Tag Archives: Andrea Learned

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.

Whats new?

14001 Support

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On #tweetchats and future #sustldrconv conversations …

By Martin Brown and Andrea Learned

It has been huge fun co-hosting the sustainability leadership conversation since back in early 2013. This labor of love has introduced us to new ideas, leaders and friends, both in social media and in real life. However with emerging additional commitments (Martin with his forthcoming FutuREstorative book, Andrea in her new We Mean Business role) we have decided to scale back.

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What ambitiously started as monthly chats, then dropped to every two months or so. We now propose to drop to 3 or less per year, likely with Martin taking the lead and Andrea an occasional guest host.

Having given time freely to run the conversation series for a few years now, we have huge respect for others who run regular successful chats on twitter. They are time consuming and don’t happen overnight. Guests and topic are sought, questions and anticipated responses discussed, promotion and invites managed, in addition to the hosting and post chat transcripts … it all takes more time than the casual tweet-chat observer might realize.

Tweet chat hosts are by no means simply hosts. Instead, they need to be fairly knowledgeable in the topic and to know their way around, have experience in and be well known on across social media. They need to have developed a trusted reputation within their topic’s community, and thus, be able to persuade a fair number of people to take an hour from an already busy day to learn in an often very new-to-them way.

Through #sustldrconv we feel we have established a brand for sustainability conversations. We’ve held very successful conversations, connected many twitter users through excellent guests, and shared great content (see some of our Storify accounts). Perhaps most important to us, we know from feedback that we’ve moved the needle on sustainability awareness for many.

Keen to not lose that influence or brand, sustldrconv will continue, but on a less rigid footing, holding chats to meet demand, related to our own work or research and related themes. That said, the experience and skill we have developed should not go to waste. For example Martin will continue to be “for hire” as Tweetchat consultant and Andrea will be using her strengths, perhaps more behind the scenes, with her work the rest of this year.

In addition we would not be adverse for our great friends, guests and contributors to the series so far to ‘guest’ host future #sustldrconv from. If that interests you, please so get in touch.

Social media technology is changing fast. Martin has often commented that the tweet chat is the new benchmarking. No longer do we need to travel and spend to understand what others are doing. There is so much initial fact-finding that can be done from our offices or homes, with little more than an hour’s chat investment. It will be interesting to see how the tweet chat element of twitter develops or is eclipsed by new applications. (Will this year’s SXSW-emergent social media app Meerkat or twitters own Periscope replace some twitter sharing?)

We thank you for your interest in, and support of, #SustLdrConv these past years. We have enjoyed learning with you, and have felt so rewarded by perhaps getting even a handful of you more interested in the power of Twitter and sustainability.

Martin and Andrea

Twitter for Sustainable Business

17062008118“I didn’t know twitter could be used for business, I thought it was just for complaining and moaning on poor service” A comment from a recent chat on a construction site illustrates the level of understanding of twitter and social media within the sector.

OK, it is maybe more daunting to start using twitter today than it was four or so years ago when I wrote in the Guardian “Why Construction Should Engage with Social Media”, but the reasons and rationale for doing so remain the same, but now perhaps with more urgency.

I am often asked where to find the best source for up to date information and thinking on sustainability in the built environment, in design, in construction and in facilities management . My response is the same as in 2011, i.e. “There is probably no better, and certainly no more accessible, tool for keeping abreast with sustainability thinking, development, papers, case studies and failures than twitter”

We were reminded by Martha Lane Fox, in her Dimbleby Lecture this week of Aaron Swartz’s comment “It is not OK not to understand the internet anymore” and too right, its akin to not understanding or wanting to engage with email or the telephone or the radio or …

So just where would we start today? 

I liken twitter and social media to the radio, it’s live, it’s full of great comments and content, but also non stop and full of unwanted content or ‘noise’. Therefore one of the modern skills we have developed is filtering out noise from that we are really interested in – we use programme schedules, our beloved wireless sets to tune in and occasionally use the off switch. In twitter we can do this through lists, through hashtags and with suitable applications (think apps such as tweetdeck as your digital wireless) Not only is this now an essential life and business skill, for directors, managers and others in the built environment, its sadly not one included in the sector’s education and training.

