Modern Slavery : There can be no sustainability in an unequal world

As emphasised in FutuREstorative, sustainability is only possible within an equitable and socially just sector. Whilst we continue to have instances of unjust practices, of Modern Slavery, within our projects, supply chains and organisations, we simply cannot call ourselves sustainable, or worst, label our projects Excellent, Platinum or Outstanding.

FutuREstorative highlighted many innovations, inspirations and approaches that will help us with the transition towards a regenerative and sustainable future. Yet no innovation, technology, biomimic, biophilic or digital thinking will really progress our sustainability performance if we do not have a matched and parallel improvement in equality, equity, diversity and justice.

no sustainability in an unequal world

And now, as we strive for a 1.5°C cap on global warming and the attendant carbon reduction, we need to ensure that equity and equality remain at the top of every sustainability agenda. There can be no sustainability in an unequal world. Indeed sustainability should embrace the three E’s of ecology, economy and equality. As we now recognise that we need a new level of consciousness in the way we relate to nature for design and delivery of healthy, sustainable buildings, we need a similar ‘worldview’ recognition in how we respect those who produce our materials and buildings.

As part of our sustainability journey, our language in construction also needs to evolve – from one that is combative, technical and confrontational to one that is mindful, and embraces a language of collaboration, sharing, care and love.

We need a change in the narrative and address Modern Slavery in the wider context of a truly  ‘Just’ built environment, through for example mapping and monitoring against the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Modern slavery is currently blowing holes in 11 of the 17 SDG targets.

At a recent workshop we explored the causes of modern slavery, and in addition to the nature of our construction industry, (high labour, short-term contracts, geographic locations, fragmented supply chains), it is our continued drive for lowest cost, particularly in labour dominant work-packages that was seen as a real problem.

A powerful action we can take today is to embed modern slavery aspects within built environment sustainability standards and certifications. As for example JUST (Making Social Justice Your Business)  is embedded within the Living Building Challenge.

I closed FutuREstorative by repeating the most important and powerful of the Living Building Challenge’s aims: the transition to a socially just, ecologically restorative and culturally rich future.

This is a revisited version of the closing Epilogue within FutuREstorative. 

 

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Martin is recognised in the 100 modern slavery influencers index  

 

 

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Imagine Better

nature globeFollowing the success of my Imagine Better keynote for Specifi events, here are links and background reading to references made:

Much of the Imagine Better thinking is from here, my Fairsnape blog or from within FutuREstorative. Thoughts and comments and blogs from previous Specifi events are on the Specifi Blog

If you would like more information, or support in greater clarity, understanding and  interpretation of these ‘new normal’ themes please do not hesitate to get in touch. (We provide support to many organisations, including further ‘deep dive’ training, in house awareness sessions, support for bids and pitching to clients or just a chat with your team)

However, importantly we provide kick off and ongoing support for projects. As I mention in the presentations every project should commence with a Biophilic Design workshop. Speak to us about organising and facilitating your next project’s kick off.

Links to references made in the keynotes:

Yellowstone Park

Four Laws of Ecology revisited

Living Building Challenge 

Living Future Institute Europe 

FutuREstorative bibliography 

Economics of Biophilia 

Patagonia

Sustainable Development Goals 

Well Build Standard 

One Planet Living 

Declare and Red List 

Reimagine Carbon 

M C Construction  biophilic office 

 

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Cities as an Eco System?

A comment and question after the talk in Liverpool led to an interesting pre-dinner networking discussion. Are cities an ecosystem? For a short response the answer is yes, but, as in all eco systems, its complex, but makes for a great theme for future Specifi talks! The question was prompted by my showing of the Wolves in Yellowstone video and mention of Barry Commoners four laws of ecology.

Law 1 Everything is connected – the space between buildings, our pollinator pathways, our water systems, our green infrastructure all have a profound bearing on our health, wellbeing and mental state.

Law 2 There is no waste in nature – something we are starting to embrace, as we develop circular economies and strategies for the built environment, and cities design on circular economy principles. Eco systems, and as cities should be, are regenerative, providing co-benefits beyond our designs, city planning and city management. Such co-benefits we are now recognising as the health co-benefits of green infrastructure within cities.

Law 3 Nature knows best – adopting biomimicry within cities opens many opportunities for resources and health

Law 4 There is no such thing as a free lunch – any intervention with nature needs to be repaid. The longer we delay repayment the more separation and damage we cause.

To design and operate cities as an ecosystem, having a new level of consciousness in our relationship with nature is key.

