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26 January 2015

3 Ways to Use the 80/20 Rule for Sustainability


My new book, Accelerating Sustainability using the 80/20 Rule, draws heavily on The 80/20 Rule by Richard Koch. Koch takes the general idea of the 80/20 Rule – that 80% of outcomes are usually determined by just 20% of outcomes (and vice versa) – and illustrates it across a very wide range of applications, from investments to our personal lives. He proposes two different ways of using the rule, both of which can be applied to sustainability:

  • 80/20 Analysis: where you carefully collect and analyse data to find the 'vital 20%' of inputs to focus on. An example of this would be when Procter & Gamble carried out a life cycle analysis of washing powder and discovered that 75% of energy use from cradle to grave was down to a single factor – heating the water in your washing machine. They then made this their number one priority.
  • 80/20 Thinking: this is much more intuitive and based on experience. If you think about it, it is logical that the best place to start minimising waste is at the Goods Out end of a factory - this is where the product has maximum value and maximum environmental impact embedded in it. Likewise, it is perfectly clear that lengthy supplier questionnaires will absorb a huge amount of time and effort by both parties, but are unlikely to change much in practice - a more proactive approach is required.

To this, I would add a third - a combination of the two.

For example, on my intro video for the book (below), I use the case study of a company whose plans for employee engagement would have taken a huge effort to engage a very large number of people who have very little influence on the carbon footprint of the company. It took a combination of my intuition and their data to come to the conclusion that a different audience should be prioritised. By using 80/20 Thinking, the act of 80/20 Analysis can be streamlined, avoiding 'paralysis by analysis'.

For most, I think this combined approach will deliver best results.


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23 January 2015

Watch On Demand: 15 Kick Ass Sustainability Ideas for 2015

15 for 2015

If you missed our fab 15 Kick Ass Sustainability Ideas for 2015 on Wednesday, you can catch it by clicking here (viewer download required).

The webinar was a taster for our Green Academy training series. To get full benefit from the session you should download the workbook here and complete it as you watch.


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21 January 2015

Why the 80/20 Rule will get us to sustainability faster

Before Christmas, my fifth book, Accelerating Sustainability using the 80/20 Rule, was published. I'm really excited about it as it sets out a manifesto for sustainability practitioners to cast off the chains of unimportant detail that hold us back and really start to make leaps forward.

The 80/20 Rule says that 20% of our efforts deliver 80% of results, so we should focus on that vital 20% and relegate the other 80% - the trivial many - to the 'nice to have' tray. Here's why using the 80/20 rule can help you get to sustainability faster:

  • You declutter, getting rid of all the trivial stuff which clogs your to do list - whether to have paper or plastic coffee cups, how to keep your green champions happy, where to source recycled pencils - and focusses your thinking on the actions which will really make a difference.
  • You focus your limited resources - personal energy, time, goodwill and cash - on the issues and people which will really make a difference (the video intro above gives a great example of how this works in employee engagement).
  • It prevents you implementing dubious 'solutions' such as green champions just because everybody else is doing the same, and forces you to justify your efforts to yourself.
  • You avoid paralysis by analysis: 80/20 thinking says when you have enough information to act, then act.
  • You avoid paralysis by perfection: because 80/20 thinking only targets 80% of the problem, you tend to implement the kind of pragmatic, effective solutions which work but which perfectionists hate.

The 80/20 Rule can feel brutal, even Darwinian, but given the pressing need to address these issues, we need to be a lot more pragmatic and a lot less idealist and get things moving!

Join our webinar on 28 January 2015 to learn more about how the 80/20 Rule can revolutionise your sustainability programme. Click here for more.

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19 January 2015

The Rules of the Game - but whose rules?

secret raceAt the weekend I finished reading The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton - the coruscating inside story of the doping scandal that rocked the cycling world and eventually led to the downfall of its golden child, Lance Armstrong. Hamilton was telling the story from the point of view of a cheat, a liar and a fraud, but he asked the killer question: if you had fought to the very top of your field and then found that the only way to compete was to cheat, what would YOU do?

As I'm sure most people would reply, I'd like to think I'd blow the whistle. But would I?

Back in my early twenties, I was given a work placement in a small electronics company working in a very competitive field, with the axe always hanging over the workforce. As well as the QA work I was there to do, I was asked by one of the salesmen to help him out. He'd had a query from a potential client about the specs of their product compared to competitors. He asked me to put together the figures.