There are great social media training courses out there – but many are the equivalent of the Letter Writing Courses that many us would have attended pre-email days. Informative and entertaining with many wow tips, but the content was soon eclipsed and rarely applied, which is why I continue to recommend and deliver one to one coaching over time.

Following hashtags such as #GreenBIM, #UKBIMCrew #CSRchat #sustldrconv will bring up to date thinking, links and help direct to your twitter stream. Start building your lists for great content and insight, check out the top 500 lists curated by Jim McClelland, for example: Built Environment SustainabilityGreen Infrastructure or BIMAnd keep your twitter ear open for curated lists: for example: 30 CSR Pro’s to follow in 2015 or the EcoBuild 2015 Influencers list

“Resistance to twitter is futile” as my colleague Andrea Learned wrote in her Linkedin article recently. You will start using it sometime soon, your competitors are most likely using it today, your staff are, and the most informed on built environment sustainability issues certainly are.

Seattle, Vancouver and Squamish: a sustainability visit.

Having just returned from a visit / tour of sustainability projects in the Cascadia, NW pacific area of Seattle, Vancouver and Squamish, combined with a outdoor vacation, I am now sorting copious notes, photos and observations from the trip that will form future blog posts and inclusion in my forthcoming book, FutuREstorative.

File 16-03-2015 22 55 55

There were so many ‘highlights’ of the trip that will feature in future articles, but, as a quick summary:

The lack of snow inhibited any real winter sports without really venturing deep into backcountry. I was later to learn that this year ‘pineapple express’ wind and low snowpack levels will have an adverse affect on water aquifers across the region.

Walking and biking in forests where bear, cougar and coyote roamed and (worryingly, so early in the year) had been spotted during our visit introduced a fission of alertness not known in the UK or Europe and made for interesting discussions on re-wilding the UK countryside!

A return visit to the Austrian House at Lost lake Whistler, a Passive House gift from Austria to the 2006 Olympics and Canada’s first PH registered project.

Understanding the distinctive heavy timber architecture of the Squamish area, and visits to buildings at the stunning location of Quest Campus, Squamish and the Environmental Learning Centre at the North Vancouver Outdoor School in Brackendale (winner of a Wood Design Award held in Vancouver that week)

Meeting with Sustainable Leadership Conversation co-host and friend Andrea Learned who took me on a great cycle tour through her ‘hood –  the Seattle Ballard area and along the Waterfront with stop offs at the Tractor Tavern (home of garage and grunge) Stone34 (Leed Platinum Brooks HQ) finishing with great social media / sustainability discussions over dinner.

Visits to Living Building Challenge projects, the CIRS building at University of British Columbia, the Bullet Centre in Seattle and the VanDusen visitor centre Vancouver as well as understanding other notable sustainability buildings such as the MEC HQ in Vancouver and Stone34 in Seattle.

Water featured in visits and discussions, in particular that we should start to address water in the same way we do for energy performance in buildings – from the impact on “fossil-water” through to buildings, like the Bullitt Centre acting like trees and returning 80% of water that falls on the building to the aquifer and in using the 20% many times in closed loop systems. And of course those waterless composting toilets …

Whilst in the Bullitt Centre it was fun to to provide a live update back to and converse with the Living Building Challenge UK Collaborative water petal workshop in Leeds.

But it wasn’t just the big restorative sustainability concepts that inspired, often it’s the small but awesome detail that is essential in reinforcing the messages, like the CIRS building on UBC where the solar aqua filter plant room is positioned at the entrance, viewed by all entering the building as a reminder. But perhaps the best message being in CIRS café area where two vegetarian meals are served for each meat meal, reinforcing the message of the resources in land and water to provide the meat meal compared to that of the vegetarian.

File 17-03-2015 09 03 34It was of course great to visit the Bullitt Centre and question behind the stories covered on the web and numerous articles; it really is an inspiring building and lives up to its green reputation. But now the real challenge starts – “to replicate the Bullitt Centre a thousand, a million times and fast” Over an iced tea with Denis Hayes we discussed the real possibility of a Bullitt Centre type project in Manchester as the hub for iDSP, the Institute for Design Space and Place.

