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British Science Week: helping create, support and motivate #GenerationScience

Today is the launch of British Science Week. It’s an opportunity for us all to help create, support and motivate #GenerationScience – the next generation who will be a major part of creating solutions to some of our biggest issues, from medical emergencies to climate change. We’re thrilled to be working with the British Science ... more

Let’s change the rules of engagement – it’s time to get real

The case for social and environmental action is clear. From the high-level World Economic Foundation Global Risks Report to daily reminders of the poverty impacting so many of our communities, no more evidence is needed to prove that social inequality is increasing with dramatic consequences for all our futures.  Bold phrases are being used and ... more

COP26: Prioritising action over conference stands

COP26, the UN’s Climate Change Conference later this year, is a critical global moment for tackling the climate emergency. However, as organisations scramble to get involved with the machinations of the event itself, it is worth reminding ourselves that the critical question is not “what can we do at COP26?” but “how can we accelerate ... more

Responsible business expert Hilary Berg partners with Forster

We are delighted to announce a new collaboration with Hil Berg, former Head of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility at Iceland Foods, to help more businesses turn their sustainability ambitions into action. A specialist in social change communications, Hil joins Forster as a Strategic Advisor, bringing insights and expertise from supporting the board of one of ... more

12 February 2021
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Forster wins Consultancy of the Year at edie Sustainability Leaders Awards

It is a real honour to win Consultancy of the Year at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards for the second time. We are delighted to have our pioneering Climate Positive Plan recognised alongside our work with clients and partners, all of which are focused on turning sustainability ambitions into action. The judges said: “Forster has shown ... more

4 February 2021
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Better by Miles

For the duration of Lockdown we are combining our goals of colleague wellbeing and community impact to be Better by Miles. We recognise the damage the pandemic is causing to health and wellbeing inside and outside our business.  It is hard to balance working from home with getting outdoors, and getting even harder as winter ... more

2 January 2021
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From fund to Foundation – building a rapid response mechanism in the pandemic

Neighbourly is based on the belief that community resilience builds from strong connections between government, businesses, not-for-profit organisations and individuals. Over the last six years we have proved time and again how big businesses can make a critical difference to individual lives by sharing resources and skills through hyper-local causes. Often ignored, these small causes ... more

10 November 2020
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Stepping forward as Living Wage Leaders; let’s create change

Originally published by the Living Wage Foundation This week, nearly 7000 employers are celebrating their role as accredited Living Wage Employers and we are one of them. It is right to be proud – we know we are making a life changing difference to over 250,000 people on the low wages. But is it enough? ... more

London Repair Week

This week (12 – 18 October) we have been thrilled to help launch London’s inaugural Repair Week which celebrates and showcases examples of and opportunities to reduce throwaway culture by encouraging repairing across the capital. A survey carried out by London Recycles challenged assumptions that Gen Z are more likely to be the throwaway generation, ... more

12 October 2020
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All talk and no action

Sustainability is a constantly evolving discipline. The buzz words, the must-do actions, the petitions to sign, the initiatives to engage with, are changing and growing in number all the time. It can be hard to keep up, and it can feel even harder to sound like you’re keeping up. But how important is it, really, to know the lingo when it ... more

15 September 2020
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Transparency is key to driving change

In July 2019 we declared a climate emergency and published our first Client Disclosure Report, in collaboration with the Creative and Climate movement and five months later we became one of 500 B Corps to pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Declaration is a starting point but action is everything. Which is why in ... more

BOLD THINKING, BRAVE ACTION

We’ve teamed up with CAF to produce a new report from leading voices in sustainability.   In ‘Bold Thinking, Brave Action’, we interviewed 11 leading figures in sustainability from across a host of businesses to create a blueprint for turning a desire for sustainable change into reality. Participants included representatives from Anglian Water, Ella’s Kitchen, Iceland ... more

21 July 2020
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Future forwards

Now is not the time for half measures. Even before the pandemic knocked the world sideways, we were already waking up to the climate emergency and seeing the impact of yawning inequality on society. Carrying on with business as usual while trying to mitigate the worst excesses of that model isn’t and never has been ... more

21 July 2020
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How to make corporate and charity partnerships work to create maximum impact

There is no doubt that for many charities it is a difficult time. Fundraising, while never easy, has become even tougher with many of the staple formats unavailable and previous donors unable to give. With everything in flux, it is hard to know what the future will look like, but it is extremely likely that ... more

Understanding behaviour change is central to building back better

Our skies are clearer, the air is fresher, and the roads (were) quieter; there is deep reflection, at least in some quarters, on how we can use this moment as a catalyst to permanently alter our lifestyles and create longer term environmental change. But we won’t achieve it just with hope and wishful thinking. The ... more

Racism – it isn’t us and them, it’s us

I don’t feel very powerful most days. But I’m cloaked in power, as are the other senior leaders at Forster. Those levels of privilege may vary, a private education here, the male chromosome there, but there is one area that is entirely consistent – we are all white. ... more

Ten sustainability signals for the new normal

While the overriding requirements for sustainability do not change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, new priorities have emerged with implications for both action and communications. The response to the coronavirus pandemic has been incredible. Our basic instinct to help others has risen to the fore and manifested itself in many forms, from informally ... more

Communicating with kindness

COVID-19 – such an anodyne, anonymous collection of letters but one that has thrown the world off its axis and fundamentally changed millions of lives at a bewildering speed. It has also spawned an avalanche of communication from pretty much every organisation under the sun. If you are not currently self-isolating from this deluge you ... more

30 March 2020
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Tackling isolation through digital innovation

Last week brought to a close, a 10 month project which we have been working closely with our client Nesta Challenges and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on, to launch the Tech to Connect Challenge – an England-wide competition to scale tech-based solutions to reduce social isolation. Tech can be alienating or ... more

