Greening your Impact this Christmas (and an update!)

Green Impact is in full swing, and we’re nearly at the *final deadline* for teams to sign up (18th December), so to be in for a chance of winning an award for your office (and making it cosier as well as more sustainable), get in touch ASAP ( We have a team of trained-up student project assistants ready to help your team get on with getting gold. Criteria are designed to cost little or nothing, and you’ll win a beautiful award at our summery celebration in June 2014. So really, what are you waiting for?


Can Green Impact help you make your office cosier this winter?

Our eight (and growing) teams are varying in their progress through the criteria, with several having ordered new recycling bins from the Estates team (don’t ask and you don’t get…)….why not use the winter season as a time to get cracking on Green Impact criteria around thermal comfort: take action to make sure your office is cosier!

All that talk of new recycling bins has got me dreaming….of a riiiiight (on)  Christmas…what’s on your list? This year, ‘Buy Nothing Day’ fell on the same day as ‘Black Saturday’, which came to my attention this year as the day when shops brace themselves to be stampeded and the boiling tussle begins between wallet and shop shelf to sell-buy-sell-buy until Christmas explodes in a fountain of Roses wrappers and exhausted inebriation…a quick net search for ‘Black Saturday’ pulls up a screen laced with the following: ‘bushfires’, ‘crackdown’, ‘crisis’, ‘massacres’, ‘armed clashes’, ‘tensions’, ‘arrests’, ‘battle’, ‘divisions’, ‘killing’, ‘collapse’ and ‘dark, stormy day’. Type in ‘Buy Nothing Day’, however, and the first thing I see is “£££ LESS LIVE MORE!”. But if Christmas means giving, can we “£££ less GIVE more”?

It would be silly to suggest that we stop consuming altogether: our purchases stimulate the economy and express our relationships and identities. But maybe ‘consumption for identity’ has its limits, as this interesting blog post points out. Buying clothes, gadgets and turkeys have impacts that are usually invisible to the buyer (the Aral Sea turned to desert through cotton production, pollution and exploitation in mining rare earth elements for smartphones, birds kept in cages…or used as baseballs). How can you, as a consumer, use your purchasing power to please your present-loving family and be a force for good change in the world? A few ideas:

  • Charity gifts: Oxfam Unwrapped made headlines years back with their ‘Buy a Goat’ scheme, and their range is great fun to browse through: you donate an amount which helps reduce the grind of poverty around the world, and your chosen recipient gets a special card to show where ‘their’ gift has gone- I’m very excited by their new ‘manure for Malawi’ gift range….but check out other charities too: you could purchase shelter and food for a refugee in the UK who won’t be seeing their family this season….


    Oxfam goat: buy for a family who needs it (now half-price!)

  • Buy a cup of kindness: when stopping for a recharge during your shopping expeditions, why not buy a cup of ‘suspended’ coffee on top of your own? This scheme has been growing in coverage, enabling you to buy a brew for someone in need down the line…check out the Facebook page for Manchester suppliers who take part
  • Get creative: Give jars of homemade preserves (or buy from the delicious new ‘Perfectly Good’ range at the Emerge shop on Brazennose St: made from food that would otherwise go to waste), knit fingerless gloves, make candles in teacups…or let local craftspeople do the hard work for you: Three Bees’ soap (made from Manchester beeswax!), Grumpy and Emerge shops, or have a browse on and
  • Give an experience: make your own vouchers that your loved ones can use to ‘redeem’ your time: pledge them a massage, or a walk in the woods, or a night’s babysitting, or tickets for a cinema trip: giving your time can create community, build relationships and generate generous parcels of memories, fun, affection and…all importantly- a reciprocated massage….!

There’s no need to be Scrooge to be savvy about your role as a Christmas consumer…it’s just about tweaking the automatic thinking that advertisers want you to adopt: have fun!

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