What's next for Hubbub: how can we scale our impact?
By Alex Robinson 23rd June, 2022
As Hubbub’s new CEO, I’ve been thinking about our vision: a world where everyone is an environmentalist, whether they realise it or not. The world is changing fast: a deepening climate emergency and escalating cost-of-living crisis pose all sorts of challenges, and make our work more vital than ever. So how can we make a difference at a scale that affects ‘everyone’, while keeping what makes us so special as a creative organisation?
Questions of scale
Hubbub began with the intention of staying small: the idea was that the team could sit around a single table together. That didn't last long. Today there are over 50 of us working all over the UK and we’d barely all fit into our office, let alone around one table.
This growth has enabled us to deliver projects on a totally different scale, such as launching over 300 community fridges around the UK, and rehoming over 10,000 smartphones as part of Community Calling. To achieve our vision, do we double down on these big campaigns, or focus on risky, innovative experiments that might lead to a breakthrough discovery?
The answer has to be both. It’s our curious, experimental nature that helps us create solutions to sticky environmental challenges, such as cigarette litter with the Ballot Bin. Without being comfortable with frequent failure on a small scale, the big impact projects simply don’t exist. And our experience building out projects like the Community Fridge Network gives us the skills to take the next disruptive idea to scale faster than ever. Get the balance right, and Hubbub can test, learn and truly scale our impact – bringing us ever closer to the world we envision.
From parks to parkas
So, in the near term, what are the questions we’re excited to explore? Here are four areas where we’ll seek to find and promote innovative new solutions:
- Last year we ran a pilot with 92 Marks & Spencer customers and colleagues that helped 90% of participants eat less meat. Inspiring sustainable diet choices can help people save money, become healthier and it’s vital for the planet too. How can we help make healthy, affordable and sustainable diets the norm?
- Our cities are blighted by gridlock and dirty air, not to mention rising heat and flood risks. Access to green space is far from equal. The In Our Nature campaign in Manchester, and Greener Together and our bike library in London, are leading us to ask: how can we bring the creativity and commitment of local communities together to help make our cities greener and liveable for everyone?
- A report last week showed 9 in 10 adults don’t know what the ‘circular economy’ is. I don’t think it matters what we call it, but we do need to ask, how do we keep resources in use for as long as possible? Our £1 million Bring It Back Fund with Starbucks aims to increase the uptake of reusable packaging in the food and drink industry: one example of a renewed focus in this area.
- While the media focuses on the collapse of Missguided and travails of Boohoo, the outsized impacts of the fashion industry have hardly gone away. Inflation and the cost-of-living crisis puts more pressure on people to seek value when it comes to clothes. How do we help people make choices that are both affordable and sustainable, and ensure we get more out of what’s already in our wardrobes?
We're in the decisive decade for climate action. As Hubbub looks to make impact at scale, we’re ever more aware of our responsibilities: to support the communities and people we work with, to inspire and challenge our partners and collaborators, to be a great employer, and much more.
Most of all, we have a responsibility to have the greatest impact possible. However we try to achieve our vision, we need to have the ambition to match the challenge. I'm sure that goes for you, too. If you'd like to talk about how we might make a difference together, I would love to hear from you.
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