14 March 2012
I've often said that the litmus test for a green business is not so much what good things they do as what bad things they stop doing. InterfaceFLOR has killed off product lines requiring highly toxic materials, B&Q refused to stock patio heaters etc. This is where the businesses have decided to say a clear 'no'?
But what about activities like short haul flying? Clearly something you'd like to eradicate, but what happens if a dogmatic 'no!' would mean causing more emissions? It might be that not flying means a larger low carbon project cannot proceed without swift intervention. You are cutting off your nose to spite your face if you take a hardline, but equally you don't want to find yourself slipping into bad habits.
There are clearly three levels here:
- Things which should be encouraged;
- Things which must never be done;
- Things which should be discouraged.
Volvo deals with the distinction on the last two for chemicals by using black and grey lists to ban certain chemicals (black) and insist designers/buyers investigate alternatives first (grey). Other companies augment this with white lists of preferred chemicals.
This designation can be applied to any other aspect of business - you can create black, grey and white lists of transport options, suppliers, technologies, energy sources etc, etc. The designation between the three depends on your business, your sector and your priorities. Banning black listed items is relatively easy, the key is to ensure that white list items are always much easier to choose than their grey list equivalents.
But the bottom line is if you don't have a system you can't expect these things to happen by magic.
Tags: chemicals, culture change, strategy, supply chain, toxic, transport, travel
Posted by Gareth Kane no responses
24 October 2011
I love cycling. I'm rarely happier than buzzing along a country lane in the sun with a cool breeze, heading towards a distant teashop for a cuppa and a slice of cake.
On the wider scale, cycling is great for us all. It makes us healthier, gives us better local air quality and makes our cities quieter and more convivial. Some cities like Copenhagen have more than a third of commuters travelling by bike, yet in other countries (ie here in the UK) urban cycling is the preserve of the notorious MAMIL (Middle Age Man In Lycra).
So how can a responsible business encourage its employees to cycle? Here are a few ideas:
- Take part in a bike to work scheme or similar to subsidise cycle purchases;
- Offer cyclists mileage rates for business travel;
- Provide decent, secure, covered cycle storage in convenient locations (I saw some notorious 'wheel bender' stands at a nature reserve today grrrr... if in doubt, ask an expert);
- If your business is in a city centre, provide/sponsor public cycle stands and/or air pumps;
- Provide lockers and showers;
- Provide free cycle maintenance classes;
- Provide cycle proficiency classes;
- Organise social cycles to create a buzz;
- Encourage senior staff members to cycle to lead the way;
- Publish cycle-related stories in company newsletters;
- Create cycle challenges to see which team can cut car use the most;
- Ensure cycles can access your site safely;
- Enhance links between cycle paths/routes and your site (including signage);
- Sponsor new cycle routes where appropriate/possible;
- Provide free cycle route maps and other information;
- Provide cycles for business trips - including folding cycles for journeys involving the train) and, where appropriate, getting around site;
- Lobby trade bodies, economic development quangos and local authorities to factor cycling into their plans.
Boosting cycling is an obvious, cheap, quick win for any organisation wanting to go green. It can also contribute to what I call Corporate Civic Responsibility (enabling the local public to be more sustainable by using your financial muscle).
So what are you waiting for? Get in the saddle!
Tags: corporate civic responsibility, cycling, green travel planning, transport, travel
Posted by Gareth Kane no responses