Tag Archives: environment

Patagonia Worn Wear – UK Tour

“Let’s all become radical environmentalists” commented Patagonia chief executive Rose Marcario “As individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer. This simple act of extending the life of our (stuff) through proper care and repair reduces the need to buy more over time, thereby avoiding the CO2 emissions, waste output and water usage required to build it.”

This remains in my mind, one of the more useful of circular economy thinking approaches

Patagonia’s Worm Well bus will be setting up temporary workstations at venues across the UK to repair garments, free of charge.

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Worn Wear at Kendal Film Festival 2015

The UK leg is part of a wider five-country mission across Europe to extend the life of outdoor enthusiasts’ clothing. It starts on 15 April in the UK and Germany before moving on to other European countries.

Dates and details are on the Patagonia Worn Wear website.

It would be great to see this extended into other areas, more built environment related areas, for example, FM organisations holding free equipment repair workshops in buildings they operate, construction and consultancy organisations returning to their buildings and providing free sustainability advice and repair service … The opportunities based on circular economy business models are huge.

Put simply, if it’s broke, fix it! Dont replace it

Related previous post: (2012) Construction CSR Makeover: can construction learn from Patagonia?

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

Changes to ISO 14001: 2015 identified.

calgary treesThe latest milestone in the ISO 14001 revision process was reached on 2 July 2015 with the issue of ISO/FDIS 14001. This document is the final draft before the publication of the standard (scheduled for September 2015).

The convention at ISO is that only editorial changes to the text are permitted between the issue of the FDIS and final publication of the standard, therefore we can be reasonably sure that FDIS 14001 contains the requirements of the revised version of ISO 14001.

NEW IN ISO 14001

The FDIS 14001 adopts the High Level Structure specified in ISO Annex SL, which is now the required framework for all new and revised management system standards.The ISO team responsible for the revision process (subcommittee ISO/TC 207/SC1) has identified the following emerging changes as a result of their revision. (Comments in italics are mine)

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

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

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.

Source: http://www.industrytoday.co.uk/energy_and_environment/iso-140012015-update-fdis-14001-issued/36699

Related previous iSite blog posts:

14001 Support

Cowed: A Book Review

imagesCowed:  The Hidden Impact of 93 million Cows on America’s Health, Economy, Politics, Culture and Environment, 

Denis Hayes and Gail Boyer Hayes

Do Cows hibernate Dad? asked one of my sons a decade or so ago when we moved into rural Lancashire, noticing that cows were absent in the fields during winter months and as then not aware of the noisy, steamy and rather smelly over wintering cow sheds. One of the rural spring treats which we will witness soon, is when the cows are let out into the spring green fields, where they literally can jump for joy like spring lambs. the word cavorting* would seem invited for just this occasion.

Cowed is an entertaining and educating insight into the American relationship with its cattle, triggered by the authors visit in the UK and noticing how very different cattle in UK fields appeared to that seen or indeed out of sight in the US.

From Cowboys through to intelligent, mechanised milking, Denis and Gail provide real insights from their environmentalism knowledge, (Denis was cofounder of Earthday in the 70’s, now founder /CEO of the Bullitt Foundation in Seattle and a recent guest on our #sustldrconv series,  Gail is an Environmental lawyer, health writer and editor)

Throughout, I was reminded of John Muir’s comment that ‘when we tug on one part of nature we find it joined to everything else”, This may be as on the day I started reading Cowed, I visited a botanical garden in Vancouver where this quote was engraved into the floor and entrance screens.

Nevertheless, for me it summed up one of Cowed’s core themes. That the Cow, which we have removed from natural habituation and domesticated or rather industricated, is now so intrinsically linked to so many aspects of our lives from food to furniture and in doing so, uncoupled from its natural connections and bio-relationship with soil, air and water.

Cowed provided, for me a straightforward  explanation of the recent research, debate and controversy on natural cattle grazing patterns and impact for soil carbon sequestration based around the work of Allan Savory. This is something I had come across before on a TED talk but poorly understood.

Living in rural Lancashire I easily recognised the description of dairy farming within the first few pages, but I struggled to recognise the US description of cattle management in the remainder of the book, perhaps with the exception of the cattle ranching images from old Westerns!. Yet Cowed does highlight issues we here in the UK need to be aware of and guard against as concepts of mega farms are proposed and debated here.

*to jump or move around in a playful way, sometimes noisily, and often in a sexual way

Grey to Green sustainability – revisited

Grey to GreenWhere are you on the Grey to Green spectrum is a question I often ask at sustainability and CSR sessions with clients or in workshops.

