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23 March 2009

Weekly Tip(s) #48: The last GBB tip...

This is the last of the weekly tips from the Green Business Bible:

A Green Business is not a charity.

A Green Business has to compete with and beat non-green businesses. No one will feel sorry for you or give you a handout when you need one. I have seen a recycling technology developer almost literally pull his hair out because a Local Authority wouldn’t buy his innovative but highly expensive product. He accused them of stupidity, but I couldn’t help thinking that this was a bit rich coming from a so-called businessman who couldn’t understand why his target customers weren’t buying.

I'm taking a long weekend and I'll have a think about whether to continue with general tips on a Monday. If you find them useful then please let me know.

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16 March 2009

Weekly Tip(s) #48: The waste hierarchy is not carved in stone

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

OK the waste hierarchy says minimisation is better than recycling, but minimising a large waste stream by a small amount is pointless if it makes recycling the rest uneconomic. The waste hierarchy is just a rule of thumb - apply common sense at all times.

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9 March 2009

Weekly Tip(s) #47: Design it out

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

Design out environmental problems - McDonough and Braungart have a neat little saying:
“Take the filters out of the pipes and put them where they belong - in the designers’ heads.”

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2 March 2009

Weekly Tip(s) #46: Biofuel Rule of Thumb

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

There is much debate at present over the sustainability of biofuels, but a simple rule of thumb is:

• Biofuels from crops are currently considered unsustainable;

• Biofuels from waste products (eg used cooking oil, agricultural waste) are considered sustainable.

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Posted by Gareth Kane one response

24 February 2009

Weekly Tip(s) #45: Beware of the Sharks

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

Beware. There is a small but significant number of sharks out there trying to sell immature or ineffective technologies. This is the case in any economic bubble, but the green imperative has provided additional sentimental weak points for the unscrupulous to exploit. I have personally met several of these crooks in my time and I suggest you keep an eye out. A con man’s business is to trick people so be careful -before parting with hard cash, always ask for references (and follow them up), do a credit check and maintain a healthy cynicism.

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16 February 2009

Weekly Tip(s) #44: Maintain your maintenance

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

Maintain your equipment and plant properly. I've lost count of the number of times I've pointed out the thousands (or tens of thousands) of pounds that a company is wasting in energy and waste costs through bad maintenance, only to be told "We don't have the budget". Sort it out!

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9 February 2009

Weekly Tip(s) #43: The Don'ts of Green Claims

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

Avoid the following while making green claims:

  • Lying: don’t be tempted.
  • Manipulating life cycle data: WYGIWYN - the What You Get Is What You Need syndrome.
  • Selective reporting: OK, so your new product may be made from 100% recycled material, but if it is also highly toxic, it would be a bit naughty to suggest it is ‘green’.
  • Irrelevance: stating CFC-free on a product which is never likely to contain CFCs.
  • Overstating the case: Shell recently got in trouble with the Advertising Standards Agency for implying that all of their CO2 emissions were used to grow flowers when only 0.325% were used in this way.
  • Being vague: simply saying you are green is not good enough. Prove it!

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Posted by Gareth Kane one response

2 February 2009

Weekly Tip #42: water recycling

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

Use rainwater harvesting for a sustainable source of water but avoid grey-water recycling until technology improves.

Grey water-recycling is the use of water from sinks, showers and baths, although many people use the term erroneously when they mean rainwater harvesting. The main problem with recycling grey-water is the other material (eg soap and faecal matter) that comes with it which can cause odours, safety issues and other problems.

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26 January 2009

Weekly Tip #41: Avoid the cliches

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

Eco-clichés turn people off - particularly cynics. Personally I never want to see a picture of hands cupping a sapling ever again. Find a stronger brand for your green communications - and one with a spark of originality.

