Global Action Plan is the product of Trewin Restorick, previously a recycling co-ordinator and then head of marketing at Friends of the Earth. He left and founded Global Action Plan (GAP) in 1993. GAP looks to build teamwork among groups of people who increase the sustainability of their activities in an environmental sense.
Global Action Plan
In 2003 it described itself thus: "Global Action Plan is an independent national charity that provides practical guidance to support sustainable development through a mix of facilitated behaviour change programmes based on measurable achievements and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles through web and paper-based publications." It has a quite impressive track record and has grown to employ 50 members of staff.
GAP is a registered charity, number 102648. It defines its purpose as: "To promote the protection and improvement of the natural environment by increasing public knowledge and understanding of human behaviour which is not harmful to man and other living species and to planetary ecology."
The latest GAP project is the Environmental IT Leadership TEAM (EITLT), which aims to build a green group of IT businesses and have it produce reports on greener IT practices and so exert pressure on government and vendors to bring about greener IT.
As a marketeer, Restorick is adept at tactics that raise awareness and also raise the profile of his charity; for it does not exist on voluntary contributions from individuals. No, it depends on and solicits funding from, organisations, both public sector and private. For example, landfill tax credit.
GAP's green IT awareness raising also raises the profile of GAP and exposes the charity to many more potential funding sources. GAP is akin to a small business that is hired by interested organisations to fund green projects.
It's not a business in the 'making a profit' sense but it is a business in its shrewd marketing of its capabilities to potential funders. Indeed Restorick has described it as a small business and said it had a £1 million turnover in 2003, when it had 23 employees. Its gross income in the 2005/2006 financial year was £1,173,377.
Green IT end user gap
GAP has literally identified a gap in the 'market' for green organisations. There are vendor groups such as the Climate Savers Computing Initiative and the Green Grid. There are state-sponsored organisations such as the US EPEAT. There are mass charity environmental pressure groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth which act as a voice of conscience for individuals.
But there are no IT end-user green organisations. Restorick's shrewd idea was that business is climbing on the sustainability bandwagon and that employees in the IT department were inclining towards greenness but had little support for translating their wishes into actions. Secondly, the government was not encouraging green champions in business.
Thirdly, there is a growing group of vendors who identify their future with green products, such as automatic PC switch-off software, or more energy-efficient PCs and servers.
Restorick has found a way to use these trends to help mobilise end users by getting sponsorship from Logicalis, an IT systems integration and services supplier.
He has also obtained MP-level support from Peter Ainsworth, the conservative shadow environment minister. Based on this he set up the restricted membership EITLT, with members invited by GAP and Logicalis to keep things manageable and, as its chair, helped it, facilitated it, led it, whatever to commission a report into IT staff attitudes to green issues.
This report, An Inefficient Truth, was presented at Portcullis House, not the House of Commons as marketed and reported, with the help of Peter Ainsworth, and has been widely reported.
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