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5 May 2015

The Ultimate Sustainability Strategy is...

go green align your business growth to sustainability.

Unilever has just announced that half its growth last year came from its Sustainable Living Plan and its sustainable brands are growing twice as fast as others. They join GE, Interface, Johnson Matthey and many others in aligning the future of their business to sustainability.

To me, this blows the idea that sustainability is somehow incompatible with growth out of the water. That meme comes from people who see a win-win as some kind of sell-out. Frankly, that clique would rather lose-lose and keep their sense of self-righteousness.

So don't be put off by the naysayers or feel guilty about success. If we want to make sustainability 'the new normal', then we must do just that. And for a business, that means the business strategy and sustainability strategy converging into one.


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1 May 2015

Is climate change like the Titanic?

I was interviewed about attitudes to climate change by my friend, colleague and fellow Belfast-born Anna-Lisa Mills yesterday. We got into a lengthy debate about the balance between risk and opportunity - I like to favour the opportunity, Anna-Lisa feels that we need to communicate the urgency to act now.

To that end she has produced this rather wonderful video likening our attitude to the scientific evidence with the ill-fated journey of our home city's most famous export, the Titanic. If you are going to communicate risks, this is the way to do it.


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29 April 2015

I am a Wasteman

I haven't been watching much scheduled TV recently, but I wasn't going to miss the  Wastemen documentary on the BBC last night. Not just because it was an insight into the sharp end of sustainability, or that it was set in my town; rather it's because (with my political hat on) I was part of the team who set up Newcastle's two bin waste collections, opened the Sita Materials Recycling Facility at Byker which featured and gave the mixed recyclables contract to O'Brien's. I have skin in this game!

It was a very entertaining programme with the various crews and operatives clearly enjoying having the cameras on them. Of course I was grumbling a bit about some of the impressions it gave, particularly about the level of public recycling (sampling has shown that 64% of recyclable material is recovered in Newcastle – good but with room for improvement.) Green pressure groups berated us when we introduced the semi-mixed recyclate bin, but participation shot up afterwards because we made recycling easy – which was a big lesson for me.

But the overall impression was the incredulity of the bin crews of how much decent resource goes to waste. Unlike us individuals chucking a bin bag in the wheelie bin every day or two, these guys see the big picture – both in sheer quantity of waste and also what does get chucked – day in day out. Unused electrical items, bikes with one flat tyre, wide screen TVs left the waste men scratching their heads.

You can get told these statistics and examples time after time, but to understand it properly, you have to experience it. I don't have the depth of experience of the bin crews, but I've been around enough recycling/incineration and disposal sites to get a real feel for what we do throw away.

If you want to engage people in sustainability, giving them first hand experience is often the best way to drive the message home. That could be a visit to a landfill, or it could be a drive in an electric car. But experience always trumps advice.


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27 April 2015

I was into Sustainability before it was famous...


There's a tendency in indie music geeks to seek out obscure bands, just in case they hit the big time, and then you can claim you saw them bottom of the bill at Reading in 1994 or whatever, declare them passé and move onto the next. I often think this about Sustainability – us practitioners like to constantly champion the next big concept and then move on as soon as it starts emerging blinking into the sunlight.

While this is fun, it neglects the real job – the unglamorous, difficult task of converting that high falutin' concept into something which will work in the mundane, everyday mainstream. Something which is affordable, scaleable, practical, effective, reliable and, often, unnoticeable.

So, while you may find it depressing seeing your old heroes' early indie classics reduced to wedding reception fare, in sustainability that's actually where we want to be!


"Joy Division promo photo" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia 


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24 April 2015

Apocalypse When?

the end is nigh

It was EarthDay on Wednesday – I'm not going to start another of my rants about the pointlessness of awareness hours/days/weeks, but how did it go for you?

One Earth Day headline that caught my eye was the BBC's report that the Paris climate change talks in December were "THE LAST CHANCE" to save the planet from catastrophe, according to the Earth League. Now, I know why it's tempting to hype up such a gathering in order to try and put pressure on politicians to make an historic deal, but there's a huge chance of this tactic back-firing.

There was similar hype around Copenhagen 6 years ago but only incremental progress was made on a deal. Guess what? The world didn't end there and then. Individual countries and organisations kept beavering away and last year the rise in carbon emissions stalled, while investment in green technology soared.

