Tag Archives: leadership

Sustainability, Sharing and Success

Below is my keynote presentation given to the UCLan Teaching and Learning conference recently, where the theme of the conference was Sustainability, Sharing and Success.

My keynote covered development of sustainability thinking, from the throwaway dreams and society  of the 1950’s to the circular economy, from the ubiquitous Brundtland definition to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, from sustainable buildings to healthy, biophilic and salutogenic buildings that heal. The keynote explored sharing through social media, and successful, ‘just’ sustainability leadership.

All themes covered  in detail within FutuREstorative published end of August 2016.

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2016 Built Environment Challenges

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

One: 2016 is the year Building Information Management in the UK becomes mandated for public sector projects. Our ongoing challenge is increasing the scope and application, across all the built environment sectors and organisations, moving us towards a digital and data driven industry.

Two: The 2015 Paris Agreement sets ambitious intent to cap global warming to 1.5deg C. Current built environment sustainability strategies and approaches are based around a 2deg cap, with targets too low or too slow. Our challenge is to enable the built environment to play it part, for which we will need all the restorative sustainability tools we have at our disposal. We need to flip our 40% negative impact, but can no longer seek to be near zero or net positive but need to push towards being demonstrably ‘very positive’.

ThreeHealth is the new GreenBuild. We have seen a big increase in health and wellbeing awareness with biophilia now firmly within the sector’s lexicon. Our challenge is to ensure health and wellbeing is a key driver in design, in materials, in the construction process and within building operations.

Four: our biggest opportunity is to now create the conditions that allow for leadership in integrated and collaborative thinking, combining the innovative approaches and development from the BIM, Restorative Sustainability and Healthy Buildings agendas.

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These challenges are explored in depth in forthcoming RIBA Book:
FutuREstorative

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

#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/

Sustainable Construction 10 years on – plus ca change?

Sorting through old papers over the holiday break, I came across this call to action from 2004

So why is the construction industry so slow in adopting sustainability principles?  There is more than enough sustainability knowledge in the marketplace to help organisations become more innovative, save costs and deliver a better product for their customers.

Business leaders and individuals are just not sufficiently engaged or enthused.

New entrants to our industry are beginning to expect high levels of ethical environmental and social performance. Clients are also beginning to expect higher standards and suppliers too are waking up to a better way of working. Organisations that do not adopt a sustainable approach will find it increasingly difficult to attract employees, clients and suppliers.

Now is the time to make the change and become more sustainable in everything we do.

The 2004 drivers for sustainability were based on risk management, driven in the main from client requirements (recall for example the influential MaSC – Managing Sustainable Construction programme launched that year) and we still ask the question if Business leaders and individuals are sufficiently engaged or enthused.

We have seen many strategies, targets and new drivers in the world of sustainable construction, the significance and danger of carbon wasn’t on the agenda back in 2004, the climate change wasn’t the issue as it is now, we barely understood CSR and social sustainability and we didn’t have social media as the powerful communication, learning and sharing tool.

And yet the approach to sustainable construction from contracting organisations remains the same. All too often I hear that “we only do it when the client or project demands it” And I notice increasingly that BREEAM (Very Good) projects seem to be losing the drive to change the way we sustainably construct – its business as usual for many working on such projects.

Going into 2014  we need to remain optimistic. Over the holiday period I have also been browsing some of the works of Richard Buckminster Fuller and struck by his quote

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

we need that new model now in construction, not one that challenges the existing – but makes a new way of doing things far more attractive and compelling on all counts. We can see a hint of this new model within the Living Building Challenge, Circular Economy and Restorative Sustainability thinking. For many reasons the built environment is known as the 40% sector, consuming 40% raw materials, producing 40% of total waste, contributing 40% traffic on roads, using 40% energy generated and so on.

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Lets flip these negatives into positives and heal the future.

We can only describe what we do as sustainable when we take less from the environment and when we contribute more to society than we take.

(We will be discussing this theme in our monthly Sustainable Leadership Conversation tweetchat on Tuesday 7th Jan at 7pm UK / 11am PST – follow the #sustldrconv hashtag on twitter)

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)