​Expo Reaches Four Year Milestone

​The Big Sustainability Expo, formerly The Big Green Event, is set to open its doors for the fourth year running on the 8th October at its home the Hilton Ageas Bowl Southampton. Organisers, The Southern Sustainability Partnership, mark this year as a strategic milestone from which they planned the event would either sink or sail. They are delighted to announce it is a genuine contender in the UK and ​making ​an important impact on the region’s carbon reduction.

Anita Potten, Director said: “The message​ ​is finally hitting home for businesses that the expectations of their customers and workforce is radically chang​ing​ and is only likely​ ​to continue to do so.  It’s a simple case of getting on board now or risk being left behind in an already tough​ and​ competitive market​place​.”

The Expo attracts visitors from both the private and public sector, from right across the UK, and represents an enormous success for the region which now hosts its largest, dedicated event ​that focusses on corporate sustainability, environmental management and social value.

​Lynda Daniels, Director: A business operating in this way is one that is not wasting money, that is driven to improve profits, that is reacting to changing customer and workforce demands, is reducing risk and future-proofing its efforts. That is why this Expo is so important and this is why we urge the region’s organisations to mark the 8th of October in their diary now.”  

The Expo is free to attend, with ample free parking and visitors can expect up to 100 exhibitions stands, a keynote speaker theatre, ​series of workshops in the LearnZone, eco transport zone, innovation hub and eco coffee lounge. 

Central Banks Warning

BBC News Climate change: Central banks warn of financial risks in open letter 17 April 2019

Mark Carney
Image copyright PA  Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney contributed to the open letter

The heads of two major central banks have written a stark warning about the financial risks of climate change.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney and France’s François Villeroy de Galhau set out the dangers to the global economy in an open letter.

“If some companies and industries fail to adjust to this new world, they will fail to exist,” they wrote.

The letter was co-signed by the chair of the climate-focused Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).

The NGFS is a coalition of 34 central banks which was formed in 2017, with the Bank of England as a founding member. It released its first major report into climate-related financial risks on 17 April.

What does the climate have to do with finance?

In the letter published by the Bank of England on Wednesday, Mr Carney and Mr Villeroy de Galhau describe “the catastrophic effects of climate change” already having an impact on the planet, such as “blistering heatwaves in North America to typhoons in south-east Asia and droughts in Africa and Australia”.

They say that “these events damage infrastructure and private property, negatively affect health, decrease productivity and destroy wealth”.

The NGFS elaborates in its “call to action” report, saying that climate change will lead to “disruptive events such as mass migration, political instability and conflict”.

This is why world leaders signed the Paris climate agreement in 2015 and committed to reducing their respective countries’ carbon emissions, the letter continues, in order to limit the global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

“But this transition brings its own risks,” they add.

Image copyrightEPA
Image captionThe current drought in Hungary may cause farmers to lose hundreds of billions in income

But how, exactly?

The NGFS sets out three climate-related financial risks that companies, banks and governments need to fight against.

    • Physical: These are the immediate problems caused by increasingly frequent climate and weather-related events – such as severe droughts or cyclones that affect crops
    • Transition: For example, when a business moves away from carbon-intensive industries and technologies in a “sudden or disorderly” way, their business models and asset valuations can end up taking a hit
  • Liability: When people or businesses claim compensation for losses suffered from either the physical or transition risks, which can have a huge impact on insurers

It is the second risk in particular – of switching to a green economy without proper planning – that Mr Carney and Mr Villeroy de Galhau focus on in their letter.

“Carbon emissions have to decline by 45% from 2010 levels over the next decade in order to reach net zero by 2050. This requires a massive reallocation of capital,” it reads. The full NGFS report adds that “while urgent action is desirable, an abrupt transition could also have an impact on financial stability and the economy more broadly”.

“The speed and timing of the transition are crucial,” it continues. “An orderly scenario, with clear policy signalling, would allow adequate time for existing infrastructure to be replaced and for technological progress to keep energy costs at a reasonable level.

“In contrast, a disorderly, sudden, uncoordinated, unanticipated or discontinuous transition would be disruptive and costly, particularly for those sectors and regions that are more vulnerable to structural change.”