Many inspiring chats and discussions gave insights into restorative sustainability for example with Tim Herrin at CIRS, with Brad Khan who really knows the Bullitt Centre inside out, with Denis Hayes, with the LBC team (great to meet and catch up with Amanda Sturgeon, Eric Corey Freed,  Hilary Mayhew, Stacia and Bonnie) and, completely by chance, at a Vancouver dinner party, a planner involved in the LBC certified Childcare facility at Simon Fraser University. An evening meal with Ken Carty, author and retired political scientist at UBC provided interesting insights into Canadian politics.

I guess no visit to the Pacific NW could be complete without getting to understanding some of the environmental politics – particularly to the north of British Columbia where the TNG and the proposed Northern Gateway oil sands bitumen pipeline is being fought to prevent environmental damage to an awesome wilderness areas. A visit to the newly opened, community located, Patagonia store in Vancouver provided further insights to Patagonia’s environmental and responsibility activity in the area via their excellent ‘zine booklet published for the stores opening ‘In the Land of the Misty Giants’ (issuu version here)

I should of course mention the reason d’etre for the trip was triggered by my partner, Soo Downe and her midwifery week at UBC with the highlight of her public lecture at the Inaugural Elaine Carty Midwifery Programme (Storify here)

But who would of thought that Cows would feature in my tour. Denis Hayes kindly gifted me a copy of his new book Cowed co-written with his wife Gail Boyer Hayes. Cowed provides a fascinating insight to how Cows impact so much both on our lives and the environment and was a great read on the long flight back from Vancouver.

So, many people to thank for such a great vacation and study tour, from Brett at the awesome Squamish airBNB, Andrea Learned, the ILFI team, our friends and hosts in Vancouver, those who gave time to talk or provide tours, Denis Hayes, Tim Herring, Brad Kahn and many more. And of course great company, thanks Soo, Chris and Emma

Future posts will use the hashtags #futurestorative and/or #VanSea2015

#SustLdrConv – Update to our autumn series.

Sustainability is moving into new territories, with new leaders and leadership styles. Social media is increasingly being used as a tool for engaging, learning and sharing to further the emerging collective of sustainability leadership and organizational development approaches.

Because we realized how much “socialising” sustainability leadership could impact our sustainable future, Andrea Learned  (Seattle based writer and social strategist for sustainable business and so much more)  and I decided to collaborate, across “the pond” and a continent to develop the #SustLdrConv (Sustainability Leadership Conversation) Twitter chat.

We know that our combined individual professional expertise and solid sustainability social networks results in a thoughtful and fun transfer of sustainability learning across sectors. Since we launched the chat in July of 2013, the built environment has been the root of our explorations, but our conversations since have also included organisational leadership authors, corporate sustainability directors and open forums on women in leadership, among other topics.

Our May chat with Denis Hayes of The Bullitt Foundation was incredibly rich.

We are excited for our fall schedule that includes:

BuOSfWeIUAAG1tHAugust 5: Alison Watson of Class Of Your Own discussed how she is inspiring and educating the next generation of sustainability leaders in construction and design and more, (see storify of the conversation from Andrea Learned here

September 2: Tabitha Crawford, SVP of sustainability and innovation for Balfour Beatty Investments, and the author of Five Epic Mistakes of Sustainability in Higher Education.

October 7: We go live from #SXSWEco (guests TBA) in Austin.

***

Select archived Storify summaries of past #SustLdrConv:

Aman Singh of CSRWire (April 1, 2014)

Peggy Ward of Kimberly-Clark (February 4, 2014)

#SustLdrConv happens the first Tuesday of the month at 11 am PT, 2 pm ET, 7 pm UK.

This article also appears on Andreas blog at http://learnedon.com/

Tweetchat Week: w/c 4th Feb 2014

images (1)Next week is shaping up to be a brilliant week of tweetchats and twitter based conversations.

Checkout:

European Green Build

First up on Tuesday 4th Feb I will be interviewing  Building the Future (based in Catalonia, Romania and Brazil) with @C21EXPO_Europe as part of the Construction21 Euro Green Build virtual Expo tweetchat series. We will be discussing sustainability communities in the built environment.

