •     Sourcing healthy and sustainable food from local producers and suppliers, keeping value within the local economy.
  • Health and wellbeing for all
  •     Raising awareness of the importance of a nutritious, balanced diet and improving the availability of affordable healthy food.
  •     Providing a wide range of community growing and other food-related activities to improve physical and mental health for people of all ages
  • Resilient, close-knit communities
  •     Promoting and celebrating the food and culinary traditions of all cultures  through a variety of public events, such as Plymouth’s Flavourfest.
  •     Supporting local and city-wide food  initiatives that bring communities  together and help them to improve their neighbourhoods.

    Plymouth Hoe

    Plymouth Hoe (Photo credit: Arcturus Aldebaran)

  • Life long learning & skills
  •     Giving everyone the opportunity to learn about good food – how to grow it, how to cook it, how to eat it and how to enjoy it.
  •     Inspiring and enabling organisations such as schools, hospitals,  businesses and other caterers to transform their food culture.
  • A reduced eco-footprint
  •     Supporting food production that protects wildlife and nature; reducing food miles, packaging and waste; and increasing composting and recycling.
  •     Maximising the use of greenspace and brownfield sites in and around Plymouth to produce food for local people.

More info HERE

A definition of Local Food Systems

A single week's fruits and vegetables from com...

A single week’s fruits and vegetables from community-supported agriculture share: peppers, okra, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, garlic, eggplant, squash. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In contrast, Local Food Systems (LFS) are networks of small local businesses, charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups driven by ‘bottom-up’ innovation at a local level. They include a diverse range of initiatives (such as box schemes, farmers’ markets, community growing and Community Supported Agriculture) intended to develop closer links between consumers and producers. Local Food Systems have their roots in society and their strength lies in the people who create and manage them; the goodwill of consumers and producers; and in the strong motivation that lies behind them. They can help reduce the use of fossil fuels and other resources (through less food miles and lower use of agricultural inputs) and improve biodiversity (through a variety of organic, agro-ecological, low-input or permaculture farming methods); increase food security; give low income groups access to good food and healthy diets; strengthen local communities and economies; and sustain small enterprises and improve the viability of small farms. Although it is difficult to quantify benefits, greater community engagement and better diets can also have positive impacts on mental health; reduce loneliness in the elderly; speed up recovery times in hospitals; and help to reduce offending and anti-social behaviour.