A comprehensive international deal would undoubtedly help, but I think NGOs and green leaning journos put too much faith on it (and my friend the green journalist Fiona Harvey blamed the Copenhagen failure squarely on NGOs for asking for the impossible). Action is what is required rather than pieces of paper. The paper may lead to action, or it may not, or the action may continue regardless - the two aren't inextricably linked as we have seen.

My wider point is that predictions of doom are counterproductive. The green movement has been predicting catastrophe for decades – mostly correctly, but sometimes hyperbole gets the better of them. If doom switches people off, then inaccurate predictions of doom destroys any trust people have in what they have been told. And if the Paris talks fail, are we simply to give up and burn that fossil fuel while we still can?

Let's present the world with a scintillating image of a low carbon future – and deliver on it!


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22 April 2015

Not burning fossil fuels? It's a piece of cake...

cakeI'm a sucker for chocolate cake. You put a piece in my view and I want it. What's more, I'll probably eat it. I'm one of those Dads who will hide behind a cupboard door to stop the kids seeing me snarfle a chocolate biscuit. The temptation is always too strong. I am weak.

That's why I gazed with despair on the Earth Day headline that scientists have declared we must leave 75% of fossil fuel reserves unburnt to avoid catastrophic climate change. All those easy calories – doesn't matter how many times we are told they are bad for us, while they are accessible, the temptation will always be there.

Many 'greens' act like food fascists, sneering at the contents of the shopping baskets of those ahead of them in the supermarket queues. It might make them feel better, but it won't do anything to stop obesity.

You can blame politicians, but frankly, it takes a brave soul to stand up and say to the country we must sacrifice short-term gain for the sake of our grandchildren. Actually, it's very easy to say, many do now say it, and many will support the words. The brave bit comes from putting words into action – and we must support them when they do, not the usual fusillades of 'nowhere near good enough' from those who have never had to make a big public decision in their lives.

The answer? I find I can drop the sugar hit if I get it out of my routine. Likewise we've got to get fossil fuels out of the routine of Joe and Josephine Public. We've got to make sustainability the new normal: easy, intuitive, reflexive, unthinking, desirable. Only then will we wean ourselves off fossil fuels.


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20 April 2015

Is 'good business' unethical?

business angel

Last week I was asked to comment on a statement by Prof Aneel Karnani of the University of Michigan who proposes that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) actions are only truly 'ethical' if they reduce the profit made by a business – otherwise any claims are greenwash. I have a lot of problems with this thought, some philosophical, some practical – I've been mulling on these since I made my comments, so I thought I would share.

The philosophical side is about whether any action we take is truly altruistic. This is a matter of much debate in the philosophical sphere – when I pick up a piece of litter in the street, or help the old lady across the road replace a recessed lightbulb, I get a little dose of endorphin that sets up my day. Does that good feeling undermine the altruism of my act?

And every major religion teaches that those who are faithful/do good works will be rewarded after death – does that mean that every good deed by a religious person is done out of pure selfishness? Likewise I don't think any financial reward from CSR undermines the satisfaction from having done the right thing.

On the practical side, I'm not sure that any sensible CSR action will have a negative benefit to the company. Marks & Spencer's Living Wall won't save them any money, but it is a fantastic advert for the company's Plan A sustainability programme – whether to consumers or the next generation of recruits. Study after study has shown that businesses with good sustainability programmes outperform those that don't in financial terms.

Lastly, the sustainability of sustainability. If CSR is shown to add value to the business, then it won't get squeezed out if the going gets rough. If the business purpose is aligned to sustainability then we get a win-win. What's the problem?

In summary 'doing well by doing good' is a strong driver. 'Doing badly by doing good' isn't going to inspire many. I'd rather win-win than lose-lose.


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16 April 2015

How the Manifestos Measure Up for Green Business

polling stationSo, the UK election rumbles on and this week we had the Party manifestos. So what do the parties offer on sustainability? Trying to be as objective as I can*, here's my quick and dirty review of the five national parties, in order of current number of seats in Parliament:

1. Conservatives

Big Headlines (ie mentions in key pledges):

  • None


  • Reaffirmation to meet international commitments on climate change.
  • Pro-fracking.
  • Investment in renewables but with an emphasis on 'cost effectiveness'. Halting 'spread of onshore wind farms'.
  • Every vehicle to be zero emissions by 2050, double cycling, investment in railways.
  • 'Blue Belt' of marine reserves.