Changing hearts and minds

When was the last time you changed your mind on an important issue? For many people, the answer is likely to be ‘a long time ago’. There’s no doubt we’re living in divided times. So, it’s important to understand why people feel the way they do, how to connect across divides, and ways to help ... more

11 March 2020
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Where’s the action on International Women’s Day?

It’s International Women’s Day. Which means a lot of things are all happening at once. We’re celebrating the truly amazing achievements of women around the world. We’re also calling for equality of opportunity and recognition. Richard Herring is no doubt spending the day on Twitter reminding disgruntled users that, yes, there is an International Men’s ... more

Our pioneering plan to be climate positive by 2023

In July 2019, we declared a climate emergency. We became one of only a handful of agencies to publish a climate disclosure report and we joined the Business Declares Network. In December, we became one of 500 companies worldwide committing to net zero by 2030. But that is not enough. To kick start 2020, we ... more

16 January 2020
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What a difference a year makes

My 2019 calendar social impact story reflects on a year when we finally started to wake up to the threat of the climate emergency… January   We kicked off the year in our fabulous new offices. A quiet but important policy came into effect with the revised Corporate Governance Code strengthening director responsibilities for listed companies ... more

Three Weddings and a Dress

It started with someone borrowing trousers for fancy dress, then something for a wedding, a graduation and so on. We now swap Winter coats for whole seasons and lend each other entire holiday wardrobes. At Forster, our ever-increasing understanding of the environmental and human cost of fast fashion meant that many of us no longer ... more

Fashion, fashion, fashion.

I cannot deny the joy I get from a retail fix. Unfortunately for my bank balance doesn’t feel the same. At fifteen, I self-identified as a shopaholic. I was always lining up outside East London charity shops or trotting around South London looking for the latest vintage pieces for the outfits that I had already ... more

Consumers can’t sit back on decarbonisation

The Business Green Technology Festival was packed to the rafters with brilliant people doing brilliant things. Solid, sensible and impressive solutions in Clean Tech. Commercial savviness at the core, and the kind of products and innovations that make you wonder why we haven’t been living with them for years – whether it is Ripple Energy’s ... more

12 December 2019
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When funders get active

Big problems abound and urgent action is required to tackle them. Perhaps it has always been that way, but something has changed and there is an exciting shift in how many social funders are ramping up their approach to positive change. It is marked by a decisive move towards being more active and taking a ... more

21 November 2019
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Achieving environmental ambition is everyone’s business

Bold ambitions on achieving net zero, removing single use plastics, running fast food toy take-back schemes and transforming supply chains, fill our daily news feeds. This is a good thing. It shows how environmental issues and the climate emergency have massively catapulted into our collective consciousness. But ambition and easy-to-get-away tactical comms initiatives are just ... more

21 November 2019
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Money Talks

It has been an incredible year of change. Business leaders, politicians and the public alike are approaching 2020 with recognition of the climate emergency and a desire to do something about it. But change costs money – and it’s up to all of us to help. While the UK Government and a wide range of ... more

21 November 2019
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WE DECLARE A CLIMATE EMERGENCY

View our signed Climate emergency declaration here Read our Climate Disclosure Report here more

19 September 2019
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Where we are, where we want to be

Where we are, where we want to be Forster has been living and breathing sustainability issues for our entire existence and central to that is our commitment that we always walk the talk. Even before we became a founding UK B Corp, we were committed to being transparent about our impact – good and bad ... more

Listen to be heard

Membership organisations are under intense pressure.  They need to retain their current members, build their membership base and generate income in order to optimise the services they offer. With resources limited on both sides – as members rigorously evaluate how they prioritise spend and organisations strive for efficiency – we are seeing different reactions. Some ... more

27 August 2019
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Declaration is a starting point but action is everything

Just over a month ago, Extinction Rebellion (XR) called upon advertising agencies to “Declare a climate & ecological emergency and act accordingly.” Recognising the urgency of this and our role as communicators, we have joined an industry-wide movement that goes live today. Declaration is a starting point but action is everything.  Our purpose as a ... more

8 July 2019
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Tackling isolation through innovation

We’re working on a great project with Nesta Challenges at the moment, relevant to all civil society organisations working to address social isolation. Tech can be alienating or divisive for those that are isolated, so we want to help civil society translate their knowledge into good ideas for new ways to connect people. The prize ... more

21 June 2019
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Finding your opportunity point

Following the publication of our blog on Edie, CAF and Forster Communications brought together sustainability leaders from a range of industries to discuss sustainability leadership and identify opportunities to inspire action and greater collaboration within and beyond their organisations. We were delighted to have David Croft, Global Director of Sustainability at RB, and Hil Berg, ... more

17 June 2019
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London Circular Economy Week

We are busy building up to London Circular Economy Week taking place from 10-14 June which will showcase and celebrate circularity in the capital. It will involve a series of events and workshops to encourage businesses, charities and social enterprises to take a more circular and sustainable approach to the built environment, plastics, food, textiles ... more

29 May 2019
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Forster’s Fashion Revolution: Swish Swish

While Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion have been leading the growing global protest against climate breakdown, behind the front-page news another insurgent week has been bubbling away. It’s a revolution: a fashion revolution. Forster has long supported the need to rethink how we buy clothes and reduce the impact it has on the environment. We got ... more

29 April 2019
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Community Buy-In: Turning Employees from Cynics to Storytellers

First published on Sustainable Brands. As increasing numbers of organisations make sustainability commitments, transparency around how they are progressing reiterates how hard it can be to turn ambitions into reality. Yesterday, Unilever reported mixed progress towards achieving its ambitious Sustainable Living Plan goals; and in the past week, Amazon was both accused of pulling back on its 100 per cent ... more

