Equity and local economy (part 2)

A2Dominion is developing the eco-town at NW Bicester. Elmsbrook, the first phase, is an endorsed One Planet Community, which means it has a One Planet Action Plan that has been reviewed and approved by environmental charity Bioregional. For the Equity and local economy principle, the One Planet Action Plan states:

” 30% of housing to be affordable. Creation of 430 jobs on-site over five years and a further 100 jobs in easy walking/cyclcing distance, 13 apprenticeships including ten in  construction. Create vibrant local economy. Eco Business Centre to act as hub for start-up businesses. Training and volunteering opportunities linking with local colleges and groups. Local Management Organisation to be created with a democratic constitution.”

The One Planet Action Plan lists the aims that support equity and local economy:

“On-Site job creation
o 430 new jobs to be created on-site over five years
o 50 new construction jobs, 20% will be local labour
o 100 additional new jobs off-site, in walking or cycling distance

Key jobs to be created on and around the development
o On-site retail, construction and a variety of retrofit jobs created town-wide as a result of the Exemplar (Elmsbrook)
o Community services including; nursery, teaching and related jobs in new primary school to be created and promoted to local residents via the Job Club and Job Centre Plus
o Home working encouraged with fibre-optic broadband. The Eco Business Centre to offer hot-desking, meeting rooms, business support and conference facilities
o Aspiration to create a new role for a ‘Community and Environment Officer’ and 10 ‘Green Champions’
o An estimated 60 new jobs in Bicester as a result of business growth and inward investment, all within walking / cycling distance

Emphasising the provision of high quality jobs and training opportunities
o Deliver an employment and training management plan to support apprenticeships and work placement opportunities to local residents in partnership with existing providers
o Ten construction apprenticeships, at least three others in landscape management, security and catering
o Work with local institutions to develop courses relating to eco-construction

Working with local plans and key stakeholders
o A2Dominion are working closely with Cherwell District Council and Bicester Town Council to respond to the One Shared Vision
o A ‘local business portal’ to encourage supply of products and services from local businesses has been established, working with the Chamber of Commerce and Bicester Vision
o Partnerships to be built with voluntary sector, training providers, local schools to deliver education and training
o Partnership with the Midcounties Co-op is under development

Developing the green economy
o Environmental goods and services to be available on site
o Support offered to incubate start-up green businesses
o Provision of up to 1,110 square metres of high quality, small office space in the Village Centre
o Promoting purchase of fair trade goods in local shops

Financial inclusion
o 30% of all dwellings to be Affordable Homes
o A2Dominion to support delivery of workshops on budgeting and myth-busting; demonstrating health and well-being benefits of low impact lifestyle choices
o Shared ownership schemes to be made available
o 11 self-finish units will offer the opportunity for home buyers to train in a trade and complete their home”

Equity and local economy (part 1)

Next up in the One Planet Living principles is ‘Equity and Local Economy‘. Bioregional defines this as:

Creating bioregional economies that support equity and diverse local employment and international fair trade

Over its ~20 years, Bioregional has set up a range of local and closed-loop businesses from Bioregional Charcoal Company, The Laundry (office paper collection and recycling), One Planet Products. Some of these have morphed into different businesses, while  some have since closed (their job done).

Two great resources that support local economies are:

  • New Economics Foundation: NEF is the UK’s leading think tank promoting social, economic and environmental justice. Their aim is to transform the economy so that it works for people and the planet. Their strapline is ‘economics as if people and the planet mattered.’ NEF is behind the Local Multiplier tool (or LM3) which measures how effectively different parts of a local economy work.
  • Transition Network‘s REconomy Project: Transition Network is a global grassroots’ movement of communities seeking to strengthen their resilience to problems including climate change, rising energy prices, economic uncertainty and inequality.A number of Transition groups or initiatives (TIs) are creating new livelihoods and enterprises, and expanding their area of influence deep into their local economic system. The REconomy Project has resources and examples in three broad categories:
    • Inspiring enterprises: new Transition-oriented enterprises and livelihoods
    • Economic enablers: projects that provide support or infrastructure for new or existing businesses
    • Leadership projects: strategic, partnered activity that plans and co-ordinates a range of activities

Not everything can be produced locally. There are a range of labels that support fairer international trade, of which the Fairtrade Mark is probably the best known. Most of us are familiar with Fairtrade tea, coffee and chocolate, but did you know that you can get Fairtrade cotton, beauty products and even gold? When I got married, we got our wedding rings from CRED, one of the first ethical and Fairtrade jewellers. There are over 4,500 Fairtrade products: see the Fairtrade Foundation’s guide for more information.

For me, Equity is linked to Inclusion. I’ll come back to this in a future blog post.