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Helping businesses to be more sustainable

Twelve Futures are a sustainability consultancy who help organisations respond to the climate and ecological crisis that we face. They are based at Gather Round in the Cigar Factory on Raleigh Road in Southville, Bristol. Ellie Austin and Jessica Farrow, both Co-Founders and Co-Directors love being there and believe that it’s a fantastic, creative, and independent community full of wonderful businesses. 

Having moved to Bristol after University over a decade ago, Jessica also sits on a few different advisory boards, including the Bristol Green Capital Partnership Board as well as the One City Environment Board so is very embedded in the work that is happening at a city level in climate and ecological action. She is “really excited to bring more of their expertise of Twelve Futures into those conversations.” They also both sit as Mentors on an initiative ran by Catalyst to Change, which is all about helping young women into sustainability careers. Therefore, it’s safe to say that they live and breathe sustainability and contributing to the improvement of Bristol, as well as the natural world around us.

Through their business Twelve Futures, they help businesses create climate action plans and strong sustainability strategies that recognise the climate and ecological crisis. They believe that it “really reflects the ambition of Bristol as a city, as the first city to declare climate and ecological emergencies.” After launching their business in 2018, they look back on their journey in a positive light. They recognise the difficulties that everyone faced through the pandemic but feel as though they have come out the other end stronger. They state: 

“In some ways it’s really changed the way that we work and in other ways it’s meant that a lot of people have become even more aware of the agenda and the area that we work in. A lot of people have increased their appreciation of nature and green spaces and taken the time to dial away from their normal day to day life. Additionally, I think it’s been interesting because a lot of people really struggled in the beginning of the pandemic with working remotely and working from home. As sustainability consultants and freelancers, we’ve always advocated working remotely and we very much are used to working in that way.”

They also note that it’s positively impacted their business through reducing the amount of travel miles that they used to take for meetings via train and the Eurostar. They’ve supported their clients to grow more confident in video technology which they feel they’ve all seen the benefit of. 

Ellie and Jessica first encountered GetSet for Growth through South Bristol Enterprise Support with the hopes of figuring out how to grow and scale their business. They’ve always “had a clear sense of the long-term impact that they wanted to have both through the work that they do with their clients and as a company.” However, they were “trying to understand how to best grow their business and think about who else they can work with, who else they can bring on and how they can continue to be profitable in the future. Furthermore, how to grow in a way that feels natural and right to them.”

Through their support with GetSet for Growth, they have been able to shape the future of their business and gain clarity on what they want to do, and how they want to grow and scale their business. In addition, they state that it “has helped us explore lots of different models for doing that and really think about what works for us. It’s also helped us think clearly about how we can get more support and how we can bring other people into the business. We did a lot of resource planning during our sessions, and we’ve recently brought on our first new member of staff. We have a summer intern starting with us this year which is really exciting and gives us a lot of potential to grow our business and support our clients moving forward.” They have also benefited from advice surrounding task prioritisation and appropriate delegation and are “continuing the legacy of what they’ve learnt through their coaching through GetSet for Growth.”

Looking to the future, Ellie and Jessica are excited at the fact that they order book is full for the foreseeable. They’ve got some fantastic clients and project planned so are going to be very busy for the duration of 2021. They’re in the process of becoming B Corp certified which means they’re going to be a force for good, something that they support other businesses with on a regular basis as part of their service offering. This will enable them to go beyond the support they can offer businesses by “thinking about how they can use some of the profits that they make to give back to charity and local communities in Bristol too.”

They’re also really excited about welcoming the intern that they’re taking on through the Catalyse to Change network as a reinforcement for their ambitions to work “closely with those organisations to create more opportunities for young people. As well as work with local organisations to help action on the climate and ecological crisis given that we have such strong and ambitious climate and ecological targets here in Bristol.” They feel it’s the best place to be for them!

If you would like to hear more about Ellie, Jessica, or their joint venture in Twelve Futures, you can access their website here or follow them on Twitter or LinkedIn

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