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14 June 2017

Are you doing the right thing in Sustainability?


This month's Ask Gareth considers an excellent question from Sophie Wallis of Upthink Consultancy in Australia - when you're beavering away making sure you tick all the Sustainability boxes for a company or a project, how do you step back and make sure you are actually doing the right thing in terms of the big picture. In response, I give three powerful approaches which can help.

Ask Gareth depends on a steady stream of killer sustainability/CSR questions, so please tell me what's bugging you about sustainability (click here) and I'll do my best to help.

You can see all previous editions of Ask Gareth here.

 

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19 November 2012

Sustainability in a globalised world


I got home from a business trip last week to find a mystery parcel waiting for it. I ripped it open and six copies of my first book The Three Secrets of Green Business fell out - in Japanese! I was delighted in that strange bemused sort of way as I have no idea how good the translation is - or what to do with the copies. There has been talk of simple Chinese and Russian translations, but this is the first that has come to fruition.

And it got me thinking about sustainability in a globalised world. Here are a few environmental and ethical issues that cross national boundaries:

Environmental standards: if different nations have different environmental standards, it inevitably creates a 'race to the bottom' - the country with the lowest standards get the business. Over a decade ago Pakistan lost its ship breaking business after insisting on higher safety standards after a lethal explosion on a gas tanker. As sustainability is about going beyond compliance, there is a need for the responsible globalised business to set its own minimum standards to ensure that it is not contributing to the drive towards the lowest common denominator.

Transparency and Traceability: As commodities move around the world, it becomes increasingly difficult to determine their providence. APP's paper may have been blacklisted by almost every major brand, but it still manages to sell into the market place, so someone is buying (a lot of) it. On the other hand, I have seen responsible UK manufacturer demonstrate how they can trace any tissue paper pack to the acre of forest it came from (the portion that isn't from recycled sources).

Pay & Working Conditions: These are also subject to the 'race to the bottom' as the cheaper labour force tends to attract manufacturers. While there are some simple red line issues like child labour and slave labour, it becomes more difficult when different cultures have different approaches to pay and working conditions and the 'going rate' varies.

Tax: We have seen recently how some big businesses exploit the ease of moving money around the world to minimise their tax bill. Different tax regimes can lead to operations moving swiftly from one place to another at the sniff of a tax break, disrupting local communities and economies with short terms booms and busts.

As always a globalised supply chain can be seen as not a so much a problem but as an opportunity to do some work for good. Insisting on first world standards in third world countries is a sure fire way of raising the bar rather than lowering it. But companies can be more pro-active than that, actively investing in those countries to drive standards up. A great example is the low carbon lingerie factory Marks & Spencer developed with a supplier in Sri Lanka.

But the most important thing is to avoid getting into the kind of contorted mental mindset of those big tax dodgers where you end up defending the indefensible to justify the status quo. Being honest with yourself is the vital first step.

In the meantime, I'm just happy to be Big in Japan...

 

 

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15 October 2012

Green Jujitsu Culture Change Webinar Recording

We had a fantastic webinar on my Green Jujitsu webinar on Friday afternoon, featuring at least three FTSE100 or equivalent company attendees. If you want to catch the webinar then click on this link. You will have to download a Webex player to do so - I will endeavour to get a YouTube version up later this week.

The eBook itself, Green Jujitsu, is available from Dõ Sustainability.

Speaking of eBooks, both my previous books The Three Secrets of Green Business and The Green Executive are now available in Kindle format from Amazon. I'm very excited about this as the shift from stuff (paper, card, glue) to data is a key principle in both books.

Last week I also saw The Green Executive back on the shelves in Waterstones, so keep an eye out for it if you want a browse!

 

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6 August 2012

Why I'm Not Calling for a Plastic Bag Tax


There's another big call out for a plastic bag tax in England and Wales. I'm not against such a tax per se, but it is far from the top of my list of priorities. OK, single use plastic bags cause litter, but nearly as much as, say, crisp packets (if you have ever been on a litter pick you will know what I mean), and can harm marine life (ditto), but they're said to represent 0.1% of the average person's carbon footprint, so if we wanted to make a 50% cut in humanity's carbon footprint, we'd need to find 500 such measures to do so.

"So what?", you may ask, "this is an easy win, a symbolic gesture, something we can do." Yes, but, have we not had enough symbolic gestures, enough pilot projects, enough green grandstanding when we really need to be delivering improvements at scale? This is no time to be lowering our sights down to something even the Daily Mail can support - we've got to raise them, challenge ourselves and make a real difference.