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19 January 2009

Weekly Tip #40: Parking

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

Manage on-site parking to encourage greener forms of commuting - ideas include:

  • Putting covered cycle racks near the front door.
  • Limiting parking permits: a fair and transparent method of allocating permits based on need rather than seniority is required to avoid staff insurrection;
  • Paying extra to those who do not take a permit;
  • Charging daily parking charges can give staff more flexibility than permits. For example an employee may use the bus most days, but needs to use a car one day a week for the school run.

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12 January 2009

Weekly Tip #39: Watch your tone

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

Match the tone of your internal and external green communications to the culture of your business. If your's is a funky place to work, be fun and 'more stilettos than sandals', but if you are a traditional manufacturer in an engineering supply chain, be practical and technical. You'll find it easier to get others on board if you speak their language.

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16 December 2008

Weekly Tip #38: Motors

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

Motors are responsible for a 64% of industrial electricity demand (source Carbon Trust) so they should form a key priority of any manufacturers' energy efficiency campaign:

  • Implement an upgrade plan for motors, and always buy the most efficient model as any additional cost will be paid back very quickly in most cases.
  • Install Variable Speed Drive motors where appropriate eg rather than constantly pumping a fluid against a valve.

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8 December 2008

Weekly Tip #37: Managing Expectations

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

One trap that many fall into when working with stakeholders is to raise expectations too high. If stakeholders start to believe that they have ultimate say, they will get very angry if and when they are told they can’t have what they want. Tell them clearly:

We are listening to you, but at the end of the day we have to make the decisions, and sometimes we will disagree.

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1 December 2008

Weekly Tip #36: Black & Grey Lists

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

Develop ‘grey’ and ‘black’ lists for your business to filter out materials and chemicals which are not ‘safe’. Black list substances should never be purchased and those on the grey list should only be used where no alternative exits. Black and grey lists are highly industry specific, so you will need to research toxic materials in your business and determine which can and can’t be replaced.

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24 November 2008

Weekly Tip #35: Overcoming internal resistance

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

If key individuals in your organisation think that the environment is only for be-sandaled tree huggers, then don’t panic, you just have to take another tack. Don’t mention the environment. Ever. Instead you need to talk in purely business terms such as:
• “Do you know that we are wasting £20 000 on energy every year?”
• “Have you seen how much they’re charging us for Hazardous Waste? Do you think it’s time to phase out hazardous materials?”
• “Our biggest client has just sent a supplier’s questionnaire asking for our environmental policy.”
• “The Environment Agency are here and they want to talk to you.”

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Posted by Gareth Kane no responses

17 November 2008

Weekly Tip #34: Blowing in the wind

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

Wind is currently the most cost effective source of renewable energy, but you should tackle planning permission and community concerns on wind before investment. The small microturbines are useless in urban environments.

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10 November 2008

Weekly Tip #33: Green driving

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

Train staff on fuel efficient driving techniques - the Department of Transport claims an average of 14 per cent fuel consumption improvement in its Safe and Fuel Efficient Drivers (SAFED) scheme which trained van drivers in good driving practice. In turn this resulted in an average £500.00 saving per vehicle per year.

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5 November 2008

Weekly Tip #32: Back up your claims

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

The worst kind of greenwash is the vague 'kind to the planet' type statement. If you want to present yourself as green, you must back up your claims. Your website is the ideal place for publishing data to back up slogans made elsewhere.

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Posted by Gareth Kane one response

28 October 2008

Weekly Tip #31: Work with your suppliers

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

Work with your suppliers to match specification to your needs - this can reduce waste and energy consumption at both ends. I have given the example before of Walkers' Crisps who found that their potato suppliers were keeping their product hydrated (requiring energy) which was not only unnecessary but required even more energy to fry than if they had simply done nothing.

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13 October 2008

Weekly Tip #30: Tackle fear of the dark

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

Windowless rooms (eg stores, washrooms and kitchens) are often left lit when unused - I've never worked out whether it's due to laziness or fear of the dark. This can be tackled either by providing some natural light where possible (eg by putting in some glass bricks, a skylight or a light tube), and/or installing automatic controls to switch the lights off when the room is unoccupied.

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