My verdict: Token effort – and a mixed bag at that.


2. Labour

Big Headlines:

  • None.

Detail: Read the rest of this entry »

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14 April 2015

Five go mad in London

boys in London

I'm down in our capital city with the family for a short break. The two bigger boys were very keen to come because of various school projects, and the little one – well as usual he just has to lump it!

As usual, on holiday, I have my eyes peeled for anything sustainability-related.

I remember musing on my way back from Bruges back to Newcastle by train in 2009 that in Belgium you saw at least one solar array in every village or suburb, but virtually nothing on the English side of the Channel. Oh, how that has changed. Not only is there a huge amount of roof-mounted solar along the East Coast Mainline, but we passed at least 3 field-sized solar farms and plenty of wind turbines dotted here and there. It is no surprise to me now that UK solar installed capacity doubled in 2014 – you can see it.

We're staying at a genuine Airbnb house – a real family home as opposed to a regular rental – and our first proper use of the new sharing economy. The house is lovely, but you do have to put up with your host's tastes – there is no cafetiere, garlic press or, believe it or not, wine glasses. We can improvise on the former two, but bought them 4 cheap wine glasses (I hope that isn't taken as an insult as we can't take them with us). The other problem is trying to stop 3 rather excited and rambunctious boys from trashing the place...

Another thing I've noticed is you can now use a contactless debit/credit card in lieu of an Oyster card for London transport. This opens up the flexibility of London public transport for the casual visitor. Anything to remove barriers to the greener option wins in my book and, when my Oyster card runs out/gets lost again, I think I might give up on it.

As well as the tourist traps, yesterday we went to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust London in Barnes, not that far from the heart of the City - amazing to see what you can achieve if you leave a little space for nature in our urban sprawl.

I know I'm an irrepressible optimist, but going on a holiday allows you to see things afresh in a way you don't on a business trip. I am utterly convinced that, no matter what the doomsters claim, we are moving in the right direction.


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9 April 2015

Do you need a sustainability qualification to succeed?

In this edition of Ask Gareth, I discuss what kind of sustainability qualification will help your career - and what other skills you need to succeed in this career.

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

If you'd like to send a question to Ask Gareth fire away!. Our stockpile is running a bit low, so fire away!


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7 April 2015

On sustainability, feelings beat facts. Fact.

Environmental data and analysisLast week we had another fantastic turnout for our annual Green Academy on employee engagement for sustainability. There were some really big names taking part – including some who are seen as sustainability exemplars.

The two points I really try to hammer home on these sessions are:

  • People's feelings are a much stronger driver for their behaviour rather than rational thought;
  • You can't bludgeon people into changing their feelings.

You can see this in the climate debate where a significant chunk of the population still 'feels' that climate change can't be real despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that it is and manmade. It just doesn't feel right to them. Instead they cling to some very flimsy straws which appear, superficially, to reassure this position – an extreme form of 'confirmation bias'.

My response, Green Jujitsu, is to start at any point where the sustainability agenda and the feelings of the audience overlap. So if you are talking to a climate sceptic, it may be that energy security, local air quality or job creation through the low carbon economy are better starting points than statistical analysis. For engineers, getting them to solve sustainability problems will produce positive feelings about the agenda as they love to solve problems. For health care professionals, finding solutions which save carbon and improve patient care will hit the right button.

So the first principle of employee engagement must be to respect people's feelings. Not just because it is right to do so in a moral sense, but also because it's right to do so in a practical sense.



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1 April 2015

Jeremy Clarkson, Eco Warrior?

Jeremy_ClarksonAnybody taken in by the Guardian's 'interview' with a recalcitrant Jeremy Clarkson where he apparently eschewed his old gas guzzling ways and took up the way of the tree hugger? I must admit it caught me out for a moment on Radio 4 before I realised the date.

It made me think, though, about the process of people becoming eco-aware.

For most people, it is a gradual process of ramping awareness until one event tips them over the edge. My own 'Road to Damascus' moment – seeing massive ecological damage from a nickel smelter in arctic Russia – was less about awareness of the problem and more about the realisation that, as an engineer, I could and should do something practical about such damage. But it often requires an immersive experience to do this – reading a plaintive article in the press is rarely enough.