When I proudly presented them to him, he said "Right, go back and anywhere where our spec is below the others, bump ours up until it is even." I stared at him, gobsmacked. He gave me an avuncular look, "Look son, this is how you play the game, everybody does it, we wouldn't be able to compete if we didn't." I looked around at the other guys in the room. No-one spoke, but my boss nodded.

Of course I should have said "Do your own dirty work." but I didn't. I felt the peer pressure and caved. I went and changed the figures and passed them back to him.

It turned out that the dodgy figures were never used, so I never became an accessory to an actual deception. But that was just luck. Peer pressure from the prevailing culture had made me compromise my values. OK, it was a long, long way from cheating your way to 7 Tour de France yellow jerseys, but the underlying principle was the same, just (radically) different circumstances.

In banking, politics and the media, to name just a few, the culture has been so corrupted that cheating has become the norm. And the question is, are those people morally weaker than average, or are they just being human? Hamilton argues the latter.

Of course, the same cultural pressures can be used for good. In the same way that 'dopers' are now ostracised in pro-cycling, a positive ethical culture makes 'doing the right thing' seen as a virtue rather than as priggishness. If you want to have an ethical culture, you've got to show ethical leadership. When someone stands up and says "this isn't right" they need to be embraced, not ostracised.

And if you are interested in ethics, Hamilton's book's definitely worth a read!


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16 January 2015

The easy road to employee engagement for sustainability

OK, cards on the table time. I am a very frustrated man.

  • Frustrated because employee engagement/behavioural change is critically important;
  • Frustrated because everybody says that they are struggling with it;
  • Frustrated because Green Jujitsu is a proven way to make meaningful engagement easy, yet hardly anybody uses it, and those who do find it by trial and error.

This is despite me sending The Art of Green Jujitsu (above) to hundreds of major educational establishments and industry groups - views of the cartoon have struggled to 5,700 over two years. And if you Google 'Green Jujitsu', you'll only get material produced by me or martial arts clubs. It has not caught on.

It's not as if anyone has produced a rival philosophy of engagement, people just seem mentally stuck banging their heads against the wall and hoping they get lucky. I sometimes wonder whether there is a masochist tendency in our profession.

Make life easy.

Find the overlap between sustainability and the existing culture of the organisation/team/individual and start there.

It's that simple.

And it works.

What have you got to lose?


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14 January 2015

Nurse your employee engagement with combined benefits

Young Female Patient Talking To Nurse In Emergency Room

As part of a piece of work for one of our NHS clients, I've been working my way through the organisation's latest sustainability strategy documents. I came across this lovely case study from Barts Health NHS Trust which summed up the benefits of the Green Jujitsu approach to sustainability (although they don't call it that):

The engagement showed that focussing solely energy reduction was not received as well as actions that combined improving patient experience with energy saving. As a result a pilot scheme was developed that asked staff to do three simple things, each with a patient benefit:

1. Turn off equipment when not in use, reducing excessive heat and noise

2. Switch off lights to help promote sleep and reduce light pollution

3. Close doors to improve patient safety and privacy, and help regulate room temperatures.

Staff responded, and patient experience was improved with fewer reports of noise disturbance or poor privacy. In addition, these simple actions achieved savings of £105,000 and opportunities for estimated savings of up to £800,000 on energy bills across the trusts £12m energy bill.

Green Jujitsu says work with the existing culture in the organisation, not against it, and this is a perfect example. Health professionals get up in the morning to improve life for their patients. Sustainability professionals want to save the world. These two ambitions could conflict, but, by finding the sweetspot where patient welfare and sustainability can be enhanced in a single action, the Trust found the formula for success. Brilliant.

So what actions in your organisation would deliver for the business, your colleagues AND sustainability?


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12 January 2015

Why I won't be applying to be a Chartered Environmentalist

green superhero

The IMechE is 'relaunching' (always a worrying phrase) their CEnv, or Chartered Environmentalist, qualification this week in response to "spectacular growth" in clean tech, renewable energy and sustainability reports BusinessGreen this morning.

I won't be applying for it.

Why not?

My whole ethos is to make sustainability "the new normal". In this ideal scenario, every engineer will have the skills required to do their job in a sustainable economy. That job may be in renewable energy systems or electric vehicles or low carbon housing or developing the circular economy, but it will be nothing special - just what they do. In this convergence model, people like me will be redundant - that's my life's ambition!

