To celebrate the new year, this week we’re highlighting five brilliant social impact campaigns you can support this year.
| LGBTI RIGHTS: Ban Conversion Therapy
Did you know that it is still legal to try and change someone’s gender or sexual identity in the UK? Conversion therapy is often used within religious communities to ‘cure’ someone who doesn’t fit the straight, gender-binary mould. It has been described as a form of torture by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims.
Despite all major UK medical organisations condemning conversion therapy in any form, and Boris Johnson stating that he is against it, the practice is still legal.
Our Creative Producer, Matt Hyndman, co-founded the UK-based Ban Conversion Therapy campaign last year. It’s already led to over 370 religious leaders demanding a ban, but more work needs to be done. 2021 has to be the year this abusive practice is finally outlawed.
Sign the petition and get involved here.
| GOVERNMENT: Heywood Foundation Public Policy Prize
Policy buffs: this is your chance to get your ideas heard by the government AND win money in the process.
For the first time, Whitehall has opened policy making to the public in a nationwide contest set up by the Heywood Foundation, in memory of the late Cabinet Secretary Lord Heywood.
The competition, with multiple prizes of up to £25,000, seeks innovative policy ideas and solutions to issues currently facing the country. There is a smaller prize dedicated to government COVID-19 policy. From fixing bureaucracy to environmental measures, they’re interested in hearing anything that is practical, original, and has a high chance of positive impact.
Learn more and enter the competition here.
| SUSTAINABLE FURNITURE: IKEA launches Buy Back Scheme
IKEA has started the year with a two-pronged sustainability drive, announcing both a new Fortune Favours the Frugal campaign and the launch of a Buy Back Scheme.
The frugality campaign is promoting their sustainably produced and recycled products, as well as products that can be used by customers as part of a reuse, reduce ethos.
If anyone needs to go green, it’s IKEA. They reportedly use 1% of the earth’s wood stock, and produce a Billy Bookcase every 3 seconds. The company has revolutionised affordable furniture, but in the process created a fast furniture culture that devours natural resources.
Still, if their greener products and services are popular, it will encourage them to go further towards sustainability. So next time you’re thinking of replacing your IKEA furniture, see if you could drive it back to IKEA instead of the dump.
| SEX WORKER RIGHTS: Reinventing the Call Girl
(TW: sex-based violence, trauma)
Last month, a Swedish organisation called Talita launched a new campaign to highlight the exploitation and violence faced by sex workers. It plays on the familiar notion of a ‘call girl’ by getting audiences to listen to “real stories from real women who’ve been exploited within the sex trade”. Each call comes with a charge of around 9.90 SEK, the equivalent of USD$1.15, and helps to support those sex workers who no longer want to work in the industry, leave and start a new life.
We love how this campaign highlights the stories of women, placing them at the centre, and uses a fresh and exciting way to fundraise. However, we think its important to highlight the need to distinguish between consensual sex work and human trafficking. Research by Freedom United has highlighted that tackling prostitution would not effectively prevent or stop trafficking and violence against women and girls. Equating sex work to sexual exploitation implies that the former lacks agency and consent.
We should prioritise the distinction so that we avoid undermining trafficking prevention strategies and that we can adequately and effectively protect trafficking survivors.
| PROPERTY TAX: A Fairer system
Who doesn’t like Council Tax? Most people apparently. According to recent research, over half the country either dislikes or hates Britain’s primary property tax.
It’s easy to see why. Council Tax is still calculated using property values from 1991, can be increased by each local authority and favours the wealthy by including all properties valued over £320,001 (in 1991) in the same tax band. The result? Homeowners in the North East can pay anywhere up to 5% of their property value in Council Tax each year, while Westminster mansions often pay <0.02%.
That’s where Fairer Share comes in. Their campaign to replace Council Tax and Stamp Duty with a flat rate of tax proportional to property value saves money for 18 million households, also removing 8.7 million renters from the system and not costing local authorities a penny in revenue.
We’ve had the pleasure of working on this campaign and have seen the potential impact for numerous communities across the country, especially in the wake of a pandemic that has pushed millions of homes into debt.
Sign the petition for a fairer system here.