In my experience, true Damascene conversions should be treated with care. I have met too many snake oil salesmen and obnoxious self-righteous gits who claim to have undergone such a zero to 100% overnight. And just imagine being preached at by Jeremy Clarkson. Shiver.


Photo Ed Perchick, cropped version used under the Creative Commons Licence 2.0



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30 March 2015

Marks & Spencer's Living Wall Comes to Life

mands green wall
It was my forty-mmmth birthday yesterday and I had a lovely day – breakfast in bed, pub lunch, birdwatching (yellow hammer, willow tit, water rail the highlights), a beer in the sun and dinner. But an completely unexpected treat on the way home was seeing the newly installed 'living wall' at Marks & Spencer lit up in all its glory.

The wall is 167 square metres, constructed from nearly 16,000 individual plants, and is designed to bring birds and insects into the centre of Newcastle. I'm sure the bees in the hives on the roof of Fenwicks just down Northumberland Street will be highly appreciative.

And if you think this is just green bling, the store is getting a massive sustainable energy makeover with intelligent door sensors and a system to use waste heat from refrigeration internally.

Great to see M&S continuing to forge the path on these issues – and even better that its on my doorstep!


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27 March 2015

When 'ethical' can be unethical...

business angel

A very interesting point was raised by a Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group member at last week's meeting:

The easiest ethical choices are often not very ethical, for example it is easiest to avoid buying conflict minerals by avoiding buying from the Democratic Republic of Congo altogether, but you’re actually hurting a country which desperately needs a stronger economy. You should be supporting the 'good' mineral sector.

Wow! That triggers a whole load of questions in my mind:

  • Where does the boundary of ethical responsibility lie?
  • How do you assess the ethical implications of what good things you could do, but aren't doing?
  • Is it ethically OK to wash your hands of an issue like this, or should you dive in and try and solve it?
  • Is there a responsibility for corporations to use their buying power for good?
  • The press and NGOs have a tendency to take a very simplistic black and white view of business ethics issues – ironically given their own ethical missteps – what's their responsibility to be objective and not chase a headline?
  • Can 'ethical' legislation do more harm than good?
  • When is it right to walk away?

Answers on the back of a postcard, please!


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25 March 2015

Sustainability Across the Generations


Last Friday we held the tenth Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group meeting at the wonderful Lumley Castle in County Durham. The topic was 'Sustainability Across the Generations" – how do Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers and Millennials respond to the sustainability agenda?

As usual there was no Powerpoint, just facilitated discussion using one of my large templates (which you can see on the table above). We generated a whopping 78 learning points. Here's a selection of those:

General Generational Issues

  • You need to listen to the pulse of the organisation;
  • Generational profile of customers more important for B2C than B2B organisations;
  • There is an age profile up the reporting structure of established organisations; those with authority tend to be older, but we need to attract the next generation in towards the bottom;
  • As people age they tend to become more pragmatic and less idealistic;
  • There is a regional context – eg US millennials are quite different to Chinese millennials.

Baby Boomers

  • This is the generation which first became broadly aware of sustainability, for example via Silent Spring;
  • Anathema to ‘waste’ may be a more powerful hook than, say, climate risks;
  • Some may fear that their skills will become obsolete in a low carbon world;
  • “We’ve always done it this way” is a tough barrier to overcome;
  • Legacy is a powerful driver – especially for senior management – what kind of organisation would you like to leave behind you?
  • Coaching is often better than training for this generation – ‘arm around the shoulder’;
  • “I would like your help with…” is a good opening gambit.

Generation X

  • Grew up with the maturing sustainability agenda, eg the 1992 Earth Summit;
  • The ‘change generation’ – sees upsides and downsides;
  • This generation is now moving into key decision making positions – an opportunity but also a threat as they have plenty on their plate;
  • Probably the generation where engagement can have the biggest impact;
  • Co-inventing solutions secures ‘skin in the game’;
  • Find ways to communicate “What’s In It For Me” – eg build links between sustainability and their KPIs.


  • First consciously green generation – but they often respond to activism more than working through the system;
  • Can be naïve about their own impacts – eg on upgrading technology/fast fashion;
  • Graduates are definitely applying to companies with good reputations;
  • Less loyal to corporations – if they don’t like what they see, they will move on;
  • Have been educated on the basics of sustainability, need to learn how to implement it in practice;
  • Social media can spread untruths as fast or faster than truths – fosters a lack of fact-checking;
  • A good tactic is to challenge millennials – “if you think this is important, set up a team and write a proposal.”

The Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group is a small group of senior sustainability professionals from major organisations who meet quarterly to explore a burning question in depth. If you want to learn more click here.


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23 March 2015

My Sustainability Brain Dump

cover170x170I was interviewed by Anthony Day for his weekly Sustainable Futures Show podcast recently and we had a great old chin wag which covered a whole range of my favourite sustainability topics:

  • How I got started in sustainability;
  • How others can get started;
  • The business case for sustainability;
  • Sustainability leadership;
  • How to do employee engagement properly (Green Jujitsu);
  • Integrating sustainability properly;
  • How the 80:20 rule can help you accelerate sustainability;
  • Measuring progress.

...and a whole lot more. You can hear what I had to say by clicking here.


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20 March 2015

Green SME Interview: Alex Hurst, Phoenix Taxis

Alex Hurst PhoenixAlex Hurst is the CEO of Phoenix Taxis based in Blyth Northumberland which currently has the biggest operational fleet of electric cars in the UK. In this revealing interview he tells the story of the business and some important insights into running a green business in the real world. It includes the first case I've come across of a sustainable decision being made in response to supplier pressure, rather than customer pressure.

What’s the history of Phoenix Taxis?

Phoenix taxis was started in 1990 by my Dad. Since then we’ve operated within the licensing restrictions of what was Blyth Valley in South East Northumberland. From 1990 to 2009, the company steadily grew to 80 cars. Since then, when the restrictions were relaxed, we were able to expand to the rest of Northumberland and since 2010, when I joined the business, we’ve managed to more than double in size to over 200 vehicles.

And when did the shift to low carbon vehicles happen?

The first step was the Nissan LEAF being the first widespread consumer EV available on the market. We kept an eye on it as, before me, my Dad has always used alternative fuels – LPG instead of petrol or diesel because of the cost savings. When the LEAF came onto the market, the subsidies from the Government made it a cost effective option as a taxi. We then had to get it licensed as a taxi.

We had a lot of trouble as it is quite small – many Councils including Northumberland refused, but we got on to Nissan who persuaded them to grant a license – I’m exactly not sure how! We got funding for six charging posts to accelerate the process, but they didn’t work. That held us up for 6-12 months because we couldn’t get more cars – we were limited to the two LEAFs we had bought in 2012 until the infrastructure was sorted.

However it was about this time, with just a couple of EVs and a couple of hybrids, that we realised that there was a customer demand for sustainable transport particularly amongst large corporate clients. We now have 41 hybrids and 32 EVs – that’s the biggest operational fleet of EVs on the road – I don’t know how long that will last when people cotton on to it!

So, the business case evolved from cost saving to customer demand?

Yes, definitely.

And you’ve now got a Lexus Hybrid and a Telsa Model S – did that come from customer demand? Read the rest of this entry »

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18 March 2015

How not to communicate climate change by the Guardian

Alan_Rusbridger_by_Alessio_Jacona_-_International_Journalism_Festival_2014The Guardian is undoubtedly the UK's best newspaper for covering environmental issues, so it was no surprise when outgoing Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger made climate change his swan song. Unfortunately I can't help thinking the results of this well-meaning effort represent everything that's wrong with our attempts to communicate climate change.

My first gripe is format: lengthy essays stretching over several pages of dense print. I have only skimmed these myself – and I'm very interested in this stuff! How is anybody with a passing interest meant to dip in? How does it speak to those disengaged? Where are the graphics for goodness sake?

My second problem is the attitude. The series started with a couple of lengthy extracts from Naomi Klein's new book on climate change. Klein admits herself that she has only come to climate lately, having made her name as an anti-capitalist. And of course, her prescription is that it is capitalism to blame for climate change, and that those of us trying to fix the problem without smashing the system are deluded. In other words, it's all the 1%'s fault and the 99% are helpless. Might as well give up, then.

Problem is, Klein is wrong – state socialism has proved just as able as capitalism when it comes to destroying the planet – check out Russia or China's record. And, with carbon emissions stalling last year, it is clear that we can make a real difference without some (impossible) wholesale restructuring of society. I am one of many, including radicals like Jonathan Porritt, who believe we can actually make capitalism work for the planet – bringing competition, innovation and economies of scale to cutting carbon.