At a time when renewable/low carbon energy is putting in a real challenge to the status quo, electric vehicle sales are growing fast and the circular economy is starting to emerge, we want to be heralding their emergence into the mainstream, not creating further ghettoisation of the sector.

CEnv just seems to me another step towards to a high priesthood of sustainability, muttering their incantations about mindfulness around the roped off altar of their own self-righteousness. We need a popular movement, snowballing rapidly, not fragmenting into cliques.

So, no offence, IMechE, but I won't be sad if the CEnv sinks below the waves immediately on its relaunch.


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9 January 2015

Do you really want to make sustainability everybody's responsibility?

people hands

Interesting piece in Guardian Sustainable Business yesterday, predicting that 2015 would be the year when businesses made sustainability part of everybody's job description.

On first reading, that sounds great. But is it really, in practice?

I haven't had a job description for over eight years, but I recall there was always some vaguely worded phrase such as "uphold the values of the organisation" which was never mentioned again. If this sustainability proposal is implemented in this way, then everybody would get a bullet point "Contribute to sustainability." Full stop. Job done.

And what would change? Nothing.

To make a difference, you need to translate your overall sustainability objectives so they are relevant individual job roles. And if you are going to do that for everyone, that is a huge task. And how long are you going to spend agonising over the job description of, say, a receptionist who doesn't make many sustainability-related decisions throughout a normal day?

The 80/20 Rule tells us that, in general, a small number of people have disproportionate influence on any outcome. So it makes sense to spend your limited time and energy on that cohort. As Ramon Arratia of Interface puts it:

We tell our employees about Mission Zero and what they have to do, but we only engage intensively with employees who carry influence on sustainability. Engagement for the sake of it doesn’t have any value. So we identify the people with biggest influence on Mission Zero and try to enable them to use that influence in a positive way.

This is classic 80/20 thinking. Focus your efforts on the small number with the largest influence rather than trying to reach everybody with a diluted effort. I give another employee engagement example in the introduction video for my new book.

Don't forget that if you want to learn more about 80/20 thinking and sustainability, we have a webinar on 28th January on that very topic. More details here.


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7 January 2015

Cut the Green Crap!

Scissors icon glossy green round buttonThere's far too much green crap around.

I'm not talking about the clean energy subsidies that PM David Cameron was (allegedly) referring to using these words. No, I'm talking about the real green crap that actually holds sustainability back:

  • Pointless 'green' giveaways - recycled plastic pencils that break your pencil sharpener, desk thermometers that get binned, bars of fair-trade chocolate that get eaten and forgotten. What's the point?
  • Green Champions - most networks of green champions I see are dysfunctional and a huge amount of energy is being spent desperately trying to keep the network going. Give responsibility to people with authority instead - and use the time freed up to do something useful.
  • Gimmicks like putting sweets on people's computer keyboards if they switch off their computer overnight. I'm forever surprised that organisations will pay consultants good money to spout nonsense like this.
  • Supplier questionnaires - many suppliers spend so much time responding to different customer's questionnaires, they don't have time to actually improve their performance - and then find the data provided rarely has any influence in contract decisions.
  • Awareness posters - when was the last time you saw a poster and changed your life significantly? I'm guessing never.
  • Regurgitating idiotic received wisdom - if you need to buy a drink, bottled water will almost certainly have a lower ecological footprint than all of the alternatives except thirst. Not all biodiesels are evil. Carbon offsetting is not immoral - no-one dies.
  • Talking woo-hoo eco-bollocks like 'eco-centric world views', 'endosymbiotic thrivability' or 'spiritual animistic reverence'. Just don't. No-one will listen anyway.
  • Hitching sustainability to the latest fad. "You can't have sustainability without mindfulness" someone told me recently. You know what? You can.

If you make one sustainability resolution this year, how about to cut the green crap?


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5 January 2015

Here's to a sustainable 2015!

Goals 2015Happy New Year everyone!