The same thing can happen at the organisational level - people pursuing "safe" incremental improvements at the expense of more ambition. The third "secret" in my first book, The Three Secrets of Green Business, was "take some huge leaps and lots of small steps." If you focus just on the latter, you'll soon come up against diminishing returns - you need the huge leaps to propel you you towards sustainability. My second book, The Green Executive, called for organisations to set themselves stretch targets, to escape "the tyranny of the present", change the mindset and make those ambitious changes.

So yes, let's have a plastic bag tax, but don't see it as a significant achievement and don't waste much time and effort on it - and for goodness sake don't rest on your laurels - but understand it would be a tiny incremental improvement and we need to be looking for those huge leaps.

 

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2 November 2011

'Aving a FiT - Subsidies and Business Risk

And lo, it came to pass. On Monday the UK Government announced a consultation on cutting the solar PV Feed-in Tariff by 50% ostensibly to reflect the fall in the price of solar panels which had led to a gold rush. The sensible majority of the renewables trade pointed out that the new rate of return on solar PV, 4.5%, was less than the target minimum of 5% and argued coherently that this could stifle uptake and threaten the progress the sector had made. A less sensible minority went ballistic, threatening legal action and marches on Downing Street, all the time using highly unprofessional language. You may remember similar histronics last time the Govt changed the FiT formula, yet the boom went on.

In my first book, The Three Secrets of Green Business, I made the rather blunt statement "A green business is not a charity". I illustrated my point with a couple of examples where "businesses" expected public sector bodies to buy their unreliable and expensive technology because it was "green". They got a rude awakening when those bodies went for an alternative that may have been less green, but actually worked. The idea that public servants had a duty to deliver value for money to the taxpayer passed them buy.

My own experience of working in subsidised environmental business support has made me suspicious of generous subsidies. I've found they create unseemly feeding frenzies, terrible back-biting and dependency - not to mention frequent hissy fits. Many organisations built their business model on servicing those subsidies and simply collapsed when a particular tap was switched off. And in much the same way as untargeted food aid to developing countries can destroy local food production, it was difficult, sometimes nigh on impossible, to operate outside the system as the market was so distorted. Frankly, Terra Infirma is doing much better since the subsidies evaporated - and, more importantly, delivering much more value to our clients.

In the FiT case, the Government's main mistake was to have a system that didn't track capital costs automatically, so it requires 'manual' adjustment (and if they had kept with the 5% limit there would have been no legitimate complaint). The mistake the sector made was to assume that something that seemed too good to be true would last forever. Every businesses has to assess risk month by month and even day to day - anyone betting the farm on a non-guaranteed subsidy such as the FiT was taking a massive risk.

The lesson from all this is the caveat in the first secret of green business:

“Treat the environmental agenda as an opportunity, not a threat. Grasp it with both hands but, whatever you do, don’t forget you are still running a business.”

So, if you are operating in a subsidised industry, you should have a short term contingency plan to cover the sudden loss of the subsidy, and a long term plan for how to wean the business off it and onto a mature, sustainable footing.

And let's hope that the Government listens to the voices of reason and sets the FiT on the right side of the 5% target.

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17 December 2010

Video: The Three Secrets of Green Business

Here's a short clip of yours truly talking about my first book, The Three Secrets of Green Business - why I wrote it, what the secrets are and who is reading it.

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24 November 2010

Staff Engagement - No Pain, No Gain

What a grind it is staying fit. This morning, after dropping the two boys off at nursery, I started my usual run up through the beautiful Jesmond Dene that cuts a green swathe through the red brick suburbs of the east of Newcastle.

Cue sleet.

Urgh. Cold, wet and muddy I trundled around the pathways and tracks, all the time repeating the mantra "it's good for me, it's good for me". If it ain't raining, it ain't training.

This reminded me that the other week somebody quoted back to me something I wrote in the Three Secrets of Green Business - that staff engagement in sustainability is like trying to get and stay fit. You can't just go to the gym once and expect to grow huge muscles or marathon runner cardiovascular fitness levels. No, you start off gently and build it up, setting targets and working to meet them, celebrating success and raising the bar once again. You have to get into a routine and a habit of doing exercise, and your muscles have to be trained to take the strain.