26 April 2019

Destinations are great, but journeys are important too

Read the full report here There has been a sea-change in the business sector over the last generation, where the focus on how organisations can operate ethically and sustainably has moved from the margins to the mainstream. Those responsible for corporate responsibility or sustainability now sit at the top table in many boardrooms. The voluntary ... more

24 April 2019
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Improving access to free mental health training for SME’s

Our ambition is to help give people access to the products, information and services they need to support their health, and the confidence and ability they need to use it to live well. Which is why we are so proud to be involved in the development of a new e-learning tool for SME’s. Small and ... more

16 April 2019
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Turning sustainability cynics into storytellers

Your business purpose is clear and you have a strong social change ambition – but now it needs to become a reality.  How can you find the tipping point where ownership shifts from a few individuals to a company-wide culture that is hardwired into decision making and behaviours? Typically, employees will be segmented according to ... more

Forster Communications partners with Cello Health Communications to deliver new sustainability offering to the Pharma industry

Cello Health Communications and Forster Communications say the combined strength of their specialist experience in understanding the pharmaceutical industry and sustainability communications will unlock existing potential and help bring sustainability to life Today Forster Communications and Cello Health Communications announce their joint endeavour ‘Sustainable Pharma Futures’ – a new service developed specifically for the pharmaceutical ... more

19 February 2019
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edie Sustainability Consultancy of the Year win!

We are proud to have been named Consultancy of the Year at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards last night. It’s a testament not only to our amazing team but to all of the pioneering organisations we work with to push the sustainability agenda and drive tangible social action. It is fantastic to see recognition for the ... more

7 February 2019
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The Wates Principles and the $1.8 billion opportunity for pharma

In December, the Wates Principles were published as new guidance for large private companies, reiterating the need for them to behave in a way that benefits society as well as the economy, building trust and confidence among all stakeholders. It is an important moment, recognizing the impact of the private business sector, and sits alongside the revised ... more

7 February 2019
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Could the future of high streets help drive a more sustainable economy?

In high street stores only a short hop from home I can mend my own jeans, screen print a T-shirt, fix a flat tyre or even build a whole bike from scratch – all at thriving independent businesses. Last weekend, I spent a good 3 hours tinkering with my bike whilst a patient London Bike ... more

28 January 2019
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Every employee an ambassador

We are delighted to have been recognised as one of Britain’s Healthiest Workplaces for three years running – coming in with a silver medal at today’s awards among some of the UK’s most pioneering organisations. It would be easy for me as CEO to take the credit, but I know that the consistency of our ... more

16 January 2019
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Two new consultants join the team

We are excited to welcome Phoebe Calcutt and Ayesha Gardiner to the team, bolstering our ambition to help achieve the SDGs through game-changing communications. They bring their sustainability and consumer communications expertise to a portfolio of clients that include KPMG UK, Astellas Pharma Europe, World Animal Protection, National Citizen Service, RSPCA, Y Care and Evelina ... more

12 December 2018

Will the new code crack it?

This week, the Wates Principles were published as new guidance for large private companies, reiterating the need for them to behave in a way that benefits society as well as the economy, building trust and confidence among all stakeholders. It is an important moment, recognising the impact of the private business sector, and sits alongside ... more

A heart-warming story for Christmas

Ever wondered “What’s the point?” As individuals, we can feel like tiny little figures tossed on the waves of issues we don’t feel we have any control over. Don’t worry, this isn’t a blog about Brexit (life’s too short), it’s about the issues we care about, large or small, and not feeling there’s anything we ... more

12 December 2018
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Stuff Stuff

Sitting comfortably? You might not be come 5 o’clock on Christmas Day when you’ve hoovered up the traditional lunch and tucked into the cheese and chocolate selection as a wholly unnecessary follow-up. There is, of course, nothing wrong with a blow-out every now and then but beware of anyone who wishes that “every day was ... more

22 November 2018
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Ready to eat: How far should a brand go to accommodate?

The last few weeks have seen the tragic story of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse spun out across the media, naming and shaming Pret for not doing enough to protect people with allergies. So, how far should businesses go to accommodate allergy sufferers and where does personal responsibility fit in? Accommodating is such an innocuous word, but for ... more

6 November 2018
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Adapting communications to changing lives

Earlier this month saw the publication of the government’s loneliness strategy and there is much to applaud in it. Firstly, it is great to even have a strategy for such a critical public health issue, and secondly, it is fantastic to see businesses such as Royal Mail playing an active role in tackling it. It’s ... more

26 October 2018
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Forster revealed as ‘Consultancy of the Year’ finalist

Some exciting news this Monday morning- we’ve been shortlisted for edie’s Sustainability Leaders of the Year award in the ‘Consultancy of the Year’ category! After a record breaking number of entries, this year’s shortlist is made up of 10 consultancies that are together redefining what it means to be a sustainable, ethical and responsible business. A ... more

22 October 2018
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Social media: more than just chatter

Love it or hate it, social media is an integral part of any campaign or news release. With entire teams dedicated to creating content, it can sometimes feel that your social media output is all that matters. But, when used correctly, social media is an incredibly powerful tool for insights. Recently Vice launched Recognise Me ... more

19 October 2018
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Mental health – from awareness to action

Awareness and understanding of mental health has dramatically increased in the last 20 years, thanks in part to pioneering campaigns like MindOut for Mental Health that we helped to create. Yet, one in four people in the UK still experience mental health problems each year[1] and it cost 300,000 people their jobs[2]. Within the UK, ... more

