‘Building back better’ is not just about patching over the cracks of inequality

The events of this year demonstrate how important it is to tackle the root cause of social issues. I think now’s the time to get started.

Basketball legend Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships”. This is true in life as well as in sport. Team sports having always been a huge part of my life, I’m still an enthusiastic amateur footballer now, so I know success always comes down to teamwork — working together, trusting each other and appreciating the importance of the different roles we all play. Encouraging this sporting ethos in the workplace is how we can achieve our biggest aims.

As a team we’ve set some pretty ambitious goals here at Cranswick Milton Keynes. Some are climate-related — I recently wrote about our plans for achieving net zero for example, — but others are linked to growth for wider social good, such as tackling mammoth issues like homelessness and food poverty. Some might call them moon-shot goals, but we’re determined to put our all into achieving them. If we do, we can honestly say we’re leaving a legacy beyond profit.

It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a tough year for everyone, but some have felt the consequences of the pandemic far more keenly than others. The unprecedented events of the last 12 months have only served to further highlight the systemic inequalities and injustices prevalent within our society, and as Edelman’s respected 2020 Trust Barometer indicates, faith in government leadership is dwindling rapidly.

As a large business and leader in our field, we have a responsibility to help to tackle the key economic, social and environmental issues we all face today — and that starts with our local communities. Sustainability underpins everything we do at Cranswick, after all, and you can’t have a sustainable planet without looking after the people in it.

In direct response to the COVID-19 outbreak, our Milton Keynes site partnered with three local charities to provide financial support and food for those in need. TLG Make Lunch helps to fill the holiday hunger gap for children, MK Food Bank distributes food donations to those in need throughout Milton Keynes, and the Frank Moran Centre ensures older people can access food parcels when they need them. Every week, we’re donating £600 in financial support and 250 packs of ham to these fantastic and crucial organisations.

The heart of the matter

But even when COVID eventually becomes old news — and even if we as a planet do a good job of ‘building back better’ — there will still be those on the fringes of society that need help and support. We can’t just patch over cracks, we need to create a truly equitable, inclusive and sustainable society throughout. This is why our team is already working with a number of organisations to lift communities and create a better, brighter future for everyone within them.

For example, we’ve a long-established partnership with Plan Zheroes — an incredible charity that redistributes food surplus to those in need, tackling hunger in our local community and helping to reduce food waste.

But short-term solutions are just one piece of the puzzle. We also need to take action to address the deeper causes of these challenges, so we’ve also joined forces with local charity Winter Night Shelter MK to offer not only support, but employment opportunities to those experiencing homelessness. This could be considered a fairly radical move within our industry — and indeed within UK industry overall — but it’s these small steps in people rebuilding their lives that will have a big impact on helping to shape a fairer tomorrow. We’ve now taken on four individuals and it’s truly humbling to hear how the initiative has made such a difference to their lives. I’d love to see other businesses follow suit.

As we grow, we want to leave a positive mark on the communities that we serve. There are social and environmental problems that demand immediate action, and we believe it is our duty to tackle those challenges. But we want to move beyond just delivering singular outputs and start to deliver positive outcomes that truly tackle the root causes. This is a new journey for us but one we are passionate about, and one that we’ll take on together, as a team. Our goal — and we hope you share it — is to create a healthier, safer, and more prosperous world for all. As we all look to a more sustainable post-COVID recovery, now is the time for kick-off.

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Cranswick Site Director leading my team and business to an inclusive Net Zero future that can feed the world sustainably.

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Sam Pearl

Sam Pearl

Cranswick Site Director leading my team and business to an inclusive Net Zero future that can feed the world sustainably.

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