It's the traditional time to set ourselves goals for the year ahead (why we pick the dark, dank days of January for this challenge, I'll never know). As usual, we are totally committed in 2015 to helping you propel your sustainability programme forward, so here are some things you should do right now:

  1. Sign up to the Low Carbon Agenda - full of hints and tips every month, but January's edition will be have some special offers to mark the publication of my fifth book, Accelerating Sustainability using the 80/20 Rule, including free 1 to 1 coaching.
  2. Sign up for the accompanying Accelerating Sustainability using the 80/20 Rule webinar on 28 January to find out how one simple change of mindset can take your sustainability programme to the next level.
  3. Sign up for the Green Academy taster webinar on 21 January: 15 Kick-Ass Sustainability Ideas for 2015 - we'll be inspiring you with some really great ideas from simple tweaks to huge mindset changes.

And don't forget you can always Ask Gareth.

Here's to your sustainability success in 2015!


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22 December 2014

Merry Christmas to all our readers!

robin snow

And so it comes to my last blog post of 2014. It's been an interesting year here at Terra Infirma Towers, and here are some of the highlights:

  • We have continued to work with long established clients including Johnson Matthey, Newcastle University and the NHS.
  • Along with some new clients including University of Sunderland, NEPIC and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
  • The Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group (CoSM) had another fantastic year, debating everything from 'making sustainability sustainable' to 'communicating sustainability'.
  • This month saw the publication of my 5th book (and 3rd DoShort): Accelerating Sustainability using the 80/20 Rule.
  • I launched my Ask Gareth sustainability agony uncle series.

Not bad, given that I also got myself re-elected to Newcastle City Council in May - and had to deal with the loss of my dear Mum in October. It's been a roller coaster of a year and I'm eternally grateful to family for always being there for me. I am blessed.

Looking forward to 2015:

  • I'm working on a different version of Green Academy which will be rolled out through the year - in the meantime make sure you sign up to our taster session: '15 Kick-ass #Sustainability Ideas for 2015'
  • I'll be giving an overview of the new book on another free webinar 'Accelerating Sustainability using the 80/20 Rule'
  • I'm looking forward to welcoming some new faces to the Mastermind Group and debating some tantalising new topics.
  • Ask Gareth will continue as long as you keep submitting the questions!
  • And, there's another, full-length book on the go (as always).

That just leaves me to thank you all for all your support, banter and comradeship over the last 12 months and to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and sustainable New Year!


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19 December 2014

Some consistency please, Mr Cameron

CameronHuskiesAs a good liberal, I'm always keen to give people the benefit of the doubt. When newly installed Prime Minister David Cameron promised back in 2010 to preside over "the greenest Government ever", I was delighted, if a tad sceptical. Then, last winter, he was said to want "to get rid of all this green crap" in relation to energy bills.

The last few months, and indeed days, have seen a continuation of this wild see-sawing between rampant scepticism and enthusiastic flag waving. Here are some high- and lowlights:

  • 23 September 2014: To the UN, Cameron put forward a solid right-of-centre argument for a low carbon economy: "We need to give business the certainty it needs to invest in low carbon... we need a framework built on green growth not green tape." This was probably the first major speech on climate change by a UK PM since Margaret Thatcher in 1990.
  • 1 October 2014: To the Conservative Party conference, the green economy got the very briefest of mentions: "leading the way on tackling climate change".
  • 16 December 2014: He tells the Liaison Committee that people are "Frankly fed up with so many wind farms being built that won't be necessary. Enough is enough and I am very clear about that." He goes on to say he wants to phase out subsidies on renewables and talks up fracking instead.
  • 17 December 2014: Prime Minister's Questions: Cameron answers two questions on green energy, both times enthusiastically declaring that the green economy is creating jobs. In response to a third question he brags of having halved excess winter deaths from fuel poverty through insulating homes.

In The Green Executive, I posit that to deliver sustainability, we need leadership above all else. Paraphrasing leadership guru Warren Bennis, I listed 4 key leadership qualities:

  • A sense of purpose;
  • Trust;
  • Resilience;
  • Bias towards action.

It's clear that on all of these things, Cameron's performance is lacking. His sense of purpose is all over the place which impacts in turn on trust - and without trust, investors will hedge their bets, slowing progress. He shows little resilience and we could do with a lot more action rather than a constant wrestling match with his much greener Liberal Democrat coalition partners (usual disclosure: I'm a member of the Lib Dems).

The strangest thing of all is that, despite this, the UN recently ranked the UK third in the world for its efforts in tackling climate change, so Cameron could justifiably say he had delivered on his promise. But just imagine what we could have achieved if he showed a bit of leadership!


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17 December 2014

The Sustainability Revolution Starts Here!