9 October 2018
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Employers need to prioritise flexibility

We have produced a diverse range of toolkits for employers recently, on behalf of Public Health England and Business in the Community, the most recent being one on domestic abuse which launched this summer. The issues we’ve covered are very different, but there is a common thread that runs through them all – the importance ... more

21 September 2018
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Five ways to tackle racial discrimination within recruitment and in the workplace

Over the past two decades, educational attainment and employment has risen across Britain, especially amongst ethnic minority groups. The proportion of black men getting a degree has increased by 24%, compared to 15% for white men. [1] So, why is it that black male graduates are earning hourly on average 17% less than their white male ... more

22 August 2018
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We need safe spaces to challenge the status quo

Every year the UN celebrates International Youth Day, and this year the theme is Safe Spaces. A ‘safe space’ is not a tangible or physical location, more a descriptor of a culture in which people can share their experiences without judgement, in an environment where they can exist free from violence, harassment, or hate speech. ... more

Delivering the Sustainable Development Goals is everyone’s business but how do you convince everyone else of that?

This week Measuring Up, the first comprehensive assessment of the UK’s performance against the SDGs, was released. It makes for tough reading. The UK is performing well on only a quarter of all the goals, and the profound problems of poverty and malnutrition are on the rise. This matters for every business in the UK ... more

You are not alone

How do you solve really big problems? The answer never changes but always bares repeating – by working together. There is of course something very romantic about a lone visionary labouring away in a lab / garage / garden shed to conjure up game-changing inventions, innovations and insights, but the reality is far more likely ... more

How are we helping get more underrepresented groups into employment?

Advances in technology and the economic case for getting more underrepresented groups into employment highlight the need to support and deliver better services and resources for learners and job seekers. This Employability Day #EmpDay18 we’re celebrating businesses actively making a difference, improving society and changing lives in this area. Working with Young Women’s Trust, we ... more

28 June 2018
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Sustainable transport at Forster

Here at Forster we’re big advocates of sustainable transport. So much so that we encourage and support all of our staff to either cycle or walk to work. Included in our employee benefits programme are the following: Peddle points: 5 minutes additional holiday for every return journey walked or cycled to work Free company loan ... more

6 June 2018
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How can we ensure the PR industry is more diverse?

13% of the UK population is black, Asian, mixed or other ethnic group – we are a pretty diverse society but that isn’t reflected in the PR industry, as it is in so many other aspects of British life. Does it matter? If you believe that drawing talent from the widest pool possible and that ... more

31 May 2018
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Effing up but owning up

In light of the recent Oxfam scandal, brands and charities must take a closer look at their history – especially the areas they’d prefer to forget. Every big brand will have a skeleton or two in their closet. It’s practically unavoidable in multi-national large scale companies; especially in the case of charities. For every amount ... more

8 May 2018
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Put away the paint tins

Employee volunteering seems to be growing up, if the number of organisations offering to help employers create schemes is anything to go by. While David Cameron’s 2015 announcement on introducing a mandatory 3 days volunteering leave has come to nothing, the culture of supporting employees to volunteer is well established – most large employers will ... more

8 May 2018
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We must share our stories to challenge the status quo

International Women’s Day is the day of the year that women celebrate each other’s strengths and empower each other in the next step for gender equality. It’s the day where we herald the heroic, shout out for those that are making changes and give a hand of support to those that are in need. Being ... more

8 March 2018
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What are you waiting for?

What if all companies were forthcoming and honest about their mistakes or successes? With the deadline for gender pay gap reporting only a blink away, and a call from the government for employers to publish their ethnicity pay gap, transparency is no longer optional. And whilst some organisations are still not convinced that the new ... more

8 March 2018
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Working for change: six weeks with Forster

Anyone who has done work experience for the first time can relate to that feeling of trepidation as you approach the office door on your first day. As I journeyed to London Bridge to begin my placement with Forster, I had a nagging sense of dread that by the end of the six weeks, my ... more

8 March 2018
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Turning policy into living, breathing practice

Being a PR professional can be hard. No one really understands what we do; and those that have some idea often don’t like the sound of it. We tend to have clients on one side and journalists on the other. We’re a service industry with deadlines and jobs that don’t always fit into the 9-5 ... more

31 January 2018
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Think Global, Act Local

PR agencies spend a lot of time talking about living their values, for themselves and their clients. It is an important thing to do in an industry that gets shaken by scandals like Bell Pottinger every few years, where companies have forgotten that this mantra needs to be practised and not just preached. It was ... more

Improving health

We have been named ‘Britain’s Healthiest Workplace’ for the past two years by Vitality Health and ‘Best for the World’ for in the staff, overall and long term categories by the B Corps movement, but we wanted to dig into more detail, to understand where we’re doing best and where we could do even better. ... more

25 January 2018
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Society and the environment – our impact

No matter how innovative and progressive we are on improving health through our clients and employees, we also do our best to reduce our environmental footprint and have a positive impact on our community. Here are some of the things we have done: Staff volunteering: all our staff volunteered for a day for FoodCycle, creating ... more

25 January 2018
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Our people – our impact

The health and wellbeing of our people has always been incredibly important to us. It is great for staff and it is good for business. We have created a comprehensive wellbeing programme over the past two years and produced some impressive results: Sessions with nutritionists and mindfulness experts. Regular lunchtime running and walking clubs. Exercise ... more

25 January 2018
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Shining a light

Since Forster’s inception, we’ve been proud to shine a light on issues that are considered taboo or ignored by others. Back in 2003, we launched the first ever integrated mental health campaign – MindOut – at a time when mental health was still very much a taboo topic. Back then, we helped raised awareness, smashed ... more

25 January 2018
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Health – Looking ahead

Giving people access to the products, information and services they need to support their health, and the confidence and ability they need to use it to live well. That’s a big goal, so we have broken it down into a series of commitments and targets covering each of our spheres of impact ... more

25 January 2018
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Can money really ever be good?

The fact you are more likely to divorce your spouse than change bank accounts is so well cited that it’s a cliché. There are, obviously, a thousand reasons why this is the case. But, one of them certainly seems to be apathy. Or at least a feeling that not much would change by changing the ... more

Shared parental leave: the ultimate balancing act?