The paper did redeem itself with some punchy, provocative pieces by Mark Lynas and Jonathan Freedland arguing we need to de-politicise climate change and get on with tackling it, and not sit navel gazing, but these were in the main paper and not part of the climate specials.

The Beeb showed how climate change communication can be done with Climate Change by Numbers on BBC4. The programme hit the most complex and controversial topics – uncertainty, modelling, predictions, dealing with data gaps – head-on using some very clear, snazzy graphics and great analogies. For example, they demonstrated how attribution models work by analysing the success factors in Premiership football teams, building a model and showing how, if you take any Club's wage bill out of the model, then the correlation between model and reality fail. Likewise, if you take anthropogenic carbon emissions out of climate models, then the models and reality diverge sharply. OK, it was taking on a different debate to the Guardian, but it was arguably a more difficult one, yet they made it engaging and fascinating.

The time for preaching to the choir is over. Climate change is not just an issue for the left-leaning middle-class intelligentsia. We must reach out across the political spectrum, to all tribes in society, and inspire people to engage and to help make change happen. And that's going to require a rethink on how we try to communicate the message.


Photo by Alessio Jacona and used under the Creative Commons License.


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16 March 2015

Proof: We ARE winning the climate wars

churchillGood news never hits the headlines – unless it's a famous person's baby – but on Friday the International Energy Agency announced that in 2014, global carbon emissions had 'stalled' for the first time outside a recession.

Now first off, this is bloody good news, full stop. If you have contributed in any way, no matter how big or small, pat yourself on the back right now.

Secondly, while I realise one swallow does not make a summer, there's a constant flow of green infrastructure investment in the pipeline – we're investing over $200bn a year in renewables as prices plunge – so we should expect to see this stall start to evolve into a downturn.

Thirdly, it's one in the eye for all those miserablist doomsters who said it would never happen – and those trying to subsume climate change into a wider political ideology. Our first priority is to cut carbon, not to smash capitalism or reject consumer society – although both may reform as we move forward.

So, as I said, big pat on the back all round, then it's back into the trenches for the next battle!


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13 March 2015

Sir Ian Cheshire on Sustainable Business Leadership

sir ian cheshireI had a fantastically green night out in London on Tuesday. After an impromptu diversion into a St Patrick's, er, Month drinks reception at the Irish Embassy, my good friend Fiona Harvey, eminent Grauniad environment journo, took me to the extraordinarily posh Oxford and Cambridge Club on Pall Mall for dinner and, appropriately enough, an after-dinner talk.

The talk was 'Sustainable Business Leadership' by Sir Ian Cheshire, outgoing CEO of the Kingfisher Group (which owns B&Q). The knighthood was awarded for "services to business, sustainability, and the environment" and what Sir Ian said showed it was richly deserved – here are the quotes I scribbled down:

  • I am attracted to business with a mission and a purpose.
  • Don’t you want to work for a business which makes a difference?
  • Sustainability is the engine for our business.
  • Diversity in teams leads to a huge step forward; don’t pick people like you.
  • You have to recognise which decisions matter and what doesn’t: 4 or 5 big calls will determine 80% of your impact.
  • We live in a hyper-transparent world, you can’t pretend anymore.
  • Do you want to be moderately less evil or net positive? The latter’s much more exciting.
  • You’ve got to give people permission to try stuff.
  • It takes an incredibly long time to explain sustainability to your business – I found it took at least 5 attempts.
  • You’ve got to make your solutions relevant to the DNA of your business.
  • You’ve got to translate sustainability for people. There’s no Russian word for sustainability, but Russians love their forests and their water quality.
  • If you don’t understand the warp and weft of your business, sustainability will not work.
  • Corporates create space for Governments to act.
  • CEO questions can drive innovation.
  • Our drive for FSC kitchens cost us £30m, but the perception of quality in the marketplace went up.
  • Our biggest problem isn’t greenwash but greenhush. We don’t talk enough about what we are doing.
  • Ultimately you need sustainability solutions which scale. Without scalability, we won’t get sustainability.

My advice for anyone trying to deliver sustainability in their organisation is to plunder that list for ideas.


Disclosure: The dinner was a private one, so I have run the quotes past Sir Ian to check he was OK with them going public.

Photo taken from


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