Over sixty delegates from the private, public and voluntary sector attended on the 28th November the sustainability event organised by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (CIoS) Growth Programme at The Heartlands in Redruth. The event set as a learning opportunity and best practice showcase, presented innovative inclusive and sustainable working practices developed by local organisations and businesses in response to their requirement of delivering on the cross-cutting themes for projects funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

Sue Patton, Growth Programme Facilitation Manager who presented the event explained “The businesses and organisations which are receiving European funding through the Growth Programme had to carefully consider how to holistically embed the natural environment and the human environment from the initial design and development phase of a project, through to the project delivery and beyond. As a result, we are seeing some very interesting models being developed which we hope to see replicated”.

The event kicked-off with Faye Clifton, Head of Marketing at Green& Blue, who gave the perspective of a local SME. Green&Blue has been supported by the ERDF funded Tevi project to further the company’s ambition of doing business sustainably following the circular economy model championed by Tevi. Faye Clifton advocated for keeping a curious mind, ongoing questioning of internal processes and stressed the importance of setting metrics to accurately measure the impact of the practices implemented by businesses and organisations.

The second presentation was given by Peter Ledingham Project Manager for the United Downs Deep Geothermal project, which recently drilled the UK’s deepest onshore well. His captivating presentation highlighted how striking a balance between the often-competing needs of the environment, social and economic objectives of such a project led to the development of a highly delivery praised model and the implementation of a successful community engagement programme. Peter Ledingham explained: “Our long-term ambition to develop further geothermal projects around the county would deliver significant environmental and economic benefits but sustainable development on this scale will also require public support and therefore our community outreach and education programmes are also a critical part of the process.”

The talks that followed drew attention on local and pioneering inclusive initiatives. A joint presentation from The Beacon Project and the ERDF funded Inclusivity project led by the University of Exeter highlighted the key barriers preventing businesses being more inclusive, and the new tools they are developing collaboratively to encourage more inclusive growth. The talks concluded with Kate Reed, Head of Employability and Pathways at the Real Ideas Organisation, who presented on the Brave Recruitment campaign they are delivering alongside the ESIF funded project Cultivator. Kate Reed explained: The campaign is enabling creative businesses to diversify their workforce by finding new talent through unexpected routes”.

The objective of the Sustainable Environmental and Social Working Practices event was to shine a light on a number of local and innovative initiatives led by organisations from a range of sectors to tackle environmental and social sustainability.

This event was the first of a series as currently 84 EU funded projects are being delivered in CIoS through the Growth Programme, with many of them running until 2023. Follow-up events with a focus on inclusion and sustainable development are being scheduled to take place later on this year, so watch this space. To whet your appetite, you can now watch and hear feedback from the delegates who attended the first event here: vimeo.com/383767424 For more information on the upcoming events sign-up to the newsletter by emailing: growthprogramme@cornwall.gov.uk or visit the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Programme.

Sustainable Environmental and Social Working Practices Conference at Heartlands, Redruth CIOS Growth Programme