How will construction deal with open supply chain carbon transparency

Have long followed the work of Sourcemap, an open source project to map supply chain transparency. Using one of the examples on the site (usually an iPod or the IKEA bed) creates a great discussion in my sustainability workshops and classes.

A recent and informative article on Business of Fashion under the heading of Fashion2.0 talks of Icebreaker and their baacodes, Patagonia and their Footprint Chronicles website , WalMart, IKEA, and others, all tracking the carbons and transport miles of production and assembly.

In construction we are only just starting to think about the carbons of what we do, for constructC02 for example. Who will be the first construction organisation to opening and publicly track the real carbon and construction miles for a project.

And where will the driver or the pressure to do so come from?

As Sourcemap is open, there is in my mind a great student research project here to map the source carbons and carbon footprint for a complete construction project or new build home. Lets really start to understand the impact of construction! 


Treading Softly

I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams
W B Yeats
and as Ken Robinson adds …

well watch to the end of the talk 🙂

(Via The Green Stain Guru)

In case you missed it – 4 ways to improve your PQQ

In case you missed it I have started an occasional series of PQQ and Bid tips based on many years of writing, reviewing and assessing PQQ bids over on another posterous page at PQQ+

So far the items covered include

With more to come …

#PQQPlus Tips No 4: Evidence – Telling the story

Evidence – anecdotal or compelling?

Look at the evidence you submit in your PQQ's, Bids Presentations and Interviews and ask the 'so what' question. If you were reading for the first time what would you think?  Is it anecdotal, could it have been written by anyone or is it unique to you. Are your project sheets the run of the mill nice pictures and flat descriptive text that most construction marketing departments have churned out over the years?

Make you evidence real, make it come alive and tell your story, talk about the who, the why, the how, the where as well as the what. Talk about the innovative approaches you used yes, but also what you learnt and now repeat as good practice.  

Make your project sheets tell the story of the project, make them come alive with maps, links to innovate web pages, links to your linkedin pages, staff profiles or facebook pages. 

Between bids, get an independent,(external or internal) health check and update your evidence, your stories and your project sheets ready for the next one to land.

Big Society – useful thinking or a dangerous distraction? #bigsociety

I have a number of reasons to engage with and understand the current or new Big Society thinking:

My community enterprise movement to improve the local facilities and resilience of a very rural community in Whitechapel and Inglewhite on the edge of the Forest of Bowland, will be affected by cuts and big society developments

My recent involvement working with and supporting the development of Classofyourown to engage with the next generation of built environment professionals. To date largely funded from public sources, now seeking private funds and supports to fill the gap from the drastic austerity cuts. (although how can you call cutting funding from programmes designed to give children not in education, employment or training a chance to get back into the system austerity cuts?)

As a co-founder of be2camp – a social media advocacy and unconference programme that has sustainability and community engagement through social media and web technology In addition I run social media surgeries for both for-profit and not-for-profit organisations and facilitate unconference events, all of which seems to be a theme in big society at the moment.

As a co-developer along with Keith Alexander of the CbFM thinking – Community Based Facilities Management that seeks to bring the community and social dimension into mainstream strategic facilities management along side the other three dimensions that FM is too often blinkered focused on – that of time cost and performance.

As a long term (passive) supporter of the Transition Town movement, bringing that thinking of resilience, peak oil, local skills and procurement into my main stream work themes of supporting improvement in construction and FM organisations.

So, my thoughts then on big society at the moment?

My engagement with big society thinking so far, and further moulded at the oddly uncomfortable Big Society in the North West event held in Stockport last week, is that it could be a dangerous distraction from the good work and development already happening.  At Stockport I sensed, along with others, confusion, frustration and even anger within the debates, aimed at MP's and the event organisers. There is confusion of what to do next, what to do with the great thinking and debating.  Perhaps the event started from a too political stance rather than one of big society provision.  The event did make great use of twitter as a backchannel for open debate often at odds with organisers comments.(see the twitter comments during the event). There was also frustration at the lack of involvement from the Big Society advisor Nat Wei at local events.

Those already involved in great community work are now turning energy into debating big society. Community entrepreneurs, volunteers and 'mavens' already seem have found a 30 hour day – what capacity do we have to do more debating, what capacity to take on the gaps from the coalition cuts?

Is there a possibility that the big society thinking will not outlive the present coalition or government and we could see another change of direction within 3-5 years? However we see a rapid dismantling of public service mechanisms which will prove very difficult or impossible to reverse, we still suffer from the work of the Thatcher Government. Big Society implies a local aspect, local empowerment, yet central government decisions can undermine all this in one swipe

Looking forward, in my mind we have a number of options:

Take the Cornucopian view and do nothing now as something will emerge soon to refill our rapidly emptying glass.

Take an accomodationalist view and accommodate changes as and when they occur – ir do the minimum necessary 

Take a Communalist view, preferably to me, continue all the good work through community need – not because of some central thinking on big society says we should, but to tag these activities as big society where and when appropriate. We will start to understand big society that is there and as it emerges. And it is on this theme that the best thing I took away from Stockport was the urgent need for a community led wiki type tagged database of all the current activities, with lessons learnt and importantly guidance for replication.

Big society however it is and will be defined has been happening very successfully outside of the new big society thinking, for example in the Transition Town movement. Lets be careful not to throw babies away with bathwater or whatever the expression is through unnecessary distraction.

Since writing this article there is a fascinating dialogue emerging between Julian Dobson and Nat Wei over at Living with Rats

Reduce energy costs and carbon footprint with new iPhone app

A new application for iPad and iPhone recently released by London-based mobile software developer Qreative Medias provides quick assessments of a home's energy efficiency based on the guidelines of three performance certification programs.

Having downloaded the app I will test and review over the weekend. I am particularly  interested to see if this can have a wider use for example in small offices and construction accommodation and for home use whether app can be used by someone without any construction knowledge.

Qreative Medias described the app as bringing  the ability to audit and generate an A to G rating home effieciency report of any home to everyone, with uses ranging from helping to reduce energy bills, reducing CO2 footprint, improving your asset, advising a client and buying a home wisely.