What's on our mind today


UN Sustainability Development Goals – a challenge for us all

January 2016 saw the launch of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also known as Global Goals, which followed on from the Millennium Development Goals, which 193 governments coming together to agree how to tackle world issues. The 17 goals cover a wide range of priorities from ending poverty, achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, ensuring economic equality, taking action on climate change and protecting the world’s oceans. Ambitious and truly global they can seem daunting, or even irrelevant to small businesses and charities here in the UK, but they are vitally important to our customers, clients and stakeholders.

A recent PWC survey reports that 90% of all citizens say its important that businesses sign up to the goals, while 71% of the businesses reported they are already planning ways to engage with the SDGs. The challenge is knowing where to start.

At Achill Management we have decided to focus on the goals that are most relevant to the work we do and which match and reflect our core values: these are

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life long learning opportunities fro all

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 13: Tale urgent action to comb at Climate change and its impacts

Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Our work with the Legal Sustainability Alliance, The Woodland Trust, and the Church Commissioners and Archbishops’ Council are evidence of how as a small consultancy we can demonstrate our commitment to the global ambitions being led by the UN on behalf of us all.

To find out more about the UN SDGs download the PWC guide or visit their interactive Selector Tool to see which goals are most appropriate for you.

Why cycling commutes need to become the norm

There are some places in the UK where cyclists seem to congregate – being based at Somerset House, I can tell you that Waterloo Bridge is one of these places. In my daily attempt to cross the road, they are lined up at the lights in their tens, watching and waiting for the red dot to disappear and be replaced by a great big ‘Go! Go! Go!’ signal. Every day I wonder why I’m not on a bike doing the same thing, and I think I’ve finally figured it out.

It is partly to do with the sheer amount of spandex involved. I’ve never been informed this is compulsory, but it almost looks that way. Rarely do I see someone on their bike in the morning who looks like they don’t care if they’re not in front of the crowd, a la Tour de Waterloo.

Cycling culture in Britain is not really embraced by the masses. It’s seen less as a fun, healthy and green way to get to work, and more of a competition if you’re a speedy pro or a sweaty burden if you’re the typical office worker. Our nation is incredibly successful at cycling – the GB cycling team win gold, silver and bronze medals every year in lots of different sports competitions, including the Olympics, the World Track and Road Championships and the World BMX Championships.

So why can I barely make it up a small hill?

The average Briton should really start thinking more positively about cycling and embrace all of its benefits. You save calories, money and CO2, and the health benefits, according to Cambridge University, include prevention of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some cancers. I can’t help but feel we’re all missing a very easy way to get fitter.

Trying to fit 3 sets of 30 minute-exercise per week can be challenging for someone working 9 to 5. But merging exercise into your commute is essentially killing two metaphorical birds with one environmentally-friendly stone.

The impact on the environment if more Britons turned to cycling would be huge. The National Geographic reported that cycling just 5 miles every day instead of driving an average sized car would reduce your household emissions by 6%. In Denmark, the average person cycles 600 miles every year, while the average Briton only cycles 80. The Guardian reported in 2011 that if the whole of the EU matched the Danes in this way, we could cut the transport greenhouse gases by 25%. Current EU legislation only has a target of reducing these emissions by 10% by 2020 – it’s possible to reach and surpass this target if the public start to take greener modes of transport, and a commute to work is the perfect place to start.

Award-winning Pleasecycle is already used by many companies and organisations as a way to engage employees in being environmentally responsible. So far, they have saved 593 metric tons of CO2, which is the equivalent of 42.5 return flights from London to Tokyo. Now the Legal Sector Alliance are joining the movement in the form of a Travel Challenge, and from 20 June to 20 July many will be switching their cars and taxis to bikes and trainers!
Just a 20% increase in British cycling would save the economy £207 million from reduced traffic congestion, and £71 million from lower pollution levels.

I couldn’t think of a reason I – or the rest of us – shouldn’t be on a bike if I tried.

Why charity branding HELPS fundraising directly

I hear a lot from fundraisers and non-marketers that branding doesn’t actually ‘work’ for charities and that it can actually be a total waste of hard-earned money.  So let’s (loosely) use maths and logic, the core tools of good fundraisers, to suggest why this need not be the case. Read more

Social Investment – a missing link for Corporate CSR?

By Barry Collins

Investment in social enterprises is still very much a fledgling agenda in the mindset of the investment community. This is probably not surprising as the criteria for being designated a social enterprise as used by the Cabinet Office in its 2012 Social Enterprise Market Trends ‘ suggested the following five criteria: Read more

What if it isn’t women who are the problem?

By Carole Pemberton

Anyone who has been interested in the issue of equality at work for some time, will have grown weary of endless reports noting the slow progress towards greater representation of women on UK Boards.  Read more

Appetite growing for social investment – among the funders

By Amanda Carpenter

Sitting in a crowded auditorium at Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently listening to Bridges Ventures present their report “Shifting the Lens – A De-risking Toolkit for Impact Investment. Read more

Building resilience – one “must keep” resolution for 2014?

By Jim Haywood

Over the past few weeks homes and businesses across the UK have been battered by some serious stormy weather.  Sadly, as well as causing damage to property, disruption to travel plans and interruption to business, the storms have claimed a number of lives – our hearts go out to all who have suffered loss.  Read more

Being creative isn’t enough

By Kevin Baughen

Successful fundraising and marketing isn’t just about being clever or creative.  Only creative or advertising agencies with awards to win think this is the case. Read more

Governance questions and the Paul Flowers debacle

by Karen hope

As a recruiter of Trustees and Chairs onto the Boards of charities I am only too aware of what constitutes good governance in the recruitment process.  With the spectacular fall from grace of Paul Flowers and the disbelief as to how he came to be appointed as the Chair of Co-op Bank, Read more

Tomorrow’s world – what inspires young people today?

By Jim Haywood

Back in the early 70’s, I remember watching the BBC programme Tomorrow’s World with a sense of fascination and excitement.  It was my weekly window into the latest innovative applications of science and technology.  Whilst some of these didn’t quite get off the ground (floating bicycles, centrally heated ski poles and plants doubling as TV aerials……), many went on to improve and enrich our lives. Read more

Winning business in the public sector

By Kevin Baughen

Two years ago, I wrote a piece for the Guardian website about how small organisations were struggling to even be considered to deliver local, public services in spite of the Big Society initiative claiming this was all going to change…

Have you seen any evidence of change since then?  We’re genuinely interested at Achill Management in the kinds of organisations that are perceived to be appropriate to deliver public contracts but who aren’t Serco or Group 4 (and they still win contracts despite unbelievable behaviour!). Read more

Why Does Resilience Matter?

By Carole Pemberton

We live in a world which is marked by disruption: whether it is the impact of the financial crisis on organisations and individuals; changes in social patterns in how we live, or climate change. The certainties which marked previous generations are no longer available to us. That is why resilience is now on the agenda of those involved in working with communities; of organisations trying to adapt to shifts in economic power, and individuals. Read more