Tag Archives: Guardian Sustainable Business

Entering the The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards could be good for you

SustainBus_460x276Business is evolving, organisations big and small are taking new approaches to embedding sustainability and seeing results. The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards celebrates innovation and impact in corporate sustainability and the people who are making business better.

Categories include the Built Environment but also the current themes important to innovation and impact of the built environment sustainability agenda, and regularly covered by blogs such as this: collaboration, communication, net positive, restorative sustainability, natural capital, social impact, supply chain, waste, carbon and energy and more.

Why you should enter the awards

How to enter  Entries close on 7 February 2014

The Categories …

Communicating sustainability Inspiring action on sustainability issues is key. We’re looking for stand-out examples of campaigns that have engaged and entertained. Eliciting action and leading to tangible shifts in behaviour

Net positive It is no longer enough to do less bad. Progressive businesses are seeking ways to be regenerative in their activity, this award is for those businesses that are taking tangible steps towards making a net positive contribution to communities, society and the environment.

Work Is your organisation a great place to work? Creating healthy, happy working environments is part of being a sustainable business. This award will go to an organisation that seeks to foster a culture of health and happiness for all employees.

Natural capital  From water to healthy soil, pollinators to forests, nature underpins 100% of economic activity. This is an award for an organisation that is trailblazing a strategy to appropriately account for the value nature provides it with.

Social impact Business’ has huge potential to contribute positively to society. This award is for a project or initiative that seeks to solve a challenging social issue whilst simultaneously creating shared value for the business.

Collaboration An award for a project or initiative that breaks down traditional barriers. We are looking for examples of several partners working together in non-traditional ways towards a goal that delivers truly sustainable outcomes.

Supply chain – sponsored by WRAP Global supply chains are vast and complex. This award is for initiatives that embed a respect for human, economic and environmental rights across a business or product’s supply chain.

Carbon & energy management Reducing business’ scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions is key to meeting the UK’s carbon reduction targets. This is an award for initiatives that take a holistic approach to measuring, managing and reducing emissions.

Waste From circular principles applied to design to projects achieving zero waste and re-manufacturing initiatives, rethinking waste is vital and this award is for projects or products that are at the leading-edge of that rethinking.

Built Environment – sponsored by Aecom An award for innovative re-developments or new-build projects that are at the leading-edge of approaches to reducing the built environment’s negative environmental impacts and raising its positive social impact.

Fairsnape is a media partner for The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards 

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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)

Innovation and inspiration in sustainability

This free ebook from Guardian Sustainability Business contains excellent, innovative and inspiring case studies that should be read by directors, senior and Untitledsustainability managers across construction.

“At a time when multiple social, environmental and economic challenges face the world, instances of true leadership and innovation can be game changing and offer a much-needed light in the dark.

However, ensuring these examples of excellence are shared, embraced and learnt from can often be a tricky feat when the business landscape is so innately complex”

Built Environment related case studies include:

  • BAM Nuttall: peer-led training unlock wealth of hidden talents
  • British Land: chain reaction in building design
  • Skanska: working with rivals for the greater good
  • Interface: net gains for poor coastal communities
  • M&S: proud to be the biggest – and the greenest
  • URS: how to build a big building with a small footprint
  • The Co-operative: landmark HQ designed with environment in mind
  • Kebony: hardwood alternative that’s soft on the environment
  • Royal Mail: LED lights the way to energy savings
  • Hastoe Group: lays the blueprint for sustainable communities

However …

“If a company wants to see a future then 80% of what it will have to learn will be from outside its own industry.” (Gary Hamel)

… real inspiration and innovation for those of us in construction and the built environment will come from learning from those outside of the sector, on themes of communications, carbon, employee engagement, biodiversity and more.

fairsnape: innovating and improving

A sustainable, purpose-driven Green Deal?

sb13live-logoThere is a real buzz emerging from Sustainable Brands annual conference in San Diego focusing on the progress purpose-driven brands are having in moving the sustainability agenda. The strap line theme for this years event is from Revolution to Renaissance, and explores the positive sustainability shifts currently taking place where business and society meet.

The event has wide coverage via Livestream feed and a vibrant twitter stream at #SB13con

‘Research shows that brands have failed to align themselves with changes in society’  

From the event, there are significant articles from Jo Confino at Guardian Sustainable Business (one of the event platinum sponsors), in particular – Consumers believe brands can have positive impact but are failing to do so and Can brands help unlock the power of citizens to change the world? and well worth a read. 

Tuning into #SB13, following the livestream coverage, sharing tweets thoughts with others and reading the Guardian articles, it strikes me the UK Green Deal programme is a prime platform where purpose driven material and equipment suppliers could make a huge impact. Could green deal product suppliers move away from  traditional supply and sales driven profit routes and focus on a purpose of reducing fuel poverty, improving wellbeing and influencing the greendeal consumer?