Companies and industries that do not adjust or properly plan for these changes, Mr Carney and Mr Villeroy de Galhau say, “will fail to exist”.

So what do they propose?

They suggest that companies “integrate the monitoring of climate-related financial risks into day-to-day supervisory work, financial stability monitoring and board risk management”.

In simpler terms – businesses need to make climate change planning an everyday thing.

They also say that central banks should “lead by example” by making their own operations more sustainable.

But most importantly, they call for more collaboration within the financial sector, with different companies and bodies sharing information about how they are dealing with these climate risks.

“An important element to achieving effective consideration of climate risks across the financial system is to support internal and external collaboration,” they write.

The NGFS has also called for regulators to come up with a classification system that shows exactly “which economic activities contribute to the transition to a green and low-carbon economy”.

“We need collective leadership and action across countries and we need to be ambitious,” they add.

“The NGFS is the core of the response of central banks and supervisors. But climate change is a global problem, which requires global solutions, in which the whole financial sector has a crucial role to play.”

Read more

An Essential Read

If a book has changed your thinking on the subject of Climate Change or inspired you in a way that you would like to share with others do let us know about it and we will add it our recommendations here.

The Decade we Could have Stopped Climate Change

Could there be a more powerful headline than this?

In his book, a gentleman named Nathaniel Rich tells us that by 1979 we knew all that we know now about the science of climate change – what was happening, why it was happening, and how to stop it. Over the next ten years, we had a very real opportunity to stop it.  Obviously, we failed.

This book is a groundbreaking account of that failure – and how close we came to signing binding treaties that would have saved us all before the fossil fuels industry and politicians committed to anti-scientific denialism – is already a journalistic blockbuster, a full issue of the New York Times Magazine that has earned favorable comparisons to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and John Hersey’s Hiroshima. Rich has become an instant, in-demand expert and speaker. A major movie deal is already in place. It is the story, perhaps, that can shift the conversation.

In the book Losing Earth, Rich is able to provide more of the context for what did – and didn’t – happen in the 1980s and, more important, is able to carry the story fully into the present day and wrestle with what those past failures mean for us in 2019. It is not just an agonizing revelation of historical missed opportunities, but a clear-eyed and eloquent assessment of how we got to now, and what we can and must do before it’s truly too late.

To get a copy click here

The Uninhabitable Earth

It is worse, much worse than you think and you can find out why -and listen to part of the story here

In this book by David Wallace-Wells he explains that the slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says it isn’t happening at all. And says if your anxiety about it is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today.

Over the past decades, the term ‘Anthropocene’ has climbed into the popular imagination – a name given to the geologic era we live in now, one defined by human intervention in the life of the planet. But however sanguine you might be about the proposition that we have ravaged the natural world, which we surely have, it is another thing entirely to consider the possibility that we have only provoked it, engineering first in ignorance and then in denial a climate system that will now go to war with us for many centuries, perhaps until it destroys us. In the meantime, it will remake us, transforming every aspect of the way we live – the planet no longer nurturing a dream of abundance but a living nightmare.

The Circular Economy – A Wealth of Flows
How we can – and must make the change
The Circular Economy: A Wealth of Flows: 2nd Edition by [Webster, Ken]The inspirational Ken Webster, who we have had the good fortune to meet and to have him join us a Keynote Speaker at some of our events has written a book that our team studied at night school at Bournemouth University. It explains how a circular economy has profound consequences for production, employment, education, money and finance but also induces a shift in public policy and taxation. The economic advantage of this model lies in designing out waste, enabling access over ownership and favouring radical resource productivity, with the prospect of rebuilding capital and resilience. The Circular Economy: A Wealth of Flows gives a stimulating overview of this emerging framework.
Since the first edition of this volume in 2015, the global economy has remained relatively subdued and the reduction of strain on resources, especially in terms of waste and carbon emissions, is certainly not yet in sight. However, during the same period, the digital revolution has only accelerated, bringing in its train a myriad of opportunities to rethink the connection between people, resources and products. More than ever, the circular economy gives the direction of travel and appears as a model for economic prosperity.
This revised volume contains one entirely new chapter, expanding on the role of digital; on how we see the world; how the economy really works and how we can act within it. The other major revision is in rewriting the final chapter, as it becomes obvious, argues the author, that current social tensions and the rise of populism mean that the evolution of an attractive economic model is no longer just a desirable development, but a matter of some urgency.

