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August 2008 Terra Infirma


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18 August 2008

A little downtime

I'm off for a couple of week's break, so unless the weather is really bad, the blog entries will stop until September.

The next edition of The Low Carbon Agenda will be out on 24 August, so if you haven't subscribed already you can do so here - it's a great one about cutting the carbon footprint of your supply chain.

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15 August 2008

Terra Infirma saves companies £175k each

Until March, Terra Infirma carried out environmental healthchecks on behalf of Envirowise, looking at waste, water and energy. We've just been reviewing the files of the two dozen or so visits we carried out under this scheme - in sectors as diverse as steel stockholding, pharmaceuticals and catering - and the average savings were a whopping £175 000pa.

Imagine what that means to a medium sized manufacturing company in these tight financial times - they could keep 4 members of staff on for that money, making them even more competitive as things start to pick up. Makes you think, doesn't it?

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13 August 2008

Amory Lovins on energy efficiency and oil

http://static.videoegg.com/ted/flash/loader.swf

I love these TED talks and found this one by US Energy Guru, Amory Lovins on energy efficiency and oil. It claims to be three and a half years old, but the Wall-E reference would suggest it was much more recent.

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11 August 2008

Weekly Tip #26: Loosen the purse strings

This is the latest of a series of tips extracted from the forthcoming Green Business Bible e-book:

Provide a small fund (say £100 a year per employee) for any member of staff to implement a green idea. Most won't take it up, but it will give some freedom for those who are interested to act.

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8 August 2008

Are they crazy? Or do they think I am?

Maybe it's just because it is summer, but I'm getting lots of crazy offers from telesales people recently.

Typically the spiel is along the lines of:

"We're running this fantastic event about sustainable [procurement/strategy etc]. We've been given your name as you are a leading [reads something verbatim off the front page of our website - dead giveaway]. Would you be interested?"

The killer punchline, if I let the call run its course, is they usually want me to pay to give a seminar to a room full of people who are desperate to open their fat wallets, but who haven't a clue where to get help.

I now stop them in their tracks. "If you want me to deliver a seminar it will cost you £X 000".

My seminars are of value to attendees, therefore I charge. That's what I do for a living - exchange value for money. These people are looking for speakers whose sessions have negative value, otherwise they wouldn't have to pay to deliver them. You get what you pay for...

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4 August 2008

Weekly Tip #25: EMS - don't run before you can walk

This is the latest of a series of tips extracted from the forthcoming Green Business Bible e-book:

When implementing an Environmental Management System like ISO14001, get the system up and running before going for accreditation. This will help ensure that the system is designed for you and works with your other systems.

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1 August 2008

We are two!

Happy Birthday, Terra Infirma, two years old today!

This is a key milestone as most businesses do not get this far, so I'm sure you'll excuse the self indulgence.

And it's been quite a year - many new clients, some of them very big (the EU...), many exciting projects, becoming an incorporated company and launching The Low Carbon Agenda.

And it's going to be an interesting year - we have a number of clients lined up to start on the Lean, Mean & Green Programme, have been booked to deliver some more workshops at the Low Carbon Innovation Exchange and the Green Business Bible is definitely on its way!

But, with the economic situation, it is going to be a challenge. I believe that spending on environmental issues is not discretionary but essential to cut costs. Many of the problems we solve are hardnosed issues like "why are you throwing away £00000s worth of product?" rather than hugging trees. It has to be said that it is much easier to get this message across these days.

Lastly, I'd like to thank all of you - the readers of this blog (especially those who comment). We'll be raising a glass tonight and I hope you'll raise a metaphorical one with us.

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Closing the (Paper) Loop

Many of the smaller businesses I have worked with over the years have struggled to get office paper recycled as they just don't produce enough waste to make a collection service worthwhile - a catch 22 position for a company wanting to improve its environmental performance.

Well, this week I have been talking to stationery supplier Office Team who will collect your white and coloured paper for £1 a sack when they make their deliveries. The waste paper goes back into the very paper mill that produces their eco-team brand of recycled paper, so if you buy that you could very well be using the same fibres you sent them previously.

Not only is this a genuinely closed loop, but it also maximises the use of the delivery vehicles as 'waste' collection vehicles are not required to pick up the paper, so it is a very efficient use of transport to boot. They also use reuseable/recyclable packing which they take back.

This is an excellent example of how a business is using the environmental agenda to find competitive advantage over the rest of the sector. And a great solution for office based companies to boot.

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