Could the Kingfisher group be the first to move into this space and pioneer a ‘net positive’ and purpose-driven approach to Green Deal? Nick Folland, the company’s group corporate affairs director thinks so:

The Kingfisher of the future could be as much about helping people make, mend and repair things than selling them kit. “We’re going to go out into communities and teach these things, and [help them be] more self-sustaining.”

Kingfisher’s plan to put ‘net positive’ into practice

One of the notable themes from SB13 is the need for product brands to connect, collaborate and scale fast,  filling the sustainability gaps that governments at present can not.

What a different green deal we could have!

Related: More than just a Green Deal presentation via martin brown

Now is the future of construction

All too often I hear construction talk of how things will be better and back to normal when we emerge from the current tough environment, with a strategy of retrenching, waiting and picking up again in good times just around the corner.

Wrong – this is the future, right now, and only those who adapt and embrace change will find a better working environment, and turn the corner to find those good times. As Einstein said, doing the same thing over and over again hoping for better results is just plain insanity.

I was reminded at yesterdays Constructing Excellence Collaborative Working Champions meeting that the Never Waste a Good Crisis  – Challenge to the UK Construction Industry is now three years old – and the message is still as viable and important as ever.

Embracing change across so many facets of business today is vital for future success, but particularly in the sustainability and responsibility arena. As Michael Townsend wrote only yesterday on the Guardian Sustainable Business blog, companies that prosper in future will be the ones that take action on sustainability now, and asks the question:

Should construction companies remain engaged in the net depletion of resources, or move towards becoming a zero-adverse impact facilities business within the circular economy?

Understanding change and adapting for the future is a big ask for many organisations within the built environment, and we have yet to see breakthrough case studies. However, many are now embarking on the first step of increasing awareness of change, and through the Fairsnape Route to Zero approach starting to map out a strategy.

Social Media: Awards and Events – London, Sept 26th

 

We have gain chosen to run our Be2Camp flagship event, celebrating the application of social media in the architecture, engineering, construction and sustainability fields during London social Media Week 

The half-day event will be held on Wednesday 26 September at the Building Centre in London WC1, and – like last year – will be a lively mix of awards showcasing best practice in technology and social media and informative talks from leading thinkers on technology, sustainability and the built environment.

Be2Awards nominations open

Please submit your nominations for the awards short-lists. The categories include:

  • Built environment blogger of the Year
  • Best sustainability blog
  • Best AEC social media blog
  • Best use of Twitter
  • Best AEC collaboration platform
  • Best AEC community, network or community application
  • Best use of Web 2.0 for construction products
  • Best location-based AEC application
  • Best ‘internet of things’ application
  • Best mobile application
  • Best virtual or hybrid event
  • Be2 media award
  • Best use of social media in an AEC PR campaign
  • Best use of social media in an AEC marketing campaign
  • Best AEC education and learning project
  • Best charity, third sector use of social media
  • Best AEC use of photo / video

To nominate, you will need to login on the Be2Awards website (if you haven’t previously done so, click ‘login’ at the top left-hand corner, then add your registration detail; once your registration has been accepted, you will be able to make your nominations). Being Web 2.0 people, our nomination process uses an online discussion board. You may nominate once in as many categories as you like; candidates may be eligible in more than one category.

The 2011 Awards (see shortlists and successful candidates here) saw over 100 nominations across these categories, and we expect even more competition this year.

Be2Talks – We are currently finalising the speakers for the Be2Talks. If you have ideas for speakers, please email Martin Brown.

Sponsors – Meantime, we are also looking for sponsors. We have vacancies for a main sponsor and we ideally want sponsors for every category (this will help cover event expenses and ensure a top-notch event). If you can help, please get in touch.

Involved in Sustainability Communications?  Do two events in one day

We have been working with the Guardian‘s Sustainable Business initiative, which is holding its own Social Media for Sustainability event in London during Social Media Week. The half-day training course is at the Guardian‘s offices near King’s Cross station on the morning of 26 September – so you can take in both events! (see also Be2Awards news)

Heros and Texts for a future Built Environment based on #CSR

“suddenly the air smells much greener now”

Listening to ‘These Streets’, lyrics by Paolo Nutini summed up the brilliant, inspiring Green Vision conference in Leeds – exploring CSR within the built environment.

A mix of talks, presentations, round table discussions and pecha kuchas from Mel Starrs, Eden Brukman, Tamara Bergkamp, Eddie Murphy, Martin Brown, Faye Jenkins, Claire Walker, Rick Hamilton, Mark Warner, Pedro Pablo Cardoso-Castro, Andy Ainsworth, Paula Widdowson and many others showed that there is real emergence and a future for a Built Environment founded on social responsibility principles.

The air smells much greener …

We heard of excellent progress being made by individuals, projects and organisations on the CSR journey, and how behind these are great influential thinkers, often outside of the sector, many, unsurprisingly, related to the ‘outdoor’ sector.

