What is a Sustainable Community and what is Arc doing to contribute towards a Sustainable Community?
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What is a Sustainable Community and what is Arc doing to contribute towards a Sustainable Community?

What is a Sustainable Community and what is Arc doing to contribute towards a Sustainable Community?

The Pillars of Sustainability fall under four distinct yet interlocking categories: Human, Social, Economic and Environmental, and today’s Sustainability Stakeholder falls into the Social category. Jesscia Aldred defines sustainable communities as “meeting the diverse needs of existing and future residents, their children and other users, contributing to a high quality of life and providing opportunity and choice. They achieve this in a way that makes effective use of natural resources, enhances the environment, promotes social cohesion and inclusion and strengthens economic prosperity.” (Aldred, 2011. “What is a Sustainable Community?”). This article will go into detail about the four elements of a sustainable community, the importance of developing a sustainable community, and finally, what Arc is doing to contribute towards having a sustainable community. 

What are the four elements of a Sustainable Community?

Leadership, Civic Engagement and Responsibility

This encourages individuals of all ages, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religions, and physical ability to take responsibility based upon a shared vision of the future. However, it does not compromise the sustainability of other communities, allowing all to have the opportunity to thrive.

Ecological Integrity

The conservation of water, land, energy, and non-renewable resources, including maximum feasible reduction, recovery, and reuse and recycling of waste. As well as this, it is also the utilization of prevention strategies and appropriate technology to minimize pollution emissions, such as having more walking spaces and encouraging greener modes of travel like buses instead of cars.

Economic Security

Meaningful employment opportunities for all citizens and the provision of job training and education to help the workforce adjust to future needs. Well-trained workers are more adaptable to future situations that untrained workers may not be able to handle. Educated workers are more likely to be more efficient in the workplace, as well as more qualified to perform the job at hand to a higher standard.

Social Well-Being

This fosters a community spirit that creates a sense of belonging, a sense of place, and a sense of self-worth. It enables provisions for a healthy work environment where everyone feels valued for the job that they do and work they produce. Social well-being also increases adaptability to changing circumstances and conditions.

What is the Importance of Developing Sustainable Communities?

Energy Conservation

  • Spreading awareness of the conservation of energy sources and the use of clean, renewable energy means that methods of energy conservation, such as the use of renewable methods like solar power, geothermal heating and cooling systems and wind energy are more understood and likely to be utilised within the community.

Waste Reduction

  • Encouraging the buying of products made with recycled material and reusing, recycling, or composting the product/s to minimise waste. To further motivate people, offering rewards/discounts to those who recycle/compost a significant amount of waste may be highly beneficial to the community.

Promotion of Local Food Services

  • Supporting local farmers and encouraging the production and use of locally grown foods benefits the environment and is important for the economic well-being of the community. It reduces pollution due to food having to travel shorter distances between the farms and the supermarket shelves.

Development of Public Spaces

  • Community gardens/parks encourage the growth of native wildlife such as hedgehogs, foxes, and butterflies, and leads to an increase in physical activity with people more likely to want to go outside and enjoy the pleasant open spaces, whether that be alone, with family or friends. This encourages continued community development.

Pollution Control

  • Reducing emissions and pollution by promoting use of public transport or eco-friendly vehicles, encouraging more ‘foot traffic’ and offering incentives to citizens who use greener energy to power their homes.

Support for Local Businesses

  • The money spent by people in local businesses remains in the community economy. By buying from local businesses, it also gives prospects for more job opportunities in the local area, so more local people can be getting into work within the area.

Energy Efficient Building

  • Offering benefits to builders who use and implement ‘greener’ ways to construct buildings can lead to a greater proportion of energy efficient building practices taking place. As well as this, with eco-friendly building practices being put into place, it is more likely that eco-friendly buildings which are rated for water and energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, renewable resources, and sustainability are factored into their construction.

What is Arc doing to contribute towards a Sustainable Community?

  • We have a partnership with The Mix which has over 4 million 18-25 YOs in their database, proving it is a trusted service by many.
  • 1% of Arc’s operating profit is being given to charities every year
  • Raising money for charity by participating in events such as The Captain Tom 100 and Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children.
  • Charity fundraising – Arc matches up to £500 per person, for example, if a member of the team was to raise £300 for British Heart Foundation, then Arc would match that so the overall donation would be £600 to the foundation.
  • With our HQ being in Liverpool, Arc has grown a partnership with Liverpool and Everton Football Clubs, giving local people the chance to work in their beloved football clubs during matches.
  • Partnership with Arcadia Consulting, a professional services consultancy specialising in sustainable behavioural and cultural change, helping with staff productivity and office skills.
  • Partnerships with Job Centres around the UK, a part of the Kickstart Scheme which helps people on Universal Credit, who would have previously been unemployed for a long time without the opportunity to get into work, to find work.
  • Some of our Full Timers have volunteered in the Trussell Trust Food Bank.
  • We also helped with the Women’s Organisation which supports women from all walks of life, including helping them to get into careers of their choice.
  • Mike, one of Arc’s directors, did a talk at The City of Liverpool College, giving students an insight into careers at Arc and career tips they could use across many industries.
  • Arc is part of a Phone recycling scheme via Vodafone, which supplies working mobile phones for people all over the world.
  • We have employment opportunities for local people, we are more likely to select local team members and get them booked in for jobs that are local to them. For instance, we are more likely to book people into Knowsley Safari Park who live in the Liverpool/Knowsley area. This not only allows for easy travel and a higher employee retainment rate, but also makes journeys more sustainable due to less travel times.
  • NEXT STAGES – Internship programme (in the past we teamed up with Liverpool John Moores University and University of Leeds) Graduate placements through University of Liverpool.

As a company, Arc are doing their part and taking more steps to ensure that we continue and get even better at being a sustainable company within a sustainable community. There are many things that a company can do to contribute towards a sustainable community, whether that is volunteering with a local food bank or doing a talk to the young people of the future to inspire them. There is still work to be done so that more communities can become more sustainable, but there are some steps that they can take like developing more open spaces to inspire people to spend time outside in nature and putting more emphasis on food waste production by implementing strategies to encourage people to reduce, reuse and recycle. One person may not be able to make much of an impact, but if more communities and businesses took sustainable steps, it would make a difference for future generations to come.

Sources:

Aldred, Jessica. “What is a ‘Sustainable Community’?”. The Guardian, 2011.

Ketcham, Sandra. “Developing Sustainable Communities” Green Living, 2020.

“Elements of a Sustainable Community”. Institute for Sustainable Communities, 1995.