Cornucopian Thinking: The glass that will always refills itself no matter what we do. Indeed the natural and financial environment will turn full circle and everything will be ok again. In fact we need do nothing different now as some emerging technology (carbon capture perhaps?) will make all of our problems go away. And if our customers and staff don’t like the way we operate, then, well, there are always the competition to turn to.

Accommodationalist Thinking: To accommodate the minimum, often to stay within the law, comply with ISO standards and satisfy the minimum requirements of our customers and staff. A key to this pattern of thinking is where sustainability and CSR sits within the organisation. Sitting alongside Health and Safety functions (for convenience) then it will always remain a bolt-on, which makes it difficult to move to a role that has a voice at a board level.

Foresight Thinking: Thinking based on the premise sustainability makes good business sense. Moving beyond the minimum and starting to embed CSR within the organisation. CSR and sustainability, as a function, sits at the centre of the organisation, often a dedicated CSR post with a voice at board level. Business impact understanding goes beyond the environmental and includes assessments on, for example, diversity or equality impact.

Restorative Thinking: Stems from the realisation of a greater holistic good as the driver for CSR approaches, alongside a recognition of connection with nature or the planet. There is a growing number of businesses in this thinking, epitomised for example by the 1% for the Planet group of organisations. In fact, I often give a copy of or recommend reading Yvon Chouinard’s Let My People Go Surfing to those I work with.

The Living Building Challenge, the most rigorous of green building certification schemes is firmly based on restorative thinking, doing more good – not just doing less bad.

There is a growing body of evidence linking good CSR and sustainability thinking to good business sense, but perhaps no one has summed this up so brilliantly and simply as Yvon Chouinard stated at Patagonia: “every time we do the right thing for the planet we make a profit.”

Tipping the Point

Somewhere along this grey to green spectrum there is a tipping point, where the switch from minimising the bad to maximising the good kicks in. I’d like to think of this as salutogenesis for sustainability and CSR. (Salutogenesis is an emerging and important school of thought within health care and increasingly within social well being that makes the switch from a focus on what makes us ill to a focus on what makes us stay healthy.)

In need of ideas on moving your business sustainability from grey to green?  Join in on the conversation on Twitter, subscribe to this blog (see right  hand column) or get in touch

(We can also help with Innovation Voucher funding to support your sustainability innovation ideas!)

Inspired by Biomimicry

I participated in a short, sharp but highly inspirational #biomimicry tweetchat last night, hosted by TreeHugger with questions fielded by Janine Benyus

“Every design guideline that we need to plan the future already exists … in the bottomland hardwood forest and the tall grass prairie … Go outside. Quiet your cleverness. Listen to the lessons of the natives.”

Janine Benyus, Co-Founder, Biomimicry 3.8

download

TreeHugger have posted a useful record of the event, but there was so much (more) information, links and references shared during the chat I captured more of the tweetchat on a storify here:

Inspired by Biomimicry #biomimicry2013 Storify – Salient tweets links and comments from the whirlwind tweetchat hosted by Treehugger with Janine Benyus

Enjoy

Improvement through PAS 91

PAS 91 has recently been updated to align with the Government Construction Strategy.

PAS91-CoverHere are some of my thoughts on recently providing PAS91 support (training events, webinars and live bid support)

As with all bidding the trick is to:

 “delight the client to attain maximum scores and score higher than your competitors”

Easy?

PAS 91 used properly could significantly improve the SME contracting sector, on topics such as Diversity, Quality Management, Environmental Management and of course Building Information Modelling.

The scoring I have seen to date heavily favours certification – to ISO 9001, ISO1400 and PAS1192. Providing these certificates scores full marks, and exempts the bidder from completing a large number of questions in an attempt to describe arrangements that meet the standards, and only score eg 75% of available scores. (in one case up to 12 sides of A4 are expected!)

A contractor without these standards in place are already scoring less than those who have, before they start to articulate their practices.

It makes attaining these accreditations a no brainer, whilst of course providing the benefits of accreditation. From a clients PAS91 perspective it allows further in depth questions in the Specific Questions Module, for eg delivering value, evidence of localism, sustainable material procurement.

The BIM optional module in PAS 91 contains some tough questions, but also provides a useful guide as to what bidders should be preparing for.

Top tips for maximising PAS 91 points:

  • Get a (free) copy of PAS 91
  • Practice, prepare and fine tune  your responses, get them internally and independently checked.
  • Ensure you provide complete responses to all parts of the questions
  • Evidence, Evidence Evidence – use real evidence (think business storytelling) to support.
  • Be consistent between what you say in the bid, demonstrate on your projects and say on your website and or social media (watch those linkedin profiles!)