My latest book, Accelerating Sustainability using the 80/20 Rule, is out this week!

It was written to change the way we address sustainability issues. As I explain in the video above, I am fed up with the mucking about that passes for progress in our industry - all the bureaucracy, over-precise but inaccurate analysis and low expectations.

The 80/20 Rule says there is often an imbalance between effort and results - typically 20% of effort results in 80% of results, and the other 80% of our efforts deliver just 20%. If you focus on the former and throw off the latter, you'll get much better results, faster - it's a mindset thing.

I'll be hosting a webinar on the book on 28 January where I'll be giving you an insight into how this mindset can change how you approach everything from employee engagement to your sustainability strategy - you can register here.


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15 December 2014

The Oil Industry: Resurgence or Death Throes?

old oil pump

Like many, I've been completely gobsmacked by the plummeting oil price - down from over $100 a barrel at the start of the year to $64 a barrel this month. Trying to unpick what has happened has led me to the following line of thinking:

  • The growth in demand is slowing dramatically, worrying all producers (IEA);
  • Production is actually falling (IEA);
  • Shale oil production in the US is threatening OPEC's stranglehold on oil markets (BusinessWeek);
  • OPEC are trying to drive out shale oil and other competitors by keeping quotas high (BusinessWeek) - presumably draining their stocks.

Given this political/economic wrestling match, it is very hard to say where oil prices will be in 2-3 years time. Given the relative flexibility of shale oil extraction compared to lumbering OPEC conventional extraction, I can't help but think, like BusinessWeek, that OPEC are going to emerge a much weaker force as a result of their tactics. It may be they are up against the wall and lashing out in desperation. So the answer to my question above is: both - resurgence for shale, long term decline for OPEC.

This uncertainty is a massive problem for investors in alternative energy - who need to know what the market will be like to invest. I can't help but think that the solution is still a carbon tax to reflect the damage done by carbon based fuels - along with the removal of fossil fuel subsidies. This would stabilise the market and give renewables a level playing field.


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12 December 2014

Green Communications - Secrets of the Sustainability Masterminds

biscuit factory

Last Friday saw the final Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group of 2014. We met in the fantastic Biscuit Factory art gallery in Newcastle, surrounded by some wonderful pieces of art (above).

The theme of the meeting was Green Communications and here are 12 of the 44 learning points arising from the discussion:

  • It’s easier to get green communications very wrong than wonderfully right.
  • All communications have to be able to answer the question “so what?”
  • Facts must be in context – what does it mean?
  • 'Green' and ‘sustainable’ are difficult words – facts may be more powerful.
  • Authenticity is the key success factor.
  • Admitting mistakes or including honest third party views (eg Jonathan Porritt with Marks & Spencer) helps authenticity.
  • Some people want detail, some want the big picture – need to provide for both by 'layering' the message.
  • Need to target the audience(s) with influence – may be a step or two removed from your immediate stakeholders eg customers of your customers.
  • Match format to the audience – eg data and charts for technical audiences, infographics for non-technical audiences.
  • Age matters: millennials have different values/language than, say, baby boomers.
  • Litmus test – does the message get echoed back, or does the same question get asked over and over again?
  • Make your communications team part of your sustainability team to cut the number of hoops you have to jump through.

As ever, the discussion that lead to these points was more valuable than these bullet points.

The Group members have identified a fascinating and challenging topic for the next meeting - 'Age and Sustainability' - how we need to account for the differences between millennials and baby boomers in our sustainability programmes.

The Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group is for sustainability practitioners working in large organisations. You can learn more about the Group here.


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10 December 2014

You've got to celebrate success in sustainability

Terra Infirma is 4 years old!On Friday night, my partner and I watched her hometown football team Blyth Spartans - a bunch of spirited part-timers - beat the full time professionals of Hartlepool in the FA Cup. The town went wild.

On Saturday, the local premiership team, Newcastle United, continued their unexpected run of form by beating the all-conquering Chelsea, ending the Londoners' 23 game unbeaten run. Again, the joy in this football mad city was palpable.

Yesterday, the UN published its index of national rankings of 60 industrialised countries on their efforts in tackling climate change. All three UK news outlets where I saw the story - The Guardian, the BBC and the Independent - used the same headline: Australia came bottom of the list. You had to read well past that headline to find that the UK came third.


Out of 60?

