A Frank Discussion About Sustainability

by Katie Alcott

A Frank Discussion About Sustainability

TEDxBristol is just around the corner – literally. Tomorrow we’ll make the short walk to Colston Hall with hundreds of others – all thirsty to hear, learn, discover and discuss.

Every TED talk is unique – that’s the point. But before you turn up, it’s worth knowing a bit more about the thinking and planning that’s gone into making TEDxBristol the most sustainable event yet.

First up, it’s a paperless event, with all information distributed via the specially created app. All attendees will receive a KeepCup for their coffee – no single use cups. And FRANK Water will have refillable water bottles for sale in the foyer. There’s The Love The Future of Fashion show too – showcasing sustainable and ethical fashion.

So as part of TEDxBristol, what does sustainability mean for FRANK Water in our tenth year as Bristol’s Water Charity?

It means working towards the newly agreed UN Sustainable Development Goal no. 6. ‘To ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.’ The world met the MDG target of halving the proportion of people without access to improved drinking water in 2010 – five years ahead of schedule. However, although 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved water since 1990, there are still 663 million people without an improved source of water.

It means training and supporting our partners’ & our beneficiaries’ to develop their capacity and knowledge so that they find and implement their own solutions, rather than doing it for them. Check out our video shot in Kalapaani, one of the 82 villages we worked in this year. Staff from PSI (our local partner) have worked with the villagers, gaining their trust and developing the relationship since October 2013. As a result, they’ve stopped drinking from contaminated sources and now have safe clean water on their doorstep. They’ve taken it on themselves to make further changes, unprompted by us and have managed to claim state assistance to start building toilets.

It means encouraging behaviour change at home. The Refill Bristol initiative launched last month, a collaboration of three local organisations and a campaigning group. Refill Bristol has painted the town blue – there are more than 100 shops, cafés, hotels, bars and restaurants proudly displaying the Refill Bristol sticker – a growing network of refill points across the city to enable refilling with tap water (vs. buying bottled water) become a cultural norm.

And it means making our own organisation sustainable, asking our supporters to give a small amount on a regular basis – helping us plan ahead and sustain our work for the next ten years. Water changes everything. It’s the first step to living and in regular, reliable amounts, enables futures to thrive.

You’ll see a FRANK Water stand at the event, and we’ll be happy to talk to you about our development work, tell you how you can get involved, as well as buy one of our sustainable refillable water bottles, so please come and see us!