Thursday, December 01, 2011

On Development of PPP

Yes. The Ed Davey whitewash debacle. Pathetic response to four inquiries over seven years. Nothing short of a scandal. The MPs on the Select Committee were disgusted with it. Davey and Cable were singularly uninterested to meet anyone from the tenants' side at all. The courts are coming out with a flurry of findings against tenants too - it's almost as if the whole thing has been set up to support the pubco's. We've been bashing up the system as effectively as anyone possibly can and it's clear now that the pubco's have so much influence over wonks in government that we won't get the ministers who can make change happen listen to us and when I say US that's a very broad range of people and bodies that are not pubco's who have come together to try to get reform done in the sector.

Unless WE manage to persuade / embarrass Ed Davey to retract at a debate next Tuesday at Portcullis House - you're more than welcome to come to that if you like - which we doubt will happen then the way forward to change the pub sector is to implement radical reform from within. And setting up a red hot green pub company that does everything sustainably - really sustainably, so holes can't be picked in it - will be the best form of direct action there could possibly be against the pubco's. A pubco that does a great job AND makes money but returns it to the pubs instead of asset stripping into the trousers of bondholders and company directors will be an irresistible force for change right across the pub industry. As for staffing this and making it work as a quickly rolling out pub company; It will attract the best people from the existing status quo; people who are dissatisfied with the industry's waste and short termism who want their skills and experience to have a legacy they value.

I hope I'm not repeating myself below - and making you go over stuff I've already pushed in front of you. My thinking's moving on as I'm coming out of the straight jacket that was the pub and the pubco.

I do hope Young Foundation pick it up. I saw CAMRA last week and they are interested in putting some money in too. And Mike Tennant who heads up the department of Business and Environment at Imperial College. He's keep to put 108 students onto research projects for PPP next year. Next week I'm meeting Rick Muir from IPPR - I've had some contact with them before and Rick is very well up on pubs altogether. IPPR have done some very good work with CAMRA on the impact of pubs and their loss and are developing a tool for establishing their financial value to communities.

Been giving this a lot of thought in the light of what I've learned and picked up in the extraordinary number of conferences I've been going to in the last two months. EVERYTHING is about networks and collaboration and joining up people and organisations through sharing information, skills, knowledge and determination to make change happen.

Basically what we're talking about is creating a model example of a business that will be proof that a paradigm shift in business can take place without everyone having to become barbed wire underwear toting vegans. Everything about the organisation needs to be planned for the future, to mitigate climate change, to employ fairly, to create and build social capital out of pubs, to tap into the needs of contemporary society and to anticipate where society's going. And do it profitably. It's not complicated really - it just means a lot of footwork, palm pressing and persuasion in bringing a lot of people whose interests are in alignment but many of whose paths don't cross properly yet. This is a place for a lot of practical skills, research and academia and

On the principle of my always taking the greatest line of resistance in all things; I now think the ideal way to source start up funding is to get a collaboration of cash in from perhaps twenty different bodies/organisations as seed fund for the business case / plan. Each specialists in different areas that are complementary to the needs of doing business differently... all of whom have a strong interest in turning the business economy around. There needs to be people with proven interest in the area - consultants, academics, thought leaders, researchers and people who make stuff happen in the real world.

Employee Ownership
Retrofitting Old Buildings with Low Carbon Services
Sustainability Expertise
Building Services / Survey / Design / Construction Logistics
Carbon / Environmental / Social Impact Monitoring
Cultural Change Leaders
Agriculture / Farming
Brewing / Wines
Training Skills Organisation
Transport / Logistics
Bio Fuels
Policy Research
Consumer Representation
Legal Framework
Corporate Responsibility
Social and Economic Research
Energy Supply
Human Resources
Technology / Internet / Social Media
Marketing / PR
Union involvement
Cooperative Movement
Community Ownership

Maybe needs a bit of brainstorming - each group makes a financial commitment at the start and stays involved with the project as founders, mentors and specialist advisors and scrutineers.

If it were possible to bring this together it would set the precedent from which the project could logically be taken to crowd fund the substantial capital needed to buy pubs and develop the organisation to scale through a widely publicised IPO.

I hope this makes sense. What do you think?

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