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Introduction to green employment and business for refugees and migrants

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Jah Caballero HeadshotACH are developing a green employment and business project for their three-year National Lottery funded community climate action demonstrator project. Learn more from their Project Officer Jah Caballero.

 

ACH’s demonstrator project for the Community Climate Action Project aims to tackle the key findings found in phase one. There are two parts to our project: ‘Introduction to Green Employment and ‘Introduction to Green Businesses’. Both push for a more inclusive, holistic approach to environmental action from our clients focusing on their values, needs, and priorities.

Focus on empowerment and upskilling

During the first phase of this project, ACH (Ashley Community Housing) found that refugees and migrants had a lower carbon footprint than their local Bristolian counterparts by 60%. However, our clients are the ones who tend to suffer most from climate change, not only in their home countries but even locally in Bristol because they often reside in areas where air pollution is the highest. Since the carbon impact of these communities is already so low, the focus should not be on asking them to reduce their carbon footprint, but on empowering and upskilling our clients to enter environmental spaces where their input is meaningful.

Reflecting Bristol’s wonderfully diverse population

This demonstrator project also aims to tackle key issues faced within the environmental sector. It is the second least diverse field in the UK. Only 4.8%Two people talking at ACH launch event of environmental professionals are people of colour (source: Wildlife and Countryside Link), which is significantly and disproportionately lower than the 12.6% average across all industries (source: gov.uk).

The environment is something that affects us all. However, not everyone has been included in the discussion. Moving forward, we hope to provide a platform where our clients are moved and empowered to step into the environmental sector as we transition into the green economy. In doing this, the sector will become reflective of the wonderfully diverse population we live in and certainly benefit from it.

Right now, we are in the initial research and planning stages of phase two. We have recently launched our project and are connecting with environmentalists to see how they can make their sectors more inclusive for our clients as well as how this project fits in with their company’s mission.

Supporting green business ideas

Person holding bowls of food at ACH launch eventAs more and more green jobs emerge within the city our Introduction to Green Employment programme hopes to upskill and prepare our clients to respond to this opportunity. We are connecting with green employers to see how our clients can gain experience, exposure, and knowledge about their work, as well as having discussions around improving recruitment strategies and access to jobs and training. Our Introduction to Green Businesses aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the fantastic businesses and business ideas our entrepreneurs have. Often entrepreneurs approach ACH with brilliant ideas but not having considered the environmental impacts their business will have. We find this great though as it means that there is a lot of space to grow and room to achieve sustainability goals. We also know that Bristol is a city that values sustainability, we see this when we walk down the streets and there are signs outside shops screaming ‘organic,’ ‘local,’ and ‘vegetarian’ and therefore marketing as a green business can be a smart business strategy for our clients.

One of the ways we are kickstarting this programme is by sending out surveys to our entrepreneurs who already have businesses to capture their attitudes and values, so we can find out barriers against going green and find ways to support them. These surveys will enable us to create relevant and valuable resources and training which will be delivered by our wonderful Migrant Business Support Team. We will also integrate a sustainability questionnaire into our business plan during the initial assessment so we can gauge knowledge, needs, barriers, and values early on.

Our society is a living ecosystem together and ecosystems function best when all parts are working together to achieve the same goal. A goal of true diversity and inclusion within the environmental sector is something we should all strive to make a priority.

To connect with ACH and get involved in their demonstrator project, contact Jah on jah.caballero@ach.org.uk

Future skills & leadership, Community-led climate action, Business
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