We have moved, or are moving from an Ego approach to the built environment’s relationship with the natural environment – where we deemed to have total domination, to an Eco relationship, where we are starting to see ourselves, our buildings as part of nature, but still unsure what that means, as we still try to value nature in monetary terms. The new level of consciousness is often referred to as Seva. Translated variously as love of or identity with, its that innate relationship ad understanding

Over the centuries we have tried hard to prevent cities and towns acting as a eco system, designing and constructing objects (buildings) with little thought to the spaces between buildings. Following the Liverpool event, I flew out to Portland for the Living Futures Conference, where a ‘15 minutes of excellence’ keynote described how the city of Portland had imposed its rectangular East – West, North -South, grid of streets over a natural river and water course that severed relationship with natural place and land.

A good place to start, in thinking of buildings and cities as eco systems, is in the adoption of ecological and biophilic design, as we (Elizabeth Calabrese and myself) explored and led a Living Futures workshop – creating facilities and spaces that foster hopefulness, rather than hopelessness, social collaboration not isolation.

This post originally appeared on the Specifi Blog 

If you haven’t seen the Image Better talk, or the Wolves video ,you need to get along to upcoming talks – see www.specifi.co.uk/events

See also

The Practice of Biophilic Design by Stephen R. Kellert, Elizabeth F Calabrese
http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/guides/biodguide.pdf

Sustainability, Restorative to Regenerative – www.eusrestore.eu

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Klout closes this week: are we now living in the world Klout built?

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@klout May 10 To all of our fans: after careful consideration we have decided to shut down the Klout website & the Klout Score. This will happen on May 25, 2018. It has been a pleasure serving you, and thank you for your ongoing support over the years. Details here: lith.tc/2wtAAEp

Klout came into the world of social media back in 2008, the same year as we founded Be2Camp, a network to explore application and potential of social media within construction. (At that time an alternative to Klout, PeerIndex was founded in 2009 by Be2Camp member Azeem Azhar)

Klout, the leading ‘influence score’ platform, ever-present over the last ten years, has generated much debate on influence scores and metrics, and been the back bone to many influence lists. Many of which I have appeared in, and delighted to have done so, from the early Guardian Sustainable Business lists to Global CSR influencer lists, Tridos Bank Sustainability Colour of Money listing, to the current and excellent Jim McClelland’s weekly (Built Environment/BIM/Modern Slavery) Top 500 series.  I think my highest Klout was 68 and I think of that as something to be proud of..

We will no doubt see one of Klout’s current competitors take its space – Kred. (And I hear today from Jim McClelland that the BIM Top 500 has adopted Kred)

Or maybe Kout has achieved what it set out to do, creating an influencer economy and reached the end of its ride – as Liriel Higa wrote recently in New York Times, We’re living in the world that Klout built.

On May 25, Klout will shut down, but not because what it set out to do is irrelevant. On the contrary: Klout is closing because, well, we’re living our Klout scores now. The “influencer economy” is thriving, and it has created a new vocabulary. I just reached 500,000 Facebook fans! My YouTube video went viral. OMG, did you see who commented on my Instagram post? I’m trending worldwide. I checked in so many times I’m the mayor of my local bar.

I was happy to get a professional boost from social media influence; today, entire careers are built on it. In our influencer-driven world, Kim Kardashian gets paid $500,000 for touting a product on Instagram. Product placement on social media is so rampant that Olivia Wilde felt compelled to include the hashtag #notanad when she posted a picture of new sustainably made sneakers by Nike.

Within my social media workshops and coaching sessions I point out the work of Kasanoff in 2013, that true influencers across social media, are Generous and Expert,in that they, we, are proactively generous with expertise before people need that information. As Munish Datta wrote in a contribution to FutuREstorative, Sharership is the new Leadership. And, as such, maybe influencers do not necessarily need a score or a ranking to be recognised.

However, we all, or many of us, like listings, high scores and the recognition to be ranked highly in listings. Listings based on Klout algorithms were once a pleasing mix of companies and individuals, demonstrating individuals have as much influence on improvement as large organisations, particularly in the construction world of sustainability, CSR, BIM etc, Such lists now topped out and dominated by large corporate and institutional organisations, suggest Klout scores have been compromised by perceived importance bias towards of organisations. It will be interesting to see how Kred rankings pan out on the large organisation / individual influence issue.

Klout may be no more, but the influence of Klout will live long.

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Sustainability, Restorative to Regenerative

Our RESTORE Cost Action publication that records the outputs of the sustainability working group is now available to download from the RESTORE website.  This publication, with contributions from over 20 EU countries is an exploration in progressing a paradigm shift in built environment thinking, from sustainability to restorative sustainability and on to regenerative sustainability.

It presents a reference document for future work of the RESTORE Action, for other Cost Actions and for built environment academia and industry organisations.