Many of the speakers were enthusiastic in sharing CSR heros and recommended CSR reading. So here, as a summary, or reading list are those mentioned during the day. I wonder how many of these are on the reading list within design, construction and fm education? (Book titles link to Amazon)

Yvon Chouinard

Rock climber, environmentalist and outdoor industry businessman, noted for his contributions to climbing, climbing equipment and the outdoor gear business. His company @Patagonia is widely acclaimed for its environmental and social focus. According to Fortune magazine, Chouinard is arguably the most successful outdoor industry businessman alive today.

The Responsible Company What we have learnt in the first 40 years at Patagonia by Yvon Chouinard and Vincent Stanley (see my blog)

Let My People Go Surfing Yvon Chouinard – Probably the ‘must read book’ to understand CSR in Business

(On my blog: How can construction learn from Patagonia?)

Ray Anderson

Founder of Interface Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of modular carpet for commercial and residential applications and a leading producer of commercial broadloom and commercial fabrics. He was known in environmental circles for his advanced and progressive stance on industrial ecology and sustainability.

Ray was was posthumously awarded an Outstanding Achievement award at this year’s Guardian Sustainable Business Awards in 2012. (There is a related, must watch, video here: John Elkington describing the work and legacy of Ray Anderson)

Confessions of a Radical Industrialist: Profits, People, Purpose: Doing Business by Respecting the Earth (2009) Later released in paperback as Business Lessons from a Radical Industrialist in 2011.

Paul Hawken

An environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author. Ray Anderson of Interface credited The Ecology of Commerce with his environmental awakening. He described reading it as a “spear in the chest experience”, after which Anderson started crisscrossing the country with a near-evangelical fervor, telling fellow executives about the need to reduce waste and carbon emissions.

Hawken’s book, Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (1999) coauthored with Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins, popularized the now-standard idea of natural capital and direct accounting for ecosystem services, a theme revisited by Rio +20 and likely to become more mainstream across the built environment.

Janine Benyus

Her 1997 book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature defines Biomimry as a “new science that studies nature’s models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems”. Benyus suggests looking to Nature as a “Model, Measure, and Mentor” and emphasizes sustainability as an objective of biomimicry. Key thinking in the Living Building Challenge principles, as is

E O Wilson

Edward Osborne Wilson an American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author. In the mid 80’s developed the concept of Biophilia, the connection between humans and nature, which translates into architecture and the built environment as comfort, well being and productivity through exposure to natural light and natural surrondings or imagry.

Anita Roddick

Dame Anita Roddick, human rights activist and environmental campaigner, best known as the founder of The Body Shop, a cosmetics company producing and retailing beauty products that shaped ethical consumerism The company was one of the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals and one of the first to promote fair trade with third world countries. Roddick was involved in activism and campaigning for environmental and social issues, including involvement with Greenpeace andThe Big Issue.

John Elkington

John Elkington @volansjohn is a world authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable development. He is currently the Founding Partner & Executive Chairman of Volans, a future-focused business working at the intersection of the sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation movements

His latest book The Zeronauts, Breaking the Sustainability Barrier describes many of todays inspirational leaders : “Just as our species broke the Sound Barrier during the 1940s and 1950s, a new breed of innovator, entrepreneur, and investor is lining up to break the Sustainability Barrier”

Jorgen Randers

2052: What will the world look like in 2052

Jeff Hollender,

Jeffrey Hollender is an American businessperson, entrepreneur, author, and activist. He was well known for his roles as CEO, co-founder, and later Chief Inspired Protagonist and Executive Chairperson of Seventh Generation Inc., the country’s largest distributor of non-toxic, all-natural cleaning, paper and personal care products. www.jeffhollender.com/

Gary Hirshberg,

Gary Hirshberg is chairman and former president and CEO of Stonyfield Farm, an organic yogurt producer, based in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Now part of the Danone group.

Published in January 2008, Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World is a book about socially minded business that calls on individuals to realize their power to make a difference in the marketplace, while doing business in ways that adhere to a multiple bottom line – one that takes into consideration not only finance, but the environment and health as well.

Jeffrey Swartz,

Jeffrey Swartz is the former president and CEO of The Timberland Company an organization that believes that doing well and doing good are inextricably linked. Timberland’s commitment is to reducing global warming and preserving the outdoor environment.

David and Claire Hieatt,

Founders of Howies a clothing company based in Cardigan Bay, Wales produces eco-friendly T-shirts, jeans and sportswear, and aims to have ethically correct practices. Howies use natural fabrics as alternatives to petrochemical-derived modern fabrics. Examples include organic cotton, Merino wool and recycled cotton. Howies T-shirts often have images or slogans with political or environmental themes

Dee Hock

Dee Ward Hock is the founder and former CEO of VISA , described systems that are both chaotic and ordered, and used for the first time the term “chard” and chaordic,combining the words chaos and order.

More?

Over to you –

Follow the discussion on twitter with the #GVis2012 hashtag.

Who are your CSR Heros and CSR Texts to add to this Built Environment inspirers list?

What additions or comments would you make to the entries above?

A full record (video, blog, tweets, presentations, storify) of the Building CSR Event is being curated on the be2camp event page here.