Beaten only by Denmark and Sweden?

That's brilliant!

So why aren't the news outlets running that? Is it because the truly want to pillory Australia? Is it because bad news sells? Or is it because the media line has been "PM Cameron promised the greenest Government ever and failed" and this doesn't fit that narrative? Who knows?

But whichever, it is a real shame, because, as any top sportsman (or newsagent from Blyth with twinkle toes for that matter) will tell you, you've got to celebrate success. Celebrate and build on it. Because that's the way to keep on winning.


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8 December 2014

Green Communications: Are you speaking to the right audience?

Angry manager

Last Friday saw the last Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group meeting of 2015 - we were discussing green communications. I'll be posting some of the multitude of learning points here later in the week, but one key point that arose was the need to speak to the right audience.

Most companies try and speak to everybody with the same bland, uninspiring message - and waste their time and money as everybody ignores it. Green jujitsu says you must tailor the message to the audience, so first you need to identify your audience. The 'right' audience is the one which will have maximum impact (positive or negative) on your sustainability efforts. It might not be immediately obvious who that target audience should be:

Internally, people with influence over business models and product/service design are the people you need to target.

Externally, it gets more difficult. If you produce an eco-friendly material, then the people you need to speak to are often a couple of levels along the value chain - in the ultimate brand for consumer goods. You want them to instruct their suppliers to buy your material.

It might take a bit of head scratching and trial and error to get it right - but it's worth the effort!


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5 December 2014

Message to George: "Green = Growth"

George_osborne_hiI sat through Wednesday's Autumn Statement from UK Chancellor George Osborne with increasing disappointment. Normally such a set piece speech will have at the very least a token mention of the green economy, but we got nothing. Nada. Rien. Chochote.

Even worse, we got exactly the kind of subsidies for fossil fuel extraction that his boss David Cameron said we needed rid of back in September. As Cameron put it:

In short we need a framework built on green growth not green tape.

There are four issues the Chancellor should have considered:

  1. Leadership: the mixed messages coming from the top of Government will do nothing to encourage investment in the low carbon economy. A clear steer is needed.
  2. Innovation: the fossil fuel industry is mature and has little scope for driving technological development. Boosting Government investment in, say, the smart grid and/or energy storage could trigger a cascade in innovations for future energy and transport systems.
  3. Costs: despite all the hype about oil prices plummeting in the last month or so, they are still higher than they ever were pre-2007. Renewable energy has huge amount of scope to get cheaper, the price of fossil fuels will inexorably rise in the medium term.
  4. Politics: given the level of public support for renewables, leadership on the green economy would have appealed to centrist swing voters.

And he if doesn't believe me, he can always ask his boss.


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3 December 2014

Thinking about a career in sustainability?

In this edition of Ask Gareth, I describe how I switched career into sustainability from engineering and how you can do the same, no matter what your background.

You can see all editions of Ask Gareth by clicking here.

If you'd like to send a question to Ask Gareth fire away!.


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1 December 2014

What makes a company 'good'?

There was an article in the Observer yesterday on Simon Anholt and his 'Good Countries Index' that was so fascinating, I immediately checked out Anholt's TEDtalk (above). It asked a really fundamental question. What do we want a/our Country to do? Make us rich? Happy? Healthy?

Anholt's refreshingly selfless answer to this question is that he wants a country to do good for humanity as a whole. So his good country index consists of seven international metrics:

  • Science & Technology
  • Culture
  • International Peace & Security
  • World Order (not as ominous as it sounds - it includes charitable giving, refugees given refuge, UN declarations signed)
  • Planet & Climate
  • Prosperity & Equality
  • Health & Wellbeing

Ireland tops the rankings, with the UK 7th and the US 21st. My only quibble of Anholt's TEDTalk is his claim that Kenya making no 30 means money isn't a prerequisite for 'being good'. I think that's wishful thinking, the predominance of Western nations in the top 30 suggests resources and attitude help a country to make a difference in practice.

That aside, I found this a highly refreshing approach to measuring progress. And as Anholt briefly asks at the end of his talk, what would make a good company in this sense? Reporting standards such as the GRI allow companies to choose which issues are 'material' to them or their industry. But what would a standard, outward looking, international set of metrics look like? Who would top it?

That's too big a question to answer here, but we can ask "what does a good company look like from the outside?", and what are you doing with your company to fulfil that vision?


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