Within this publication we have sought to describe and reinforce a new era of sustainability, one that address the impacts, pressures and challenges of our anthropogenic age. Against the background of, and within the context of rapidly changing climate we no longer have the luxury not to seek a new sustainability.

It presents a new sustainability paradigm that moves away from just reducing impact to one that is committed to doing more good, through focused restorative and regenerative strategies and actions.

We have sought to establish a language of regenerative sustainability, one that includes love, place and participation in addition to regenerative approaches to energy, water and resources.

The rise in wellbeing as an element of sustainability is highly significant with many of the main stream standards now evolving to embrace wellbeing, aligning for example with the Well Build standard, or as in the case of the Living Building Challenge recognising the importance of buildings on the health and happiness of its inhabitants.

We can go much further however, though buildings that provide salotogenic co-benefits, improving the mental and physical health of those who work, play and live within our buildings, and in doing so making a significant contribution to wider health care economies.

Through the work on definitions, a worldview of sustainability, living buildings, heritage and eco­nomy, we have identified and explored a number of ‘triggers’ necessary to move us to a future built environment that is ecologically sound, culturally rich, socially just and economically viable:

››› Language – a language for sustainability that inspires, not confuses,

››› Education – inspiring the next generation,

››› Nature – reconnecting buildings with nature that in turn can reconnect people with nature,

››› Place – living buildings that contribute to and enhance stories and culture of the past and share lessons for the future,

››› Economy – moving from limited growth to Regenerative Economies.

The working group definitions, insights, visions and triggers to move us towards a regenerative economy now sets the foundations;

››› for future RESTORE working groups to build upon and to develop,

››› for industry to adopt and implement through adopting regenerative frameworks and standards identified (such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Living Building Challenge) and

››› for education & academia to embrace and include within built environment curriculums.

The built environment is currently a major contribution to climate change, the task before us is to make the shift towards a future build environment that makes responsible contribution to climate solutions.

Welcome to a new era for sustainability

 

 

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ILFI Hero Recognition

 

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A huge thank you to staff and organisers at International Living Future Institute for a wonderful and inspiring Living Futures conference in Portland last week.

I feel greatly honored and moved to be recognised as a 2018 ILFI Hero.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And grateful for the opportunity to promote my Call to Action before many of the worlds leading regenerative sustainability advocates.

 

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And, congratulations and best wishes for a regenerative future to fellow 2018 heroes: Eileen Quigley, LFA of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Paolo Bevilacqua of Frasers Property Australia, Stephen Choi of Living Future Institute of Australia, Nori Catabay of King County DNRP, and Kenner Kingston of Architectural Nexus, Anjanette Green of RESET Certified,

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I am truly appreciative for the many friends and colleagues, here in Lancashire, in the UK, Europe and around the world who have played a part in helping me attain such international and prestigious recognition.

Thank You

 

 

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Introducing: Living Future Institute Europe

After many years in discussion and planning, the LIVING FUTURE INSTITUTE EUROPE was launched at a number of events in Berlin and London last week.

In December of 2015, world leaders came together to find a path down the greenhouse gas mountain on which the world continues to climb. Calling for new investments in clean energy and water efficiency, world leaders collaboratively succeeded in establishing a new era of climate awareness. The resulting Paris Accord committed national governments to ask for and accept bold private sector investment and action. Incremental change will not provide the solutions we need in the built environment within the timeframe established in Paris.

The Institute’s mission will hasten the change and provide needed direction towards a regenerative design transition in Europe. It is actively pursuing European market alignment and adaptations of the Living Building Challenge (LBC). This work is unfolding on multiple levels, including:

  • Forming partnerships with sponsors, organizations, and developers aligned with LBC principles
  • Identifying modifications to Declare program components so they meet European product testing and reporting conventions
  • Developing customized European zones for LBC Imperative 13, Living Economy Sourcing – See Example
  • Resolving critical issues in wood certification standards – FSC vs. PEFC
  • Building and supporting local Collaboratives

“Despite the introduction of many sustainability rating systems for green buildings and their development on the market, our progress towards EU goals has been minute and barely recordable, if compared with the rate of change that is required to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Incremental change is no longer sufficient. The Living Building Challenge fosters restorative sustainability and leads building projects to move beyond merely being ‘less bad’ and to become truly regenerative.”
Carlo Battisti, COST Action RESTORE, Italian Ambassador

CARLO BATTISTI
Interim Executive Director, ILFI Europe
Owner, Sustainable Innovations Managements & Consulting

EMMANUEL PAUWELS
Green Building Consultant, Green Living Projects

MARTIN BROWN
Sustainability Provocateur, Fairsnape

 

 

www.https://living-future.org/living-future-institute-europe/

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