Staff engagement is just the same - you can't just hold a lunchtime lecture and expect a green revolution. You have to start off gently and build it up, getting your staff into the habit of green behaviour. It is said that it takes six weeks to learn a new habit and make it reflexive, so it is going to take some time to convert each individual to new ways of working. Succeeding will take persistence, thick skin and no little guile - I talk about green jujitsu methods to turn potential conflict into co-operation. You can make it easier, but it's not easy.

Just as I got to the end of my run this morning, the sleet faded, the clouds parted and the sun came out - giving me the most wonderfully corny analogy to finish this blog post. Keep at it, be smart and keep smiling and you will succeed!

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12 November 2010

What I learnt on my travels...

I'm writing this post on the train down to Cambridge to finish off a manic three days which has taken in Harrogate, Southampton and next, my old college to talk to students.

Here are the learning points from the various sessions I ran or attended at the Low Carbon Best Practice Exchange at Harrogate:

• Participants did report a worrying relegation of sustainability in their organisations due to the financial situation (despite evidence that green makes you more recession proof than conventional rivals);

• Staff engagement remains a key concern of practitioners;

• Staff engagement should be fun, meaningful and consistent;

• Data collection is essential both to management and staff feedback;

• Communication needs to be tailored to suit the audience;

• Don't preach;

• Green marketing is about giving consumers what they want guilt-free (controversial?);

• Retailers are acting as gate-keepers of consumer demands;

• Once you start down the green path, you need to keep going strong to keep up with your improved reputation;

• The future shape of the UK's Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) is a mystery to all - yet the CRC is a massive driver for many organisations.

I wasn't participating as much in Southampton - but it was clear from the participants that they are really starting to get it. I gave two keynote speeches, one on the business case for sustainability (similar to the video clip on our YouTube channel) and one on Green Business Leadership (structured around this popular piece I wrote for Management Issues). The second was slightly marred by my throat starting to creak - I've been fighting the lurgy all week - but it went down very well.

Both days I met people who had read the Three Secrets of Green Business which was great - one person quoted something back at me that I had forgotten I had written!

Tonight's talk is about green careers and is basically the story of my own, comparing and contrasting with what I would do if I was starting now.

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23 July 2010

A reflection on learning...

I love running training workshops and the two Secrets of Successful Green Business Workshops I've run for Business Link in the last two days were corkers. We got about 30 people mainly from office based businesses in the Newcastle session and 25 on Teesside from a much wider range of businesses (from independent consultants through a prison to major chemical companies), and it was good to see a smattering of familiar faces at both. They were half day sessions and I structured them around The Three Secrets of Green Business - understanding the business case, what does green mean, and how to integrate it into your business. Frankly I prefer running whole day sessions - I only add about 20% more content and spend much longer on exercises - but there was still enough time for plenty of interaction.

And interaction I got! In Newcastle we had a lengthy debate about the pros and cons of telecommuting. I was challenged on the lack of social opportunities, but I maintain that the increased time you get with family and neighbours from not commuting is at least as rewarding as socialising with colleagues - or it should be anyway. On Teesside we had a discussion about the pros and cons of incremental innovation and disruptive innovation - we got a little sidetracked into innovation on the printing press/internet level rather than radical alignment of products, processes and supply chains to sustainability (à la TQM) which was the point.

The big learning area for me was the half hour slot that Gareth Williams of Business In The Community (BITC) did on climate change adaptation. This is definitely the Cinderella of environmental issues, but it is crucially important. Even if we slashed carbon emissions today, there is enough warming locked into the system that we do need to prepare for the impacts. Gareth covered risks and business opportunities. Now, while I have worked with clients to identify potential markets in helping others reduce their risks, I hadn't fully grasped how many purchasers are now taking resilience to any form of business interruption seriously in their buying decisions. So if you have your servers in a basement in a flood prone area you might be at a business disadvantage to a rival who has taken the necessary steps to protect their business. Every day's school day in this game - that's why I love it so much.

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2 July 2010

Hooray, hooray...

... I'm off on my holidays tomorrow. We're spending a fortnight in Askrigg in the Yorkshire Dales - same house as last year as we enjoyed it so much. If the weather's as good as last year we'll be laughing, as the walking, cycling, scenery and lazing about is fantastic - I hope the bakery is still serving freshly baked croissants at 7am.

It's not a complete break, though. I've just printed off the complete manuscript for The Green Executive for the first time ever having slotted the interviews into place. This needs to be finished by the end of July, so I'll be putting in a couple of hours work every day.