When I first announced I was pregnant to friends and family, one of the first questions many asked was ‘how long are you taking off work?’ Maybe this is because I’ve consistently and vocally made a virtue of enjoying my work. Maybe it’s because I’ve worked hard to achieve a relatively well-paid and responsible role, ... more

20 December 2017
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The link between money sense and number sense is too easy to ignore

Wendy Jones, a trustee at our client, National Numeracy, outlines why numeracy is such an important issue when to comes to tackling debt and financial exclusion, and calls on financial service providers to take a lead on helping current and prospective clients improve their numeracy. The other week I rang my bank to open a ... more

20 December 2017
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Making flexible working work for you

Encouraging flexible and remote working can enable organisations to become more agile and better respond to the needs of their people. But how do we introduce flexibility and manage our culture effectively to avoid the ‘always switched on’ syndrome, while increasing outcomes? We spoke at the CIPD annual conference earlier this month about how you can ... more

23 November 2017
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Gen Up on Gen Z

Generation Z is sometimes referred to as the iGeneration. Born in the late 90s and through the 2000s they’re a diverse group of people who’ve never known life without the internet – they are digital natives. Gen Z are a key audience to instigating mass social change; 66% of teachers think current 14-17 year olds ... more

8 November 2017
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Learning lessons in Lebanon

Accompanied by my friend and consulting associate, Dalia Farouki, the Middle Eastern leg of my book tour started with meeting the head of CSR at one of Lebanon’s best known banks and ended, via several other meetings, at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business in the pristine grounds of the American University of Beirut (AUB). The first thing to ... more

8 November 2017
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Bringing diversity and inclusion into the heart of a business

Diversity and inclusion is increasingly recognised as being vital to business success because the benefits of inclusion and diversity are clear. A range of backgrounds, faiths, genders and ethnicities bring new ideas, innovation and practices that can vastly improve operations. There are countless reports and studies which show the impact increasing diversity can have on ... more

28 September 2017
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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Nudging has been fashionable for a few years as the key to creating behaviour change around all sorts of public health issues like smoking, exercise and healthy eating. But nudging can be exhausting because you have to keep doing it. Sustainable behaviour change needs more than the nudge, it needs initiatives that crack the hardest ... more

28 September 2017
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Forster wins Britain’s Healthiest Workplace, for the second year running

Over 167 organisations and 31,950 individuals from across the UK took place in this year’s survey developed by VitalityHealth, which is now in its fifth year. Looking at nine different risk factors for employees including nutrition, physical activity, mental wellbeing, smoking, alcohol and sleep as well as workplace interventions, facilities and services it crucially gathers ... more

13 September 2017
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Communication needs to be free from assumptions and biases

The Social Market Foundation estimates that raising disability employment to the national average would boost the UK economy by at least £13 billion. On average, disabled employees are just as productive as non-disabled people, have significantly less time off, fewer workplace accidents, and stay in their jobs longer. They have inside intelligence on the “purple ... more

24 August 2017
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Aim High

Beyond compliance – this is not a phrase to stir the soul, but encapsulated in those innocuous words is the difference between a responsible business and a progressive one. We should rightly celebrate some hard won legislation that compels organisations to improve their performance, such as recent ones on Gender Pay Gap Reporting and National ... more

24 August 2017
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Transforming Lives in Kenya

We’re delighted that, last week, our groundbreaking campaign with Astellas Pharma Europe, Action on Fistula, won Excellence in CSR at the 2017 Communiqué Awards. Launched in 2014, the Fistula Foundation’s set out to transform the lives of women in Kenya living with fistula: an injury caused by prolonged obstructed labor. Supported by a grant from ... more

12 July 2017
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Business and Society

To support the launch of “Core – How a Single Organizing Idea can Change Business for Good”, we teamed up with Neil, Be Inspired Films and the Ipsos Sustainable Development Research Centre to host an event that would bring together businesses and experts in sustainability to discuss the ideas raised by the book. Looking out ... more

SOI – an idea whose time has come

This book has had a long gestation. I’ve spent twenty five years working with organizations of every type and flavour from across the globe – multinational businesses, charities, tech start-ups, faith organizations – and there was always one quality which really marked out the good ones; they had absolute clarity in their reason for being ... more

11 July 2017
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Time for change

New Ipsos MORI research released today by Forster Communications in partnership with Neil Gaught & Associates highlights the public’s strong belief that the current way of doing business isn’t working, and their desire to see business do more to make a positive difference. Just 18% of UK consumers agree the current economic system is working ... more

Responding to terrorism – head versus heart

Our office was closed early last week as it was inside the police cordon surrounding Borough Market following the London Bridge terrorist attack. It was a real jolt to see such a familiar place sealed off with police tape, to see the rubbish dropped in panic on the Saturday night still lying in the gutter. ... more

15 June 2017
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The gig economy: the role of responsible employers in correctly classifying their workforce

What do Uber, CitySprint, Excel and Pimlico Plumbers have in common? They have all been found by employment tribunals to have wrongly classified their workers as self-employed independent contractors. By doing so, they have denied them workers’ entitlements such as paid holiday and the right to be paid the national minimum wage. There are further ... more

