One of the most encouraging aspects of the recent PMI UK Net Zero Conference was the focus on practicality: what is it that the project management community can actively do to contribute to climate action. Following on from their presentation at the conference, Amy Brereton of Enactus UK tells us more about the activities of the organisation, the involvement of PMI UK, and most importantly, how you and your organisation can get involved.
Enactus UK is the UK's leading social impact, and social action charity which year on year develops over 3000+ students from across 65 UK higher education institutions. Using the sustainable development goals as a framework, Enactus UK students design community-based projects which in turn create the UK's largest experiential learning platform. These experiences not only transform the lives of the people the projects serve, but also help the students develop the kind of talent and perspective essential to leadership. The kind of leadership that sees the challenges facing people and the planet as opportunities to improve the world – skills that cannot easily be taught in a lecture theatre or classroom.
This wouldn't be possible without the support of the Enactus UK partners and volunteers that are the lifeline for this programme – many of whom are from our friends at PMI.
The PMI UK Chapter has been supporting Enactus UK for several years through mentoring teams. These teams help the students to develop their projects by providing expertise and supporting the development of the skills they will need in their future careers. Through PMI support and skill development, the Enactus students have increased their impact through their projects in their local communities. This meant that in 2020, despite the impact of Covid-19 Enactus UK students were able to improve the lives of over 7000+ beneficiaries from some of the UK's most vulnerable groups in society.
One such project is Immediate from Enactus Southampton. In the UK, 3.6 million tons of food is wasted by the food industry every year -over 2 million tons of which is still edible, according to the organisation FareShare. At the same time, 8.4 million people in the UK struggle to afford food. For the Enactus National Champions from the University of Southampton, this problem was a call to action. With a focus on addressing both the environmental and economic consequences of food waste, the Enactus team launched a project called Immediate with the support from local investors.
A zero-waste company that creates value out of unwanted surplus food, Future Brew operates through partnerships with local bakeries, breweries and homeless shelters, with assistance from FareShare. Every week, the team collects surplus food, most of which it distributes to homeless shelters to feed hungry families. Unsold bread, however — the focal point of the project — goes to the breweries, where students themselves, employed by Immediate, make the beer.
The team's efforts are paying off: every pint of Immediate beer represents 159g of CO2 saved — for a total of 12.8 tons to date — and the project has provided ingredients for 8,700 meals to 60 families for three months; that's 3.8 tons of food saved from landfills. Furthermore, this Enactus National Champion team supports the employment of three individuals and has educated 300 children on the effects of climate change.
This is just one of the 219 social enterprise projects that the Enactus UK students have created over the past year, and one of the 3,800 projects that teams across the world have been working on as part of the Enactus global platform.
Is this something that you would like to be a part of? Join the 80+ PMI volunteers that have supported the Enactus programme over the past year, pledge your Hours for Impact, and see for yourself how your impact can support teams in creating a better more sustainable world for us all.
Locked into the diary are some live(!) joint PMI UK and Enactus events. The first is on 1st December in Nottingham with dates in London and probably Manchester to follow. Save the date and follow on the PMI UK web-site for details.
Amy Brereton is the Chief Operating Officer of Enactus UK, a social impact platform designed to support the next generation of responsible leaders to create a better world for all. Having been a service user herself whilst at the University of Sheffield, Amy was compelled to continue her Enactus journey post-graduation as an alumni mentor and business volunteer before joining the Enactus UK staff in 2020 after nearly 10 years in industry. Amy is passionate about empowering students through experiential learning, with a particular focus on social impact and social action, which in turn she hopes, will create a network of socially minded business leaders of the future.