Through the wonders of technology, I'll still be posting on Twitter, you might get a few posts here as well, and of course it's my day on the virtual working summit next Tuesday.

Also, if you haven't noticed, we've revamped the Free Resources section of the website, splitting it into three separate pages, one holding two videos which haven't had a permanent home before, one with the back issues of The Low Carbon Agenda and one with the white papers and downloads. And lastly, I've created a page for The Three Secrets of Green Business on Facebook - join up and take part in the debates!

See you when I get back.

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25 June 2010

Chris Jofeh on Green Buildings

On Monday I interviewed Chris Jofeh of Arup for the Green Executive. This was a real milestone as it is the last of the 18 interviews for the book, some 13 months after the first one - it is also the last piece of the jigsaw. Now I've got to get 72,000 words polished up to publication standard - no inspiration, pure perspiration.

Chris was a brilliant interviewee and a true gentleman. He's a director of Arup with responsibility for refurbishing existing buildings. One of his key insights was:

"new [green] buildings just slow the rate at which things get worse: they don’t actually make it better. Tackling existing buildings makes it better."

It is often quoted that 80% of buildings in 2050 have already been built so there is a huge job to be done. Some of those are even more challenging than others - many, like the one I'm sat in as I type, are pre-1914 constructions with solid walls and an air-permeable design - if you stop up all the air flows, the building rots. Chris says he done the sums and such a mass refurbishment is affordable, but only if it is done at scale - the current piecemeal approach is making retro-fitting look disproportionately expensive.

Chris is a strong believer that sustainable design is just good design. This goes back to Ove Arup, the firm's founder and his concept of "Total Architecture":

“The term ‘Total Architecture’ implies that all relevant design decisions have been considered together and have been integrated into a whole by a well organized team empowered to fix priorities.”

Sir Ove Arup, 1970

He illustrated this with a wonderful piece of innovative problem solving. Arup was called in to look at a London building where traffic noise meant the windows had to be kept shut and air con used 24/7. Instead of redesigning the system, Arup simply put a decorative glass acoustic screen in which cut the traffic noise enough to allow people to open their windows. Cool.

If you want more, you'll have to wait for the book - probably next Spring.

BTW: speaking of books, I have now set up resources on LinkedIn and Facebook for The Three Secrets of Green Business - check them out - I'll be posting fresh content on a regular basis.

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17 March 2010

Base 2010: Day 2


Unexpected pleasure last night - steady on - an organic/biodynamic wine tasting session hosted by Sommelier of the Year 2009, Laura Rhys. None of this swishing and spitting nonsense either - not a drop of this wine went to waste. With two young kids, I've got out of practice of handling drink on an empty stomach, so afterwards I had a quick dinner and retired to my room with a lemonade and a book...

No ill effects this morning, so I went running again, this time over to the Thames Barrier and its park before coming back over the Victoria Dock Bridge (see pic - and, yes, I did run up the stairs).

First up this morning was Ed Miliband MP, UK Climate Change and Energy Secretary. Like his brother before him, he was very clued up as to the issues and fairly honest about Government efforts. I say 'fairly' as I asked him how he squared his excellent Copenhagen "Martin Luther King didn't say 'I had a nightmare'" line (which he repeated here) with his department's 'nightmare fairy tales' TV adverts. He said it had been cleared by the Advertising Standards Agency when they had in fact criticised one or two elements. Tut tut. His answer was a bit evasive too, saying we needed to warn of both the dream and the nightmare.

Mid-morning I delivered the 'Three Secrets' presentation to a small-ish but very responsive audience - great questions (remember you can see a previous version of this here). I followed this with a lengthy discussion over coffee about the Green Executive with Earthscan, then some chats in the VIP enclave - I'm finding some of these conversations more rewarding than the formal sessions.

But I did break out again to go and see Vince Cable, Lib Dem shadow chancellor and the most respected politician in the UK. I knew he had worked for Shell, but I didn't realise he had participated in the Brundtland Report or an early international political investigation of climate change. He was very realistic on the impact the recession was having on sustainability and sketched out some ways of getting back on track, particularly making the EU Emissions Trading Scheme work as it should. But he had some gloomy things to say about the state of the economy and the consequences.

Another great day!