15 June 2017
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Progress never sleeps

Progress isn’t easy. A lot of the time it feels like you are swimming in treacle, thrashing about and making little headway. Even worse, it can feel like one step forward and two steps back. That is why it is important to take the time to reflect on and celebrate when real tangible progress is ... more

Managing mental health at work

Mental health is in the news more than ever;  whether it’s the royals launching the “Heads Together” campaign, the positioning of mental health in the major party manifestos in the run up to this year’s general election, or that mental health related sickness absence is overtaking muscular-skeletal conditions in non-manual employment, it’s clear that there ... more

The battle between head and heart

Working in social change PR inevitably means working with emotionally-charged topics more often than not. It’s rare to have a week at work that’s simple “business-as-usual” given that you might be developing an awareness campaign on FGM one week and promoting fundraising for children’s mental health support the next. Our brand of PR isn’t champagne ... more

11 May 2017
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Time to change the beat

6th April is often a milestone date in the UK, the start of the new tax year and the date when many of the policies and legislation introduced in the preceding budget come into being, like the requirement for employers with more than 250 employees to report on their gender pay gap … Such legislation ... more

5 April 2017

Why the gender pay gap is still a problem – and how flex could fix it

There’s no question that the gender pay gap is firmly on the agenda. From today, all organisations with more than 250 employees are legally required to collect data on the gap between the average hourly pay of the men and women who work there. And they’ll need to report on their figures by 4th April ... more

5 April 2017
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Businesses need a clear head to tackle modern slavery

Kate Garbers, Managing Director at Unseen – a charity working towards a world without slavery, highlights the importance of transparency for businesses seeking to do something about modern slavery, particularly in industries with complex supply chains…   1. Given its scale, why is slavery still essentially invisible? I am not sure it is invisible; I think we don’t always know ... more

28 March 2017
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If we ran the country (or at least the communications bit)

Leadership has always been important, but it is particularly so as we enter the uncharted waters of Brexit. Our current (unelected, remember) Prime Minister is a case in point – someone who needs to show the right kind of leadership while navigating a divided country through at least two years of uncertainty and disagreement. We ... more

22 March 2017
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The state isn’t the only game in town

Budgets generally leave many feeling disappointed, particularly those campaigning on a specific issue. When the media does its traditional winners and losers analysis of the impact of a budget, the loser column tends to be the longer one. For most organisations campaigning for change, their responses generally begin with a variation on “We’re disappointed that ... more

9 March 2017
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Men and babies

Job done, we’ve got equality in our workplace, so what’s the problem? It’s tempting to think that from the comfort of a female-empowered office like ours where our CEO is a woman, we have no gender pay gap, and where I have recently returned from maternity leave into a four-day-a-week role as a senior consultant. ... more

9 March 2017
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#BeBoldForChange – our gender pay gap

Today marks International Women’s Day and with the new government legislation around gender pay gap reporting being introduced next month, debate around the causes behind and best ways to tackle the gender pay gap is louder than ever. The recently published CIPR #StateofPR report shows that women are disadvantaged at all levels in terms of ... more

8 March 2017
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Britain’s Healthiest Workplace – webcast

After being named Britain’s Healthiest Workplace, an award developed by VitalityHealth and delivered in partnership with the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe and Mercer, we recently joined GlaxoSmithKline and Phoenix Group to share our experience of taking part in the study. From innovative cycling policies to training our line managers on mental health, we know ... more

6 March 2017
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Aviva: The business case for supporting staff with caring responsibilities

Employers for Carers estimates that one in nine workers are carers and one in six of these will leave the workforce due to their caring responsibilities. For Aviva UK that’s 1,700 carers, of which 300 are in danger of leaving. In the current economic climate it is an important time to retain skilled workers rather ... more

9 February 2017
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Making the target a reality

When it comes to encouraging urgent action on a specific issue, it helps to have a real and significant target or statistic. That is certainly the case when it comes to the need to increase the number of people aged 50 and over in employment. While there is a rise taking place (9.8 million were ... more

9 February 2017
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Businesses unite in a bid to make the UK economy ‘fit for the future’ by backing sustainable development

Over 80 major businesses have united to call on the Government to demonstrate its commitment to delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the UK and overseas Open letter to Prime Minister says sustainable development is essential for long term prosperity and the wellbeing of future generations Letter is published on the eve of the ... more

Talking – the first step to making business work for all

Our CEO Amanda Powell-Smith wonders – what would the world look like if the vast majority of businesses focused on being a force for good as well as generating profits? We might soon find out if the current appetite and interest in mission-led business blossoms into something more substantial. With the many and various body ... more

5 January 2017
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It’s all about the application

In the lead up to FutureFest last month, Nesta carried out a survey which revealed that more people would rather live now than in 20 years’ time. Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive at Nesta, reminded us that our future is a choice; we have an opportunity to change this fear into possibility. “The concept of the ... more

Forster Communications is the only UK PR agency to receive global award for good business practice

Forster Communications has won two Best for the World awards from B Lab, the non-profit organisation that serves a global movement of business seeking to be a force for good. Forster scooped wins in both ‘Best for Workers’ and ‘Most Overall Community impact’ categories, making it the only UK based PR agency to win an ... more

7 September 2016
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22 years: Proof Positive

We’ve been thinking positively and working with our clients to make real positive change for the last 22 years. Here are just a few of the things we’re most proud of which show that if businesses, governments, charities and people work together, we can make good things happen…   In 2003 we created Seeing is ... more

Now it’s cool to be kind – how to tempt in the millennials

Research by Net Impact has revealed that nearly 60% of millennials say they are willing to accept a smaller salary in order to work for an employer that shares their values. ... more