Ken Webster is Head of Innovation at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a leading organisation on the circular economy. This publication gathers contributions from Walter Stahel from the Product-Life Institute, Geneva and Jocelyn Blériot, Executive Officer at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Grab  your own copy here
If a book has changed your thinking on the subject of Climate Change or inspired you in a way that you would like to share with other do let us know and we will add it our recommendations here.

Creating an SME Environmental Policy

How to Begin to Create an Environmental Policy

This environmental policy template will help you get started towards a business that is Fit for the Future.

 There is a growing demand for companies to demonstrate a responsible approach to business. Fact. So, the simple fact is that no business can afford to ignore it, no matter how small.

Although as a small business you may have what you feel are more pressing tasks to undertake – meaning an environmental policy might not be top of your priority list – a commitment to green practices doesn’t have to be a lengthy undertaking and it will have far-reaching and positive effects.

Creating an environmental policy provides the perfect opportunity to review if your day-to-day activities are both environmentally responsible and meet legal requirements. It also helps to keep employees informed of their environmental roles and responsibilities, lowers cost through reduced consumption and waste and helps save even more money by improving the efficiency of your processes.

Beyond internal operations, demonstrating a commitment to managing your environmental impact can help improve your reputation with existing clients and other stakeholders. You never know, in an ever more challenging financial climate, your environmental credentials could be the difference between winning work with a new client, or not.

The importance of Buy-in
Many businesses can – and do simply produce an environmental policy designed to simply satisfy a tender requirement. But, as demonstrated by the potential benefits mentioned above, this would be wasting a great opportunity.

For an environmental policy to have full effect, integration into the business is essential, as is buy-in from the top down. A way of improving general staff engagement is by incorporating environmental responsibility into staff inductions and job roles.

To help integrate the environmental policy into the day-to-day running of your business, including a review of the policy, where you review any progress and developments, within management meetings. Approaching your environmental performance just like any Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is the way to do things.

Bringing awareness and responsibility to your policy can be achieved by integrating any developments within any internal communications.

What are your customers doing?
Why not do your research or actually ask them.

 Creating your Environmental Policy

Put simply, environmental policy is a statement outlining your business’ environmental strategy and the driving force behind your objectives. It should include time-related targets and a measurable management programme, which should result in effective implementation.

An in-house risk assessment should bring to light most issues. Ask yourself how your business’ existence and output affects the environment and what risks face it?

Take a look at this and from this template begin to put your own together;

Although your organisation’s environmental policy should be formed by your founding and senior team, it’s certainly worth including all staff at the ideas stage too. After all, your staff are stakeholders in the organisation, including them may prove motivational, turning your policy into positive action.
There isn’t an agreed set layout on how you should write an environmental policy. The key is to have a policy that is both easy to understand and that clearly states your business aims and objectives, similar to a mission statement. It needn’t be longer than a single page.

A tip for any organisation keen to become part of a supply chain is to try to obtain policies from key customers so your statements can reflect their requirements.

An effective environmental policy allows your senior team to communicate its aims and objectives to employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. All goals should be measurable, realistic and have accountable actions with deadlines.

Your policy should outline:

  • Your business’ mission and information about its operations.
  • A commitment to continually improve and monitor environmental performance.
  • A commitment to managing your environmental impacts.
  • Your compliance with relevant environmental legislation.
  • Your expectations from suppliers and sub-contractors.
  • A commitment to employee awareness and training.

Your policy could be categorised by different business activities, such as:

  • Choosing like-minded suppliers.
  • Energy usage (incl. water).
  • Recycling and waste management.
  • Use of stationary and other goods.

Using an environmental policy template

To help you get started writing your own environmental policy, you can use the below template. You can also check out the policies of well-known organisations below by typing these into Google.

The template is designed to be free of industry bias. There may be some tweaks or inclusions (or deletions!) you wish to do in order to make the policy more relevant to your business.

The end result should be a policy that is both easy to understand and clearly states the organisation’s aims and objectives, similar to a mission statement. It needn’t be longer than a single page.

