Did you know Macquarie University actively supports community volunteering by providing up to two days leave for continuing full time and part time staff?
At GLP (Global Leadership Program) we are always telling our students that our individual decisions impact the health of our communities, our climate and our environment. That the longevity of our planet will rely on leaders who not only understand the impact their individual choices have on those they lead, but the powerful role of collective choices in overcoming social, economic and environmental challenges.
So, we thought it was high time we walked the talk, and in October last year, the GLP team volunteered for Good On You, a social enterprise based in Surry Hills that rates brands on how they perform on labour rights, the environment and animal welfare. They’ve done the hard work for you and put these ratings into an app, making it easy for you, as a consumer, to support the brands doing good and use your purchasing power to tell the not so ethical brands to do better.
The GLP team (6 of us!) helped with the extensive research Good On You undertakes to set up a rating scheme and assess brands. We researched cosmetic certification schemes, which Good On You builds into their rating system, and the specific issues associated with cosmetic production. Here’s just a couple of the things we discovered:
- Child labour is a significant issue in the cosmetics industry. Child labour is endemic to the mining of mica, a mineral that is extracted to create the ‘shine’ in cosmetics. Children in the mines risk scorpion and snake bites, mine collapses and respiratory illnesses.
- Palm oil, which is used in soap, moisturisers and washing powder, has been linked to deforestation, climate change, animal cruelty and human rights violations.
- Microbeads, tiny plastic beads found in many cosmetics, predominantly exfoliating products, are not biodegradable and pollute oceans with a detrimental impact on fish, coral and reefs.
Not only was it a fascinating two days but our input was genuinely useful to the organisation and it was a great team building opportunity. A few of us have continued to volunteer with the Good On You, and we have all helped promote the app as well as using it ourselves when we’re shopping.
Using your volunteer days:
Community volunteering is a great way to get out of the office, meet new people and create networks across the university while giving back. Sustainability has taken the lead to organise and promote volunteer projects that staff can get involved in.
If you are still unsure of what to do, why not look at one of the volunteer options that have been pre-developed for you. These volunteer packages can be taken as an individual or as part of a team (i.e., your work colleagues, or with a group of university staff friends). For more information on the volunteer scheme at MQU, and what has been achieved check out this link.
Currently Sustainability and Macquarie University are pursuing volunteer opportunities where staff can apply their professional skill set when volunteering. Stay connected to uncover further volunteer opportunities that align with your professional skills.
Participated in community volunteering or thinking about it? Contact sustainability for more information or to share your story.
GLP and Sustainability wish you all very happy volunteering in 2017!