Clean + green, in black + white

2014-07-10 19.06.55 HDR-2Recent months have seen a number of my journalism pieces published in the press and I have provided a brief menu of articles below, with links to original copy.
I shall be posting them up here in full progressively, as and when time permits – bit of a backlog, sorry!

Shrink Carbon Footprint, Grow Profits
Summary: Energy efficiency in business not only helps to maximise profits, but by reducing carbon footprint, it also enhances sustainability for the good of the company – and the planet. (Article entitled ‘Carbon Counts, So Do the Maths’ in print edition.)
Published in: ‘Low Carbon Business’ Special Report in ‘The Times’ (22 July)

6 New Technologies Cutting Carbon Footprint
Summary: Snapshot showcase of 6 innovations designed to help reduce energy consumption and emissions.
Published in: ‘Low Carbon Business’ Special Report in ‘The Times’ (22 July)

The Future Is Unbuilt
Summary: Construction may be booming, but the industry must rebuild itself to face a challenging future.
Published in: ‘Future of Construction’ Special Report in ‘The Times’ (25 June)

Straight Talking on the Circular Economy
Summary: Construction and demolition, the largest producers of waste in the UK, may only be paying lip service to green initiatives.
Published in: ‘Future of Construction’ Special Report in ‘The Times’ (25 June)

Sweatshops Show Need for Transparency
Summary: Controversy over child labour in Asian sweatshops producing cheap clothing for the UK market has highlighted the need for greater control over supply chains. (Article entitled ‘From High Street to Hollywood’ in print edition.)
Published in: ‘Future of Retail’ Special Report in ‘The Times’ (24 June)

Supply Chain Delivers Retail Revolution
Summary: A shake-up in retail logistics, driven by internet sales and deliveries, is turning buying and selling upside down. (Article entitled ‘Revolution with Fries and a Shake’ in Print Edition.)
Published in: ‘Future of Retail’ Special Report in ‘The Times’ (24 June)

Time for a Fracking Charm Offensive?
Summary: It has split public opinion and tempers are still rising. Fracking for shale gas is a contentious issue, but supporters claim it holds huge potential benefits for the UK economy.Published in: ‘Oil & Gas Outlook’ Special Report in ‘The Times’ (8 May)

Are Oil and Gas Reserves an Economic Curse or Cure?
Summary: When governments and other national stakeholders take control of oil and gas reserves, there can be disadvantages as well as the seemingly obvious advantages.
Published in: ‘Oil & Gas Outlook’ Special Report in ‘The Times’ (8 May)

Stop Water Going down the Drain
Summary: The water industry is facing a near-perfect storm of rising demand and supply under severe pressure.
Published in: ‘Asset Management & Maintenance’ Special Report in ‘The Times (7 May)

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Workplace Wellbeing: Revolution of the mind

A version of this article – which explores the value of intangibles to workplace wellbeing, (Millennial) talent attraction and retention, as well as personal motivation and mindfulness, plus associated relationships between the Arts and Business – first appeared in Artworks Journal, Issue 04, Volume 01, Spring/Summer, 2014.

2013-06-07 21.29.13 HDR-1 copyIntangibles are like melted butter: Hot, slippery and likely to leave a mark. You can witness, but not see them; feel, but not touch; value, but not spend them (though maybe sell).
For a business world grappling with the new metrics of wellbeing and wonderment at work, intangibles carry the promise of inspiration and innovation. But how do you manage what you cannot measure? How do you budget for non-financials? How do you order the unknown?
Investment in the happiness and spiritual health of staff and the extended family of stakeholders can pay dividends in terms of triple-bottom-line performance, brand enhancement and positioning. As economic recovery gathers pace and Millennials flood the market, stakes are rising for staff recruitment, performance, satisfaction and retention. As a result, winning differentiators for an organisation and offer of employment are vital to understand and communicate.
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Waste: Living in a material e-world

A version of this article first appeared in a Special Report on ‘Managing Waste’, published in The Times, 5 March, 2014.

'A phone worth keeping': Phonebloks is an innovative modular mobile concept designed to help tackle challenges of a throwaway culture and built-in obsoletion (case study below)

Phonebloks: An innovative modular design concept for ‘a phone worth keeping’ (case study below).

Gold, silver and platinum will be amongst precious metals worth £1.5 billion purchased unwittingly in the UK between now and end 2020. This hoard of hidden treasure will be scattered throughout 10 million tonnes of electronic products bought by organisations, companies and private individuals alike.

Electronic, digital and mobile technologies are big business. The marketplace is competitive, evolving constantly and rapidly. Sales are strong, not least because products date and break.
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Co-creation and Construction: It’s good to share

A version of this article first appeared on the Sustainability Talk & News website, published 6 February, 2014.

2014-03-11 17.14.48 HDR-1 copyCurrently very much in vogue, co-creation is being touted as the optimum way for business to capture innovation, speed delivery and drive resource efficiency. Inclusive and transformative, it is the change-management weapon of choice for sustainability. There is only one problem: It seems a bad cultural fit for Construction.

As we emerge slowly from the ‘Age of Austerity’, commercial organisations are running lean, with budgets tight and few personnel available to pursue speculative process improvements, or explore new ways of working. Time, money and people are all at a premium and investment is in short supply.
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Responsible Sourcing: Who cares wins?

A version of this article first appeared in a Special Report on ‘Supply Chain Strategies’, published in The Times, 21 January, 2014.

Responsibility rising: From eggs to concrete, animal welfare to worker wellbeing and consumer to C-Suite.

Responsibility rising: From animal welfare to worker wellbeing, consumer to C-Suite and eggs to concrete.

Holistic is hard. This is the blunt message coming out of many board rooms faced with the leadership double-whammy of combining supply-chain complexity and crosscutting sustainability in one clear, communicable strategy for responsible sourcing. Difficulty, however, can prove a brand differentiator, with benefits of joined-up thinking on values-based procurement both attractive and advantageous, as Global Head of Plan A Delivery, Marks and Spencer, Adam Elman explains:

“It does require focus and effort, but it is extremely important that business leaders develop a holistic strategy. Apart from calls for greater transparency that organisations are increasingly receiving from customers, NGOs, the media and so forth, the positive business case is becoming clearer – from security of supply to increased trust and lower costs, plus more motivated and engaged workforces.”
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Cultural Tourism: Prodigy, or problem child?

A version of this article – which explores the sustainability of Cultural Tourism, its benefits and risks for Business, the Arts, Society and the Environment – first appeared in Artworks Journal, 3 December, 2013.

HI-LIGHTS by Martin Warden, LUMIERE 2011, produced by Artichoke in Durham. Photo Matthew Andrews.

HI-LIGHTS, Martin Warden, LUMIERE 2011 Durham, produced by Artichoke. Photo: Matthew Andrews.

Tourists are money, as the Sex Pistols once said. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), just over one billion international tourists, together with almost six billion domestic, pay the wages of one in every 11 workers worldwide and pick up the tab for US$1.3 trillion in global exports. The numbers are not just big, but getting bigger: From a starting point of a mere 25 million international tourists enjoying post-War travel back in 1950, the forecast for 2030 is 1.8 billion, some 72 times that original figure.

Culture and the Arts are both drivers and beneficiaries of this wanderlust boom. Visual, performing and culinary arts are key players in the sustainable development of cultural tourism and, as tourists, culture vultures come in many forms – ranging from opera-lovers and theatregoers, to gastronomes, history buffs, ‘ethno-freaks’ and ‘archi-trekkers’. The one thing they have in common is the potential to impact the local economy, environment and community, for good or ill.
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