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16 March 2010

Base 2010: Day 1


The first thing I saw this morning was the sight of two swans skimming low over the Royal Victoria Dock outside my hotel window - the dock is so huge I at first assumed it was the Thames itself. I went for a jog and found that just outside the immediate and somewhat sterile bubble of the Excel conference centre and its cluster of hotels and restaurants, the real East End of London is alive and well - fishmongers unloading their vans, small chemical works and some old traditional mills - all with a rough around the edges charm.

The Base 2010 event itself is very well organised, but the organisers were dwelt a blow by the gods of transport, and the first session by Bjorn Stigson (of WBCSD) had about three times as many people in it at the end that at the start. There was a surreal moment jsut before kick-off where I realised I was surrounded by dozens of people all leafing through my book. Stigson gave a very clear view of the enormity of the task ahead of us.

I'm trying to ration the sessions I attend to avoid powerpoint overload, so I keep retiring to the funky little VIP area with its air-hostess hostesses (it's sponsored by Qatar Airlines), leather furniture and complimentary food and drink.

The second session I went to was about the business case for sustainable development. There were some great contributions from Paul Turner of Lloyds TSB, John Elkington (founder of SustainAbility), Stephen Howard of Business and the Community and Peter White of P&G.; Interestingly in the latter, when the executive in charge of sustainability, Bob McDonald, was promoted to CEO, he insisted on keeping the sustainability portfolio. There were so many quotable lines from this talk I can't put them all in this post, but several will be added to the Green Executive, but it was (guess who) P&G;'s "no trade offs" approach to sustainability that stuck in my mind - great product AND great environmental performance, never 'OR'.

After lunch I facilitated a round table discussion on, again, the business case for sustainability. We had a great conversation based around my model and how it applied in different cases - from finance to plastic bags by way of legal services. Who would have thought that there was a distinct market for legal advice on renewables?

After that I retired for a glass of red wine from the Qatar ladies (it's tough at the top) and to write this. More tomorrow!

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10 March 2010

Three Secrets Book Launch Video

The Three Secrets of Green Business from Gareth Kane on Vimeo.

Here's a lengthy extract from the Newcastle book launch for The Three Secrets of Green Business. We'll be upgrading the site this month to find this video and at at least one other a permanent home here. But in the meantime - enjoy!

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3 March 2010

Time for a change...

... if you've squeezed every efficiency out of a system, but you still aren't where you want to be, then you need to change the system!

Secret No 3 of The Three Secrets of Green Business is about making a series of huge leaps to align your systems and processes towards sustainability while making continual incremental improvements in between. The latter will only take you so far before you have to make another huge leap.

The key is in making sure each leap will lead to the goal and not up a cul-de-sac. I use 'backcasting' with clients to make sure all leaps forward take you in the right direction.

Backcasting will help you decide what to do. Another big strategic question is what are we not going to do? The best organisations kill off products, services and processes which are holding them back. That takes real guts.

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1 March 2010

Low Carbon Business Seminar - 10 March 2010

It is continuing to be a busy year for events and conferences.

Next week finds me at the Low Carbon Best Practice Exchange in Birmingham leading a round table on developing a long term strategy.

The week after I'll be doing a round table on the business case for sustainability and a seminar on The Three Secrets of Green Business (with book signing session after) at the Base 2010 conference in London (if you want a 20% discount, check out TLCA #25).

There are also negotiations going on about another couple of events, but I'm having to balance client needs vs speaking to wider audiences.

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8 February 2010

London Book Reception (& other book stuff)

Another successful, if smaller, reception for The Three Secrets of Green Business in London last Thursday night. A slightly different mix of friends, colleagues, business folk, journalists and interested others showed up. Thanks must go to LBi for providing the venue, and publishers Earthscan for their contribution to refreshments and for tidying up afterwards (as I was dragged off for a celebratory Brick Lane curry).

Interesting questions again - the killer being "in what timeframe should companies act?" That's a really hard one to answer as some sectors can re-invent themselves in a couple of years if not months (eg smart phones, web 2.0) whereas others take decades to transform (eg the energy sector). I usually suggest to clients that they aim to transform themselves over a 5-10 year period, as I find this to be far enough in the future to consider major changes, but not so far ahead that people make unrealistic assumptions about technology. The guy who asked the question pointed out that in Japan 30 year planning is perfectly normal and suggested that's what we should be pursuing in the West. I'll have to mull on that one as it asks all sorts of questions about culture differences.