18 August 2016
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Modern slavery

Theresa May has made it clear that as Prime Minister she is determined to continue the mission against modern slavery, which became one of the hallmarks of her time as Home Secretary. Within a couple of weeks of moving in to Number 10, Mrs May set up the first ever government task force on modern ... more

9 August 2016
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Watch your language to reap the business benefits

An age-shift is underway in society. People are living longer but we haven’t yet fully woken up to the value of older adults. Just check out the language often used to talk to or about older people – demeaning and diminishing words and phrases that reinforce ignorance and institutional ageist attitudes. In terms of their ... more

13 July 2016
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Combatting ageism, fear and loathing in Brexit Britain

For many years ageist attitudes and behaviours have gone unchallenged in the UK. With Brexit deepening the generational divide and triggering an outpouring of ageist vitriol, the need to tackle age discrimination is now more urgent than ever before.  As we grapple with the ramifications of the EU Referendum result, one thing is abundantly clear: ... more

7 July 2016
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Forster calls on PR industry to act on mental health

We have been working with Business in the Community and Public Health England to develop a new free toolkit for employers to act on mental health – and now we want it to change they way the PR industry promotes mental health in its own workplaces. With one in six employees currently experiencing problems, mental ... more

17 May 2016
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Taking a lead on workplace mental health

So much is written about mental health in the workplace and plenty of advice is available on how to protect and support employees. But many organisations still fail to act – are they confused by where to start, shackled by the stigma that still surrounds mental health, or have they simply failed to understand the ... more

17 May 2016
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Is business changing for good?

On the eve of Responsible Business Week 2016, two events stand out, showing both how far business has come and how far it has yet to travel. First, institutional investors voted against the £14 million remuneration package awarded to Bob Dudley, the chief executive of BP. It was the biggest ever revolt against excessive boardroom ... more

18 April 2016

Our panel debate with Change.org

Panel debate hosted by Change.org and Forster Communications exploring why deeper and sustained relationships with customers, donors and supporters are more important than ever to achieve lasting social change. ... more

14 April 2016
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Seed the fertile ground between charities and businesses

The case for forging closer links between business and charities is more compelling than ever. There is a financial imperative for charities to find new sources of income, and business offers obvious attractions in that area. Charities are also constantly looking for new ways to deliver against their mission and with the ongoing retreat of ... more

16 March 2016
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Bringing business to society

As the year comes to an end, you would be forgiven for believing the world has never been in worse shape. Social unrest, environmental devastation, economic uncertainty, multiple conflicts and the seemingly relentless rise of extremism – all have reared their heads repeatedly in 2015. But, you’d be wrong. The world is currently more peaceful, ... more

The charity sector needs to campaign for its reputation

Predictably the recent Times exposure have inspired much gnashing of teeth and cries of “why us?” – just as the previous scandals and crises have done so. It is a legitimate question to ask – it is not paranoid to think someone is out to get you when someone is really out to get you. ... more

22 December 2015
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Playing the long game: Corporate charity partnerships restricted by short term focus on financial value

Our study of the charity sector reveals the potential for corporate partnerships to work harder and achieve more for businesses and charities alike. To do this, they must take a longer term approach rather than focusing just on the potential financial return. While funds from corporates are vital, too much emphasis is put to the ... more

25 November 2015
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We’re in the business of action

Raising awareness is one thing, getting people to take action is another. We’ve spent 20 years successfully inspiring the latter and have brought all that knowhow together to create our new Activation practice. It will focus on helping clients create campaigns and movements that inspire people to challenge attitudes, support a cause, change the way ... more

Diversity in PR

Diversity in PR is a well publicised issue in the industry, and with no quick fix it can often be difficult to see when and where the change is happening. I’m not so diverse from the average PR practitioner myself, although some of my city dwelling colleagues may joke that being from Essex is ‘pretty ... more

7 October 2015

B Corps because…

There was a time in the late 20th century when any new social change movement came in from left field, pushed hard, prompted and pressurised, before being replaced by a newer, more sophisticated idea. How times have changed! Today, in a mainstreaming culture, new ideas have to focus on rapid assimilation. It helps if they ... more

24 September 2015
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Forster Communications becomes one of the founding B Corps in the UK

Forster Communications has just become one of the UK’s first certified B Corporations, joining the community of UK Founding B Corps which officially launches in London on 24 September 2015. B Corps (‘Benefit Corporations’) are businesses of all sizes and types, independently certified to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. ... more

4 September 2015
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There’s nothing shameful about the menopause, so why is it still considered taboo?

All women have a unique health issue that is largely ignored in the workplace: the menopause. It’s time we treated it with all the seriousness and care it deserves. And we can start by breaking the silence and ending the stigma. It was a few years back now that I remember telling a young colleague ... more

16 June 2015
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Permission key for employee volunteering

Volunteers Week is an important celebration. Over 20 million people chose to volunteer at least once a month; they provide critical support for charities, community groups and other not-for-profit organisations and in return, are rewarded by making a difference. It’s a big number, but it should be bigger. If you look at the corporate responsibility ... more

4 June 2015
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The challenge of engaging staff on mental health issues in the health sector

The need for NHS employees to be supported by health and wellbeing plans is well documented. NHS Employers estimates that 30 percent of NHS sick leave is caused by stress, costing up to £400 million a year in lost productivity, and NHS England’s Five Year Forward View has highlighted the need for Trusts to help ... more

11 May 2015
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Mental Health at Forster

We’ve all heard the statistics; one in four people experience mental illness symptoms in any given year. What’s more, a recent survey from PRCA suggests this figure rises to a third within our sector, costing the UK economy an estimated £70 bn per year. In the last 15 years we have worked on a number ... more

