an Austrian war hero, surplus food and corporate social responsibility

Lotti Henley is remarkable. She was described earlier this year by the London Sustainable Development Commission as:

‘…an 86 year old war hero; an Austrian aristocrat who was forced to eat scraps of food from bins to survive during the Second World War...She says her lasting memory of hunger is the motivation behind her new campaign, Plan Zheroes, which aims to link up hundreds of shops, supermarkets and other food outlets across the capital with local charities in need of free food.’

I met Lotti on Thursday when she hosted the Plan Zheroes weekly team meeting. Articulate, witty and sharp she is an inspiration exuding the passion common in the volunteers who make up the PZ network.  And she makes a great soup!

Other than describing to the group the process by which I set up and run the Lewes Knowledge Cafe (encouragingly they’ve turned it into a blueprint for future sessions) I was there to hear about PZ’s continued progress in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility.  And its impressive.

Plan Zheroes have developed and run programmes for organisations who invest in corporate social responsibility. In short, organisations who care: about the environment in which they work; their staff; and their impact on the local community. And the programmes tick many of the boxes CSR/HR/Marketing professionals look for in running an event:

The formats are brilliantly simple:

  • One off team building events for 150 or so wherein teams compete to see who can sign up the most food outlets and charities to the Plan Zheroes map.
  • Incremental competitive volunteering wherein staff use ‘CSR’ time to sign up outlets over an extended period with progress measured on the PZ food map.

A recent event conducted for 130 graduate trainees of a construction group generated:

  • Visits to 20 charities, all of who are now registered as recipients of food.
  • Contact with over 150 food outlets, of which 80 have now signed up to the map and are committed to giving surplus food on a regular basis.

It’s a great way for organisations to make a tangible difference and bring a CSR initiative to life and one of PZ’s biggest supporters Paul UK has just won the 2012 Springboard Award for Excellence for Corporate Social Responsibility.

Back in Sussex, I am about to meet a local volunteer organisation who are keen to be the first to sign up to the PZ map and donate surplus food. Expect an announcement shortly. I’m told it takes time to get early adopters willing to donate surplus food, charities willing to accept the food and intermediaries willing to bridge the logistics gap.

3 thoughts on “an Austrian war hero, surplus food and corporate social responsibility

  1. Hi read your post with interest, I would like to understand how we might bridge the logistics gap for you. At present we are very committed to our own CSR with various projects underway but would always like to look ahead and see what else we can do to use our assets and expertise for the better good of others. Thanks Grant

  2. Grant that would really be helpful. Lets me have a number I can reach you on and perhaps we can tie something up for your CSR events?
    Separately food donors should start signing up before Christmas so I imagine the logistics need will start to show itself.
    Thanks again for responding.

  3. Pingback: wading through treacle / untying red tape | knowledge et al

Comments are closed.