Environmental policy template

Last Reviewed: DD/MM/ YY
Next Review : DD/MM/ YY

Mission statement

[Organisation] recognises that it has a responsibility to the environment beyond legal and regulatory requirements. We are committed to reducing our environmental impact and continually improving our environmental performance as an integral part of our business strategy and operating methods, with regular review points. We will encourage customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to do the same.

Responsibility

[Name and Title] is responsible for ensuring that the environmental policy is implemented. However, all employees have a responsibility in their area to ensure that the aims and objectives of the policy are met.

Policy aims

We endeavour to:

  • Comply with and exceed all relevant regulatory requirements.
  • Continually improve and monitor environmental performance.
  • Continually improve and reduce environmental impacts.
  • Incorporate environmental factors into business decisions.
  • Increase employee awareness and training.

Paper

  • We will minimise the use of paper in the office.
  • We will reduce packaging as much as possible.
  • We will seek to buy recycled and recyclable paper products.
  • We will reuse and recycle all paper where possible.

Energy and water

  • We will seek to reduce the amount of energy used as much as possible.
  • Lights and electrical equipment will be switched off when not in use.
  • Heating will be adjusted with energy consumption in mind.
  • The energy consumption and efficiency of new products will be taken into account when purchasing.

Office supplies

  • We will evaluate if the need can be met in another way.
  • We will evaluate if renting/sharing is an option before purchasing equipment.
  • We will evaluate the environmental impact of any new products we intend to purchase.
  • We will favour more environmentally friendly and efficient products wherever possible.
  • We will reuse and recycle everything we are able to.

 Transportation

  • We will reduce the need to travel, restricting to necessity trips only.
  • We will promote the use of travel alternatives such as e-mail or video/phone conferencing.
  • We will make additional efforts to accommodate the needs of those using public transport or bicycles.
  • We will favour ‘green’ vehicles and maintain them rigorously to ensure ongoing efficiency.

Maintenance and cleaning

  • Cleaning materials used will be as environmentally friendly as possible.
  • Materials used in office refurbishment will be as environmentally friendly as possible.
  • We will only use licensed and appropriate organisations to dispose of waste.

Monitoring and improvement

  • We will comply with and exceed all relevant regulatory requirements.
  • We will continually improve and monitor environmental performance.
  • We will continually improve and reduce environmental impacts.
  • We will incorporate environmental factors into business decisions.
  • We will increase employee awareness through training.
  • We will review this policy and any related business issues at our monthly management meetings.

Culture

  • We will involve staff in the implementation of this policy, for greater commitment and improved performance.
  • We will update this policy at least once annually in consultation with staff and other stakeholders where necessary.
  • We will provide staff with relevant environmental training.
  • We will work with suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors to improve their environmental performance.
  • We will use local labour and materials where available to reduce CO2 and help the community.

Signed

………………………………… Position …………………………………………………   Date   ………………………………………

Once your environmental policy has been finalised you should make sure it is visible to all staff.

Influencing others

All businesses have suppliers. You can use your influence as a client (if applicable) to encourage suppliers and contractors to uphold similar environmental standards; you may even want to make it a requirement to do business with you.

You could integrate your green message into your marketing materials, encouraging customers to adopt a similar ethos. By communicating your aims and objectives, it may even bring your organisation more work.

You are not alone in your journey

The Southern Sustainability Partnership work with organisation’s to support them in their corporate sustainability, environmental management and social value journey.  And we can help you too.  This is achieved through consultancy, training and events.

How to contact us…

The Southern Sustainability Partnership Limited

Suite 17 Equity Chambers, 249 High Street North, Poole, Dorset BH15 1DX

01202 971 186    info@southernsustainability.co.uk    www.southernsustainability.co.uk

The Big Sustainability Expo 2019

This annual event, The Big Sustainability Expo, is confirmed for 8th October 2019

Formerly known as The Big Green Event and now in its fourth year, the Expo is the region’s largest focus on environmental and facilities management, corporate sustainability and social value. The Expo attracts exhibitors and visitors from across the UK, with the common goals of addressing rising running costs, improving processes, reducing environmental impact and meeting the changing expectations of customers and staff.

More information and bookings