I also found time in London to interview Jim Hagan, CSR supremo at GSK, for The Green Executive, and have a meeting with the organiser of the Business and Sustainable Environment (BASE) conference in March. I'll be doing a couple of sessions at the latter and I hope to be able to offer a discount to partners and subscribers to The Low Carbon Agenda.

It was really nice to find 5 minutes to drop into Blackwell's on Charing Cross Road and see The Three Secrets on the shelves for the first time (although I had to remind myself that they didn't belong to me despite having my name on the cover). Blackwell's had 4 shelves of green business/CSR books, so the competition is heating up. As an aside, now I'm in the market, I've decided that it would be a conflict of interest to review similar books here in the future - particularly as I can be a rather harsh critic. So book reviews will be limited to books related to business and sustainability but which have a different focus.

Lastly, the local press did a nice piece on the book (and me) on Saturday.

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29 January 2010

Newcastle Book Launch Report


The launch of The Three Secrets of Green Business went really well last night. A nice mix of friends, family, clients, business partners and interested others in the audience - some of them bought copies too (see pic for a satisfied customer). We had some very intelligent questions in the Q&A; so all in all it was a great event. Thanks to Newcastle Business School for hosting and to Dr Ron Beadle for chairing - Ron stepped in at the last minute even though it was his birthday, so I was very grateful.

We've taped the presentation and will be putting excerpts up here in due course. Don't forget there will be another one in London on 4th Feb. RSVP if you would like to attend.

My other good news is that the BASE 2010 conference has made a bulk purchase of the book - one for every delegate. I'll be doing a signing there and possibly a seminar. If your organisation would like to make a similar bulk purchase (which can include a company logo), the details are here.

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6 January 2010

London & Newcastle Book Launch Receptions

I'm delighted to announce that we'll be holding another reception to celebrate the publication of The Three Secrets of Green Business, this time in London. The event will be hosted by digital marketing/technology agency LBi, to whom we are very grateful.

The details for London are:

Time: 6-8pm
Date: 4 Feb 2010
Location: Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU (click here for a map)

Don't forget the Newcastle event:

Time: 6-8pm
Date: 28 Jan 2010
Location: Newcastle Business School, City Campus East, Newcastle upon Tyne (click here for a map)

During both receptions we'll have some mingling and drinking followed by a short presentation by yours truly followed by more mingling and drinking! RSVP - you are welcome to bring a guest, but please let us know for the numbers.

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3 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Looking back, 2009 was a brilliant year for Terra Infirma. We worked with some great new clients like the NHS, Aker Solutions Ltd, Middlesbrough Council and Innovation Scout, while continuing working with long term clients like the EU and the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme. We had our rebranding exercise to polish up our image and installed a new phone system. And our turnover kept growing, despite the ongoing recession (we also spent more on the business than ever before).

Personally, my big story was the birth of Jimmy, my second son. Coming a close second was the publication of book #1, The Three Secrets of Green Business and getting about half of #2, The Green Executive, written as well. I also launched the Green Gurus website and added profiles of 10 environmental pioneers. Hint: this could just possibly become book #3 - you read it here first.

Looking forward to 2010, we're starting with the book launch at Newcastle Business School on 28 Jan (e-mail us for details or to book a seat), and, to be confirmed, one in London soon after. As mentioned, I hope to have The Green Executive finished by June. Or July. Hopefully. Which means a publication date of Spring 2011. We are also planning to have some quality new content on the website in the Spring of this year. And of course, the Low Carbon Agenda will continue to provide unique insights, news and tips for free throughout the year - this month we'll be looking at peak oil before going on to low carbon strategy development and leadership.

The wider sustainability picture will almost certainly move on rapidly through 2010. OK, Copenhagen was a flop - or a 'Klimafarce' as the Danish press dubbed it - but it did show that the world was serious about taking on this issue - and at a Premier level, not just lip service from environmental ministries. Proactive businesses will continue to move ahead of the pack, green spending will continue to rise (as it has through the recession) and laggards will fall further behind as they lose business to greener rivals. The big questions that remain are whether the economy will be rebuilt as green as everyone claims it will be, whether green technologies will go mainstream (solar PV, electric vehicles, smart grids et al) and, here in the UK, whether the result of the general election will have any effect on this.

So what are your green goals for 2010? You could sign your organisation up to the 10:10 campaign, you could set up a staff committee, you could appoint a director level staff member to lead on green. You could set an ambitious target, develop your strategy or develop a new green product. Whatever it is, if you need some assistance, you know where to find us!

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