>>> Join this conversation on this chat at 11am UK, 12 CET using the hashtag #ExpoC21Chat

Sustainability Stakeholder Engagement

Later the same day at 7 pmUK (11am PT and 2pm ET)  I am delighted to be in conversation with Peggy Ward, sustainability officer at Kimberley Clark. Peggy, based in Appleton WI, USA will be explaining how Kimberly Clark engage with and learn from their stakeholder groups. This conversation is part of the monthly Sustainable Leadership Conversations series created by Andrea Learned and Martin Brown (see our Google+ community pages)

>>> Join with this conversation on the 4th Feb at 11am PST, 2pm ET and 7pm UK using the #sustldrconv hashtag

Living Building Challenge with the UKGBC PinPoint

And then, on the 6th February, as part of the UKGBC’s Pinpoint programme taking place 3-7 Feb to increase awareness of The Living Building Challenge in the UK with UKGBC members, we will be hosting, with @UKGBC Pinpoint, a conversation with Amanda Sturgeon, VP of the Living Building Challenge at the International Living Futures Institute in Seattle.

>>> Join this conversation at 11am PST, 2pm ET and 7pm UK using the #GVischat hashtag.

All of the above tweetchats will run for 60mins and provide ample opportunity to post questions to guests, share your experiences and comment on the subject matter.

We look forward to seeing you there, and if you would like to discuss how tweetchats can promote your organisation or sustainability initiatives please do get in touch.

Also of note next week is the #CSRChat with Susan McPherson on 6th Feb at 5pm UK

iSite Links:

Records of tweetchats and conversations

Are Tweetchats: the new digital benchmarking?

#tweetchats … observations + how to

Constructing social media leadership …

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOver the last year or so we have seen growth and a big change in attitudes to social media, with perhaps in twitter particular, now an accepted element in today’s communication mix.

Those who a few years back were adamantly against social media have now joined, often with a fanfare of “we’ve arrived, we’re innovative” (look at us!) and with some organisations once totally anti social media now proclaiming expertise in helping others.

Back in 2012 I wrote in the Guardian (Why the construction sector should engage with social media) that one of the barriers to social media take up, and hence by default a barrier to collaborative working communications,  BIM, learning and sharing  and general construction improvement is the reluctance of directors and senior managers to recognise, embrace or enable social media. Of course there are as ever some great exceptions to this,  But all too often directors have tinkered out of curiosity, and empty LinkedIn and twitter accounts set up now tell a different story … of organisations and directors who are poor communicators.

So why are built environment organisation leaders slow to embrace these communication platforms? Maybe its the:

Need to retain control – the beauty of social media is in its open sharing, we can never know who staff will reach, converse with, learn from, share with, collaborate with and how those we converse with will respond.

Lack of understanding Digital communications is expanding rapidly, beyond the understanding of many. Consequently many directors feel vulnerable in engaging with something they don’t understand, so stay away.

Fear of just being a fad. Without a clear vision of how social media will evolve, and how it can be used strategically to benefit an organisation, many directors are reluctant to invest in seemingly unchartered waters.

And all this is sad for a 21st century construction sector, where communications are so often the root cause of most of our problems, where most companies promote a vision of innovative, open, collaborative and where most directors sell themselves as enabling role models for innovation.

Social media presence is increasingly used as a good test of an organisations, and indeed the organisation’s leaders  claims within PQQ’s, Bids and PR material to be innovative, having effective internal and external communications.

Earlier this year we started Sustainability Leadership Conversations, powered by social media, to enable leaders of smaller built environment organisations to engage with the sustainability conversations that take place across across social media. Initially these are  monthly twitter conversations with leading individuals, but will expand to facilitate conversations between organisations, between UK and USA SME organisations. Join us and discuss on the 01 Oct  for our next sustainability leadership conversation by using and following the #SustLdrConv hashtag.

Having a strategy for social media in your organisation is essential, as it is with other initiatives, and should be the starting point for adopting social media approaches. To discuss support for getting your strategy underway, get in touch (Martin in UK, Andrea in USA)

If you are UK based, we can help you apply for Innovation Voucher funding to ensure your social media, digital communication and BIM journey sets off on the right footing. (Next application closes in October)