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Posts tagged 'green economy'

Green Buildings – Some Facts and Figures

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Here are some really interesting facts from multiple sources about Green Buildings and their impact on us.

“The construction and maintenance of buildings, and other structures, is responsible for about half of British CO2 emissions”

Green Buildings

(Apologies, the infographic is a little grainy and hard to read in places, so if I find a better copy I will post.)

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How full product transparency will revitalise managing sustainability in the supply chain

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How full product transparency will revitalise the bureaucratic approach to managing sustainability in the supply chain

The conventional approach to exercising corporate responsibility in a company’s supply chain is to draft a company supplier standard and then audit for compliance using that document. The process often begins with a questionnaire and is followed by audit visits to suppliers judged to be the highest risk. The better programmes also include an offer of ‘capacity building’ for suppliers – in other words, they provide training and support to help them raise and maintain their standards.

Positive and usually well-intentioned as this course of action is, the impact is inherently limited by the narrow scope of the dialogue and the teacher–student nature of the relationship. It might work well when addressing very problematic issues (such as child labour), but telling suppliers what they shouldn’t be doing misses an opportunity to foster their talent for commercial advantage and innovation.

The flaws of the 700-question supply chain questionnaire

The questions below are from a real example of a supplier questionnaire I was asked to fill in by a corporate customer. Let’s look at how little each question actually drives real environmental performance:

1. Does your organisation have an environmental policy in place?

Any company can write up a policy in a couple of hours, but this doesn’t mean the policy is being implemented or monitored. Policies by themselves don’t drive performance, so the creation of an environmental policy will not necessarily have any impact on the products you are buying from your suppliers. For non-sophisticated audiences, it looks so good to say that 80% of your suppliers have an environmental policy. But in reality it means next to nothing.

2. Does your organisation have an environmental management system (EMS) in place?

ISO 14001 and EMAS are management systems, not performance systems. They just require an organisation to have a policy, comply with legislation, determine its impacts, and have targets. There is no link with performance. The other issue is the scope of these management systems. In general, they have a purely internal focus – they don’t include the raw materials used to make products, nor do they look at the use phase impacts of those products. If your suppliers have an EMS in place, this provides little assurance that the products they are supplying have less impact on the environment than any others.

3. Has your organisation identified the specific environmental impacts associated with the products, services or works it provides and taken steps to minimise them?

The supplier can just answer ‘Yes, we have identified them’. But how do you know that the issues it has identified are the biggest and most important ones? The supplier can also respond with any amount of corporate spin – cherry-picking some initiatives from the fringes and thereby allowing itself to look good.

4. Does your organisation observe legislation with regards to environmental issues?

Shouldn’t this be taken for granted?

5. Does your organisation communicate its environmental policy to its suppliers?

What demonstrable impact can be gained from sending a piece of paper full of generalities to suppliers? It would be far better to ask suppliers for radical innovations on the issues you want to improve.

6. Does your organisation check the environmental policy and performance of its staff?

Even if your supplier does this, how much of a difference will it have on the products you are buying?

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Construction 21 – a European Platform to Share Green Building Case Studies

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Presenting CONSTRUCTION21, the European Platform for sharing proper case studies about green building.

CONSTRUCTION21 is the winner of a call of proposals to enable “Intelligent Energy for Europe”. This collaborative platform aims to help practitioners discover and develop new ways of sustainable building. A prototype has been in France since 2009 and it is being rolled out across six European countries throughout 2012, in the whole European Union within 5 years. They can be found here - http://www.construction21.eu/

They were presented to International press and building professionals during Consense at Stuttgart this week. At their booth, Construction 21 partners answered questions and demonstrated the platform.

While I was there they had a very special visitor – Ministerialdirektor Mr. Bäumer, a representative of the Ministry of Baden-Württemberg for traffic and infrastructure. He appeared very interested in Construction21 and the opportunities it offers to develop the green economy.

An excellent initiative we want to support.

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Designing Out Waste consortium

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We are proud to be part of the Designing Out Waste consortium and look forward to driving the new initiative forwards.

Below is an excerpt from Julie Hill‘s detailed blog post which can be found here on the Green Alliance website:

We held the final meeting of our Designing Out Waste business consortium last week.  In the words of one of the companies, with this work we ‘led the debate from designing out waste to the concept of the circular economy’.  Now we want to take the circular economy concept, where resources are properly valued and retained usefully in the economy for as long as possible, from an idea to reality.

How Circular Is The UK Economy?

The full slide deck is here - Designing Out Waste Slide Deck

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