Monthly Archives: September 2015

Beyond sustainability: Buildings are a climate change problem … and also part of the solution.

Buildings are a climate change problem … and also part of the solution. With buildings responsible for an estimated 40% of all carbon emissions and having a huge influence of lifestyle, commerce and industry carbon reduction efforts, we can now longer afford to incrementally be less bad. And this year, 2015, being a significant year for climate change action, with the COP21 in Paris in December and the imminent release of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it is time to recognise the role of buildings as a climate change solution.

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Beyond Sustainability, as you may have seen in the media, via social media or by invite, is our significant event in London on the 5th Oct. The event highlight will be Jason McLennan’s (CEO International Living Futures Institute) first UK keynote, which promises to be an inspiring call to do more good, as being less bad is not just enough anymore

The event will also include an overview of Living Building Challenge and Well Building Standard activity in the UK from Martin Brown, Fairsnape, and Ann Marie Aguilar, Arup Associates.  Hattie Hartman (Sustainability Editor at AJ) will chair a panel debate, featuring regenerative and well being sustainability activity in the UK from a range of presenters.  In addition John Alker UKGBC will introduce the UKGBC’s new campaign ‘Better Places for People‘ 

There will, of course, be opportunity for Q and A panel debates with speakers.

Please take this as your invite to attend. The event will held appropriately, in the wonderful Royal College of Physicians building on Regents Park. More details and how you can you can still register here.

Jason F. McLennan Keynote speaker:

Considered one of the most influential individuals in the green building movement today and the recipient of prestigious Buckminster Fuller Prize (the planet’s top prize for socially responsible design), Jason F. McLennan’s work has made a pivotal impact on the shape and direction of green building in the United States and Canada and he is a much sought after designer, presenter and consultant on a wide variety of green building and sustainability topics around the world.

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Integrating environmental management with business strategy. ISO14001:2015 published: Key revisions outlined.

At last, the long awaited next edition of ISO 14001:2015, integrating environmental management with business strategy has been published and available here

ISO-14001-–-5-ways-the-revised-ISO-14001-is-even-better-ENNEW IN ISO 14001 (updated from my blog post 13 July 2015)

ISO 14001:2015 adopts the High Level Structure which is now the required framework for all new and revised management system standards. (We will see the same structure in the new ISO 9001 and other ISO’s )

Strategic environmental management

There is a new requirement to comprehend the context of the organisation determining external and internal issues pertinent to the organisation and the environment, with actions to address them within the Environmental Management System (EMS).

14001 now embeds environmental and sustainability thinking into the high level strategy, vision and policy planning aspects of an organisation and project

Leadership

A new clause has been added with particular responsibilities for top management to express their leadership and commitment to environmental management. Top management may assign this responsibility to others but retain accountability.

14001 calls for increased accountability for the leadership (CSE, MD) of an organisation or project to ensure ongoing commitment and engagement  with environment and sustainability activities in the organisation.

Protecting the environment

Environmental policy shall incorporate a commitment to the ‘protection of the environment’. There is no definition about ‘protection’ that includes ‘prevention of pollution’ and ‘other’ commitments, such as sustainable resource use, climate change mitigation and adaptation, protection of biodiversity and ecosystems, etc.

The 14001 change from protection to prevention is significant, requiring a proactive approach and can be seen to move closer to a restorative thinking towards the environment

Environmental performance

There is a shift in emphasis with regard to continual improvement, from improving the management system to improving environmental performance. The key focus is on improving performance related to the management of environmental aspects. The organisation shall decide on criteria to evaluate its environmental performance, using correct indicators.

Again a significant and proactive change: from monitoring to improving performance

Lifecycle thinking

Organisations will need to extend its control and influence to the environmental impacts from raw material acquisition/generation to end-of-life treatment. This does not imply a requirement to do a life cycle assessment (LCA), just thinking carefully about the stages of product/service that can be controlled or influenced.

There will be much debate on this 14001 change, but indicates a proactive approach to design and specification that takes into account material and building(?) environmental impact through to end of life, encouraging more design for re-use, deconstruction plans and circular economy thinking

Outsourced processes

Organisations need to control or influence outsourced processes.

Will, at last bring contracted-out elements of a project fully into ISO 14001 environmental management, and will undoubtedly see an increase, and reinforcing of 14001 as a contract and subcontract requirement.

Communication

Emphasis on internal and external communication, and equal treatment of both has been added. The decision to communicate externally is retained by the organisation whilst taking into account its compliance obligations.

Welcomed 14001 improvement for the digital and social media age of communications and transparency

Documentation

The term ‘documented information’, is used instead of ‘documents’ and ‘records’. The organisation has the flexibility to conclude when ‘procedures’ are required. Any format (paper, cloud, etc.) would be valid.

Again a welcomed improvement in the digital and social media age of documentation and data management

ISO 14001:2004 TRANSITION

Organisations that are already certified to ISO 14001:2004 will have three years from formal publication of ISO 14001:2015 in which to transfer to the new version of this standard. Based on the current publication schedule, this transition period would end in September 2018.

Working in collaboration with a number of organisation on EMS and 14001 improvement, we have commenced future proofing systems and environmental approaches to address ISO 14001:2015 and in doing so improve integration between sustainability approaches, organisation strategy and governance. Get in touch to find out how this could help your environment management take the next step forward.

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