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Insights


Insights about Social impact

Tools to help charities tackle and communicate the climate crisis

Knowing how to communicate on behalf of your charity can be challenging. With an increasing number of issues that other organisations feel obliged to give their thoughts on, it can be difficult to hear the important parts of the louder conversation. One of the pressing issues we are all faced with today is the climate ... more

The Big Plastic Count – Let’s tackle the plastic problem

Forster has committed to addressing climate action through every aspect of our business – and that means encouraging and enabling everyone in the team wherever possible. As part of this, several of us recently joined thousands across the UK in taking part in The Big Plastic Count, meticulously noting every piece of plastic our households ... more

Cutting carbon emissions in a hybrid world

This new balance of hybrid working raises questions about how best we can help our team cut their carbon emissions while recognising that everyone’s situation is different, with big variations in their ability to make changes. ... more

You’ll never solve the crisis without the art

How do you solve a problem like climate change? Left brain or right brain? With brash targets and big plans for net zero or by painting pictures of the future? The thing is, climate change isn’t just a science problem. It’s about our culture and behaviours. It’s a product of what we value. So if ... more

What should a Board of the future look like?

In the lead up to COP26, B Lab UK challenged businesses to host a future-focused boardroom meeting, and radically reimagine the people, priorities and processes needed to meet our world’s challenges by 2030. A first observation for us at Forster was ‘2030 is not that far away…’ so what changes do we need to make ... more

25 November 2021
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COP26 insights and observations

What do the last two weeks mean for the next 12 months – and looking beyond the headlines – how can we accelerate climate action and keep 1.5C alive? We asked the team at Forster and a range of experts in our network for their insights and observations on COP26 and here’s what they said: ... more

Lessons for communications leaders on involving those with lived experience

We can all agree that ensuring appropriate representation through communications is critical – but how can we make sure the right voices are heard at the right time? While there is no fixed formula for building representation, clear considerations emerged from the second event in our communicating complexities series for all communications leaders to consider ... more

Making space on the bench

There’s a phrase that has crept into our mainstream vocabulary recently, particularly in relation to issues like social justice, sustainability and climate action – lived experience. We seem to have belatedly woken up to the importance of people with personal experience of the issues we are seeking to tackle playing an active role in tackling ... more

Communicators as activists: themes from the discussion

I recently had the pleasure of Chairing a discussion on brand activism with thoughtful and important contributions from Jelle Mul from Patagonia, Rebecca Sinclair from Penguin Random House UK, Hilary Berg, social change comms specialist and advisor to Iceland Foods, and Karen Collins from Bates Wells. The conversation covered the breadth of what it means ... more

Communicating complexity in a binary world

Recently we held a fantastic discussion on the challenge of communicating complexity. It was led by three brilliant speakers from very different spheres of social change and all with thorny issues to consider and communicate about: Derek Bardowell, CEO of philanthropy consultancy Ten Years’ Time; Caroline Harper, CEO of Sightsavers; and David Croft, Global Director, ... more

Six insights from our roundtable on communicating complexities

1. Positive change comes from progress not perfection. The social and environmental challenges that we want to solve are complex and multi-stranded – we have to focus on progress, not wait for perfection, and keep moving forward. The reality is that change is messy and with so many unknowns – particularly in how we translate ... more

Forster signs the Green Pension Charter

We’re proud to be one of the first employers to sign the Green Pension Charter, launching in partnership with Make My Money Matter and Count Us In today. It represents a world first for pensions, bringing together 50 leading employers – including IKEA, BrewDog and EY – in the mission to make our money matter. ... 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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#NeverMoreNeeded: show your support for the charity sector

Since the middle of last year, Forster has been working pro-bono on the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign, a cross voluntary sector initiative to shine a light on the amazing work charities are doing during the pandemic and the financial impact it is having in them and the causes and communities they support. The government has provided very ... more

11 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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Make progress by being progressive

We are, if you believe everything you read on social media, in the middle of a culture war with charities increasingly in the firing line. Just this week, The Telegraph ran the latest in a series of stories on the apparent furore around the National Trust and its decision to highlight the links between its ... 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

Now’s the time for visibility

I’ve done a fair amount of training and consultancy around communicating in a crisis over the years, complacently believing that for many of the participants, it would remain a store of unneeded knowledge and approaches. Well, as far as crises go, it’s Christmas and for many organisations, pretty much everything they are putting out currently, ... more

20 May 2020
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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

There’s no ‘I’ in purpose

As I sit at my bespoke home-working space – or “kitchen table”, as it’s more commonly known – I’m chasing a client for late payment of an invoice, one that predates the current troubles we are all facing. This will be an all too familiar feeling to many working for an agency, particularly if you’re ... more

16 April 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

Along for the ride

After having the luxury of living a ten-minute walk from Forster since we relocated to Whitechapel at the end of 2018, I found myself facing the dreaded London commute once again when I moved house in September this year. Aside from the fact I didn’t want to be crammed amongst commuters on the underground, I was ... more

17 December 2019
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Ideas plus people – the equation for better health

Big problems need radical ideas and action and they don’t come much bigger than improving health. In 2019, Forster has been helping clients promote radical ideas and inspire action off the back of them. The partnership we helped create between the Daily Mail and Helpforce inspired 33,000 people to volunteer with the NHS in 2019. ... more

17 December 2019
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Small and many is powerful

The cheerful gentleman on the right in this photo is Robin. He is a resident at Etheldred House, a care home in Histon, Cambridgeshire, where I live. Robin suffered a brain injury a few years back and now needs care support. He is unusual in that he is resident in the same care home as ... more

17 December 2019
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Reach out and connect

Back in 2013, the health secretary described loneliness among older people as “our national shame”. Fast forward to 2019 and more than nine million people in the UK say they “often or always” feel lonely. The loneliness epidemic isn’t new, and we are doing more to tackle it at a systemic level, but it often ... more

17 December 2019
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Eating for the future

Four years ago, I looked at what I could do to tackle climate change and came up with six areas for not only myself, but for anyone who would ask. 1.) How you vote 2.) What you eat 3.) How you travel 4.) How you waste/recycle 5.) What energy you use 6.) Where you spend ... more

17 December 2019
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