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September 2008 - Terra Infirma


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30 September 2008

Are we at a point where Sustainability = sustainability?

I'm not an economist, but here's my take on the current financial situation. The bank crashes are due to the bubble bursting in the 'sub prime' mortgage market - too much money lent to too many people who can't afford to pay it back - a clear Corporate Social Responsibility issue (that's real grown up CSR, not the paper thin small-local-donations type CSR). We are also afflicted by 'short selling' - betting on shares losing value has serious ethical implications too - gambling on horses losing is illegal in many countries for good reason. Other industries and the general public are struggling with high and rising oil prices (an environmental issue) - leading to a breakdown in consumer confidence which furthers the vicious circle.

Sustainability with a big 'S' is about economics, environment and ethics. In the past there has been a need to differentiate between this and the small 's' sustainability ie the medium term viability of an organisation. But now I believe the two have converged and Sustainability is not an option when it comes to sustainability. Proper CSR would have saved the banks, and energy efficiency and/or a distributed energy system would make the economy much less dependent on the price of oil.

Maybe now we will wake up and smell the (sustainably sourced) coffee.

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29 September 2008

Weekly Tip #28: Measure your baseline

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

Measuring and understanding your baseline is the essential first step in greening an existing business. The information will:

• Give you an understanding of what the big issues are;
• Inform the development of your environmental vision and policy;
• Help you identify some early quick wins and create momentum.

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24 September 2008

10 Questions For Any Business

1. How much does your waste cost?

2. No, how much does it really cost?

3. How much have your waste costs risen in the last year?

4. How much have your energy bills risen in the last year?

5. How much have your water costs risen in the last year?

6. How much does compliance with legislation cost you?

7. How much product do you have to sell just to cover your waste, energy, water and compliance costs?

8. Would you prefer to turn those costs into profit?

9. Do you have a plan to make this transformation?

10. Are your staff on board?

And a bonus one,

11. Have you heard of Lean, Mean & Green?

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22 September 2008

Weekly Tip #27: Feedback

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

You can't visit a major industrial site without being confronted with a huge sign telling you how long it's been since the last incident. Why not take a leaf out of their book and provide continuous feedback on environmental performance? You can use display screens, your intranet or plain old graphs on a notice board near the water cooler or any other suitable media - just keep it simple and clear.

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17 September 2008

Hot & Cold in Southampton

Yesterday morning I visited the Southampton District Energy Scheme. It supplies not only heat (some of which comes from a geothermal source) but also cooling and electricity (through trigeneration combined heat & power). And the headline stats are impressive:

- over 40 customers

- 12 000 tonnes CO2 per year avoided

- reduced costs for clients

But what really interested me is how the scheme has evolved over the last 21 years from humble beginnings - just the Civic Centre to begin with (with geothermal only) and then spreading out across the city centre to other large users and adding CHP units as and when necessary.

There is a raft of evidence that this 'evolution, not revolution' approach for large distributed sustainability projects is the best way forward by a country mile, but yet again and again proposals come forward that try to solve all problems at once, but only if about 20 partners sign up and a huge wodge of public money is chucked in the pot. The evolutionary approach has made the Southampton scheme robust, effective and self financing - just like the famous energy scheme developed by Woking Council. Grandiose schemes which require a colossal injection of public funds more than often don't get off the drawing board and if they do, usually collapse under their own weight.

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12 September 2008

Low Carbon Products & Services Seminar - 22 October 2008

I'm giving another seminar on developing, marketing and selling low carbon products and services next month, this time in lovely Harrogate. The seminar is part of the Low Carbon Innovation Exchange event which is certainly the best of its kind that I've ever attended.

At my midday seminar you will:

  • learn the business case for going beyond compliance.
  • discover what makes a product or service a low carbon product or service.
  • find out which markets are booming and why.
  • learn how to market and sell low carbon products & services.
  • identify the risks, and how to avoid them.
  • Plus you will benefit from all the other seminars, panel sessions, one-to-one meetings and round table discussions in the Exchange. Oh, and there's a great lunch included.

    Here's The Deal

    If you register for my seminar, you will also get:

  • The reduced entry fee of £295 + VAT for the whole event.
  • A FREE copy of my eBook "The Green Business Bible" (RRP £24.95+VAT).
  • A FREE 30 min telephone coaching session (normally £150.00+VAT).
  • 50% discount on my full day "Building a Low Carbon Business" Seminar (full price £295.00+VAT).
  • A Certificate of Attendance for CPD purposes.
  • But, to get these offers, you must register via this link. You can see the whole programme for the day here, but you must use this registration link to get the freebies.

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    Posted by Gareth Kane one response

    10 September 2008

    10 Reasons Why You MUST Improve the Environmental Performance of Your Business

    (even in a recession especially in a recession)

    As promised, the second of our white papers is on line for free download. 10 Reasons Why You MUST Improve the Environmental Performance of Your Business does what it says on the tin - it explains why there is no better time to take action on waste, energy and water in your company.

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    8 September 2008

    New Resources - Free White Papers

    We've just started publishing a series of white papers for organisations, environmental consultants and students. The first, A Quick Guide to Carbon Footprinting, can be downloaded now from the resources page. More are under development and will come on-line in the next few weeks.

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    5 September 2008

    Back in the Saddle!

    Back at work this afternoon after series of trips to Fort Augustus in Scotland (damp but fun), Belfast (some sun, some rain) and Rydal in the Lake District (practically subaquatic). The backlog of correspondence has almost been dealt with and normal posting here will commence on Monday.

    I hope you all had a good summer!

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