Caring is sharing…

The social care sector delivers significant social value to society in supporting those in need of care or support to live healthy and fulfilling lives.  The sector, and all of us involved in it, are directly helping to address a number of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  So, isn’t that enough?  Do we need to do any more on sustainability? Clearly, in my view, not!

It is not enough to talk about the positive impact the social care sector delivers without also addressing how we deliver these services.  The end, I’m afraid, does not justify the means.  Sustainability in all its aspects – environmental, economic and social – is as relevant to all those who operate in the social care sector as it is to every other business or public body.

Barclay’s excellent recent report on sustainability in the social care sector (Time to act: Healthcare at a turning point on ESG) set out clearly the case for greater action to be taken by the sector on sustainability.  The report has been well-received by providers and opinion-formers but there is a risk that, without follow-up and collaboration, the sector will not address the sustainability challenges it faces with the urgency required. 

Bluntly, the sector has been too slow to take action on sustainability.  A group of us have therefore come together, determined to support each other, and to encourage the wider sector, on our sustainability journeys.  The new Social Care Sustainability Alliance brings together senior leaders with responsibility for sustainability issues within their organisations from across the social care sector. 

The Social Care Sustainability Alliance aims to:

  • identify key sustainability opportunities and challenges across the sector;
  • share best practice within the sector and from other sectors;
  • foster collaboration on key issues; and,
  • drive awareness and action across the sector, particularly for smaller providers without dedicated resource

Membership is open to senior leaders from providers of all sizes, fields, type and business structure across the social care sector.  Importantly, whilst the Alliance will draw support from across organisations supporting the sector, its core membership will come from the senior leadership of providers and operators. 

I am honoured to serve as the Alliance’s founder Chair and thrilled that it is being supported by:

  • Barclays, whose report triggered the idea of the Alliance;
  • Addleshaw Goddard, whose team have been working with providers to encourage thinking on these issues; and,
  • BKR Care Consultancy, who have recognised the importance of getting on the front foot on these issues.

Together, we hope that the Alliance will establish a constructive, collaborative dialogue on sustainability issues across the social care sector to drive radical change right across the sector.

The Alliance isn’t a talking shop, it’s not about networking, nor is an opportunity for marketing positioning.  None of us is doing enough yet and too many providers don’t even know where to start. 

The motive for addressing sustainability challenges shouldn’t be about securing competitive advantage in the short-term.  Rather, our aim should be about working together to address the key global challenges we all face.  To create the long-term conditions for long-term success for all of us. 

Sustainability, after all, is about creating the conditions for businesses and organisations to thrive but doing so within the parameters of what the world’s natural resources can support.  Or, as the United Nations Brundtland Commission better defined sustainability: “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

The Social Care Sustainable Alliance is about galvanising meaningful change, inspiring others, working together on really tough questions, and helping providers of all sizes and shapes to join us on this journey.  I am really pleased by the welcome that the Alliance is receiving from across the sector.  Do come and join us!