May 4, 2021

Top 5 businesses supporting school girls education

Helen Adams
3 min
The G7 have announced that they want to send 40 million more girls to school across the world - here's five businesses making girls education happen

Ahead of the G7 summit in June, G7 leaders have agreed on one goal: sending 40 million more girls from developing nations to school, within the next five years. 


Statistics are frightening: 


  • 40% of countries provide equal access to education for girls and boys.


  • More than 31 million girls are not attending school, across the world.


From school girl assasination attempts in Pakistan to kidnaps in Nigeria, terrorism threatens female education. Boko Harem, a terrorist organisation in North Africa, has destroyed 900 schools and abducted hundreds of pupils.


Poverty also plays a huge factor, as many families need children to work to provide for their immediate survival, instead of preparing for their future. But this can all change...


Here are five big businesses who have been supporting the education of girls - and others from disadvantaged backgrounds - across the world.


  1. Yahoo

Known for its high-tech focus, slick offices and vast wealth, statistics revealed a surprising discovery about Silicon Valley in 2012: 

  • 48% of fourth-grade Silicon Valley students read below grade level
  • 20% lacke basic reading skills

Yahoo! Employee Foundation partnered with non-profit Reading Partners and supplied a $40,000 grant to cover staff costs and school sites for one year.


  1. Omnicom

The UN's Sustainable Development Goal #4 - inclusive and quality education for all - caught attention of Omnicom, a global marketing company. Omnicom partnered with GirlEffect and Theirworld to support girls education in local and international projects.

“We are committed to using the creativity, innovation and power of our people and agencies across the globe to help the UN achieve the SDGs,” says John Wren, President and CEO, Omnicom Group. “Given our long history supporting educational initiatives, we are honoured to be able to extend our support to two outstanding non-profits who share a similar mission – education for all.”


  1. Always

For girls growing up in poverty, their monthly periods can prevent them from participating at school, with a devastating impact on their education and self-esteem. The Always Keeping Girls in School programme donates sanitary items to vulnerable girls, so they can maintain their education uninterrupted. 

More than 200, 000 girls have been supported, with over 13 million pads donated in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, since 2008. 


  1. Out of Print

The most obvious candidate, Out of Print books sells gifts, such as T-shirts and tote bags, of classic titles. The company uses their profits to financially support literacy programs in struggling communities and has donated over five million books.


  1. IBM

The computer hardware and software producer is deeply involved in encouraging STEM in the next generation of women. As previously reported by Sustainability, IBM has introduced a new programme: 'IBM STEM for Girls', in over 100 schools in India. The three year programme is designed to: “Advance the skills and careers of close to 25,600 students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.” 


  1. An honourable mention for Roshan the camel

Since the pandemic, an estimated 62% of children in Balichostan, Pakistan, have been forced out of school. Local kids were delighted when Roshan’s owner, Murad Ali, agreed to help teachers with The Camel Library Project: a mobile library on Roshan’s back. Murad and Roshan travel across rural communities offering children books and supporting their continuous education. 


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May 5, 2021

What is a circular economy?

Helen Adams
3 min
A circular economy has nothing to do with backtracking, it's all about moving forward, sustainability and recycling. Here's how it works

Over the next few centuries, historians will be researching the impact of net-zero targets made during the Coronavirus pandemic. Teachers will be helping students to revise what happened on the day the last drop of oil was burned. Archaeologists will be wondering “How did we get into this mess?” as they dig through ancient 21st century landfill sites, where some of the single-use plastic used this week will be slowly rotting.

A circular economy is a model of production with a sustainable future in mind, where manufacturers are aware of the infinite and finite resources which they use. Let’s break down what a circular economy is - and what it is not.


The linear model of production 

A wasteful model of production is ‘take, make, dispose’, with a clear beginning, middle and an ending. 

Companies buy the resources needed to make their product at the lowest possible price. The company then sells as many of the product as they can at an affordable price tol make a profit. This profit goes back into buying more resources to make more products and expanding the company. For example:

Take: A manufacturer pays farmers for an ingredient and takes it to their factory. 

Make: The ingredient is used to make the desired item and sold to the consumer.

Dispose: When the product is no longer needed by the consumer, it is thrown away. The product may end up in landfill or the sea. 


Finite resources and space

Waste is sent to landfills and into the sea, locations which are not sources of infinite space. Some of the ingredients used to manufacture products are also finite..

If production remains at its current rate, the planet is expected to run out of many essential resources throughout the next century:

The fossil fuels oil, gas and uranium, are expected to run out in the 2040s, with the last lump of coal being mined in the 2050s. 

Fresh supplies of zinc, silver, copper and gold will also be finished, within the next decade. 

The ocean is suspected to contain more plastic than fish by 2050. Maybe even earlier if the plastic inside of the fish is included. The world’s largest landfill site is the Ghazipur garbage dump in India, which at one point was taller than the Taj Mahal (73m). 

A circular economy seeks to eliminate waste disposed of in the ocean and minimise the use of landfills. 


The circular economy model of production

A circular economy respects the space restrictions of current methods of production and waste, as well as the limit of materials and the environment.

Make: Manufacturers create something, with its future in mind. For example, 

Use: The consumer buys the item and uses it. When the item has served its purpose, the consumer can return the item to the manufacturer or take it to a dedicated location where it can be repurposed. 

Recycle: The item is taken away to be recycled, reused or repaired and begins its journey again, in the circular economy. 


Who is implementing a circular economy?

As reported by Sustainability, retailer H&M has started a new initiative, Looop, where customers can donate their old or unwanted clothes at their local branch. These items are sent off to be remade into new products and sold to a new consumer.

Water, our planet's most precious resource, is naturally recycled - we collect water, use it and then flush it away. It is believed that every water molecule has been drunk at least four times, including by dinosaurs. So it’s only natural for recycling to permeate every other aspect of our lives in the circular economy. 

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