13 April 2015
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Why long-term campaigning works: spotlight on cycling

2015 will mark the 10th anniversary of the London 7/7 tube bombings, a terrible tragedy but which had the unexpected side effect of increasing the number of people cycling to work in London. Many will have reverted back to the tube having experienced riding a bike on the capital’s roads is perhaps not as expected. ... more

How to demonstrate the value of PR

Last week I attended the PR Moments conference ‘Ending the data deficit of public relations’, exploring the impact of the changing media landscape on measurement, the importance of outcomes rather than outputs and the risk of data overload. Robust measurement is integral to good practice – as Andrew Smith sagely reminded us all, we evaluate ... more

5 March 2015

What makes a great campaign? Authenticity, indefatigability and a touch of the devil certainly help

Unless you have had your head in a hole for the past few months, you’ll be aware that election season is in full swing, bringing with it a huge number of campaigns. It was very timely, then, for the Sheila McKechnie Foundation to hold its 10th Anniversary Awards at the House of Lords on Monday, ... more

27 February 2015

The Power of &

We are very proud to announce the birth of a precious baby – the Forster Communications Sustainability Report. As the social change communications agency, we work with organisations and businesses to deliver positive social change, starting with ourselves and our own social purpose. We are constantly on the search for the &, our reason for ... more

9 October 2014
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We’re talking about mental health, are you?

Last year, more than 15 million days of sickness absence across the UK were caused by everyday mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety or depression. And despite one in six employees (that’s your colleagues, friends and family) currently experiencing mental health issues, many businesses are not putting in place plans to ensure the mental ... more

29 April 2014
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We’ve come a long way

Mental health has never been more relevant. There’s been public outrage about the level of cuts to mental health services: The Guardian recently reported that the NHS currently allocates just 13% of its resources to treatment of mental health problems, despite these problems accounting for 23% of disease burden in England. Campaigns such as the ... more

19 February 2014
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Tattoos and social norms

I don’t do drugs, I’ve never been in prison (or been a sailor), and I hold down a good job. And I’m pretty sure I’m not having a mid life crisis. So what makes a 30-something professional like me want to get a tattoo and still be career-focused? My mum would really like to know. ... more

23 October 2013

Social Media – It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

Fresh from the world of university and here spending a week in the Forster office, I am perhaps typical of my generation in at least one sense: I am in danger of becoming a social media addict. more

1 October 2013

When companies campaign

It is no longer enough for companies simply to provide a product or a service. Many consumers, employees even shareholders and senior business leaders are looking beyond the bottom line and considering the social purpose of what they do. more

26 September 2013
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We’re not allowed to discriminate… but we do

Last week Forster had a session on becoming a dementia friends. For those not familiar with the scheme this is an hour’s interactive briefing run by Alzheimer’s Society, designed to make people more aware of what it is like to have dementia and the problems those with the disease encounter on a daily basis. As ... more

MBO at Forster

A management buy-out sees Amanda Powell-Smith becoming MD and Peter Gilheany PR Director, as Jilly Forster takes the role of Chair. Forster will be a company owned by staff offering a re-energised and strengthened service offering to clients. Jilly Forster founded Forster in 1996 and fellow directors Amanda Powell-Smith and Peter Gilheany have now joined ... more

18 June 2013

Taking an open-minded approach to mental health

Forster recently helped Business in the Community’s Workwell programme to launch its first ever FTSE 100 benchmark results. This gave an insight to how some of the world’s leading companies manage the health and wellbeing of their people. There was one particular set of findings that was most compelling – only 6% of the FTSE ... more

4 June 2013
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For charities, commercial is good

‘The idea of commercialising charities is something that can trigger a collective gasp among sector stalwarts,’ says GEORGE AMES. ‘But money doesn’t have to be a dirty subject. Without funds to operate effectively, an organisation can achieve no good – and nobody gains from that.’ Although it is commonly accepted that, for a charity to effectively ... more

22 April 2013
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Work with the world

How did we arrive at the horsemeat scandal? What led to the need for Hugh’s Fish Fight? Jilly Forster, says it’s time for organisations of all kinds to work in partnership with the world. An increasingly watchful, digitally remastered global public cannot be duped for very long by policies or practices that defy the rational ... more

13 February 2013
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The currency of true networking is generosity

Many of us are addicted to networking – attending events, linking in, spending time doing everything but acting on the purpose of our organisation. NB: it only works if you give. If networking were a way of earning money, many of us would be millionaires. We spend most of our time connecting to other people, ... more

13 February 2013

Creativity is best done in a crowd

Everyone is familiar with that horrible sinking feeling when you’re staring at your screen or note pad, scratching your head and waiting for a genius moment of inspiration to arrive. As Elizabeth Gilbert beautifully describes it; genius was originally thought to be a little creature that visited you with good ideas if you were lucky, ... more

18 September 2012

Charities are in the business of interruption and creativity is often the key

I like to mind my own business and lead the sort of atomised life that is increasingly the norm in our culture, where the people and issues outside my immediate circle are very effectively zoned out and kept on the margins. I have become, like many of us have, incredibly good at blocking messages and ... more

18 September 2012

Moving beyond discrimination: 50+ interns

Depressing statistics were revealed in the latest analysis by the Resolution Foundation which showed the UK is lagging behind other countries in the employment of older workers. In fact the number of older workers who have remained out of work for more than a year has risen from 33.2% to 44.5%, with women particularly affected. ... more

17 August 2012
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A lot of noise about ‘Quiet’

I find it interesting that Susan Cain’s book entitled Quiet: the Power of the Introvert in a World that can’t Stop Talking has generated so much noise. Her opinions on society’s bias towards extroverted behaviour are resonating with people on a personal and/or professional level, as evidenced by the many views, tweets, blogs and reviews ... more

13 April 2012