We will be providing further training, public and one to one webinars, and live PAS 91 consultancy support over the coming months. Do get in touch 

We are also developing 91Cloud a PAS91 portal due to launch soon – watch this space

Also in addition in conjunction with ibepartnership we have developed a low cast but high value package for achieving ISO 14001 for smaller SME contracting organisations. Again, please do get in touch 

From Greendeal to Mindfulness in Sustainability

My More than Just a Green Deal keynote to the Merseyside Construction Conference March 13th 2013, making the case to see Green Deal as part of the Green Build and Sustainability agenda, and the need for doing the right green thing every time.

Construction Localism – how do you compare against benchmark?

Construction ‘localism’ is currently high on the agenda. And set to grow in importance.

There is, rightly, much talk and focus on localism within construction projects and frameworks at the moment, based on the principle of keeping project spend local. And of course realising other benefits such as reduced travel and transport distances, reduced carbon emission, improved productivity and more.

But how do we compare and benchmark ‘localism’? How local is your project? As a client how can you know if your contractor is addressing your ‘localism’ requirements?

The benchmark being set through ConstructCO2 can provide a starting point. How do you compare? Do you know your project stats?

Construction Localism by Zone

Measuring and understanding your localism (and CO2) footprint must be a key measure, a KPI, as part of your sustainability and CSR programme. Going beyond the measuring it’s essential we monitor trends, make the comparisons, understand the causes and, take action.

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It is one of the more important impact and influence areas your construction project has on sustainability and the environment.

For more on measuring your construction project carbons and project localism check out constructco2 or please do get in touch.

Have we picked the low hanging fruit of Sustainable Construction?

low hanging fruitThe mid 90’s saw my first involvement with sustainable construction, as Business Improvement Manager, setting up strategy and awareness programmes for Mowlem Construction, driven it should be noted to address client bid requirements in PFI and Prime Contracting.

At that time Brundtland’s definition from 1987 was fresh and it made good sense to include it in strategies and as a definition.

In hindsight, one of the problems of this approach is that it reinforced the thinking of that time, that environmental management, and by default sustainable construction belonged firmly and squarely within the Health and Safety departments.  A misconception that many organisations still subscribe to, or struggle to move away from.

But, since then, sustainability thinking has moved on from environmental management as H&S add on, to a wider view of sustainability that includes social and business responsibility, ethical procurement and localism and is now heading for a challenging future greener and deeper agenda

It is encouraging to note the move away from what I have referred to as ‘accommodationalist‘ thinking – ie doing only what we are required to do by law, no more no less. In fact this  thinking is now being challenged by the Governments red tape initiative, proposing to remove certain sustainability related legislation

Over the last 7 years I have been supporting organisations map out and chart progress on their ‘Route to Zero‘, identifying actions necessary today, tomorrow and most likely into the future. We may be in the position of being able to say we have picked off the low hanging fruit from the sustainability tree.

Most construction companies now have a sustainability policy and project approaches that are ISO 14001 accredited, to deal with better management of waste,  recording transport construction miles, employing locally and so on.

But now the real work begins, reaching higher into the greener, more dense canopies of the tree, with a new, emerging set of challenging actions that will take us closer to our zero impact ambitions.

Amongst these new challenges we can see:

  • Collaborative and circular economy thinking. For example what if every building improved with age, improved in its function, its resilience, its performance.  Became more ‘durable‘?  Contracts would not only need to cover the design and construction of buildings, but a new form of collaboration between provider and user that included continuous improvement criteria.  Such Circular Economy thinking would force new collaborations across the supply chain, across discipline and with clients.
  • Convergence of data, information rich ICT environments, an Internet of Things linked to metering sensors that will provide real time feedback on performance of the buildings and of the construction process, driving improved and sustainable resource utilisation. Getting us closer to zero waste and  zero carbon emissions.
  • Responsible specification and procurement, that is not only local but considers ethical and most importantly the health impact of building product ingredients. (see the Healthy Product Declaration Standard)
  • Challenging standards, that bring new deep green philosophies and certifications for buildings and facilities, as we see with the Living Building Challenge
  • The inclusion of costing nature within construction projects. ‘Cheap’ buildings may only be cheap because the real social, environmental costs have been externalised for someone else, often society and the public purse to deal with. Time to bring those externalised costs back into the project costs?
  • A mindful built environment sector, or one that has mindfulness, ie ‘in the moment’ awareness of the impact the design, the construction, the maintenance, use and deconstruction of the building will have upon the environment and nature. Mindfulness is a huge and complex topic but an important sustainability concept we will hear far much more of in 2013.

The first Green Vision tweetchat for 2013 will explore some of these issues on the 28th January at 8pm using the hashtag #GVisChat, asking the question are we getting closer to ‘Zero’?

If you would like to know more on how the Fairsnape Route to Zero mapping and charting programme can help your business, please do make contact

Update – Presentation on this theme