Susty Procurement: From Responsible Sourcing to… Star Wars

New writing... Pleased to say I have another piece published in The Times newspaper today, as part of a special report on Future-Proofing Procurement, by Raconteur. It looks at how the business supply chain is increasingly viewed as a value chain, with shared value being as much environmental and social, as it is economic:

‘5 ways to share supply chain value with people and the planet’.

The full 16-page  report is available to view/download here.

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Packaging: 5-a-Day Rant

So… Despite the fact my grapefruit already comes in a biodegradable protective skin all of its own, the supermarket has individually wrapped it in straight-to-landfill plastic for home delivery, complete with unwelcome news that the food has been treated with imzalil/thiabendazole/2-phenylphenol pyrimethanil E202 (potassium sorbate) and wax, as well as a warning that the bag should be kept away from babies and small children to avoid suffocation.

My healthy breakfast suddenly seems a lot less sustainable (never mind the fact it has come all the way from South Africa) – not perhaps my best work as an eco consumer?!

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England’s Litter Problem – Could Business Do More?


New writing Another of my recent pieces for Guardian Sustainable Business is now live, running in their paid-content section in the Circular Economy Zone, sponsored by SUEZ. The article explores England’s litter blight – from cigarette packets in the gutter, to pop bottles in the woods – and asks whether companies and brands can pick up the slack where government has fallen short:

The full Guardian series on Circular Economy with SUEZ can be viewed here.

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Regeneration, Plastic and Fish in The Sunday Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had a further trio of pieces published in The Sunday Times newspaper this week, as part of a special Raconteur report on Project Management.

The first is a story of simple truths applied at scale and looks at how collaboration  is critical to the success of a multi-stakeholder regeneration scheme such as Nine Elms. This mega-project on London’s South Bank is transforming a wasteland of vacant industrial sheds, derelict warehouses and a long-defunct power station, into the home of Apple in the UK, the new US embassy and a ‘mini-Manhattan’ of des-res skyscrapers:

‘Nine Elms: how to deliver a mega-project’.

My second piece explores the innovative feat of social entrepreneurship that is The Plastic Bank, tackling environmental pollution caused by ocean plastic and simultaneously helping alleviate poverty in some of the most disadvantaged parts of the world. As the name suggests the ‘bank’ is leveraging the benefits of blockchain digital currency to turn plastic waste into profit for people in need, not through charity, but opportunity:

‘Fighting poverty with plastic’.

The third article also investigates issues at sea, but this time looking at the illegal trawler operations exacerbating the problem of overfishing. Launched by none other than Hollywood star and committed eco-activist Leo DiCaprio, Global Fishing Watch uses the Google digital platform to map incidences of criminal activity. It also enlists the power of the people to help crowdsource data – we are now eco-crime-fighting citizen gamekeepers:

‘All eyes on the sea to net illegal trawler activity’.

The full 16-page Project Management report is available to view/download here.

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Climate Action: Fly the Flag!

In case you hadn’t noticed, I am not American, I am English. However, that is all the more reason for me to fly the Ecology Flag, which draws design inspiration from the iconic US Stars and Stripes.

Withdrawal of the Trump administration from the Paris Agreement means America is one of only three nations (along with Nicaragua and Syria) and by far the largest not signed up to the international climate commitment to tackle human-made global warming.

Climate change, though, does not respect national or state borders – it is a universal, Planet Earth phenomenon and truly global in its scope and scale.

In many ways, incentivising climate action would be made much simpler if the degree of global warming did actually vary regionally and locally in strict proportion to respective direct (and indirect) impacts. Imagine how different the response might be, if particular countries and parts of the world with a larger carbon footprint experienced greater adverse effects in relative terms than those living more within their planetary means?

Sadly, it is almost the case that the opposite scenario holds true – those nations least at fault still bear much of the burden created by unsustainable industrialisation and consumerism running rampant for decades elsewhere.

In reality, climate change is indiscriminate and fundamentally unfair.

So, whilst I shall not be demanding anyone ‘Pledge Allegiance’ or ‘Salute’, I do ask you please to Fly the Flag, not least in support of all those states, cities, organisations, businesses, communities, families and individuals in the US who are working hard and living well in accordance with the principles of sustainability (and perhaps still hoping to bring about a change in Government policy).

Fly the Flag: We are all America now; and America is all of us.


History of the Ecology Flag:

According to WikipediaLook magazine incorporated the Ecology Symbol into an image of a flag in their April 21, 1970 issue. It widely popularised the theta symbol, associated with the Greek word thanatos (death) in light of human threats to the environment. The flag design was based on that of the United States and has 13 stripes alternating green and white, plus the Ecology Symbol in the upper left quadrant (canton) in the place of stars.

The Ecology Symbol (Theta):

The Ecology Symbol was originally created by cartoonist and artist Ron Cobb – who had worked on everything from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, to an album cover for rock band Jefferson Airplane. First published in 1969, it takes the letters ‘e‘ and ‘o‘ from the words ‘environment’ and ‘organism, then superimposes them on one another to form a shape reminiscent of the Greek letter θ (Theta).

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